Northeast India is a treasure. Splendid greenery of the hills makes it a paradise. This part of India is where the seven sister state reside; namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura (And a new member, Sikkim).
Many square miles here still lie unexplored; this seclusion would rather be a priceless treat for the lovers of serenity, and off course beauty. Locals of this region are hospitable and friendly. North East India is also fast emerging as one of the top places to go for honeymoon in India. Then there is adventure of trekking in Himalayas and the thrill of white water rafting in rapids of Teesta, Rangeet and Brahmaputra rivers. There are a thousand reasons to put this place in your must-visit list; give me the chance to introduce a few.
1. Tea Gardens of Assam
Assam has about 2500 Tea Gardens. The tea leaves are exported further away to countries like United Kingdom. These tea gardens are beautifully arrayed and make the landscape greener and refreshing. Assam Tea Festival is organized in the month of November; and this is a perfect time to get closer to its charm.
2. Bihu Festival, Assam
Bihu is a group of three festivals celebrated by the Assamese tribes. This festival falls in April and marks the new year of the tribe. The locals gather to perform Bihu folk dance and celebrate this day.
3. Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
Perched atop a hill some 10,000 feet above sea level and flanked a deep ravine on two sides, Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India. Appearing like a fort in the air, Tawang Monastery also happens to be the second largest in Asia and unarguably the top tourist attraction in Arunachal Pradesh. It covers an area of 140 meter square and has three floors. The monastery has 65 residential buildings and 10 other structures. The library is a repository of precious old Buddhist scriptures.
4. Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh
This is a high altitude mountain pass in Tawang, with an elevation of 4170 m. This pass is covered with snow almost all around the year. During winters the temperature falls to -10 degrees Celsius. Nearby Sela Lake is yet another top places to visit in North East India.
5. Gorichen Peak, Arunachal Pradesh
The peak stands at a height of 6488 meters. A Gorechen is a trekker’s and mountaineer’s paradise. Getting close to this peak can be a really tiresome task but is totally rewarding.
6. One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park
Also called Indian Rhinoceros, these can be found in Assam and Nepal. At Kaziranga National Park in Assam, the 2/3 rd of the total world population of the endangered Great Single-horned Rhinos roam the jungles. They find their habitat near river grasslands in the foothills of Himalayan Mountain Ranges. One Horned Rhinoceros belong to Rhinocerotidae family and are the fifth largest land animals. One of the best ways to observe these majestic mammals is through the elephant safari which is available in Kaziranga National Park.
7. Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
Rumtek Monastery is located in Sikkim and is also known as Dharmachakra Centre. It is the seat of the head of Karma Kagyu lineage, XVIth Gwala Karmapa. The monastery is surrounded by greenery and is placed in an elevation of 5000 ft.
8. Manas National Park, Assam
Manas National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Project Tiger Reserve. It is located on the foothills and is well known for the inhabited endangered species of mammals, flora, fauna and birds. Some of the animals which could be found here are Assam roofed turtle, golden langur, hispid hare and pygmy hog.
9. Dawki, Meghalaya
Dawki is located in Meghalaya, on the border of India and Bangladesh. The Dawki Bridge that was constructed in 1932 by the British Rulers is now a major tourist attraction of the area. The scenic drive of 95 kilometers from Shillong to Dawki – which also happens to be international trade route border town – passes through deep ravines and lushly forested mountainscape. The major tourist place in Dawki is Umgot River with its emerald waters. The annual boat race that takes place in the month of March-April at Umsyiem is a major draw of Dawki.
10. Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya
This is the tallest waterfall of India, falling from a height of 1115 feet. The pool where it descends to has a different green color, good enough for a sight to cherish. It is caused by accumulation of rainwater in the summit of a small plateau and has milder flow in the months of winters.
11. Nokrek National Park, Meghalaya
It is located near Tura Peak in Meghalaya. Red panda, Asian elephant, tiger, marbled cat and many other species of mammals live here. This national park is also a favorite spot for the bird-watchers. Nokrek National Park is hilly and the most prominent river streams of Garo hills originate here.
12. Dzükou Valley
The valley is located in the border of Manipur and Nagaland at an elevation of 2452 meters. The beauty of this particular place is unparallel. The name Dzükou means cold water, referable to the icy cold stream dribbling down the valley here.
13. Singda Dam, Manipur
The dam is placed on the river with the same name and is intended to be a multipurpose project. However, it mainly provides water for irrigation and locals. Singda dam is placed in an enchanting landscape and is preferred by picnickers, trekkers, hitch-hikers etc.
14. Tam Dil Lake, Mizoram
Tam Dil literally means Lake of Mustard in Mizo dialect of Mizoram. This reservoir was introduced mainly for the development of fisheries department, but the surrounding beauty grabbed the attention of the travelers as well.
