The hornbill festival is known as the festival of festivals and is held in the first week of December. The festival is a culmination of the all 16 tribes of Nagaland showing their rich culture and traditions. The festivals is named after an Indian bird, Hornbill. The festivals aims to protect the indigenous tribes and culture of the naga people. It’s a 10 day festival with night carnivals, music concerts, shopping stores etc.
The festival is celebrated in Naga heritage village in kisama, which is about 12 kms far from Kohima (capital of Nagaland).
How to reach Kohima?
If you are travelling from Delhi, flight is the best option. The nearest airport is in Dimapur city of Nagaland, which is a 3 hr drive to Kohima. Be aware of the bad road conditions in Nagaland.
The nearest railway to Kohima is Dimapur railway station.
Further for reaching Kohima from Dimapur, there are shuttle bus services and many taxis available at the airport.
During the festival, it’s better to pre-book your taxi, A taxi will roughly charge you rs. 2500 or shared taxi for approx. 700 rs.
I booked my taxi via-
Go taxi service - 8256910427
Where to stay?
Since the festival is held in Kisama village, I found living in nearby villages and camps to be better than staying in Kohima city. The city is very crowded and relatively far from Kisama.
Kigwema village, which is walking distance to Naga heritage village is the perfect stay for the festival. Living in the home-stays will let you experience the peaceful village life and you will be closer to nature. If you are up for adventure, there are multiple campsites too.
The home-stays in Kigwema shouldn’t charge you above rs. 1000 per night. The option of dorms are also available to make it a budget trip. Below are some home-stays in Kigwema-
Japhii Homestay, kipfiizha (contact details- 8731053304)
Stay high campsite (8876414671/ 8721888840)
Lalhous homestay, Epitome villa (9612873026)
Vevori lounge Kigwema
Tips to explore the Hornbill festival-
1. Get the schedule booklet for the festival
Having the schedule for the festival will help you plan your day according to what interests you on the itinerary. The festival starts at 9-10am and ends at 6-7pm followed by carnivals and concerts etc.
2. Keep a warm layer even though it might look sunny
While leaving for the festival the weather might seem warm and sunny but trust me by the evening the weather changes drastically.
3. Don’t carry plastic water bottles or polybags
The festival is a plastic free zone and the fine for carrying plastic bottles or bag will land you paying fine.
4. Try local food of each tribe at their morung
If you are a non-vegetarian eater then it’s a wonderland for you, Naga people majorly eat pork, beef, monkey, dogs, frogs, silkworm, rice etc. So you will get a chance to try out different dishes.
If you are a pure vegetarian, like me don’t worry! There are stalls specially serving north Indian vegetarian food.
Nagaland is also famous for its home grown fruits and vegetables, so do checkout the horticulture zone for some lovely fruits and veggies.
5. Try all their local drinks
Nagaland has to offer many local drinks like rice beer, local wine, local tea and even coffee ! Rice beer is kwown as Zutho and is served in bamboo glasses. Wine is also pretty famous in Nagaland and I found the mulberry flavor to be the best.
Besides alcohol, Northeast is always known for its tea! Must have their green tea with sugar.
Surprisingly coffee cultivation and culture is growing back in Nagaland, and this venture by the govt and Naga-Land coffee.