Promoting Nagaland culture

Organised by the Government of Nagaland every year, Hornbill Festival aims to promote cultural heritage of the state by showcasing a colourful blend of art, cuisine and music

From diverse shades and forms of traditional attire, to different aromas from the platter of the northeast, to the rustic tunes from the hills, Hornbill Festival 2019 opened a window to the culture of Nagaland presenting a mosaic of colours.

Hornbill is also called festivals of festivals, and is organised by the Government of Nagaland every year with the aim to promote the cultural heritage of the state by showcasing a colourful picture, with a blend of art, cuisine, culture and music.

In fact, Department of Tourism, Government of Nagaland, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbnb to help build a sustainable tourism ecosystem that benefits local communities and promote prominent events like the Hornbill Festival. The ten-day fest, sprawled through out the state, kicked off on December 1.

While rock band Indus Creed plugged in the chord for some contemporary rock music, folk rock band Swarathma gave a fusion twist to the fest. Amid the energetic music, popular Tetseo Sisters added a sense of calm with soothing melodies. The sisters narrated story of love and hardship, weaving it with music in an intimate performance.

"When musicians and bands like us get a chance to participate in the festivities, we take back with us memories that we hope will inspire and encourage both the musicians here and back home. None of this would have been possible without Hornbill. As an example, Swarathma collaborated with The Tetseo Sisters on our show -- where we learnt each other's songs. What a beautiful, natural way to learn about each other's culture," Swarathma bass guitarist Jishnu Dasgupta said.

The fest brings forward culinary delights of the 16 tribes. One can sit in a traditional hut, and enjoy some authentic food over a local Nagaland special drink.

According to Theja Meru, Advisor, Task Force for Music and Arts, Government of Nagaland, infrastructural development and air connectivity, rail connectivity contributes to the success of the festival.

"Hornbill Festival recorded a massive 251701 visitors in total in 2018. This year I am sure that number could be beaten. Hornbill records the greatest number of tourists in those ten days compared to the rest of the year. It also helps focus and channelise all the efforts to make those ten days stand out tall and it is used as a platform and medium to reach out to all and to present Naga culture and heritage," Meru said.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio feels joining hands with organisations like Airbnb will help push the festival.

"Through our partnership with Airbnb, we have managed to increase the supply of accommodation options for the Hornbill Festival while at the same time empowering our local communities by skilling them and generating employment. Together with Airbnb, we hope to build a sustainable tourism ecosystem in Nagaland and increase tourism footfalls into the state throughout the year," Rio said.

To this, Amanpreet Bajaj, Country Manager, Airbnb, India, added: "Our partnership with the Government, fortifies our goal to bring value to local communities and promote authentic events like the Hornbill across the globe."

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