Kohima, Dec 1 (PTI): The 10-day-long Hornbill Festival of Nagaland got off to a colourful start on Thursday evening amid the beating of the Naga traditional gong by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.
This year’s edition of the annual tourism promotional event of the Nagaland Government is held at the picturesque Naga Heritage village, Kisama, some 12 kilometres from the State capital Kohima.
All the tribes of Nagaland take part in the festival, named after the hornbill bird which is present in their folklore. People can enjoy Naga food, songs, dances and customs during the festival.
Addressing the gathering of domestic and foreign tourists, Dhankhar said he was thrilled and excited by the energy of Naga cultural troupes.
“It is a great day in my life, and I will never forget it,” he said.
Stating that India is a land of culture with a civilisation of thousands of years, he said that the Hornbill festival is truly the ‘festival of festivals’.
Nagas are known in the world for their culture, courage and display of talent and the captivating food, colourful dances and customs, Dhankhar said.
Appreciating the nature’s beauty of the State, he said God has been kind to the Nagas with great tourism potential.
Apart from the gift of nature, the State has something unique that is people who are affectionate and hospitable, the Vice President said.
Thursday being the 60th statehood day of Nagaland, Dhankhar congratulated the people of the State.
Dhankhar said that great changes have taken place in the country since 2014 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi starting the Act East policy with the focus centre being Nagaland.
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’Farrel Ao were the honoured guests at the inaugural function.
As the chief host of the festival, Nagaland Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi said the State is truly enchanting and anybody who comes here would not want to leave in a hurry.
Over the years, with the cooperation and participation of all the tribes of Nagaland and the neighbouring States, this cultural festival has acquired fame and name, he said.
Mukhi said that the Central and State Governments are working together to bring lasting peace to Nagaland.
After inaugurating the festival, the Vice President and his wife along with other dignitaries witnessed cultural performances.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO), an apex body of seven major tribes in six districts, has decided to boycott Hornbill Festival to press for their demand for a separate State of ‘Frontier Nagaland’.