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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Hornbill Festival - Nagaland

After a exhilarating experience
of my first Himalayan Trek and 
reliving my memories of Mount Kanchendzonga we a small group 
of three left the beautiful state 
of Sikkim and travelled to 
Nagaland,with its diverse tribal
culture and a land of festivals.

narrow strip of mountainous territory 

with rugged hills, pearl valleys, sparkling 
streams and rich variety of flora and fauna,
the 16th State of the Indian  Union.
 It is bounded by Assam in the West, 
 Myanmar in the east, Arunachal Pradesh in 
 the north and Manipur in the south. Sometimes 
 referred to as the `Switzerland of the East' .
 Nagaland represents unimaginable beauty, 
 moulded perfectly for a breathtaking experience.  
For the adventurous, the State is ideal place for 
trekking and jungle camping and offers limitless possibilities for exploring its lush sub-tropical rainforests. Each of the 16 major tribes and many sub-tribes in the State has its own way 

of maintaining its distinctive cultural traditions and customs, 
through various forms of performing arts, which are an integral part of Naga festivals. 

Each of the tribal communities that dwell in
the hills can be distinguished by the colourful 
and intricately designed costumes, jewellery 
and beads that its members wear. The tradi-
tional ceremonial attire of each tribe is dif-
ferent from that of the other. There are the 
multi-coloured spears decorated with dyed 
goat's hair, the headgear made of finely 
woven bamboo interlaced with orchid stems
and adorned with boar's teeth and hornbill's 
feathers and ivory armlet.

Festivals mainly revolve around agriculture 
as this being the major economy and more 
than 80 percent of the population directly 
depend on agriculture.

Some of the important festivals celebrated by the tribes are Yemshe by the 
Pochurys in October, Aoling by the Konyaks in  April, Tsukhenyie by the Chak-
hesangs in January, Mimkut by the Kukis in January, Bushu by he Kacharis in January, 
Tuluni by the Sumis in July, Nyaknylum by the Changs in July,Sekrenyi by the Angamis 
in February,Tokhu Emong by the Lothas in November and Moatsu by the Aos in 

For encouraging inter-tribal cultural interaction and to bring the varied festivals 
under one roof , the Naga 
Goverernment has evolved 
the Hornbill Festival, where 
one can experience all Naga 
traditions and cultural displays 
at one place.

The Festival is named as Hornbill 
Festival so as to pay tribute to the 
bird Hornbill ,which is admired by 
the Nagas for its grandeur and 
majesticity .We enjoyed the 
fabulous hospitality of the Nagas , 
getting invited to every tribal 
sections  to taste the authentic 
tribal food, particularly Non 
vegetarian dishes and Zutho the 
indigenous Rice Beer of Nagas
Each Tribe showcases their unique 
Hut , hunting equipments, folklore , 
songs and war dance  which really 
takes you into a trance because 
of the resonating sounds of the 
drums, shouts and cries. War 
dance starts with slow rhythm and 
builds into a high tempo filling 
the air with mystic aura ,seemed
very surreal, these spectacle 
should be experienced 
personally rather than read.


In total we had a great once in a lifetime experience in Nagaland , 
Our journey continued on to the next destination Kaziranga National Park - Assam. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Amedikallu Trek

Mesmerizing Amedikkellu.
               Tired of our Hectic schedules,Deadlines..! We a group of adventure enthusiasts planned to take a break from our monotonous  life. After a brief chat of places  visited we finally decided to a place less trodden. After an overnight journey we landed in the wee hours  to  a more  serene and lush green environment of the Shola forest range of Charmadi Ghats near Dharmastala. Shishila a small sleepy hamlet , the place  vaguely known for the area’s reputation of great natural beauty – albeit thanks to cursory google work. 
We freshened up and had a sumptuous breakfast and left with Chennappa who was our guide around 8 am for the starting point of our trek about 4 kms away, with packed lunch. Carrying a light backpack for the two day trek seemed relaxing, surrounded by picturesque hills, myriad of colours  and green vegetation enthralled us. As we passed through small rivulets and streams we were greeted by sounds of barbets and the blood sucking leeches. Halfway through, we took a break for a freshly made lemonade and continued with the hike. After an hours’ trek we reached a clearing, Instantaneously everybody got excited as we had the first glimpse of the peak covered in thick mist. As we got closer we knew why the peak was called ‘Amedikkellu’. Our guide told that in Local dialect Tulu ‘Aame’ means Tortoise and ‘dikkellu’ means Stone Stove.
After the breathtaking view, we continued our ascent and reached a beautiful lush green meadow which was ideal for pitching Tents. As we had decided to climb the peak the next morning. We had a relishing hot cup of  tea, pitched four tents, and sorted out all the chores between ourselves.  Checked out the small stream flowing nearby, relaxed awhile and came back to be greeted by a baby Viper snake near our tents which slithered away after a while.
Post  Monsoon showers  being longer than usual , blessed us with a heavy downpour  incessantly  for 2 hrs which made us take refuge in our tents. Others into the kitchen tent to prepare dinner for night. After the rains, we ventured out and were amazed with the view of the whole range of Shola forests of the Charmadi ghats  and different summits visible from our campsite like Ettina buja, Shingani gudda , Ombattu gudda and many more peaks amidst clouds till the horizon.The star studded sky was amazing...!. 
Silhouettes of trees with the backdrop of flowing mists in the valley and the different array of colours in the sky during the sunset mesmerizes us. After a sumptuous dinner of Vangi bath and curd rice, we retired for a good night’s sleep.
Next morning we woke up to the call of Malabar Trush. This day’s weather was even more pristine than the previous day. After a sumptuous breakfast we set out to conquer the peak, which was the toughest part of the trek. 
We ascended the steep meadows, negotiating the slippery rocks, wading cautiously through bushes and underneath thick forest foliage. Finally we were greeted to a magnificent 360 deg view of the surrounding mountain range from the summit. As we stood atop the peak ‘Aame’ the tortoise we saw ‘dikkellu’ the 3 huge boulders atop the peak which looks literally like a stone stove.The name seemed synonymous to us! We captured a panoramic view of Western Ghats to be cherished and wanting me to come back again to view Amedikkellu from other peaks.
We spent some time on the peak capturing away to glory with our shutterbugs and carefully retraced the route  back to campsite made sure no plastic or inorganic waste was left around  and were back to civilization. , last but not the least commendable job of organizing and food preparation by Vishwa of Summiters . A rejuvenating bath followed by an early dinner as we left for Bangalore with beautiful memories.

Text and Photographs by  Anand Verma
 Travel Tips

Getting there :  By Bus –  Alight at Kokkada enroute  Dharmasthala. Jeep ply  to Shishila about 20 kms. Approximate distance 300 Kms from B’lore.                     

Best time : After monsoon.
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