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Old 24th March 2020, 02:15   #1
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Default To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

December 2019 was special. I was looking forward to it for many reasons. Not just because it was the last December of the decade. It would soon be Christmas, one of my most favorite seasons, and to add to the joy, my story on the experience at Ziro with the indigenous Apatani tribe was going to be published Manorama Traveler. Ziro indeed turned out to be very special and before I knew it, I was back on a plane with Photowalk Connect and mentor Subodh Shetty, to take a good look at one of the beautiful seven sisters of the North East – Nagaland!

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Hornbill yay!

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Passion passport

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Gold... gold... everywhere.
When the national carrier decided to fly late.

The narrow body jet with oversized frames and loudmouths finally touched down at the smoggy airport, winding up a rather uncomfortable leg. Having managed to find a quiet corner at the domestic transfer area to make good for some lost sleep. Nature’s call in the morning saw me at the rear of a long queue in a flooded restroom. Towel draped two legged beings explained it all.

Airlines have this weird way of operating. Even when their schedules are haywire and all over the place, the check-in gates would only open on dot. After what seemed like forever, when the gates did open, the race was on to make it to the lounge and alas, endless queues played the villain again and nature kept calling!

The gentleman ahead of me dressed in an exquisite business suit passed a couple of coins at the reception and moved ahead. That was as cheap as a toilet in a local bus station, I thought. But with no such privileged access, rest of the several hundreds came out of my scruffy trousers for that crucial ingress into the four walls magnificently designed to camouflage paan spits.

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The unsolicited visitor cawed away while I satisfied my craving and stuffed for the onward course. Onward leg was peaceful until the bus ferrying us from Dimapur started crashing on to moon craters.

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Dimapur airport.

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Welcome message.

The sumptuous lunch at magnificent Niathu Resort however, saw us through the rest of the journey. Not far from Kohima, we had the first causality: the rear tyre of the bus gave in to the craters and rocks.

Camp Hornbill had arranged a homestay near their camp for the luxury spoilt. The day ended with a campfire dinner in the chill, amidst lighter moments and catching up with the teammates. Beats of drums thundered down from the hills above as a prelude to what was in store for us the next day.

Last edited by Dhar's : 24th March 2020 at 03:20.
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Old 24th March 2020, 02:51   #2
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Default re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

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View from homestay. Camp area can be seen below.

The Naga Heritage Village, where the Hornbill Festival is held, had recreated Naga houses and the Naga way of life with an aim to revive and protect culture and display its tradition. Every tribal dwelling, recreated in traditional architecture, with the fire place called Mimung, Tsukten, the hanging shelves to keep fire wood and smoked meat, furnished with utensils like Marok (bamboo cup), Alipo (earthern pots), Molok (a kind of basket) and many more, had its own eatery, serving local cuisine. Men and women in traditional attire welcomed visitors to their morung.

At the arena, each tribe, clad in unique vibrant costumes, showcased their speciality performances. Folk songs and dances depicting romance and history, chronicling their ancestors or incidents, entertained the visitors till afternoon.

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Performers at the gallery waiting for their turn.

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In a joyful mood.

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Fire power.

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Another folk dance.

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Portrait series

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Ao Naga

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Log drum

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Chieftain

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Caps

Evenings were enthralling with eclectic performances. From jazz to rock, the mood was electric. While the enthusiast crowd responded to some amazing performance and broke out to form circle pits and swayed back and forth to the strumming guitar and pounding bass, I sat somewhere in the gallery covered in layers of jacket, the weaker me shivering from the cold and holding on to something.

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Amazing duo on piano and violin

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Amazing duo on piano and violin

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On violin and bass guitar

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On violin and bass guitar

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Elevating mood

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Belting out finest of rock

Traditional delicacies are appealing but could prove to be appalling to a not so adventurous stomach. Help was quick from the doctors in our group who rushed with remedies. Medicos at the heritage village treated my troubled tummy with antibiotics, enabling me to travel the next day.
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Old 24th March 2020, 03:12   #3
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Default re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Alvir’s homestay is a cozy place with the wonderfully cooperative and helpful hosts. They made sure we never missed our home and cared for the fallen. Overlooking the Naga Hills, it gave a wonderful sunrise. The Heritage village could be seen from the balcony and the log drums reverberated every night, elevating the mood. If I ever decide to return to experience Hornbill again, Alvir’s homestay would still be my home here.

