Vivid colorful Hornbill Festival

Hornbill festival is also known as the “Festival of festivals” is one of the most popular cultural festivals of Northeastern India. Representing the cultural diversity of Nagaland’s numerous tribes, it seeks to encourage the inter-cultural relations among them.

The weeklong festival held in the first week of December is an exciting affair which has lots of intimidating activities under its wraps. One can see the display of unique and unusual costumes, traditional events, art and craft. The cultural procession and distinctive events like bike rally, stone pulling competition show the versatility of this festival makes it more exciting.

 People of all ages from older folk to young teenagers enjoy this festival. Here the old meets new, tradition meets new generation and a whole collage of different cultures takes place here. Coming here is an experience of a lifetime as every moment spent here is colourful and unusual.

The next day we started for Kisama heritage village early morning where the much-awaited Hornbill Festival of Nagaland was taking place.  We took a shared taxi and it was 30 minutes ride from our hotel to the festival venue. The taxi charged Rupees 50 for each passenger.

In my last post I mentioned about my journey to Kohima,  I spent 2days in the city of Nagas and enjoy the Naga hospitality at the fullest. If you miss the blog you can check my post trip to Kohima.

Arriving at the village, we first saw the huge ornamental gate of Hornbill Festival. Passing the gate, we encountered young Naga boys and girls, dressed in their colourful traditional attires. They also adorned themselves with their weapons and shields used during wars and hunting. These young boys and girls were representing the various tribes of Nagaland. They were welcoming the guests. The smiles and youthful vigour of this young lot mesmerized the guests and brought zeal of festivity to all.

Hornbill Festival Gate

Hornbill Festival Gate


Tribal dance at Hornbill Festival

Young Naga boys and girls dancing

Hornbill Festival image

Young Naga boys and girls

Hornbill Festival, khonoma

Crowds gathered outside for inauguration ceremony

Hornbill Festival inauguration ceremony

Hornbill Festival inauguration ceremony

All were waiting for the arrival of the chief guest. We waited with the crowd enjoying the ambiance listening to the traditional songs that the young boys and girls were singing. The chief minister of Assam, Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal was the chief guest of the hornbill festival, 2016. Once he arrived everyone started moving inside the festival ground.  The festival began shortly after the arrival of the chief guest.

Hornbill festival: The Opening Ceremony

The festivities began with all the dances, folk songs and dance drama performed in groups. The various tribes of Nagaland made their presence felt with the performance of their own form of dance and songs. The other neighboring states of North East India also represented themselves through various cultural performances. We enjoyed to our heart’s content as we swayed and smiled, listening to the soulful, energetic rhythms.

Some images of opening ceremony of Hornbill Festival

Tribal dance at Hornbill Festival

Dance performance by Kachari tribe of Nagaland

Tribal dance Nagaland

Tribal dance performance at Hornbill Festival

Tribal performer at Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

Youths waiting for their performance

Tribal dance at Hornbill Festival opening ceremony

Tribal dance at Hornbill Festival opening ceremony

Bihu dance at Hornbill Festival

Bihu dance performance in the opening ceremony

Unleashing the foodie in us amidst festivities

After the cultural events were over we headed towards the different ‘Morungs’. The ‘Morung’ is a typical way of building a Naga house with bamboo and thatch. During the festival, several Morungs were constructed where each of the tribe represented themselves. We saw various delicacies being prepared in the different Morungs. We saw people roasting pork, chicken, fish,  buffalo etc cooked in coal fire. There was rice beer, traditional stews made out of snail, dog, fish, etc. We were just spoilt for choices.

We readied our taste buds and headed towards the Morung of the ‘Kachari’ tribe. There we had Rice beer with a special Prawn chutney. The combination tasted awesome. We saw others enjoying Pakodas, Fried Fish in the Kachari Morung.

We also tested Roasted pork, Traditional Chicken Curry with Red Rice for lunch at Morung of  ‘yimchunger tribe’. The sumptuous preparation was perfect for the ambience we experienced. It felt as if we became one with the culture and the people at the same time.

After finishing our meal we went to explore the Morungs of the other tribes. All the Morgungs were decorated with the traditional items belonging to the individual tribes. Representatives of those different tribes were dressed in their traditional attires were standing in front of their individual Morungs, welcoming guests with smiles. Some of them were seen performing their traditional songs and dances in front of their Morungs. There were hustle and bustle everywhere and the place was lively with people’s laughter.

There were stalls especially readied for vegetarians too. Snacks, sweets, hot and cold beverages were also available in different stalls. During lunchtime, the air of Kisama heritage village was thick with the aroma of different delicacies prepared by the tribes.

During Hornbill Festival every member of Nagaland aspires to portray the best of Naga food and culture. We felt privileged to be a part of this mesmerizing festival.

Hornbill festival food

Food Stall inside Hornbill Festival

Decorated tribal Morungs at Hornbill Festival


Decorated tribal Morungs

Decorated Naga Morung at Hornbill festival

Decorated Morungs of Kachari tribe

Decorated Kachari tribes morung at Hornbill festival

Morungs of Phum tribe

Decorated morungs of Phum tribe

Hornbill festival pictures

Hornbill festival Images

Apart from a food stall, there are different stalls for shopping lovers too. You can purchase different handicraft and handloom items, jewelry, decorative items and souvenir here. It also has a collection of traditional utensils, pottery and different orchids. Buying a suitable gift for your loved ones in a must do here.

After spending a memorable day at Hornbill Festival, we return back to our hotel for a sound night. Tomorrow we will visit another specular destination of Nagaland Tourism, Khonoma green village.

My journey to Hornbill Festival is indeed a lifetime experience.  I am happy to be able to join the festival and have got some first-hand experience.   Those who like vivid colorful culture, indigenous food, scenic nature and wildlife, we highly recommend our  “Hornbill Festival Tour” itinerary.

If you are looking for more information on Kohima and Hornbill Festival please check out the page dedicated to Kohima on our website, or email us on to start planning your trip!


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