Tips to enjoy the best of Hornbill Festival – Best Itineraries and Guide

North East is the land of festival, traditions and culture. The eight states have multiple events on a monthly basis that span between multiple states. While attending most of them takes a great deal of effort and planning, Hornbill Festival is something that is easy to be a part of.

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About Hornbill Festival – Hornbill Festival is an attempt by Nagaland government to bring all the tribes of the state together and showcase their cultural events and performances. The festival is organized in Kisama Heritage Village which is some 10 km away from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival dates are usually in the first week of December. The event is also a great chance to explore the food and handicrafts of Nagaland and North East India in general.

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Hornbill Festival tips for Solo travellers – Hornbill Festival is a very interesting event and very much doable for solo travellers. Trains and flights go upto Guwahati after which the solo travellers can travel to Dimapur by trains. Make sure that you catch the morning Janshatabdi so that you reach Dimapur by 10 AM. Here, you can visit DC office to get your ILP made and then return to bus stand to catch the next Sumo or Tempo traveller for Kohima. It will take around 5 to 7 hours depending on the condition of road.

Hornbill Festival Costs for solo travellers – Here are the basic expenditure that a solo traveller will have to sustain –

  • Guwahati to Dimapur by train – INR 200
  • Dimapur to Kohima by Jeep – INR 500
  • ILP fee – INR 100, if you find an agent to make your permits they will charge some commission
  • Kohima homestay – INR 1000 to INR 1200 per day which also include Dinner and Breakfast
  • Kohima camping near festival ground – INR 1500 per day with dinner and breakfast
  • Bring your own tent for hornbill festival – Camping sites provide this facility and let the visitors use the washrooms. The charges vary between INR 500 to 800 per day. Dinner and breakfast depend on the camping provider.
  • Tickets – INR 40 per day. Camera charges are INR 50
  • Kohima sightseeing – Shared jeep INR 20 + local entry tickets will cost you around INR 100 in total
  • Lunch – INR 50 to INR 100 per day

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Exploring Dzukou Valley during Hornbill Festival – A lot of travellers visit Hornbill festival with Dzukou Valley in their itinerary. It is possible to keep one day for exploring Dzukou Valley. You can either reach the festival venue a day earlier and go straight for the trek or plan your trek on the 3rd or 4th day of the festival.

Remember, this is the festival time and Dzukou Valley will be very crowded. It is possible to trek Dzukou Valley solo as you’ll find many like-minded travellers. Hornbill Festival management also organizes free treks around Kohima during the festival.

How to reach Hornbill Festival – Hornbill Festival venue is close to Kohima. The festival is organized in Kisama Heritage village so you have two options. 1) stay in Kohima and start early morning by shared jeeps that will drop you at an intersection from where you can walk. 2) Stay at a homestay in Kigwema from where it will take a 15 minute walk to reach the festival venue.

Where to stay during Hornbill Festival – Kohima has a lot of hotels but they are likely to be full during the festival unless you have booked months in advance. The festival has a number of campsites around Hornbill festival venue, camp Kite Manja being one of the most important ones close to the event area. Other than that, a number of locals open their homes for guests for some charge. Majority of the homestays also offer breakfast and dinner. Dawn Homestay in Kigwema Village is one of the best options to choose. The host Rovi is amazing and the food here is delicious.

Contact – Dawn Homestay (8575826863)

From Kigwema, you’ll also find a lot of shared jeeps going towards Vishwema. You can get on any and they’ll drop you right next to the point from where the trek starts.

Hornbill Festival is an event worth attending. The cultural extravaganza that this event offers is unlike anything that you’ll event witness.

Hope this Hornbill Festival guide and blog helped you. For more information, you can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Mariatours

    After reading your blog about this festival. I would like to visit hornbill-festival

  2. You, Me and Benny

    oh wow this is so cool I have never heard of this! This is really cool!

  3. Renee

    That is so cool! I’m going to save this for if I visit there someday

  4. trijit28613

    This is one of the great ritual festival in India. Though I did not have a scope to visit this but I really want to.


    Horbill festival sounds like an amazing cultural experience! I love the dancing!

  6. aisasami

    I would love to see this Festival as I love seeing traditional festivals! What country is this in exactly?

  7. Mariyam

    Didn’t know such amazing festivals existed in our country’s North East region. This is so beautiful. 🙂

  8. Just Heading Out

    This looks super cool! I had never heard of Hornbill festival before, but it seems like a great way to experience the local culture

  9. shreyasaha1987

    This is a short yet detailed guide of how to get to Hornbill Festival. I would prefer staying at Kingwema and stay close to the festival. Even being an Indian, do I need the ILP to be done?

  10. Kimmy Mason

    This sounds like an amazing festival, thank you for sharing.

  11. Anita

    It’s interesting that this festival in India is so similar to the traditions on Borneo Island where I could witness hornbill dances as well as this bird is a symbol of Borneo. I don’t know the hostory of the people migration in Asia, do you think there is a connection?

  12. Glam2Greatness

    Wow! This is fascinating. I love festivals. This is something to look forward to in December.

  13. amandacroaff

    I would love to see this festival, it looks amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  14. bluebox2310

    The festival looks so cool! I hope to be able to visit some day.

  15. Sadia Munir

    Never heard of Hornbill Festival before! It’s wonderful to explore different cultures and their celebrations!

  16. Tamshuk Saha

    This is a great article and very helpful to plan for the Hornbill festival. We are planning to go for it and this article will be a great resource for us. Looking forward to experiencing this fascinating festival.

  17. Adventures with Shelby

    This sounds like such an experience!

  18. Puja

    I have heard a lot about this festival and would love to visit someday.

  19. Val

    I’ve never heard of the Hornbill Festival and sounds like an amazing cultural event! The breakout of the budget is very useful and the pictures are great!

  20. xxvallixx

    I’ve never heard of the Hornbill Festival but sounds like a great cultural event! The breakout of the budget is super useful and the photos are great, well done!