The great thing about visiting Nagaland during the Hornbill Festival is the festive air that engulfs the entire State. The warmth in the smiles of the locals, the welcoming waves of the roadside hawkers inviting you to check out their ware, the smell of freshly baked goodies in the air, the bright lights adorning the streets with night market stalls, all of this helps elevate the festival experience and is probably why visitors (from across the country and the globe for that matter) keep coming back to the festival.
Otherwise a quiet city, Kohima comes to life for the ten days of the festival and there is so much to do that it is easy to miss out on some unique experiences. That is why, we asked some seasoned festival goers to share tips on what to do and what to see when you are attending Hornbill Festival and here’s what they had to say –
Raise The Roof
Every time I have visited Hornbill Festival, I have attended small parties at campsites and restaurants that are just amazing. You get a chance to mingle with the locals and the playlist is epic. The locals in Nagaland really do know their music. They always play the latest tracks which will have you partying till the wee hours of the night. But, don’t say to yes to any party offer that comes your way, ask your campsite co-ordinator or hotel management for recommendations of good parties happening in the area. Most of the small parties do not charge entry fees.
— Kamal Kalita
Paint The Town Red
If you like arty things then you will love the stalls in the night market that offer face painting. It is very cheap and will come off the moment you wash your face but it is a great way to imbibe the festive spirit of Hornbill festival. You can get all sorts of designs – cute, scary, mythical and so on. I would seriously recommend all visitors to try this, also think of all the interesting selfies you can take to make your friends at home jealous.
— Ann Lyngdoh
These are some of the things that I learnt from my experiences. It is good to take your own food and drinks (if it is allowed) so that you do not need to spend a lot at the festival. Try not to carry a lot of valuable items. Get a handy or light camera to capture the moments. Carry a hand sanitizer in case there is no handwash basin near food stalls. While camping, you may not always have access to running water, so be sure to carry baby wipes. Make a point to carry cash as food trucks or stalls may not accept debit/credit card. It is also a good idea to carry waterproof bags. But most important of all, have fun! Live in the moment, enjoy the music, talk to new people and don’t be stuck on your phone.
— Saif Khan
Blast From The Past
Many people skip out on the World War II Museum in Kisama but I think this is one of the most interesting spots at the festival venue. Now doubt, it is quite small but it has many unique displays that will give you food for thought. If you are a history buff, then you should definitely not miss out on this one.
— Shreya Goswami
Shop Till You Drop
Most festival goers tend to take the train to Dimapur and then take a cab directly to Kohima. Many don’t spend any time in Dimapur but for a shopoholic like me, I always make a point to visit the Hong Kong market because you are bound to get great deals on a plethora of items. You can buy scarves, shoes, gadgets, woolens, and almost everything you heart desires. So, if you want to take back souvenirs, I would suggest you stay in Dimapur for a couple of hours, do some shopping and grab some lunch before leaving for Kohima.
— Priya Rajkhowa