15. Majuli, Assam
Majuli is largest river island of the country, located amid River Brahmaputra. The island has rice-field and stunning orchids. This is a perfect place to be in if you are a bird enthusiast; as there are over 100 species of birds flying above and resting on this island.
16. Ujjayanta Palace, Tripura
This stunning white beauty is located besides a lake and lush greenery. Ujjayanta Palace has several important Hindu Temples and cover an area of about 800 acres. The museum inside the palace showcases the lifestyle, culture and belief of the Northeastern tribes of India.
17. Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh
This is the third largest national park of India and is located near the border of Myanmar and Arunanchal Pradesh. It covers an area of 1985 km sq. The park has a great variety of Flora and Fauna. Mammals like clouded leopards, tigers, red panda, wolves, Asiatic black bears, large Indian civet, Asiatic Golden Cat and many other live here.
18. Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, Arunachal Pradesh
The museum aims at educating the visitors about the lifestyle of Tribals of Arunanchal Pradesh. Besides archeological findings, the museum houses handicrafts, weapons, musical instruments, headdress, jewelleries and costumes of the locals.
19. Kisama Heritage Village, Nagaland
Located 12 kilometers from Kohima, capital of Nagaland, Kisma Heritage Village is one of the most significant cultural centers in North East India, popularly known as the site for Hornbill Festival. The village, an alfresco museum, is a repository of the Naga culture and art, which were abandoned as Christianity spread in the region. The annual festival and the village is an initiative towards revival of the past.
20. White Water Rafting
White water rafting in Teesta river in Sikkim and Brahmaputra in Arunachal with rapids varying from Grade 1 to 4 is one of the most thrilling and adventurous activities to undertake in North East India.
21. Kamakhya Temple, Assam
This temple is one of the 51 Shaktipithas and is an important pilgrimage center for the Hindu followers and Tantric worshipers. It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess as the Dasa Mahavidya, including Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara.
22. Umiam Lake, Meghalaya
When it comes to the bounties of nature, the Khasi hills in Meghalaya, with their repository of waterfalls, caves and limestone formations makes for one of the top places to visit in North East India. It is in this hilly terrain that a serene alcove in the shadow of thick pine forests and gentle slopes, Umaim Lake is located just an hour drive from the state capital Shillong.
Umiam Lake is created by damming Umiam River. It dates back to 1965 and is located in Meghalaya. Travelers visit this lake to try kayaking, water cycling, boating and other adventurous activities.
23. Madan Kamdev, Assam
This archeological site has ruins dating back to 9th and 10th century AD. Madan Kamdev is stretched over 500 meters and display the power of Pala Dynasty.
24. Living Root Bridges, Meghalaya
The most amazing part about these living root bridges is that they are not built but grown over a period of 15-20 years.
Living root bridges grown in the Khasi Hills, some of which are centuries-old bridges, are grown from tangled roots of rubber trees. Taking over 15 years to grow, these root bridges grow into sturdy, living bridge. The root bridges, some of which are over a hundred are one of the wonders of the Khasi Hills area and visiting them should be one of the top things to do in North East India for any visitors to this region.
25. Blyth’s Tragopan
Blyth Tragopan is amongst the rarest bird species and can be found in North-East Asia.
26. Touphema Village, Nagaland
The village is a perfect place to experience traditional Naga Life. It is located in Kohima, and has been recognized as tourist village by the Government. It provides basic comfort and has ethnic wooden carvings to add a traditional theme. The village has been set up to promote, preserve and protect the traditional lifestyle, culture, art and craft of Naga way of living.
Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak of the world, standing with the elevation of 8586 meters. The peak is snow capped and looks marvelous. It is worshiped by the people of Assam and Darjeeling. The third highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga was believed to be the highest peak in the world until 1849.
28. Tsongmo Lake, Sikkim
Located 40 kilometers from Gangtok Tsongmo or the Changu Lake is one of the top places to visit in North East India. Located at an elevation of 12,400 feet, this glacial lakes get completely frozen over during winters.
29. Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim
Located at an altitude of 17,100 feet in upper Himalayas close to Chinese Border, Gurudongmar is one of the highest lakes in the world. This awe inspiring emerald lake located in North Sikkim could be reached via road from Lachung. The lake remains frozen during winter from November till April.
30. Namchi, Sikkim
Namchi in Sikkim is coming into the limelight in the tourism industry, mainly because of Namchi Monastery, Ralong Monastery and Tedong Hill. Most of the tourists who visit Namchi are Buddhist Pilgrims.
31. Ravangla, Sikkim
This sleepy little pastoral retreat tucked away 7000 feet above the sea level in South Sikkim is fast becoming one of the most sought after places for summer holidays in North East India as well as for honeymoon in India in summer. During the summer months in April, May & June, the town with its orchids and rhododendron in full bloom add to the romance of this quaint little hill town.
