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hornbill Festival and Dzukou Valley Extravaganza - Nagaland

A land engulfed in mystery, inhabited by vibrant and indigenous tribes zealously guarding their culture – dancers, warriors, headhunters, mountains, valleys, forests – all these form the portrait of Nagaland the moment the word is uttered. The tribes here celebrate with gusto and infectious zest. Spirits, social bonding and purification are the key elements that form the essence of Naga festivals – the custom that each tribe follows, translates into a festival. The Hornbill Festival, an yearly event taking place from 1st-10th December is a modern day cultural extravaganza of all the Naga tribes. It is the only festival, conceptualized by the government of Nagaland, where one can experience the culture and diversity of all the 16 Naga tribes at one place.

Named after the revered and respected Hornbill bird, festival is celebrated in the beautiful heritage village of Kisama. The festival is a unique experience where all the Naga tribes gather for cultural performances and celebrations, displaying ethnic crafts, food, fairs and games. A few highlights are – traditional Morungs (where children used to learn from elders) of all the Naga tribes, food stalls, flower shows, arts and crafts exhibitions, traditional archery, wrestling, musical concerts, folks songs, folk dances and much more.


Trip Highlights

Hornbill Festival - This is the only time of the year where all the 16 Naga tribes, their culture and various traditional practices can be witnessed at one place. Folk songs, folk dance, Naga food, games, arts, crafts, everything one can think of will be there. Naga Culture and Tribes – Nagaland is probably the most culture rich state of India. The state has not just the indigenous tribes, but the most unexplored natural beauty too. You shall witness all the 16 Naga tribes and their traditional practices. Kisama Heritage Village – Naga Heritage Village offers a panorama of nature and hospitality of cheerful Naga people. The objective of the Heritage Village is to protect and preserve all ethnic cultural heritages. This is where Hornbill Festival takes place. The Heritage Complex consists of a cluster of sixteen houses of each tribe created in the indigenous typical architectural designs and concepts with significance. The tribal house is also called "Morung or Youth Dormitory"

Kigwema Village – Kigwema is one of the oldest village of Kohima, surrounded by pristine and idyllic terrace fields. Women of Kigwema are the unsung heroes of the village. The Kigwema Women Society (KWS) are the driving force towards environment conservation. Hornbill Night Carnival – During Hornbill, celebrations are quite evidednt everywhere in Kohima. From local markets to flower exhibitions to lit-up streets to happy faces all around. This is something which everyone should experience once in their lifetime.

Traditional Morungs – The Morung (boy’s dormitory) used to be the first educational institution for the boys in the village. It is a place where young boys used to learn from their elders, learn the basic skills of hunting, living, farming and much more. Every morung consists of a sitting place around a big bonfire and a common wooden bed in the interior room. The bed is a huge one, carved out from a single tree trunk on which over 15 boys could easily sleep.

Khonoma Green Village – Referred to as Khwunoria by its dwellers, is estimated to be 500 years old. The village is inhabited by Angami Nagas and by the joint efforts of its people it is the first green village in Asia. Khonoma’s fame chiefly comes through its standing as a warrior village and gallantry in warfare.

Jhum/Shifting Cultivation – is the farming practice widely followed in the villages in Kohima. It involves Alder tree, a fast growing also known as wonder tree, to fix nitrogen and binds soil. We will see and learn more about it in Khonoma village.

Dzukou Valley – Dzukou literally means ‘cool water’. This beautiful valley of eternal charm lie at the south-west of Khonoma village. Dzukou valley is the lesser known and better version of renoned ‘valley of flowers’. The valley spreads on small mounds of thick bamboo brush naturally strewn and polished, with snow covered streams and rivulets.

Kohima World War II Cemetary –is a memorial dedicated to soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces who died in the Wordl War II at Kohima in April 1944. The soldiers died on the battleground of Garrison Hill in the tennis court area of the Deputy Commissioner's residence. There are 1,420 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War at this cemetery, and a memorial to an additional 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who were cremated in accordance with their faith.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Hornbill Festival

We shall start from Dimapur at 7 am from Railway Station/Airport depending upon ones preference and drive to Kohima city. After leaving our bags in the hotel and breakfast, we will visit the World War II cemetery in Kohima town and then head to the village Kisama, host to Hornbill Festival and ‘an open air museum of Nagaland’.

