India’s Hornbill Festival

A once in a lifetime experience in Nagaland

Experience the vibrant Hornbill Festival in Nagaland on this once-in-a-lifetime experience offering an unparalleled glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of Northeast India. Held annually in early December, this week-long celebration showcases the heritage, traditions, and unique art forms of Nagaland’s 16 tribes. You will witness electrifying dance performances, soul-stirring music, traditional sports, and exquisite handicrafts, all set against the backdrop of the picturesque Naga Hills. This tour ensures an immersive experience with guided visits to tribal villages, providing deeper insights into the region’s customs and way of life.

In addition to the festival visit to historic sites, and interact with local artisans, ensuring a holistic exploration of Nagaland’s natural and cultural beauty. Unique local accommodations, delicious local cuisine, and seamless travel arrangements make this a hassle-free adventure. Join us on this unforgettable journey and become a part of the Hornbill Festival’s festive spirit, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Hornbill Festival HIGHLIGHTS

  • Experience the Hornbill festival of India’s Nagaland – see performances of colourful tribal dance, game and parades, as well as learn about herbal medicine and local food.
  • Go on safari in Kazaringa National Park, be on the look out for swamp deer, water buffalo, elephant and perhaps even India’s most majestic resident, the Bengal Tiger.
  • Savor traditional the Indian cuisine of off the beaten path locations.
  • Explore the many faces of the metropolis of Kolkata with a visit to the Queen Victoria Monument, Jain Temple and Kali Temple.
  • Stay in traditional locally owned accommodation.

The Basics

Start: Delhi

Finish: Kolkata

Trip style: Special Interest

Max group size: 15

9 Days


$5949 AUD*

Departure date: 30 November 2024 & 2025

OR CONTACT US for more information

Trip code: HBDK *from


Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the trip hotel. Meet your trip leader and travel companions for a welcome meeting at 17.00 to discuss the next few days of your tour. After the meeting, get to know the group with a special welcome dinner at the hotel.

Start your day with a delightful breakfast at your hotel, fueling up for the adventures ahead. After breakfast, you’ll transfer to Delhi airport for your connecting flight to Guwahati. Relax and enjoy the scenic views during your flight. Upon arrival in Guwahati, embark on a picturesque drive to Kaziranga National Park. This renowned wildlife sanctuary is a haven for the majestic greater Indian one-horned rhinoceros, as well as elephants, tigers, water buffaloes, and a diverse array of bird species. Once you arrive, check into our comfortable hotel, nestled in the serene surroundings of Kaziranga National Park. In the evening, indulge in a sumptuous dinner at the resort, followed by a peaceful overnight stay, ready to explore the wonders of Kaziranga the next day.

We will have an early morning exploration of the park by Jeep. Apart from the rhino, other animals that you may encounter in the safari are hog deer, swamp deer, wild water buffalos, elephants – and if you are lucky, even tiger. Kaziranga is also home to pelicans, storks and darters – as there are numerous water bodies to be encountered inside the Park. With a variety of migratory and resident birds darting from tree to tree, the safari in Kaziranga will offer you an opportunity to observe these avian varieties – along with their mammalian counterparts – very closely. We will return to the resort for breakfast. Post lunch, we will venture into western range of the park for another Jeep safari.

Begin your day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. Afterward, embark on a scenic drive to Kohima. Upon arrival, check in at the hotel and settle into your comfortable accommodations. In the evening, take the opportunity to visit and explore the vibrant local market, immersing yourself in the unique culture and atmosphere of Kohima. Conclude the day with a delightful dinner and enjoy a restful overnight stay at the hotel in Kohima.

Spend the entire day immersed in the vibrant and captivating Hornbill Festival. Named after the Indian Hornbill, a large and colorful forest bird featured in the folklore of many of the state’s tribes, the festival is a spectacular showcase of Naga culture.

Enjoy a myriad of festival activities, including the Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition, arts and crafts sales, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, and flower shows. Experience the cultural medley of songs and dances, fashion shows, beauty contests, traditional archery, Naga wrestling, indigenous games, and a musical concert.

The Hornbill Festival offers a colorful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs, and religious ceremonies, providing a rich insight into the culture and traditions of the tribal peoples while reinforcing Nagaland’s unique identity within India’s federal union.

Awake refreshed and ready for another day of the Hornbill Festival’s vibrant festivities. After breakfast at the hotel, delve deeper into the cultural extravaganza. Today, explore more of the Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition, where you can admire intricate craftsmanship and purchase unique arts and crafts. Savor the diverse flavors at the food stalls and discover the healing traditions at the herbal medicine stalls. Enjoy the lively flower shows and immerse yourself in the dynamic cultural medley of songs, dances, and fashion shows. Witness the excitement of traditional archery, Naga wrestling, and indigenous games, and cap off the evening with an exhilarating musical concert. The Hornbill Festival continues to enchant with its colorful blend of performances, crafts, and ceremonies, offering an unforgettable glimpse into the rich heritage of Nagaland. Conclude your day with a delightful dinner and a comfortable overnight stay at the hotel in Kohima, cherishing the memories of this extraordinary celebration.

Start your day with an early breakfast at the hotel. Afterward, transfer to Dimapur airport to catch your flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to your hotel for check-in.

In the evening, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Kolkata’s local markets. Explore and shop for exquisite Bengali sarees, Murshidabad silks, and a variety of beautiful handicrafts. This market visit offers a perfect opportunity to experience the rich culture and craftsmanship of the region. After a delightful evening of exploring, return to the hotel to relax and unwind.

Begin your day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. Afterward, embark on a fascinating sightseeing tour of Kolkata. Your first stop is the Victoria Memorial, a stunning white marble structure built to commemorate Queen Victoria of England. Next, visit the ancient Kali Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali, from which the city of Kolkata derives its name. Continue your tour with a visit to the famous Jain Temple, known for its intricate architecture and serene atmosphere.

As you drive through the city, you’ll pass by Fort William, a historic colonial fort built by the British to protect the city against French invasions. You’ll also see the Secretariat, another impressive remnant of colonial architecture. After a day filled with exploring the rich history and culture of Kolkata, return to the hotel for a farewell dinner, reflecting on the memorable experiences of your cultural tour of India.

Your journey through the vibrant culture of Nagaland and west India comes to an end after breakfast.

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight at any time.

Trip Map - Hornbill Festival
Trip Map – Hornbill Festival

Details – Hornbill Festival

Duration: 8 Days

Trip style: Special Interest – Festival

Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15

Trip code: HFDK

Cost: 5949.00 AUD twin share

Single supplement: $1107.00 AUD


  • 8-nights accommodation in heritage and traditional-inspired hotels
  • Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Flights from Delhi to Guwahati / Dimapur to Kolkata in economy class
  • Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides      
  • Entrance to Hornbill Festival and other entrances to sights mentioned in the itinerary

Trip price does not include

  • International airfares
  • Visa for India
  • Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
  • Additional accommodation before or after the tour
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
  • Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas

Journey Rating – Journey

The Hornbill Festival takes place in Nagaland, an area of India which is virtually unknown to tourists. On occasion, you will find that the local people are very curious about you and where you come from and at times you may even feel like a celebrity. This trip does involve some walking during the sightseeing, to get the most out of this trip you should be able to walk confidently across uneven surfaces and climb stairs.

Women are strongly advised to either wear a floor length dress or pants with a long kaftan over the top. While not mandatory, this will avoid causing offense culturally and prevent a lot of unwanted attention. To be culturally sensitive, men should wear trousers.

Good quality hospitals, pharmacies and other public amenities will be limited to big cities but should never be too far away. Facilities such as public toilets will not be of the same standard that you are used to at home.

A note about fitness

The Hornbill Festival a good level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 4km at times and manage uneven surfaces during sightseeing, which will sometimes be at an incline. In addition, you should be able to climb up to 200 stairs unassisted and use an eastern style squat toilet (beware if you have knee issues).

You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.)

In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.

Single supplement

Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!

Trip leader description

Accompanying you to the Hornbill Festival will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:

  • If you lose your passport or other travel documents
  • If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
  • If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
  • Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
  • Questions regarding the itinerary

Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.

Itinerary disclaimer

This itinerary for the Hornbill Festival, is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.

While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.

Age requirements

Minimum Age: 16 years

Due to the remote nature of the destinations visited on this trip, we are happy to welcome everyone over the age of 16.

There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.

If you’re interested in the festivals of India why not take a look at this helpful calendar?

Travel insurance

Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.

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