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Splendid end to Hornbill fest

- Foreign and domestic tourists enjoy show

Kohima, Dec. 7: The weeklong Hornbill Festival came to an end this evening at Naga heritage village Kisama, 12km from here, with a splendid display of Naga tradition and culture.

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio led the cultural troupes during the closing ceremony, which was attended by thousands of people, including tourists.

The festival passed off peacefully except a few minor incidents. A British national was confronted by police for being indecent under the influence of alcohol. He was lodged at South police lock-up for a night but was released the next day. Last year, a foreign tourist committed suicide at Touphema tourist village, 35km from here, and two others were seriously injured when their motorcycle met with an accident.

Despite factional clashes, which had claimed five lives, and reports of extortion and ransom by criminal elements and militants, peopleís spirit was not dampened during the festival.

The crescendo and momentum of the festival is growing, according to a record survey. Till today, the inflow of foreign and domestic tourists has registered a steady rise in numbers.

Commissioner and secretary of tourism department Himato Zhimomi had expected over a thousand foreign tourists and several thousands of domestic tourists.

Business deals and spot sales have steadily increased at all the stalls, which are run by societies and individual entrepreneurs in Kisama.

The morungs (huts) have garnered special interest and generated equal enthusiasm from the management. Their sales have all been on the high, averaging from the lowest declaration of Rs 10,000 to the highest of Rs 70,000.

Organisations from outside the state also put up stalls at the festival.

Trifed (Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited), with its general manager-cum-regional manager Sangeeta Mahendra, was here to help in marketing of local products. Mahendra was available at stall 74 of the bamboo pavilion of the industries department.

Other organisations were Hysteria Bangalore, NE Traditional and Cultural Designs, Guwahati and Korean Fashion Accessories.

Many co-operative societies and self-help groups in handloom and handicrafts, horticulture and floriculture were present.

The tribal troupes at the respective morungs had kept up the tempo of the cultural performances even when not at the performing arena. Most visitors have been drawn from morung to morung.

This yearís Hornbill Festival has exhibited remarkable improvements in variety and quality of exhibits and presentations as compared to previous years.

The rock music fest, night bazaar, carnivals, rallies, various contests and evening exclusives have all surpassed their previous standards.

International and national interests could be gauged from the numerous foreign and local dignitaries.

It can be modestly concluded, as said by the parliamentary secretary of tourism, Yitachu, that the festival has projected Nagaland to the rest of the country and abroad as a tourist destination and have also provided an exposure to the villagers.

The Hornbill Festival provides the unique and rare opportunity to get a glimpse of modernity, albeit in Nagalandís own little way. It justifies all the efforts, expenses, inconveniences and criticisms, Yitachu said.