We shall spend the rest of our day in Hornbill festival filled with the complimenting colors of nature and beautiful Naga people. Surrounded by the lush green mountains & valleys, Naga songs, dance performances, colors and positive vibes, it shall take us to a world unknown. We will start with the guided tour of village Kisama, exploring the Morungs of different Naga tribes (16 in total) and their cultural practices. Come prepared for a shopping spree, you’ll see numerous shops/stalls selling local arts and crafts. After a sumptuous local Naga lunch, we will continue our Hornbill experience with mesmerizing games and traditional performances. We shall witness the Hornbill night carnival at Kohima where we shall see people selling different items from Christmas decorations to chicken barbecue. One of the most fascinating aspect of the carnival is the entire street being flooded with happy people celebrating with their family and friends.

Overnight stay in hotel/home-Stay in Kohima

Day 2 – Hornbill Festival

We shall start our day by exploring Kigwema village, one of the oldest village in Kohima and surrounded by pristine and idyllic terraced fields, and get ourselves accustomed to a typical Angami Naga village, and learn a thing or two from the beautiful people there. You’ll notice a very peculiar thing in Kigwema, huge wooden carvings in front of the rich men’s houses.

Thereafter, we will continue our experience of Hornbill Festival. On this day there won’t be any guided tour in the festival area, everyone will be free to explore on their own or stay together with each other. Walk around, experience the traditions and cultures of different Naga tribes, watch games, participate in some and don’t forget to buy some souvenirs for yourself, friends and family. There will be plethora of things to see, to eat and to buy. Today will be the last day of the festival and we shall witness the magnificent closing ceremony of the Hornbill Festival in the evening. After the closing ceremony, we shall assemble at a designated point and drive back to our stay in Kohima.

Overnight stay in hotel/home-stay in Kohima.

Day 3 – Khonoma Village

After early breakfast, we shall drive to Khonoma village. Khonoma, Asia’s first greenest village, is inhabited by the Angami Nagas. It is a beautiful village on a hill top surrounded by terraced paddy fields and lush green hills as high as 3000m. We shall do a guided tour of the village, observing and learning the fortification, traditional Morungs, Khel(clans), peer groups, history and culture of the village. There are three forts, one for each clan (Khel). People of Khonoma have set an example for the world outside, they way they have maintained the sanitation in the village is exemplary. We shall also learn about how the community work for each other, how they’ve setup various peer groups and their functioning to keep their village the most beautiful village. Later during the day, we shall go for a walk outside the village to observe ‘jhum cultivation’ also known as shifting cultivation and the terraced paddy fields. Jhum cultivation is a very sustainable and organic way of growing our food which can never be compared with any other modern method. We shall also observe the beautiful paddy fields surrounding the village at lower grounds. The irrigation channels were made by the community itself and are so efficient that they water the every inch of acres of fields. Later in the night, we will share some experiences over dinner, bonfire and maybe rice wine. Overnight stay in hotel/home-stay in Khonoma

Day 4 – Dzukou Valley / Nature’s Utopia

We shall start our day with the first light to hike to the lesser known ‘valley of flowers’ of India which is Dzukou valley. With early breakfast and packed lunch, we shall drive to the base camp of Dzukou valley and then hike to the top, around 6 Kms in distance. Hiking from the base camp takes around three hours of climbing crisscrossing rivulets, mountains of ferns and plantains covered with moss and junipers. After a while, we shall be welcomed by tall rhododendrons and trees thickly covering the entire trail from heat and sunlight. At the top, we shall be greeted with the indescribable valley gently stretching out its colorful natural carpet of evergreen charm. This is a perfect destination for nature lovers and trekkers. After spending couple of hours breathing the view in, we shall start our journey back to Khonoma. Later after early dinner, we shall bid adieu to each other and drive back to Dimapur. Cost

INR 25,000/- from Dimapur to Dimapur.

In order to confirm your participation, please deposit an advance amount of INR 12,000/- before November 15. The remaining amount has to be deposited before November 25.

The trip will start from Dimapur on December 9, arounf 7 am, and end at DImapur on December 12 around 9 pm.

Inclusions

• All travel from Dimapur to Dimapur
• Accommodation in simple and comfortable homestays/hotels on twin-sharing basis.
• All meals during the trip except for lunch of Day 1 and Day 2.
• Expenses of guides during our stay.


Exclusions

• Any items/services which are personal in nature like toiletries, sun protection creams, chips, soft drinks, laundry, STD calls, etc.
• Any extra expense due to delays arising from bad weather or any unforeseen circumstances.
• Any medical expenses.
• Any other expenses of any nature not included in the INCLUSIONS section.

Contact[masked]/[masked] (SMS/Call/Whatsapp) for any questions.

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