In early December, Nagaland brims with tribes of every description and the Hornbill Festival is a chance for all of them to get together and celebrate a world of their own. At an altitude of 6,500 feet and deep in Angami territory and in the midst of all the revelry there is still a spot of rustic luxury to be found at Kohima Camp.
The festival is an immersive opportunity for visitors to learn about the Nagaland way of life, featuring traditional arts, cuisine, herbal medicine, archery competitions, and bouts of Naga wrestling – even chilli eating competitions.
The setting for this spectacle is suitably rugged and isolated, but to make the most of the experience, visitors can relax in the comfort of the Kohima Camp – just a short drive away from the festivities. This upscale spot is a prime example of glamorous camping, perhaps better known in the modern parlance as glamping.
Each uniquely designed tent, built off the ground by way of a wooden deck, invites visitors to sit back and relax – with exclusive sit-outs for each tent, all of which host breathtaking views of the mountains. Despite being in a sparsely populated area at a high altitude, the bedrooms and fully stocked en-suite bathrooms are quite comfortable, and each tent comes with a personal butler.
In addition to these one-of-a-kind luxury tents, the Kohima Camp offers organized bird watching, rafting, and hiking expeditions, as well as bike tours, village walks, and even polo matches. There’s also a fine dining tent, known for its array of culturally rich cuisine.
It may have started out as a celebration of ancient and enigmatic cultures, but the Hornbill Festival also embraces the modern world – and by doing so, it gets closer to truly becoming the festival of festivals with every passing event. Pairing this cultural immersion with the equally unique opportunity of a luxury tent, makes the Hornbill Festival and the Kohima Camp an alchemy of experiences that can wow the senses.
To encourage peaceful relations between the region’s different tribes and to promote awareness of the cultural heritage, the Government of Nagaland launched the Hornbill Festival in 2000. One of the smallest member states of the Indian Union, Nagaland – on the borders of Myanmar and Assam in Northeast India is, for the most part, an unspoiled mountainous landscape, yet to be disturbed by the onset of modernity.
Nagaland is famous for the proud, ancient 16 indigenous tribes that make their home here – tribes with their own unique attire, dialects, music cuisine and social mores, culminating in this most precious of festivals.
If the appeal of the highly-anticipated, competitive pork-fat eating or the Naga king-chilli eating competition doesn’t whet the appetite, festival-goers can try their hand at navigating the twists and turns of Hornbill International Motor Rally and WW-II Vintage Car Rally, or let off steam at Hornbill’s number one event: the Hornbill International Rock Festival.
Truly the Hornbill Festival and the luxury of Kohima combine to make an unforgettable glamping holiday, one that fuses the cultural hedonism of the festival with the peace of luxury: Sixteen tribes, a luxury tent, and the peaceful night skies of Nagaland.