KOHIMA: The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland attracted a record 2,43,214 visitors this year, a sharp climb compared to the previous years, a government official said.
Tourist Officer of the Department of Tourism, Toka E Tuccumi said a total of 2,43,214 visitors, including 2,401 foreign tourists, 38,700 domestic and 2,02,113 locals enjoyed the festival during the 10 days.
This year, the number of visitors was higher by 1,30,610 compared to last year s total of 1,12,604 visitors, he said.
The 10-day festival, which is the annual showpiece tourism event of the state, was inaugurated on December 1 coinciding with the 54th Statehood Day celebrations by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The festival concluded at the picturesque Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, yesterday amid mega bonfires and the tunes of Naga war cry and beats of traditional log drums reverberating in the background.
The massive turnout at the festival provided the visitors ample opportunity to take prized photos and getting a lowdown on some of the Naga cultural dances during the "Unity Dance" performed by the 17 tribes of the state.
Nagaland Governor, P B Acharya said, "Hornbill Festival is designed in such a manner that it coincides with Statehood Day Celebration which gives an opportunity to all the Naga tribes to converge at one location to showcase the best of their tribal costumes, songs and dance."
People from different walks of life gathered at the latest edition of the festival which is a remarkable achievement for the Tourism Department, he said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Apok Jamir in his speech thanked President Ramnath Kovind for gracing the inaugural day of the Hornbill Festival 2017.
He expressed hope that the 10-day celebration of the Hornbill festival has given the opportunity for the tourists to peep into the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the sixteen naga tribes.
Chief Minister T R Zeliang said the festival gained popularity despite the remoteness and lack of proper infrastructure. He said this has been possible due to the collective effort of all the stakeholders in making the festival a grand success.
Nagaland – at a Glance
Nagaland is one of the “seven sisters” of the North-East India. One of the smaller hill states of India, Nagaland is known for its myriad tribes with their rich culture and traditions. The State has a distinct character both in terms of its social composition as well as in its developmental history.
If India is a country that boasts of “unity in diversity”, then the North-East is its most visible embodiment. Among the North-Eastern states, Nagaland stands out as a land of diverse tribes, systems of governance, cultures, sheer colour and variety. As its 16 major tribes hold their festivals each calendar month of the year, Nagaland is often referred to as the “land of festivals”.
Nagaland represents sociological and anthropological gold mines because it is still scientifically unexplored. Nagaland emerged as a State, out of the Naga Hills district of Assam and NEFA province, in 1963. This late start meant that the State lost out on the benefits of the first three Five Year Plans. What is more, the State has had to confront insurgency on a continuous basis, committing much of its scarce resources to administrative and related expenditures. Though Nagaland has been confronted with special constraints and challenges in the areas of politics, economics, geographical terrain, and development, especially of infrastructure, the “social capital” and resilience of the Naga village communities are not only giving hope but also beginning to help overcome the other difficulties.
Indeed, in spite of its many constraints and challenges, Nagaland has continued to chart new developmental paths for itself and has shown a unique model for the country. The Village Councils, Village Development Boards, and the recently introduced Communitisation of Public Institutions and Services Act, 2002, in areas like education, health, power, etc., which have already been acknowledged as successful.
People, Art & Culture
Nagaland, the land of the hospitable and warm Nagas, lies in the corner of India’s North-East bordering Myanmar. It has always evoked a sense of awe and wonder in the minds of people including the visitors. Although most of the Nagas have now become Christians, they still preserve the remnants of their early animist culture and ancient traditions.
Historically, the Nagas have always been brave warriors. They consider the safety and security of their guests as an honour and prestige and will never allow any harm to be done to any of their guests/visitors. Topographically, Nagaland is mostly a hilly region with a pleasant and salubrious climate throughout the year, except for a small region in the foothills. Nagas are by race, of the Mongoloid stock and speak Tibeto-Burman group of languages. But English and Hindi are widely spoken and language is no problem in Nagaland.
Colourful life and culture are an integral part of the 16 officially recognized Naga tribes of Nagaland. These 16 tribes are different and unique in their customs and traditions. These customs and traditions are further translated into festivals which revolve around their agricultural cycle. Songs and dances form the soul of these festivals through which their oral history has been passed down the generations. Nature has been kind to the Nagas and their land. Though by virtue of her natural beauty, the whole of Nagaland is a tourist hotspot, yet certain exceptionally charming places have been identified and developed by the Government to promote tourism.