Hornbill Festival

Hornbill Festival

Nagaland, one of the seven sister states is home to several tribes, which have there own distinct festivals. More than 60% of the community depends upon agriculture, hence there celebrations depend upon agriculture. For the Nagas, festivals are holy, so participation is mandatory. In the year 2000, to encourage inter-tribal interactions and to promote the cultural heritage of Nagaland, the Government organizes Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. The festival named after the Indian hornbill is a large and colorful forest bird that shown in the folklore of most of the state’s tribes. 

Hornbill Festival every year organized at Naga Heritage Village in Kisama that is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The festival aims to strengthen and preserve the vibrant culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions. For visitors, it means a closer understanding of the people and culture of Nagaland, and an opportunity to experience the food, songs, dances, and customs of Nagaland.


The week-long festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy colorful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games, and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display.

Festival highlights include the Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts. Food Stalls, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Cultural Medley including songs and dances, Fashion shows, Beauty Contest, Traditional Archery, Naga wrestling, Indigenous Games, and Musical concert are also a part. The Hornbill Festival provides a colorful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs, and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and tradition of tribal peoples that reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India’s federal union.

Traditional arts are also featured, with paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures by modern Naga artists on display. Naga troupes sing folk songs, perform traditional dances and play indigenous games and sports. Every evening a program of music concerts, catering for all tastes, ensures that the festive spirit continues through the night.

How to reach

By Air

The state has its airport in Dimapur, which is regularly serviced by major airlines. The city is linked to Kolkata by air. Indian Airlines operate regular flights to Dimapur. Tourists then have to travel to Kohima by road after reaching Dimapur. It takes two and a half hours to reach by road. 

By Rail

The major railhead in the state is Dimapur, which connects to Guwahati. Guwahati is connected to the rest of the country by major trains.

By Road

A good road network covers the state. The state capital Kohima connected to Shillong and Guwahati, which are major and important cities in North-Eastern India. First, reach Dimapur and then travel to Kohima.

Permits to Travel

Domestic Tourists

You must obtain the Inner Line permit issued by the following authorities: 

  • Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi. 
  • Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Kolkata.
  • Assistant Resident Commissioner in Guwahati and Shillong. 
  • Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, Kohima, and Mokokchung.

Foreign Tourists

You don’t need Restricted Area Permit (RAP) or Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter Nagaland. Previously, tourists were required to travel in a minimum group of four people. Tourists were allowed to visit all 11 district headquarters and specified places with this permit, valid for ten days, with an option to extend for up to a month. The new rules only require foreigners to register themselves at the local Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival. This is a temporary change in effect for one year. Please note if you are Pakistan or Chinese national you still require RAP or PAP.


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