Kisama - Hornbill Festival 2011 Day-1

1st December 2011:
Today is the Inauguration Day
Hornbill Festival 2011. This 
Festival is held each year from 1st to 7th December. This fixed dates helps in booking hotel rooms in advance; as hotels get booked 6-10 months in advance!

We left Hotel around 8:30AM in a taxi for Kisema (the Nagaland Heritage village which hosts the festival). The Kisama village is around 10Kms from Kohima on the Imphal road. The road has been recently renovated (so said the taxi driver) for the event. It was a nice scenic drive. We reached the site and were the first two visitors to check-in to the site!

The Tribal Teams line up at the start

The festival site was well planned and laid out with all facilities for a large cultural event. The open-air amphitheater step-stands to seat over 3000 people encircling a circular ground for the show performers, in soft mud. A covered stage housed the Sofas for the VIPs and dignitaries. A few other covered pandal stands with chairs to house some other special invitees. This ground was at the base of rising hillside that soared up nearly 300M high.

The show was inaugurated by Nagaland Governor Shri Nikhil Kumar at 10:00AM and was followed by a series of Dances, 4 teams at a time by the 16 Tribal teams of Nagaland, in the open arena. The theme for today was "Unity in Culture" and the 16 Tribes performing were: Kachari, Kuki, Rengma, Angami, Chang, Khiamniungan, Yimchungar, Sangtam, Sumi, Ao, Chkhesang, Pochury, Lotha, Konyak, Zeliang and Phom 

The inaugural program ended by 1:00PM with National Anthem.  
Inaugural Day Dances - seen from the stands 

The hill-side above the central grounds had many typical tribal houses, built out of bamboo called 'Morungs'. Each Morung (community meeting hall or a dormitory) representing one of the 16 participating tribes from 16 regions of Nagaland. 

There were many food stalls that provided Naga cuisine food of all regional varieties mainly pork based dishes. Some Morungs served special cuisine of their own region. Each Morung also displayed the tribe’s handicrafts and artifacts inside and outside the huts. Some Morungs accommodated a huge log for playing the Naga drum beats. 

Near the entrance of each Morung stood a young couple, attired in traditional colorful dress and ornaments of their tribal region. 

Sumi Tribe Couple in front of their Morung

The Hornbill Fest is a Photgraphers' Op! Before each days performance displays, the colorfully dressed participants (500+) of all regional teams are seated in Teams in the front-row steps of the stadium. 

Khiamiungan Team at the Hornbill Stadium 

The photographers are allowed to go close and take as many pics as they like! The fierce-looking men and the beautiful women smile, turn, pose and strike stances as desired by the shooter!! I guess its an opportunity for the participant's too, to show off their beauty, culture and costumes. More than the Still-Pictures, the Video Clips of the performances and accompanying music are stunning! 

We had a veg lunch at one of the Morungs and roamed around the community areas, watching individual shows till late afternoon. We shot plenty of pictures and short video clips some of which are shown on this page. To see all click on the slideshow gadget below:

Bamboo Entrance Archway at Kisama

Pochury troupe getting ready at their Morung

A Kachari Troupe Lady 

A Khiamniungan Naga in traditional attire
Pochury Couple at their Morung 

Faces at Hornbill Festival 2011 

A team practicing their dance routine

Another Naga team practicing their dance 

A Sikkim team performance

Sadanand's wonderful Hornbill pictures, with detailed annotations, are in his Picasa Album; Click here: SK's Hornbill