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A Date with Hornbill Festival, Nagaland – Journey to hidden adventures of India

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Hornbill Festival Grounds Entrance

A routine discussion on a WhatsApp group that I am a part of triggered me to encourage to ask colleagues to plan for a trip to Hornbill Festival in Nagaland and this got me interested in joining them as well.

This saw me start planning to the festival and we tagged along with the RTCGuwahati at RoadtrippersClub

RTC Guwahati had a Hornbill camping trip already planned and we decided to join in them from Hyderabad.

So, here goes the plan:

Reaching Hornbill Festival, Kisama

Day One:

  • Hyderabad to Guwahati (30th Nov 2018), we took a early morning flight to Guwahati, the gateway to North East
  • Guwahati Airport to Railway Station – We headed over to the railway station to wait for the B G Express which was scheduled for the afternoon

To spend some time, we walked around to the Nehru Park which was close by and we were shocked to see the clean surroundings, very nicely maintained roads and particularly the park.

Photo of Nehru Park, Guwahati By Srikanth's Traveldiaries (Https://Traveldiaries.Vacations)
Nehru Park, Guwahati

After walking around for sometime, we headed to the food court just beside the park to have a Pizza at Dominos.

Photo of Panner Pizza at Dominos, Guwahati By Srikanth's Traveldiaries (Https://Traveldiaries.Vacations)
Paneer Pizza at Dominos

We headed back to the railway station in time to pick up our luggage to head to board our train. The train chugged out on time and we were slowly heading towards Dimapur.

Photo of Paddy fields and railway track, Guwahati By Srikanth's Traveldiaries (Https://Traveldiaries.Vacations)
Enroute Dimapur

Indian Railways has a reputation at times of being late and we reached Dimapur around 2105 hrs instead of 2005 hrs which was still OK but not a ideal option for us to head over to Kohima taking into consideration the journey from early morning we undertook from Hyderabad.

At this point, Graeme and myself decided to call it a day by checking into a hotel. We found Hotel Acacia just opposite the police station very close to the railway station. Checked in to the hotel, room cost was Rs. 1,200 and was pretty decent and hygiene was great.

Photo of Dinenr at Hotel Acacia, Dimapur By Srikanth's Traveldiaries (Https://Traveldiaries.Vacations)
Dinner – Fried Rice and curry at Hotel Acacia, Dimapur

The next morning, we started at 06:30 hrs from Dimapur to Kohima hiring a shared taxi from the Railway station.

Dimapur Railway Station as we TravelwithSrikanth
Welcome to Dimapur Railway Station

Our journey from Dimapur to Kohima

Getting up at 05:30, we started getting ready and by 06:30, we reached the railway station in search of a taxi for our journey to Kohima.

We luckily found a cab who was ready to take us until Hornbill Festival for ₹2,900 and we happily agreed.

Now a word of caution, get ready for one of the bumpiest rides in your life as the roads are being constructed and it might be awhile before you get to experience good roads in Nagaland and Manipur.

Foggy Roads from Dimapur to Kohima
Foggy Roads from Dimapur to Kohima as we head to the ghat section

We stopped on the way for breakfast, Samosa and Omelette were on the menu with some hot piping chai.

Breakfast with a view like this!
Vegetable shopping near the breakfast venue

The drive from Dimapur to Kohima would take anywhere between 03 to 04 hours depending on the vehicle and the driver’s skills.

We reached our destination (Kisama) by around 11:00 am we had a first hand view of the Hornbill Festival venue.

Heading over to Camp Hornbill in Kigwema – Our stay for the festival

Our stay was booked at Camp Hornbill in Kigwema and had beautiful tents and lovely hosts. We checked in to our tent and after some tea, decided to head over to the Hornbill Festival.

Photo of Camp Hornbill By Srikanth's Traveldiaries (Https://Traveldiaries.Vacations)
Way to Camp Hornbill
Camp Hornbill, Srikanth's Traveldiaries
View of our camp with Hornbill venue in the backdrop

Welcome to Hornbill Festival Grounds, Kisama

We headed over to Hornbill Festival after checking in to our camp.

You will witness tourists coming from all over the world from the morning itself of 1st Dec. The festival is mostly scheduled between 1st Dec to 10th Dec of every year.

Festival is spread across 10 days with various flavors of the culture and tradition of the Nagas on display. The latest addition is inviting artists from around the country to present their cultures which is a treat to watch.

My Experiences – Reaching Hornbill Festival

As I have shared at the start of the post of the long and tiring journey we had undertaken.

Starting at our homes from Hyderabad at 03:30 hrs early in the morning to catch a flight and the wait for train and catching a shared taxi the next day at 06:30 to reach Kohima.

Should you be thinking to visit Hornbill Festival in Dec’19, my recommendation would be as below:

Try catching the Hyderabad – Imphal flight (Indigo Airlines) has direct connectivity from Hyderabad which starts at 07:00 hrs and reaches Imphal by 09:40 hrs.

You could then take a shared taxi from Imphal to Kohima which will drop you at Kisama on the way for a charge of Rs. 500

Srikanth’s Traveldiaries recommendation

Staying in Kisama / Kohima

There are many camps that come up during the season of Hornbill Festival. You can reach out to me in the comments below or check for camps that come up during the time, you can check them on Facebook searching for “Stay at Hornbill Festival”

Our stay at Camp Hornbill costed us Rs. 1,750 on twin sharing which includes, breakfast, stay, dinner and tea.

Camp Hornbill has packages and they typically include a 2N package minus the lunch part in Single / twin / triple sharing options

What to do in Nagaland?

Nagaland is a wonderful state which is opening up to tourism and you would love the below:

  • Hornbill Festival
  • WWII Memorial
  • Kohima War Cemetery
  • Kohima Market (also known as Keeda Market)
  • Khonomo, named after a local plant
  • Khonoma, the cleanest village in Nalaland and home to the Angami tribe is India’s first Greenest Village

Don’t forget to taste the hottest chilli that you get in Nagaland, the variety is called Bhut Jolokia

Dubbed as the hottest chilli in the world, taste it at your own risk…

For those who are not content with just visiting places, there is more for you:

There are two treks that you should try out in Nagaland, starting with

  • Dzouku Trek – This trek takes you to a valley with breathtaking views and tests you for your trekking skills but in turn offers great views and peace and calm (more on my trekking experience in the next blog post)
  • Japfu Peak Trek (the second highest peak in Nagaland) offering you breathtaking views of Dzouku valley and half of Nagaland, Dibrugarh and parts of Arunachal are visible on a clear day. This trek would also mean you getting up from your sleep around mid-night 02:00 hrs and setting out on a trek to the base camp to be on time to catch the sunrise which would be a delight to someone.

Overall, Hornbill Festival is a definite visit and therefore, I am again planning a trip in 2019 with my family.

Stay tuned for my experience with the Hornbill Festival in my upcoming post.

Head over to my Instagram / Youtube Profile and do follow me for more amazing road trip / travelogues.

Until my nex blog-post, this is Srikanth Signing Off!Do follow me on Social Media for my travel journeys:Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Youtube / Pinterest

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