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Name : samarendra kumar saha  [On Mar 20, 2012]

State : NL


Article :

Apang Aier is a cab driver. Previously he was in the Police Department, Govt. of Nagaland, India. He did not like the job, so he chucked it and now drives his own car and plies between Dimapur and Kohima. He is young, energetic and a good communicator. He does not like this job as well. He dreams of being a successful businessman and wanted my advice. Instantly I said, ‘Tourism’ and gave a lengthy lecture on eco-tourism. I also asked him to develop ‘Home stay’ facilities to the tourists and to showcase their traditional & rich cultural heritage.
I was returning after witnessing the first three days of ‘The magnificent seven’ days Hornbill festival at Kohima, Nagaland. Every year Govt.Of Nagaland organizes Hornbill festival from 1st December to 7th December. This is an annual tourism promotional event to showcase Nagaland’s traditional and rich cultural heritage in all its ethnicity, diversity and grandeur.
The Hornbill festival is a collaborative celebration of all Naga tribes at one venue and has been coined as the ‘festival of festivals’. The festival is a tribute to the great ‘Hornbill’, which is the most admired bird for the Nagas for its qualities of alertness and grandeur. The fascination for the bird symbolically displayed on almost all tribal traditional headgears worn during the festival and is indicative of the unity of the Nagas.
The Hornbill festival is a cultural extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of Naga heritage. For the visitors this event means for a comprehensive understanding of Naga people, their land and culture. It has now become a unique platform for the tourists to witness the cultural diversity not only for the Nagas but the seven other sister states of North east  India in all its wonder and glory.
We a group of four reached Kohima in the evening of 30th of November. Thanks to Mr.Tarun Das , one of our group members  who took the initiative to arrange for our accommodation, otherwise it is very difficult to get one during Hornbill festival as Kohima is a small town with limited Hotels & Lodges and a huge number of tourists from different parts of our country and abroad pour in to witness the colourful festival.
 The venue of the main festival is Kisama, a few Kilometers away from Kohima. A permanent Naga Heritage Complex has been erected here that houses traditional huts of different tribes of Nagaland and a small stadium within its periphery. Amidst the greenery, surrounded by hillocks and away from the busy town, the place chosen was ideal for the event.


The 11th Hornbill festival under the theme ‘Unity in culture- A colourful exposition’ was inaugurated by Governor of Nagaland Sri Nikhilesh Kumar on 1st December, 2011 at the Naga heritage complex. Cultural troupes from all the 16 tribes of Nagaland presented their dances and songs on the first day of the week long Hornbill festival. The 16 Tribes are- 1.Kachari, 2.Kuki, 3.Rengma, 4.Angami, 5.Chang, 6.Khiamniungan, 7.Yimchungru, 8.Sangtam, 9.Sumi, 10.Ao, 11.Chakhesang, 12.Pochury, 13.Lotha, 14.Konyak, 15.Zeliang and 16. Phom.

  Singing and dancing comes naturally to the Nagas. Emotions, events, festivals – all find expressions in the different cultural dances, folk songs and indigenous games. One finds the heart beat of the Nagas in the pulsating rhythms of its dances. In spite of the tremendous impact of modernity, Nagas continue to practice their traditional dances and songs vigorously.
Various cultural troupes from the eight states of North east India enthralled us on the second day. Folk dances depicting praise, tribute, prayers, grieves etc. to the gods of traditional folklore were performed with vigor. The main attraction of the day’s events was the North east India Drum Ensemble presented by traditional Drummers from the eight sister states. The ensemble was composed, directed and conducted by Naga music maestro Lipokmar Tzudir. The exhilarating fusion of drumming sounds of the north east left us mesmerized.

Another highlight of the day was Konyak Fire eating demonstration. With bare hands the participants took out eggs from boiling water, peeled it and eat the eggs without any hesitation. Incredible! Besides the various Naga traditional dances that were presented on the occasion, folk dances from other states included ‘Goya Sedong Se’ (Arunachal Pradesh), ‘Dahal Thungri’ (Assam), ‘Lhou Sha’ (Manipur), ‘Hoko’ (Meghalaya), ‘Cheraw’, (Mizoram), ‘Tamang Selo’ (Sikkim) and ‘Hozagiri’ (Tripura).

The main attraction of the third days programme was Greased Polo climbing competition. Interestingly none of the participants could climb and touch the red mark at a height of the pole as it was heavily greased. Later on the grease had to be removed and the poles were fixed again to give a breather for the participants. The other attraction for the day was dances performed by cultural troupes of different Naga tribes. In fact on all the seven days the visitors would witness dances performed by various naga tribes in the Naga heritage village, Kisama.
Simultaneously the organizer also conducts a number of competitions for the students like Fancy show, Singing, Painting/Drawing, Essay writing, Dance etc. throughout those seven days.
Motor rally, Hornbill national rock concert, Miss Nagaland beauty contest, Pork and Chili eating contest are also organized.
Good news for the food lovers, those who are interested to taste different varieties of Naga food items in one place, NagaHeritageVillage at Kisama is an ideal place during Hornbill festival. Want to buy souvenirs for your friends? You can get a number of local items made of bamboo.
I had visited Nagaland earlier also during summer in the year 2008. I loved the place, I liked the people, but what I missed was their cultural ethnicity. I had an imagination about the people of Nagaland, their costumes, culture etc. But what I saw, people dressed in jeans, speaking English fluently, listening to English music all the times and watching American idol on TV. I was rather disturbed. We always try to imitate and adopt the western culture, even  small state like Nagaland is not an exception. We understand the need for change but it should not be at the expense of our own rich culture. We should not run after illusion. The young generation must understand this. The Sooner they understand, the better for our country and our rich heritage. It is the duty of our older generation to make them understand the importance of preserving their own heritage and culture. In true sense, I am happy to be proven wrong. The Hornbill festival has changed my views. Nagas have not forgotten their ethnic culture.
So Mr. Apang Aier remember that India is a land of diversity and it is the religious duty of every Indian to protect and cherish this diverse culture in a  land which is eternal and ever new.
Getting there:
By air:The state has its Airport at Dimapur, which is regularly serviced by major Airlines. The city is linked to Kolkata by air. Air India and Jet Airways fly to Dimapur.Tourist then have to travel to Kohima by road.
By Road: A good road network covers the state.The state capital Kohima is linked to Shillong and Guwahati which are important cities in northeastern India.First proceed to Dimapur and then travel to Kohima.
 By Rail: The major Rail head in the state is Dimapur,which is linked to Guwahati, the gateway to the northeastern India.Guwahati is in turn is well connected to te rest of the country by important trains.
 Entry Formalities:


Inner Line Permit is a must for Indian Tourists. It can be obtained from the office of the Deputy Resident Commissioner,Nagaland House, in New Delhi and Kolkata, Assistsnt Resident Commissioner, in Guwahati and Shillong, Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur,Kohima and Mokokchung.
  COPYRIGHT@ Samarendra Kumar Saha