Kohima: The countdown has begun for Hornbill Festival as Nagaland is all set to celebrate 20 years of the annual extravanza at Kisama, 12 km from the state capital from December 1 to 10.
Addressing a press conference in Kohima on Thursday, Nagaland adviser, tourism, H Khehovi said: “Every year, the festival gets bigger and better, and this year it will be even better.” The mega festival has become a “unique platform” for tourists —- both domestic and international—- to explore the diverse culture and heritage of the Nagas, he added.
This year’s inaugural session will be graced by governor and interlocutor for Naga peace talks RN Ravi as chief host and chief minister Neiphiu Rio as the host. Scheduled on December 1, the festival will kickstart with the traditional blessing Mongtei, a Khiamnuingan Naga from Aniashu village, at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama at 4 pm.
With the government’s inking of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbnb, world’s largest community driven hospitality company, the footfall of tourists is expected to increase this year.
As per an official information, there are 41 government-approved tour operators and 42 homestays registered with Airbnb.
Last year, the festival recorded 2,51,701 visitors, including 2,702 foreign tourists, 37,397 domestic and 2,11,602 local residents, an increase of 8,487 visitors as compared to 2,43,214 in 2017.
Over 850 artists from 17 cultural troupes, representing all districts, will participate at the festival. Cultural troupes from Thailand and Hungary will also be performing at the festival. The seventh day of the festival will witness the Northeast cultural extravaganza.
Single-use plastic has been banned during the festival this year.
Besides the much-hyped music festival, musical nights and comedy nights will be happening across various locations in Kohima.
Prior to the festival, the 57th statehood day will be celebrated at the Kohima Local ground at 8.30 am, where the Nagaland police uniform code will be released.
In regard to food stalls, for the permanent structures, the registration for 10 days is Rs 6,000 with Rs 3,000 as security deposit; for temporary structures, registration is Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 as security deposit.
Tourism director Akhale informed that the security deposits are charged in regard to maintenance of cleanliness, which will later be reimbursed.
Up to 80 stalls dealing in various art and crafts will be opened at the bamboo pavilion at Kisama, under the directorate of industries and commerce.
A ‘pricing committee’ headed by principal secretary, IT&C and power, has also been set up to regulate and monitor price regulations of food items, essential commodities, taxi hire charges and pay and use toilets. While handicrafts and flowers will be charged as per the prevailing market price, items sold at Night Carnival will be as per Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) rates. Failing to adhere to price regulation will result in termination/ cancellation of permits.
Besides the services of the tourist police, emergency helpline number 112 and Women helpline 181 and 9436017743 will be available to aid tourists in times of emergency.