Nagaland hornbill festival fever grips northeastern states

By Sujit Chakraborty

Hornbill Festival ‘fever’ gripped the entire northeast region with the epicenter of the event – the Naga Heritage Village Kisama in southern Nagaland – in excited moods as the event was held. 10-day mega carnival, starting December 1 after the pandemic.

Kisama, 12 km from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, was quiet last year with celebrations going online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the original traditional zeal, mirth and fervor are reappeared this year.

However, due to the appearance of the new variant of Covid-19 named “Omicron” and directives from the Union Ministry of Health, the visit of thousands of foreign tourists to attend the Festival seems difficult.

Nagaland Tourism Department Director Ajanuo Belho said that due to restrictions imposed by the Omicron outbreak, foreign tourists could be in very small numbers, but thousands of people from the northeast and d other states should take advantage of the 10-day holiday.

“As the festival could not take place last year due to the pandemic, this year we are in the mood to hold the mega festival in a dignified manner,” Belho told IANS.

She said the Nagaland government also implemented a revised standard operating procedure from November 11 and set up eight testing centers, including at airports and train stations, for screening outside travelers.

Another senior tourism department official said that high-level ambassadors or diplomats from five countries – Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar – expected to attend the festival, which showcases life, culture, Nagaland traditional food and customs for the past more than two decades and providing opportunities and growth prospects for entrepreneurs.

Hornbill Festival is the main platform for promoting Nagaland tourism and related business.

“The annual hornbill festival has not only uplifted Nagaland on the map of world tourism, but enabled the Nagas to forge links with culture and heritage and promote intertribal relations, ”said State Tourism Councilor Khehovi Yepthomi. He said that in 2019, more than 2.82 Lakh tourists, including 3,015 foreign visitors and guests, came to Nagaland during the Hornbill festival compared to 1.12 Lakh travelers who visited the state to attend the festival in 2016. .

Claiming that the economics of the annual festival are also huge, Yepthomi said that against government spending of Rs 7 crore in 2018, the Hornbill Festival accumulated a total income and revenue of Rs 45 crore that year.

He said that in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, income and income generated from transportation, food, accommodation and the sale of local produce was over Rs 100 crore against government spending of Rs 11.52 crore for ten days of the festivities, signifying the magnitude that the authority and people of the state attach to the holiday, the the largest in the northeast region.

Since 2000, Naga Heritage Village Kisama has witnessed hundreds and thousands of tourists every year to witness the rich and diverse culture of most of the Nagas tribes, presented vividly and colorfully in the form of folk music and music. traditional dance in addition to the exhibition and availability of exotic food, crafts and art and many lives and customs.

The Hornbill International Rock Contest attracts thousands of young music enthusiasts from across the country in 2019, with five countries officially participating in the music festival.

“Every year, the 16 major tribes in the state participate in the mega festival and flaunt their cultural and traditional extravaganza,” another tourism department official said.

The start of the Hornbill Festival also coincides with the State Day celebrations on December 1.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])

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