Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival

The Pakke Page Hornbill Festival is the state festival of Arunachal Pradesh, a region in the Northeast of India. The festival is held every year in support of wildlife and nature conservation, focused specifically towards hornbill conservation and takes place over three days. During this time local tribes and communities set up stalls selling traditional food, dresses and hand carved ornaments. In addition to this, activities are held throughout the day and traditional dances and performances take place on the main stage.

The government of Arunachal Pradesh on January 20 declared the Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF)–the state’s only conservation festival, as a “State Festival”.

The first ever PPHF was held in 2015, it was started with a number of objectives in mind—

  • to recognize the role played by the resident Nyishi tribe in conserving hornbills in the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR),
  • to devise alternative sources of income for a region that relies on hunting and logging, and to tell the rest of the country about the wonders of the PTR and its surrounding areas.

As part of the festival, visitors are treated to cultural programmes, food stalls, plays, sightseeing, river and village walks, bird-watching, screenings of short films as well as local tribal sports and dances. It has also helped in creating awareness on nature conservation.

Hornbill festival, also known locally as the ‘Festival of Festivals’, is organized by State Tourism and Arts and Culture Department, Government of Nagaland. The fiesta is celebrated to encourage inter-tribal harmony and promote colorful local culture and traditions. The visual retreat further displays the unique customs, rituals and practices as well as preserve the heritage. Tourists are warmly welcomed and are treated well. The celebrations are attended by all the major tribes of Nagaland who present themselves with various arts, folk songs, dances and games. There are numerous displays of handicrafts, handloom, multi-cuisines, local food stalls. While a rich amount of rice beer is always at hand to indulge in.

Evenings are lighted by the thrilling Hornbill National Rock Concert in which bands from all over the country and abroad participate to compete. This is followed by the amazing Night Market in the town. But the most attractive event at the festival is Naga chilly eating competition. Additionally, the pork eating festival which draws a lot of crowd evokes much fanfare and excitement.

Kisama is 12km from Kohima on the National Highway number 39. The gentle slope at the base of a steep mountain peak is the venue for the famed Hornbill Festival.

The Heritage Villages is designed in the form of an ancient Naga village to give an authentic feel of a true Naga village and the experience of traveling back in time.

After converting into Christians, Nagas have abandoned most of their tribal culture and traditions. It is only recently that they are trying to revive their past.

The Hornbill festival was first initiated by the State Government. The festival has grown extremely in the span of a decade. Today the Hornbill Festival is one of the fastest growing festivals in India and attracts foreigners as well as Indians. It is now organized by the State Tourism and Art and Culture Departments every year from December 1 to December 7. 

The Heritage Village is designed in a traditional fashion to keep the Naga Village alive. Nagas lived in tribes and villages during their head hunting days and showed exceptional bonding values within one village or tribe. The Nagas lived in group and hunted in groups for the simple reason of survival. Some scholars have compared the administration of the Nagas to the autonomous Greek villages. Their only form of learning in an education deprived era (no written script, or proper form of education) was the Morung where they would come together and learn different kinds of skills, even head hunting. The Morung is like a modern coffee house, a place to discern and learn from one another. Each village has separate Morung’s for men and women.