Contrary to the common belief, the festival of Hornbill does not happen in Kohima but around 12 km away from it (and a couple of hours long traffic, during the festival) in a village called Kisama Heritage Village.So for those visiting Hornbill for only a few days, it’s anyway not a very smart idea to be staying in Kohima and losing a few hours in the traffic everyday. Rather, consider staying in the village of Kigwema, located at only a walking distance from Kisama.Kigwema: A Peaceful Alternative Near Kohima
My plans change often. But this time was a bit different.I stayed in Kohima for two days, using the time to explore the town, walk through fascinating markets and taste some interesting Naga cuisine. I then loaded up the bike and set off for Imphal (Manipur). But, the bike had other plans.
a) De Oriental Grand: It is the most luxurious option available in this rustic hill townwww.deorientalgrand.comb) Hotel Vivor: It is another fine hotel replete with all basic amenities. It is known for its impeccable hospitalitywww.niathugroup.com/hotel-vivor-home
I was in Tawang, in deep dilemma. I didn't want to leave there and did not want to miss Nagaland either. But then again you have to leave one place to reach another. I left there on 25th and after long, restless, sleepless, and leg breaking journey of 27 hours straight, including a sumo ride, bus ride, and an alto ride, I reached Kohima. I did not have an ILP that is required to enter Nagaland, but somehow managed to get in with the help of some guys I met in alto. I stayed in dorm in The Blue Bayou, though it was costly (500 rs. per night), it was the best dorm I have stayed by far on my trip. From my dorm balcony I could get the panoramic view of Kohima, also there was some band downstairs, practicing for some gig and their music was beautiful. I roamed around the city, and it was such an experience with music and graffiti everywhere, street vendors selling all sort of crazy food (frogs, insects, and what not), and the best part was the coffee cafes with live music. Being a digital nomad it is important for me to get good wifi, and all the cafes there has good wi-fi. Do visit Dream Cafe, food there is ok but coffee was really good, and it has very good working environment with a panoramic view of Kohima.
Although, the road from Dimapur to Kohima was rocky and tiresome, yet the excitement of being at the coveted festival eliminated all the exhaustion. Moreover, the picturesque surrounding and the affable behaviour of the people of Kohima gave me an inexplicable feeling. Organised by the State Directorate of Tourism of Nagaland, the festival greets and embraces everyone to this beautiful place called Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. I was shocked to see that despite the rumors of being a disturbed state, people from all around the country flock to this city to get an overwhelming experience. Adorned with lights and several events happening simultaneously, the city becomes nothing lesser than a paradise on earth during the festival. You cannot deny the fact that December is considered to be the most happening month of the year and if you are in Kohima during this time, you are at the right place to have some wonderful moments to cherish.Regarded as the biggest festival in the North Eastern part of the country, it stood upright to prove its significance ever since its inception and has always been a pride for the people of the region. Though, our motive was to shoot the Rock Concert, which is a part of the festival, but could not restrain ourselves to indulge in the Naga way of blissful and happy life. It was a proud moment for the people of the region as the state of Nagaland was celebrating its fifty years of statehood and thus the festival was celebrated for ten days instead of the normal seven day schedule.Kisama, the Naga Heritage Village, which hosts the main festival, is well maintained and the scenic beauty around the area is breathtaking. With different stalls offering "Zothu” and "Thutse" (local alcoholic beverages made of rice) and the authentic food of the all the sixteen major tribes of Nagaland, Kisama offers a plethora of options for foodies and of course to bibulous like us. I visited all the stalls in Kisama to pleasure my taste buds with various delectable authentic food items and also to keep my spirits high, “Zothu” was always there. The stalls in Kisama closed their affair by 6 in the evening; however the night did not get over so soon. The Rock Contest, the Music Festival, the Hornbill Night Bazaar and many other activities kept the nights alive and young.The last day of the festival was more eventful as we all participated in the community dance where all the different tribes of the state unite and dance together. Since, we were there for the documentary shoot, after the celebration at Kisama, we had to rush to the Rock Contest Finale where ten bands got shortlisted from numerous bands, which came for audition from all across the country. That was the only time we were actually working apart from our extracurricular activities. It was fun, but to be frank, the result of the contest was unsatisfactory (*at least for me). Though the Rock Contest got over by 10 P.M., yet the night was still young and rocking. It was our last day in Kohima and we didn’t want to waste it at all. During our stay, we met some local guys and became friends, who took us to a party after the rock show. That place was meant for party freaks like us and we had the best of times, enjoying the party till the wee hours of the night. Dance to the tunes of the DJ or sit by the fire and enjoy some “Zothu”, it’s up to you. But I’m sure that if you were there, you would have had some amazing moments.With so many events and activities, I was gearing myself up for the festive season to follow. It was my first experience and with my fingers crossed, I am looking forward to have some more enthralling moments in the years to come at the Hornbill Festival.
11. Experience the thrill of mountain biking in KohimaA biking group called Native Station has pioneered the trend of mountain biking in Nagaland. The group has already organised several mountain biking events such as the Kohima Downhill and Thuwu-ni Enduro for professional riders. These biking trails present an adrenaline-filled experience that will take you through Naga villages such as Sangtam, Angami and the border villages of Assam.Visit Native Station for more information.
These guys (explorenagaland.com) run a guest house, and was it a great relief. We got a dorm with bunker beds, and 1 more room, and they were clean, well kept, and felt like home. Our ILP's were ready, food was served hot, and they organised a taxi for tomorrow's sight seeing.
KohimaWe took the route back to Guwahati, and had amazing fun on the roads, and reached Guwahati - Tezpur highway again in no time. Then we headed to Nagaon, and took a right after Nagaon towards kacharipara, and then followed directions on the road to dimapur. The roads were wide, and good with little traffic, and the light drizzle all along the way helped. There were dark clouds threatening in our rear view mirrors, so we pushed as much as possible. We reached Dimapur for lunch.