32. Teesta River
It is the lifeline of the people in Sikkim, as it circles most of the part of the state. The river forms a border between Sikkim and West Bengal and further joins Brahmaputra River.
33. Shree Govindajee Temple, Manipur
The Temple was built in 1846 AD and has its dome covered with gold. It has deities of Krishna, Radha Govinda, Balaram, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.
34. Tripura Sundari Temple
One of the holiest Hindu shrines located in North East region in India, Sundari Temple enshrines the fallen toe of goddess Sati. One of the 51 Shakti Peeths in India, the temple was supposed to be established in 1501 by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya Debberma. This holy shrine is located in Udaipur, approximately 55 kilometers of state capital Agartala.
35. Phawngpui, Mizoram
This mountain peak of Mizoram is excessively popular and is known as Blue Mountain. It believed to be residence of God and is one of the most sacred mountains in North East India. The peak is famed for its orchids and rhododendrons.
36. Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
The festival falls in the first week of December. People of Nagaland display their folk tradition and craft with much enthusiasm and respect. The festival is as much an exercise into the display of Naga ways of life as an effort into preservation and protection of the traditions and culture of the etnic Naga tribe.
37. Mokokchung, Nagaland
Mokokchung is one of the most important cities of Nagaland, mainly for the Ao people. The city becomes even more enlivening as the celebration of Tsungremong, Moatsu, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations knocks in.
38. Loktak Lake, Manipur
A Ramsar Site located in Manipur, Loktak Lake, a land steeped in history, plays an important part in the economy of Manipur. Tracing its history back to ancient time, it is associated with valiant warrior princess Chitrangda, who wedded mighty Arjuna and today, India’s top female boxer also belong to this region. Loktak Lake is also the largest fresh water lake in North East India and the only floating lake in the world.
The term floating is often associated with Loktak Lake due to the phumdils (the floating islands from corrosion of organic matters, soil and mixed mass of vegetation). The locals around here live in phumdils and the largest of the phumdils is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the last natural habitat of Sangai, a rare and endangered species of brow antlered deer.
39. Reiek Tlang, Mizoram
This mountain stands at an elevation of 1548 meters and promises to offer a magnificent view of the vicinity, like the Aizwal City in Mizoram. Reiek has a heritage village that gets you closer to Mizoram’s folk and culture.
40. Vantawng Falls, Mizoram
This waterfall is split into two cascades and falls down from the height of 229 meters. Surrounded with lush greenery, Vantawng Falls is indeed a treat to the eyes. It is also the highest and most awe inspiring waterfalls in the state of Mizoram.
41. Neermahal, Tripura
As its name says, Neermahal (Water Palace) is surrounded with glimmering water. The Palace was built in 1930, and is grand, white and truly magnificent. It is the former residence of the royal family of Tripura.
42. Raas Leela
This is a traditional dance form of Manipur. There are mainly five kinds of Raas Leelas. In this dance form, the cult of Lord Krishna and Radha is enacted. You should experience this spiritual and classical tradition of the Manipuris at least once in your life.
43. Imphal War Cemetery, Manipur
A visit to Imphal War Cemetery will take you to a saga of unflinching valor and courage of the Commonwealth Army which comprised of many Indian soldiers. The cemetery commemorates the sacrifice of over 1400 soldiers who led their life but didn’t give up against the onslaught of the Japanese army during the Burma Campaign in 1944 World War II. The Battle of Imphal rank only second to the Battle of Kohima in importance when it comes to all of the battles that were fought during Second World War on Indian frontier.
44. Great Hornbill
This bird with saffron shaded peak and beautiful black body looks iconic and steals the show of bird-watching. Great Hornbill is also known as great Indian hornbill as it is only found in Asia and Southeast Asia.
45. Sangai Deer, Manipur
This deer is only found in Manipur. There are no doubt their stunning horns and appearance adds charm to the wildlife safari. Sangai deer are endemic to this region and also an endangered species. This species has been adopted by the government of Manipur as state animals. Tribes of Manipur also revere this rare species and they believe that killing of the respected Sangai deer to be an unpardonable sin.
46. Cheraw Dance, Mizoram
This is a dance form of Mizos, in which four people slide the bamboo sticks as the dancers perform. The dancers with quick wits and grace place their legs in the ground, and avoid getting struck with the sticks. The bamboo dance locally called Cheraw marks the arrival of summer and end of winter and also forms an important part of the Chapchar Kut festival .
47. Chapchar Kut Festival, Mizoram
Locally known as Chapchar Kut, this annual harvest festival of Mizoram celebrates the spring season which harbingers the cultivation of new crop. The festival is celebrated after the completion of ‘jhum’ which means clearing the bamboo forests by burning.
