Nagaland art

Experiencing Hornbill Festival In Nagaland

A dazzling array of celebrations and rich culture where you are guaranteed to have a blast. We’re talking about none other than the Hornbill festival which is ‘Festival of all festivals’ in Northeast India. It gives you a peek into the lives of the different tribes in the state through extravagant activities like music and dance performances. Let us take you through an exciting journey in which we narrate what experiencing the Hornbill festival in Nagaland would be like!

What Is The Hornbill Festival?

The Hornbill festival is celebrated annually in Nagaland for 10 days and is truly eye-catching. During these 10 days, you get to see the colorful and vibrant culture of the people of Nagaland.  Along with celebrating the 16 tribes residing in Nagaland, the festival also honors folklore and folk songs of the state. Every year, Hornbill is celebrated from 1st to 10th December. It takes place in the Kisama Heritage Village of Nagaland.

The Hornbill Festival is organized by the State Tourism Art and Culture Departments and also receives support from the Union Government of India. In the past few years, this festival has given the world a glimpse of the traditions of Nagaland and Northeast India. A lot of tourists visit to witness this charming and spectacular festival and to interact with the people of Nagaland. If you’re intrigued by the many extraordinary performances that happen here, you should definitely partake in this festival.

Also Read: Experience The Ladakh Festival

hornbill festival

What Is The History Behind Celebrating The Hornbill Festival?

It’s important for the tribes of the Naga people to portray their culture with great pride. Nagaland is known for the colorful bird called ‘Hornbill’ which is found in the forests here. The festival is named after this bird as it’s a part of the folklore in various tribes of the state.

The Hornbill festival first started in the month of December, back in 2000. Today, it’s celebrated with much more enthusiasm. You get to experience tons of things like food fairs, crafts, dance performances, concerts, sports, parades, and much more. The main objective of the festival is to protect the tradition and culture of Nagaland and also to promote tourism in the state.

Also Read: Kutch Rann Utsav: All You Need To Know

What Makes The Hornbill Festival So Special?

One of the best things about partaking in the Hornbill Festival is that you get to witness different events each day! The festive celebrations begin around 9:30 am and there’s no end to the kind of things you can explore here. The entire venue is adorned with beautiful lights and decorations that make it look like a paradise on earth. People not only from India but around the world come here to get a snapshot of the vibrant and diverse culture of the Naga tribes.

The People

Exploring the morangs (tribal huts) is an exciting way to know more about the tradition of the tribal people here. These are tribal huts that are made using bamboo, hay, and wood. This is the place where the younger generation is taught about the folk tales of the past. If you’re visiting Nagaland for the Hornbill Festival, go check out the morangs in the mornings. It’s the best time to interact with the locals before their performances and get to know more about the communities residing here. You’ll get to buy a lot of items like handicrafts, jewelry, traditional attires, and much more from the locals here. There are mouth-watering drinks and other food items like pickles which you can try at the food stalls inside the morangs.

The Traditional Events

Something that you absolutely cannot miss when attending the Hornbill Festival is the cultural performances here! The performers are dressed in colorful attire and show their traditional dance forms as folk music is played in the background. One thing is certain, their synchronized choreography will amaze you so much that you’ll start grooving to the music too. Some of the popular dance forms that you’ll get to see are the Manipuri dance, harvest dance by the Khasi tribe, Khupililie dance form of Nagaland, and many more.

hornbill festival dance

The Food

What better way to explore the culture of a place than gorging on some of its famous food? At the Hornbill Festival, you’ll get to taste the exotic traditional cuisine of Nagaland. You can check out the many food options in the morangs and enjoy the many items served there. It’s also a great opportunity to strike up conversations with the elders here while trying their local cuisine. Some of the foods worth trying are rice cakes, beef pickles, roasted millets, brown rice with pork, and yummy Naga chili chutney.

The Music

When talking about the Hornbill Festival, the music concerts that take place here surely can’t be forgotten! Nagaland is recognized for its western and rock music. The Rock Concert that’s held in this festival has participants from all over India. You’re going to have lots of memorable moments here. The many rock performances will definitely get you grooving. Even after the concert ends, you can dance to the catchy beats played by the DJ here.

