Nagaland Hiking and Hornbill Festival in India 

by Kshaunish Jaini, on Dec 24, 2016

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Nagaland and the Hornbill Festival

The hornbill festival in Nagaland is celebrated in the first week of December, every year. It is organized by the Government of Nagaland, and all the Naga tribes come together in a spectacular display of colour, dance and music.\r\r Nagaland lies in the northeastern end of India, and has a vibrant culture and environment, different from the Northern regions of the Himalayas. This festival pays tribute to the Naga way of life. It is called the hornbill festival, as a tribute to this majestic bird, widely found in the jungles of Nagaland. The hornbill is admired by the Naga people for its alertness, majesty and grandeur. This colourful and majestic bird is culturally significant in the daily lives of the Naga people. It features prominently in the tribal folktales, dances, songs and on almost all traditional tribal headgear that is worn during celebrations.


With a growing intrusion of technology into the remote Himalayan regions, the Hornbill festival was first organized by the Government in 2000, with an aim to protect the Naga culture and to display its exuberant, extravagant and traditional celebrations. The festival is traditionally Naga and has everything to do with the celebrations and way of life of the Naga tribes. Displayed prominently are the beautiful stalls for the local arts and crafts, food, flowers and herbal medicines. The festival continues through the night with a variety of traditional songs, dances and indigenous games and sports like Naga wrestling and archery competitions.

Set in the thick jungles of North East India, Nagaland comprises of Naga tribes that remain autonomous even though they share a cultural heritage.

Hidden Gems - The unexplored trails that will set you on hikes very different from others in India or Nepal. A visit to Nagaland has all the makings of an adventure in tribal lands, almost like in a Mel Gibson movie!

Known For : The Hornbill festival - An annual extravagant fest in December. Eating & drinking competition galore. Witness war dances performed by tribes in colourful traditional headdress, costumes, war paint and weapons.

The beautiful woven shawls- Spinning and weaving in Nagaland is the exclusive monopoly of women. The patterns adorning the shawl are that of the tribe.

An aggressive past of headhunting- The greatest honour & act of bravery among the Naga tribes was scalping the head of the enemies. Still an active practice until about 75 years ago, it was abolished post christening of the Tribes.

Cover image, courtesy Wikipedia What do YOU think about the tribes in Nagaland? Share your comments below!