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Nagaland Hornbill Festival

A foreign tourist cheers Naga performers. During the annual Hornbill Festival, visitors flock to Nagaland. Indian residents require an Inner Line Permit to enter while foreign nationals, with the exception of visitors from Pakistan and China, must register at the nearest Foreigners Registration Office (FRO).

Up close: The Nagaland Hornbill Festival

The Nagaland Hornbill Festival, celebrated every year since 2000 in the first week of December, reverberates with color and pageantry. The festival is a mélange of Naga cultural displays on the same stage. Organized by the Nagaland State Directorate of Tourism in Kohima, the festival intends to revive, protect and preserve the rich and unique Naga heritage and attract tourists to the state. The hornbill, a bird admired by the Naga people, is the leitmotif of this festival. Hornbills, now threatened in the wild due to deforestation, are linked closely with the social and cultural mores of the Naga people, evident in tribal folklore, dance and song. The bird is symbolically displayed in traditional tribal headgear. Photographer CAISII MAO captures the mood at the Naga Heritage Village of Kisama, 15 km away from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland.