Nestled in the Himalayan mountain, on the border between North – East India and Myanmar, lies the state of Nagaland which is home to numerous tribes and sub-tribes, collectively known as the Nagas. Each of these warlike tribes are distinct in their own way in terms of dialects and customs with a commonality of fondness for keeping alive their traditional songs and dances, preserving their culture and their engulfing them in their day – to – day lives amidst the harsh environment. In addition, the youth have hooked on to the modern musical scene and have excelled in it. Some years ago the State Government of Nagaland organized a week-long festival by bringing all tribes under one umbrella and showcasing their ethnicity. It was a week-long festival held at the state capital Kohima. The festival drew the attention internationally; tourists flocked in hundreds to experience the ‘the Naga way of life.’

It has now become an annual event, named as the Hornbill Festival, after the beautiful state bird- the Hornbill.

The Hornbill Festival is held on the first week of December every year and the actual venue is the Naga Heritage village of Kisama, about 12 kms from Kohima. The seven days’ extravaganza consists of arts and crafts display, traditional sports and games, food fairs, flower shows and tribal dances. Naga dances are unique with the vigorous movements of the warriors and the graceful movements of the women of the various tribes. It is quite an experience in itself to groove to the beats of the hollow log drums. Nagaland has caught up with the rest of the world in fashion, and the shows are something to look forward to.

Tourists can enjoy typical Naga Food of Rice, Chicken, Pork with Bamboo Shoot Pickle and wash it down with the local Rice Beer. A special mouth- watering dish is Pork roasted/smoked in bamboo tubes. The pickles and chutneys will leave you wanting for more. From the stalls one can pick up lovely wood carvings and artificial flowers. Each of the seven days is distinct in terms of experience. Evenings are for merrymaking and enjoying the musical concert where local, national and foreign bands will enthrall you.

Apart from the festivities there are various historical places to visit. The venue Kisama itself houses the Second World War Museum which provides war experience in detail In addition to the festivities, the places to visit are the War cemetery located on the very grounds where the battles were fought.

Nagaland is connected to the rest of the country by air, road and rail. Dimapur is the air and rail head and has daily flights and a number of trains. Distance between Dimapur and Kohima is about 74 kms, which passes through the historic battleground of World War 2. Buses and taxis are available and take about 2 hours. There are a number of hotels catering to all budgets both in Dimapur and Kohima, of which the details are available in the internet. There are also some decent resorts and guest houses. Home stays are also available. Enjoy such a stay, eating your meals in a Naga home kitchen with the women cooking and chanting Naga songs with smoked meat hanging from the low ceiling. However, both the air and rail reservations and accommodation need to be done well in advance to avoid disappointments. The experience has been that people come back for repeat visits.