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View of Naga Hills

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Portrait series

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Portrait series - at the kitchen

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Portrait series

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Looking apart

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Colourful beads

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The warriors

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The Authority - Chieftain

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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The Ao Naga weaving a shawl

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Fire place

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Portrait series

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Portrait series

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Portrait series - After a folk dance

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Portrait series - Ao Naga

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Portrait series - Ao Naga

As I returned, taking back memories, a whole lot of them, I did feel the pangs of parting, especially since I wasn’t able to take a stroll on the streets of Kohima.

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Fresh vegetables - Tea break enroute airport.

But the hope of another stint with the enchanting North East is live and nurtured.

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Play of light - airport

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Play of light - airport

Transiting through the eastern metropolitan airport where I had to skip a late lunch, I was hoping to stuff myself up at a much-famed airport in the western side. But the glasshouse replicating the Gir forest, wannabe five-star toilets and the long underground travelator, only lead me to kiosks selling fried potato chips.


Though compelled to delve into the same potato reserve in the backpack, I did slurp on some instant noodles priced as high as the altitude that I was flying. And finally, when I reached home during the wee hours, I settled down in my cosy corner with a bowl of rice and that blissful fish curry. Well-fed, satiated and slipped to a deep slumber with my inner being resonating with the drum beats that kept rolling from the hills above, the log drum of Konyaks…the Changs…. the….

Last edited by Dhar's : 24th March 2020 at 03:18.
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Old 24th March 2020, 03:58   #4
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Default re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thank you for sharing

Beautiful photographs @Dhar's! Just a couple of days back I was discussing with a friend regarding a trip to Nagaland and what a timing of your thread.
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Old 24th March 2020, 12:27   #5
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Wonderful snaps Dhar's. Hornbill festival and Nagaland had been part of the bucket list for very long, and your thread acts as a reminder.
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Old 24th March 2020, 17:30   #6
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Brilliant photos. Reminded me of those street photographs on 1x.com.
I wish all your photos had a tag line as well.
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Old 24th March 2020, 21:54   #7
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Beautiful photographs @Dhar's! Just a couple of days back I was discussing with a friend regarding a trip to Nagaland and what a timing of your thread.
Thank you!
Looking forward to a Nagaland travelogue from you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Wonderful snaps Dhar's. Hornbill festival and Nagaland had been part of the bucket list for very long, and your thread acts as a reminder.
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinya_jag View Post
Brilliant photos. Reminded me of those street photographs on 1x.com.
I wish all your photos had a tag line as well.
Thank you for your kind words.
I lost a few things including the notes where I had scribbled the names. After my recovery from illness, I am now unable to identify the persons and their tribes.
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Old 25th March 2020, 11:30   #8
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Excellent travelogue Dhar's.

Planning a trip to the North East and the Hornbill Festival is on my mum's list and she wants to time the trip to coincide with this. This gives a glimpse of what to expect when we get there. Any specifics I need to know about while planning?
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Old 25th March 2020, 11:57   #9
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Beautiful pictures @Dhar's.

You handle should be "ThePortraitMaster" instead. You have taken some amazing portraits.

Fantastic pictures. Thank you for sharing I really enjoyed it and now want to visit the place.

- Slick
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Old 25th March 2020, 17:55   #10
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Great writeup and even better images. You shoot some great portraits.

Hornbill - sigh, how many places on the wishlist!
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Old 25th March 2020, 23:20   #11
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Great pictures and wonderful write up. I was so pleased and proud to see my state today on the Homepage of Team bhp. Thank you for the wonderful travelogue. As for me, Nagaland is such an underrated state, I guess due to many misconceptions and because of the political issues in the earlier days. But I just wanted us BHPians to know that Nagaland is as peaceful like many other states of our country. Yes we might not have top class tourist spots, resorts and such things but believe me, Gods gifted nature is at its best in our state, one must visit and explore and I’m sure it will not leave anyone in disappointment. And like every coin has two sides, we also have some rotten apples among us and I am so sorry on behalf of them but please don’t let that be a reason for you to miss this beautiful state God has created. (Not forgetting the Roads )



Regards
Tulok
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Old 26th March 2020, 11:12   #12
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Lucid and Striking!

