Monday, 21 November 2016

Hornbill Festival, North East India

Dancers celebrating the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

Located in north-east India and bordering Myanmar (Burma), the state of Nagaland is one of the last frontiers of India and is home to sixteen major Naga tribes - the Ao, Angami, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sumi, Chakhesang, Khiamniungan, Dimasa Kachari, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam, Yimchunger, Kuki, Zeme-Liangmai and Pochury plus some smaller sub-tribes. Each tribe is unique and has their own distinct culture, dress, customs and festivals, all of which culminate with the Hornbill Festival every December. 

Lasting a week, the Hornbill Festival is celebrated at the Naga Heritage Village, not far from the state capital of Kohima, and includes performances, traditional arts and crafts, and local cuisine. Launched in 2000, the Hornbill festival (named after the Great Indian Hornbill bird) was started to encourage inter-tribal relations and interaction, and as a means for each tribe celebrate their unique culture and heritage. The festival is all about showcasing Nagaland’s identity as a unique state within India. 

Due to it’s location and geography, Nagaland and it’s inhabitants are quite different to that in the more populated regions of what we traditionally understand as North and South India - in appearance, culture and religion. It is this uniqueness that makes Nagaland such a fascinating area to explore, and for such a festival to allow one to observe each of these tribe’s traditions and distinct identity in one place, is a very special experience.

Nagaland is also a very beautiful region with mountainous terrain and great flora and fauna diversity, with the region also being the one of the last remaining areas where the one-horned rhinoceros inhabits. It is this combination of physical and cultural beauty that really makes this region a standout and one for the traveller who wants to get off the beaten track.

Our Blue Dot Travel small group tours, include this fascinating destination, in fact our group leaves today.   
Visit Nagaland so you can experience the Hornbill Festival in 2017 in real life with Blue Dot! Click here.
Just where is Nagaland within India?

It's all about music, colour and movement

Local women in traditional dress

Beautiful landscape

Tribal men in traditional costume

Traditional dance in traditional costume

More stunning headdresses and colourful costumes
The scenery stretches forever

Some of the costumes are spectacular - and no doubt hard to wear!

Beautiful locals in their traditional dress
Traditional dancing in colourful costumes
The one-horned Rhinoceros
A local market
Everyone's happy it seems!

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