We wished to have a wonderful morning after the great evening in the Night Bazaar at Kohima. We did not want to miss any action of day two at Hornbill Festival. So early to rise was our call.
Men may fail but not the gadgets. As expected they started functioning on time and almost within a few minutes three of them started crying simultaneously early in the chilled morning. I was rude and slapped my cell phone to stop alarming further. No better treatment they received from my friends too. But they did their job and we woke up.
Seeing is believing. We saw the crowds on inaugural day and experienced denial of space near the main arena. What needed was to start early and reach the venue well before the scheduled time! By congratulating each other for accomplishing the mission we passed through the welcome gate of Hornbill Festival.
Hornbill Festival venue “Kisama Naga Heritage Complex” houses a World War II Museum, Bamboo Heritage Hall, Bamboo Pavilion, Food Courts and an Amphitheatre for live shows. We saw various crafts in the Pavilion displaying the Naga indigenous skills in bamboo, wood and textiles. In fact, the pavilions were the perfect places to collect souvenirs.
2nd December 2014, day two of the Festival was a day for North East Cultural Show and World War II Peace Rally. The cultural show would present enchanting folk dances and music of North East, and the peace rally would hold to commemorate Battle of Kohima. Vintage vehicles would be on show in the rally and the participants would wear World War II army fatigues and compete for different category of prizes. For visitors to enjoy the hornbill adventure trail @Rs.2000/- per hour a vintage car was also kept by the Tourism Department of Nagaland at the venue.
Happy being there on time, I started searching for a better place in the gallery. I sat among the crowd but could not content myself with sitting there. So I gently put my steps forward and secured a place in the front row reserved for the participants. They were generous to me and I took pleasure in the privilege.
I looked at the main arena and saw some Naga Tribes were standing there making a big circle to welcome the Chief Guest who was to walk through the middle of that.
Suddenly everyone surrounding me stood up with the spear-‘Dao’ (a sharp cutting weapon) in their hands and before I could understand anything they started shouting war cries rising up their ‘Dao’ with every cry. I stood up and looked at them. They were doing it in a rhythm. I breathed easy realising that I was not the target. I followed their eyes to the main arena and saw the Chief Guest was walking to the reserved area. The tribes encircling Chief Guest were also doing a similar action and I realised, it was the welcoming ceremony of Chief Guest.
Soon announcement was made to begin the North East Cultural Show and Naga tribes were invited first to perform in the arena. It was a romantic song and Naga male tribes started dancing with their female counterpart holding the spear-‘Dao’ in one hand. We are familiar to mainly graceful romantic dances but they had a different way of expressing love and romance. The male dancers were swinging the spear to the rhythm of dance and females were matching steps with them. It was a different culture of another world.
The Naga dancers were followed by tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikim, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
Photo Gallery: Dance Performances by Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikim and Assam.
There we saw nothing like individual performances and all the tribes were dancing in a group. In every performance, group of artists in colourful costumes began dancing slowly, made circles or some geometrical formations, gradually raised the tempo with steps and on reaching the climax, tempo was brought down again with a satisfying finale.
The tribes of Mizoram entered into the arena with their most popular Bamboo Dance. In that format of dance, bamboos were placed and held horizontally across each other on the ground. While the boys tapped bamboos in rhythmic beats girls were dancing by stepping alternatively in and out to the beats with ease and grace.
The cultural show was also highlighted by some distinctive indigenous sports and games. The performers made the visitors wondered by their art of balancing game and the game of sword fighting.
Manipuri dance is popular for its gracefulness and the show was ended with such a beautiful performance by Manipuri tribes.
The saddest part of our visit was of not getting accommodation in any Hotel at Kohima for more than a night and hence we had to return back home. I still feel that spending one more day on the festival would have been worthwhile. We would have enjoyed a day wondering at the Naga warrior dance and their indigenous games, spending a night at the Hornbill International Rock Music Contest where almost 28 bands from across the country were performing to eager audiences.
The hotels at Kohima during the festival periods are generally booked much in advance. In fact, popular hotels are get booked a year in advance because Kohima is a small town with limited good accommodations.
Some information about Hornbill Festival:
Date : 1st December to 10th December every year.
Venue : Naga Heritage Village, Kisama (10 Km from Kohima)
Some Places to Stay at Kohima
- Hotel Japfu, Phone:+91370-2240211, email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Heritage, Phone:+919436000044, email : email@example.com
- De Oriental Grand, Phone:+91370-2260052/57, email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hotel The Legacy, Phone:+91370-2806243, email : email@example.com
- Hotel 2K, Phone:+91370-2243102/+919089585672, email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you be visiting Hornbill festival please get your hotel booked well in advance for at least three nights. Reach the town one day in advance, the venue well before schedule time to occupy your seat in the gallery and witness the opening ceremony. Do also visit the Night Bazaar and do not miss to witness the Hornbill International Rock Contest.
Stay tuned to know more about the places to see at Kohima in my next post.