If you have heard about the Hornbill festival in Nagaland, you’ll surely be there after reading this post. Every year, the Nagaland Government organizes the Hornbill Festival (Dec 1–10) to give the travelers a glimpse of the naga life and to enthrall them with the fascinating culture and tradition of the 16 different Naga tribes in existence. Let’s see what all can you get out of a 9 day Nagaland plan!

1. HORNBILL MUSIC FESTIVAL

Several artists & bands from different parts of the northeast and the world showcase their talent and sweep the crowd off their feet. As you hear the sound reverberate through the arena, it hypnotically draws you in search for the source.

There were 24 bands performing this year. The CM, Mr. Neiphiu Rio said that the 2019 concert is definitely going to be bigger and better! Can’t wait! 

2. DANCE WITH THE NAGA TRIBES

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

At the Kisama heritage village, from the inauguration day to the last day, you will get to see a variety of dance forms-by different tribes and even by people from different states. You will even be welcomed warmly to the traditional huts of the 16 tribes and get to dance with them! 

3. HERITAGE STALLS

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

This fest, without a doubt, is a shoppers paradise! You will get to see and buy artifacts, Home decors, Naga knifes, Naga chillis, wines, thread works etc. This year, there were about 42 stalls that kept everyone engaged for at least half a day.

4. DZUKOU VALLEY: SHANGRI-LA OF NORTHEAST

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

This magnificent and surreal valley of small bamboo plants that lies right on the Nagaland- Manipur border, is just a 2-day affair from Kohima. You can start for the trek on day 1 early morning and on day 2 you can reach back to Kohima. There are 2 routes: Ideal trek route would be to go via Vishwema village and return via Zakhama route.

5. PFUTSERO: A QUINTESSENTIAL HAVEN/TOWN

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A 4-hour drive from Kohima will take you to the highest and coldest town in Nagaland, Pfutsero of Phek district. Wake up early next morning and hike up (you can also take a vehicle route) to the Glory peak from where you can see the mighty Mt Everest. The trek route is right behind the Mini Tourist Lodge. 

6. JAPANESE CAVES OF PFUTSERO

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

This ain’t for the faint-hearted. During WWII, soldiers used a cave which gave them a vantage point view which still lies deep inside the jungle. Even though there is a small trail that leads to it, you need a local guide to show it to you.

7. CHERRY BLOSSOMS

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

Even though November is the time when you have high chances of seeing Cherry blossoms in Nagaland, some parts of Longkhum and Chiechama would still have cherry blossoms left.

8. DINNER WITH THE DIGNITARIES

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Every year, during the Hornbill festivities, an event is held at the Raj Bhavan, called the Handshake Concert. The Concert brings together the best talents of Nagaland and is a stepping stone to international performances. After the event, you get to spend time with the high officials of Nagaland. We were fortunate enough to talk to and meet the Nagaland Governor, Mr. PB Acharya and the Nagaland CM, Neiphiu Rio. 

9. NIGHT CARNIVAL STREET

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

During the Hornbill Festival, the NST road of Kohima closes down for vehicles by 7 pm for the local families to put up stalls of fried chicken, pork and meats of all sort. You will find cute beanies, masks, face painting stalls, balloons, wigs and a lot many things that glitter. You will also find amazing coffee stalls and if you’re good enough to be friends with the owners, they might even treat you with a free coffee!

10. FLEA MARKET AKA CHRISTMAS BAZAAR

Not many people know about this market, but if you can manage to be free one afternoon and head to the Carnival ground, just above the carnival street , you will find heaps of quality clothes sold at dirt cheap prices.

11. CARNIVAL GROUND

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After 4pm , the carnival ground comes alive with the Breakdance ride, Caterpillar ride, Giant wheel and all the shoot and win games. An hour spent here can turn any adult into a child again! There is so much happiness and liveliness all around here.

12. RICE BEER AND MEAT

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

This colourful festival is a paradise for foodies, particularly if you happen to be a non vegetarian. The Nagas’ love to feast and feed. You can savor all kinds of traditional food here and also watch it being made. 

You will also find fried silkworms, which are pretty much tasteless. But most importantly, don’t forget to gulp down some of the local rice beer, which is usually served in the bamboo glasses. It’s amazing! 😀

13. A GLIMPSE OF THE WWII HISTORY

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Atop the Garrison Hill and at the heart of the city is the Kohima WWII Cemetery. It opens at 9 am and closes by 3pm in winters. You can visit it and read through the messages written on each tombstone. You will also be able to read the entire history about the war at the WWII museum right behind the amphitheater at Kisama village. You’re sure to get some goosebumps!

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

Besides the WWII museum is an Art Gallery where you’ll find paintings and photographs clicked by the people of Nagaland. Most of them display the Naga culture and traditions followed by the people. You can also buy these at the shown price.

15. ADVENTURE SPORTS RIGHT AFTER SOME DANCE

The Nagaland Adventure Association organizes various adventure activities like zorbing, zip lining and rope bridge crossing at a very minimal price at Kisama village to promote adventure sports in the state.

16. STONE PULLING FESTIVAL

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You will see all the 16 tribes coming together to make this event happen. A stone/ boulder weighing approximately 12 tonnes is pulled for a good 3–5kms by thousands of people as a part of the traditional Naga culture.

17. CHILI EATING COMPETITION

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland

This happens at the Kisama heritage village where even you can participate as the tribes compete. You may even find something similar happening at the night carnival too . But make sure you carry along a lot of sugar and water with you. Your tongue might just catch fire ! 😛

18. NAGA WRESTLING

This is something you shouldn’t miss. Forget WWE , this is the real deal. The amphitheater becomes the arena for the fight and you will see a lot of energy even among the spectators.

19. NAGA CHEF COMPETITION

During the extravaganza, all tribes have a variety of food and Rice beer prepared inside their huts. You can go and have it with them for a nominal price. At the end of the fest, the best Naga Chef is awarded.

20. PEOPLE OF NAGALAND

All this is only possible because of the immense hospitality of the people here and the way they value their tradition. Even though it was only 9 days that we spent in Nagaland, it shines on each of us about our own need to preserve the culture that we came from

20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland
20 Magical Experiences you can have in Nagaland
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