Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of Nagaland, Hornbill Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof at a model village built at Kisama, a western Angami location situated 12 kms away from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. History abounds in every nook and corner of the terrain here. Kisama falls on the historically famed Kohima-Imphal Road, now a busy highway cutting through Angami hamlets connecting Dimapur with Manipur, once the theatre of the fiercest of battles fought between the defending British forces and an advancing Japanese army during World War II.
It was in the year 2000, that the State Government desirous of promoting tourism embarked upon an ambitious project to exploit the cultural assets of Nagaland, through a weeklong long festival to coincide with the celebration of Nagaland Statehood Day on 1st December. Thus, the inception of the Nagaland Hornbill Festival so named in collective reverence to the bird enshrined in the cultural ethos of the Nagas to espouse the spirit of unity in diversity.
Nagaland is a cultural mosaic of diverse multi-ethnicity sprung up by the several tribes that inhabit the State. Each community celebrates its myriad festivals revolving around the agrarian calender that makes Nagaland by default, a land of festivals. Twelve years on, this intangible heritage asset has been aptly tagged lined in the changed moniker – “NAGALAND HORNBILL FESTIVAL: FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS” to envcompass through collective celebration the colour and vibrant elements of all the tribal festivities and give a glimpse of Naga life to titillate cultural sensibilities. What has emerged from a local heritage event, metaphored to a national and international festival has now become a must visit and notable attraction in the travel itinerary of both domestic and international travelers.