Those crescent shaped artifacts on their heads, are real hornbill beaks?... hunted?
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Old 27th March 2020, 00:47   #13
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
Excellent travelogue Dhar's.

Planning a trip to the North East and the Hornbill Festival is on my mum's list and she wants to time the trip to coincide with this. This gives a glimpse of what to expect when we get there. Any specifics I need to know about while planning?
Thank you Chirag,
If you are only considering only Nagaland, then Kohima, in and around places like Dzouku valley and Hornbill can be clubbed together. Hornbill festival can be covered in two days and rest of the days for other places. A visit to Mon village would be another trip altogether.
Everything a traveler needs is available. We only needs to immerse in the experience. If you are specific on food, then needs to plan accordingly. A Veg restaurant is available in the venue, so are several food stalls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slick View Post
Beautiful pictures @Dhar's.

You handle should be "ThePortraitMaster" instead. You have taken some amazing portraits.

Fantastic pictures. Thank you for sharing I really enjoyed it and now want to visit the place.

- Slick
Thank you Slick or your kind words.
It is a must visit place. Those wrinkles of hardship will be soon history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Great writeup and even better images. You shoot some great portraits.

Hornbill - sigh, how many places on the wishlist!
Thank you Sir,
I understand the dilemma. One at a time perhaps.
For me, every place is in my bucket list and the bucket is well deep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
Great pictures and wonderful write up. I was so pleased and proud to see my state today on the Homepage of Team bhp. Thank you for the wonderful travelogue. ................ (Not forgetting the Roads )

Regards
Tulok
Hi Tulok,
Thank you.
Perhaps you could help me identify the name of tribe. I lost the notes and now unable to correlate.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the resort and roads.
The Niachu resort at Dimapur was top class. However, for me, the homestay like Alvir's Homestay was the antidote for everything. The road from Dimapur to Kohima is under construction and I believe in a year or two it would be a 4 lane highway. The people I met were very friendly and never had any disconcert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Lucid and Striking!

Those crescent shaped artifacts on their heads, are real hornbill beaks?... hunted?
Thank you!
I dont think those were real beaks of hornbill although it resembles it.
However, I was wondering how it is strikingly similar to a Roman soldier's head gear.
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Old 28th March 2020, 04:09   #14
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I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the resort and roads.
The Niachu resort at Dimapur was top class. However, for me, the homestay like Alvir's Homestay was the antidote for everything. The road from Dimapur to Kohima is under construction and I believe in a year or two it would be a 4 lane highway. The people I met were very friendly and never had any disconcert.
Sir, I would be glad to assist you in any way possible. As of now I am having a hard time figuring out to give captions to all of your pictures ( I’m new here so please forgive my ignorance ) but if you have any queries do let me know, but the ones you’ve mentioned are all right. I’m from Ao tribe too and I am quiet happy that you didn’t forget that

Regarding the resorts I am glad that you enjoyed it, it’s just that I didn’t want to brag about it. Yes sir, Naithu resort is a class apart and we do have a similar resort at Dimapur, known as Noune Resort and I heard that both the resorts are owned by the same person but the later One was being upgraded when I last visited on January 2020. Here’s a picture of Noune resort.

Home stays and campings are a treat, since we live really close to the nature.
The roads are under construction from the commercial hub of Nagaland, Dimapur to the Capital of Nagaland, Kohima (around 70kms approx) and some parts here and there but that’s it sir, the MAJORITY of the roads connecting to different districts are in very bad shape but the beauty of Nagaland lies beyond that.

And I am glad that you met with friendly people who showed you how real Nagas are. Sir we can’t deny that every society has their own share of rotten ones, I was referring to those people.

Regards
Tulok

Last edited by Sheel : 3rd April 2020 at 22:06. Reason: Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers. Thanks!
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Old 31st March 2020, 21:38   #15
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Default Re: To the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
Sir, I would be glad to assist you in any way possible.
Hi Tulok, Thanks very much.
I tried to send a pm to you but its not showing that option.
Appreciate if you could send me a pm or connect with me in Instagram @s.u.n.i.l_d.h.a.r
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