By: Visma Kumar Thapa
The 10-day Hornbill Festival kicked off and ended with much fanfare. Tourists from round the globe flocked to the quaint Kisama, to witness the rich cultural heritage. The inaugural event was graced by Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang, his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal and Nagaland Governor P.B Acharya. Colourful performances, rich traditional crafts, indigenous games, food fairs among others formed part of the festival, which attracted total visitors of 1, 12,604 at with 1,646 foreign tourist, 14,962 domestic tourist and 95,996 local visitors. Local dance troupes dressed in different ceremonial traditional attires, enthralled the visitors with their performances. The festival also saw cultural troupes from Assam performing the famous ‘Bihu dance’, leaving the crowd spellbound.
“This is my first time to the northeast and first time at the Hornbill. I am inspired; it is a great achievement to bring together indigenous societies of the northeast along with the people from the rest of the world to see an indigenous community developing,” said a Canadian tourist.
“Coming here is a beautiful experience. I was not expecting Nagaland and the people over here to be so humble, emotional and insightful. They are strong and firm at the same time. I read about this festival and it gave me immense pleasure knowing about their rich heritage. But coming here, I felt homely and connected with the people who are really nice. The artifacts and the musical instruments are so simple and beautiful to use,” another tourist said.
Governor Acharya released the state government’s ‘Vision 2030’ document at the closing ceremony. The document, prepared in only two months, envisages the goals before the state for the next 15 years or so.
“It outlines our plans regarding creation of jobs and employment opportunities for the youth, empowerment of women, and improvement of the standard of living of people in general and improvement of connectivity,” Zeliang said.