There’s much more to this festival than dance performances, great food, and music. You’ll find plenty of local stalls selling a variety of items. Right from colorful shawls, bone jewels, and decorative fabrics, to traditional attires, there are many things that depict the culture of the various tribes here. There’s also a night street market that you can explore in Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. You can buy a few souvenirs for your friends and family from here.

Also Read: Experiencing Bihu Festival In Assam

How To Reach The Venue Of The Festival?

By Flight

You can attend the enthralling Hornbill Festival by several modes of transportation. If you’re traveling by flight, then the Dimapur Airport has direct flights to places like New Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata.

By Train

In case you’re traveling by train, there are several trains available from New Delhi, Guwahati, and Sealdah. For those in Guwahati, there are many night trains to Dimapur. All those traveling from Delhi can board the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express to reach Dimapur.

By Bus

If you’re traveling on a budget, the best option for you would be to take a bus to Dimapur from Guwahati. Just so you know, it’s going to be a rocky ride as you go over the mountainous terrains on the way. So, be prepared in advance!

Once you reach Dimapur, you can take a shared taxi or a bus to reach Kohima. The average distance between the two places is around 100 m. Once you reach Kohima, there are several tourist police who will guide you to reach the main venue of the festival. You’ll have to take a taxi from Kohima to Kisama, which is the main venue to celebrate the Hornbill Festival.

nagaland festival

What To Carry

Don’t forget to carry important things like your identity proof, tickets to the festival, and of course, some emergency cash. For your accommodation, there are several hotels and homestays that you can check out. Otherwise, travelers with a limited budget can stay in the tens at the camping sites in and around Kisama. We highly recommend you also carry your camping essentials like a sleeping bag, thermos bottle, first aid kit, among other items.

Also Read: 6 Places To Experience Christmas In India

Summing Up

This week-long festival has so much to offer the travelers visiting here. Not only does it encourage tribal interaction, but also gives tourists an opportunity to witness their rich culture. Your visit here is totally worth it! That’s because the festival gives a deep understanding of the lives of the Naga people. Go ahead and plan a trip here to know what experiencing Hornbill Festival in Nagaland feels like.


Why Is The Hornbill Festival Celebrated In Nagaland?

The Hornbill Festival is celebrated in Nagaland to protect the traditions and culture of the different tribes of the state. It also aims to increase inter-tribal communication and has proved to be one of the many reasons to promote tourism in Nagaland.

How Do The People Of Nagaland Observe Hornbill Festival?

There are several ways through which the people of Nagaland observe and celebrate the Hornbill Festival. People attend and participate in the many cultural performances, food fairs, parades, sports events, crafts, and other activities held here. There are several exhibitions and shopping markets that display various things like sculptures, wooden carvings, paintings, and much more during the festival that people love to explore.

What Was The Purpose Of The Hornbill Festival?

The purpose of the Hornbill Festival was to preserve the rich culture and heritage of the different tribes of Nagaland. The Naga people partake in the many activities held here to revive and portray their culture and lifestyle to the tourists and travelers visiting here from around the world.

What Does The Hornbill Represent To The Nagas?

The Hornbill bird represents bravery and strength to the Naga people. That’s why the ‘Festival of Festivals’ is named after the bird to celebrate the rich culture of the brave Naga warrior tribes.

What Is The Culture Of Nagaland?

The culture of Nagaland comprises the 16 major tribes of the state, which have several other sub-tribes. Its culture encompasses traditional cuisine, folk dances, old traditions and laws, and attire that is different for all tribes.

What Are The Main Festivals The People Of Nagaland Celebrate To Share Happiness Among Themselves?

The people of Nagaland celebrate different festivals like Hornbill, Mim Kut, Bushu Dima, Aoleng, Sekrenyi, and many more.

What Language Is Spoken In Nagaland?

Indian English was declared the official language of the state in 1967 so you’d find many locals speaking English. People residing also speak Nagamese, especially in Dimapur city.

Is The Hornbill Festival Worth Visiting?

Hornbill festival gives you a peek into the culture of the Naga people through the cultural performances, sports, cuisines, and other activities celebrated here. So, if you’re keen on knowing more about the ancient tribes living in the state and engaging in the grand festivities celebrated here, it’s definitely worth visiting.

  • Region
    North-Eastern India
  • Type of Experience
    Cultural Experience
  • Best Time To Visit
    December (1st to 10th)