Hornbill Festival Experience of a South Indian Teenager


Nagaland is a place in India you can visit again and again, and not get enough. No matter how much you travel here, it’s not enough. Every year, from 1st to 10th December, there’s a huge festival in Kohima, Nagaland. You guessed right. It’s the Hornbill Festival. And today I’m going to share my one day Hornbill Festival experience with you all!

Hornbill Festival Experience

So here goes my Hornbill Festival experience

Hornbill Festival was on my list for years. I finally got to attend it. I have the entire day to learn the Naga traditions here. The day greeted me with an 8-degree temperature as I got out of my blanket.

Quickly brushed my teeth with cold water- a shower was out of the question. A bit late, but I reached the Kisama Heritage Village. In recent years, the festival is getting more footfalls from Indians as well as foreigners. So the government here takes this festival seriously. 

Hornbill Festival 2020

Nagaland is a mountainous region. 16 different tribes populate the different valleys. There are 16 pavilions here, one for each tribe. They have recreated their houses and lifestyles for display. Each spot has people wearing their tribal costumes. And each spot serves their traditional cuisine. There’s 16 different types of cuisine. I’m spoilt for choice.

People here relish things that we might consider weird. I dared to taste a few dishes too.

The Rich Naga Culture

People in every tribal house were playing games, dancing and singing together at the same time. Afternoon came while I roamed around and spent time talking to the people there.

pork with bamboo shoot

Delicious cooking smells wafting from every house made me hungry. Pork and rice are the most important part of Naga cuisine.

They were making hot bamboo shoot pork in the Ao tribe house. After a while, some traditional Naga programmes began to take place on the main ground.

There were tribal dances by the Ao, Chakhesang, Sumi and Sangtam tribes

Hornbill Festival events

People were dancing energetically in their hand-sewn clothes, accessories made of bones and beads, and Hornbill feathers on their heads. They were demonstrating their sports. The dance clearly showed why they are called headhunters.


The day was coming to an end and I was yet to see the bamboo market. There was a big bamboo market in a corner of the ground. They had a lot of bamboo items for sale. Along with food, clothes and shelter, bamboo can be called a basic need of the Naga people. The bamboo market had all the Naga handloom items. Before I knew it, the day was over. Tourism hasn’t really grown in Nagaland due to difficult roads. Hornbill Festival is the only occasion when they interact with us. And they do it beautifully. I learnt about Nagaland culture from Hornbill.

Naga crafts

But I’m going to visit Nagaland because I love this Hornbill Festival experience. 

And this amazing day ends with Naga Black Tea.

This is a guest post that I got through “Write for us” section. 

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