People take part in a procession on the first day of the Hornbill festival, at Kisama Village, on the outskirts of Kohima on December 1 | ANI Photo

The 23rd edition of Hornbill Festival began at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama near Kohima on December 1 with vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar as the chief guest. The festival will culminate on December 10.

Vice president Dhankhar, in his greetings, expressed that he was “thrilled, excited and captivated” by the energy of the Naga youth. He said Naga culture and the memories of his stay in Nagaland would be embedded in his heart even in the days ahead. He praised the rich Naga songs, dances, crafts, cuisines etc and expressed his happiness over the vibrant Naga culture and traditions.

Jagdeep Dhankhar said India is a land of culture and said that the place “Kisama”, where the annual Hornbill Festival takes place every year, could become the culture of cultures.

“Nagaland has been endowed with scenic beauty and the pattern of its landscaping is captivating because of which,” he said, the state has a great potential in the tourism industry. He added that the Nagas being very hospitable and affectionate to their guests and outsiders could boost the tourism industry in a big way. He also mentioned about the rich horticulture produces of the state including kiwi fruits, pineapple, coffee etc.

The vice president also congratulated the state government for electing the first Naga woman MP to Rajya Sabha, Phangnon Konyak, which he said is an example of exemplifying women empowerment. He also appreciated the State for having the lowest crime rate against women in the country.

Vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar with Nagaland governor Jagdish Mukhi and chief minister Neiphiu Rio at Naga Heritage Village in Kisama | ANI Photo
Vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar with Nagaland governor Jagdish Mukhi and chief minister Neiphiu Rio at Naga Heritage Village in Kisama | ANI Photo

Meanwhile, greetings were delivered by guests – ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, trade commissioner for South Asia & British deputy high commissioner for Western India, Alan Gemmell and Australian high commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell Ao.

Appreciating the Government of India for recognizing the Hornbill Festival as one of the premier and major events for performing artists in India, governor of Nagaland and Assam, Jagdish Mukhi said that as Nagaland celebrates the 60th statehood day, it is a joyous and blessed moment to celebrate the festival of festivals – Hornbill Festival and statehood day in one accord. Impressed by the colourful array of Naga costumes on display, and calling Nagaland an enchanted state, the governor said because of the unique culture of the Nagas, the Hornbill Festival attracts so many guests from throughout the country and around the world.

The host of the Hornbill Festival, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio stated that the Hornbill Festival exemplifies the Naga Way of Life, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Naga people along with the rest of the north eastern states, showcasing the unity and oneness under a spirit of solidarity.

He added that it is aimed at protecting, preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of the people, while creating opportunities for economic growth and employment generation. Rio said that the Hornbill festival is a symbol of brand Nagaland and the emerging Naga soft power.

The cultural ambassadors representing the tribes of Nagaland and from the different states of the north east and even the mainland are the heart and soul of the Hornbill Festival, he added.

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