‘Chapchar’ refers to the time of the clearing whereas ‘kut’ means festival of praise or thanksgiving. . People celebrate this festival by singing, dancing, drinking and feasting in their traditional way.
48. Rice field, Tripura
Sprawling, beautiful paddy fields of Tripura make the landscape more adorable. Almost ninety percent of this area is brimming with rice fields; hundreds of acres lush greenery and fresh air.
49. Phayre’s Leaf Monkeys
These species of lutung endemic to South East Asia region are cute to look at and have been named so because they love to eat leaves. These monkeys can be found in the forests of Tripura.
50. Bird Watching, Nameri National Park
Northeast India’s beauty not only allures the human, but birds as well. This area is exceptionally rich with numerous birds’ species. If you are a bird watcher, don’t forget to visit Mizoram; it has over 150 species of birds and many endangered one as well like the Hume’s pheasant.
You can find about 515 rare species of flowers in Sikkim. Visit the Deorali Orchid Sanctuary which is located next to Namgyal Institute in Gangtok and surround yourself with color and fragrance of botany.
52. Bamboo forests
Northeast India is the region of stunning bamboo forests. The forests are spread over miles; locals use this bamboo for handicrafts, hut, bridges and other things.
53. Mawsmai Cave, Meghalaya
This limestone cave is well lit, and it is located at a distance of six kilometers from Cherapunji. Entrance way is somehow bigger, but as you proceed further it starts getting squeezed.
54. Gurudwara Nanak Lama Sahib, Sikkim
Located at the confluence of 2 of the important tributaries of Lachung Chu and Lachen River, Gurudwara Nanak Lama Sahib is a historical gurdwara located in the Chungthang in North Sikkim close to Gurudongmar Lake. Guru Nanak traveled greatly during his time to Tibet region and China and with his philosophical discourses became highly revered among Tibetan Buddhists especially Karma pa Nying ma pa sect whose head Lama was highly impressed by Guru Nanak’s thoughts.
55. Ganga Lake, Arunachal Pradesh
Its stillness has inked it with green shade. Ganga Lake is a popular getaway and recreational place for the travelers; credits to the awe-inspiring view around it.
56. Phodong Monastery, Sikkim
Located 28 kilometers from state capital Gangtok, Phodong Monastery in North Sikkim is considered to be one of the most beautiful monasteries in Sikkim. While the current structure dates back to 18th century, it is widely believed that the monastery existed at the same site from much before. The old paintings and murals are preserved at this monastery that belongs to Kargyupa sect. The annual festival is held every year in December on the 28th and 29th day of the 10th month of Tibetan calendar.
57. Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
A scenic pasture set on an elevation of 11,800 feet in the lap of Himalayas, Yumthang Valley, also referred to as the “Valley of Flower,” is one of the most popular tourist places located in North Sikkim district in North East India. Yumthang Valley is home to Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary with over 24 species of rhododendron, the state flower of Sikkim. To enjoy the true beauty of Yumthang Valley, the best time to visit this place is April & may when the flowers and orchards are in full bloom. Yumthang is a popular destination for skiing, camping and trekking especially among foreign travelers.
58. Khwairamband Bazaar, Manipur
This unique bazaar in Imphal, Manipur is a must visit places in North East India. The specialty of this colorful bazaar selling souvenirs, local art & crafts and freshest produce of Manipur is that it is run by some 300 ima (which literally means mother). All the shops are operated by women only. Yet another reason to visit this bazaar beside shopping is the great photo ops it offers to the shutter bugs.
59. Mawlynnong in Meghalaya
Fondly referred to as “God’s own Garden” this tiny hamlet in Meghalaya shot to international acclaim when it was voted as the “Asia’s Cleanest Village”. A community based eco tourism initiative; Mawlynnong in Meghalaya is where the carbon footprint conscious travelers should head to. The village has completely banned the use of plastic.
The village also holds the distinction of 100% literacy rate. A trek to the nearby village Rewai to see the living root bridge is one of the most popular things to do in Mawlynnong. Yet another of the top things to do in Mawlynnong is to go sky walking. sky walk is a 85 feet Bamboo structure, which offers a bird’s eye view of the village and a panoramic view of Bangladesh plains.
60. Mawsynram, Meghalaya
Located 65 kilometers from Shillong, Capital of Meghalaya, is Mawsynram; the wettest place on the earth with average annual rainfall of 11,871 mm. Locals in Mawsynram use grass to soundproof their huts from deafening rain that lashes their homes during the monsoon.
61. Shungetser Lake
Surrounded by lush pine groves,Shungetser Lake, a sacred place for the Buddhist Monpa tribe of Tawang is now popularly known as the Madhuri Lake. Apparently the lake lost its original name to cinestar Madhuri Dixit after the shooting of a song sequence of the superhit Bollywood movie Koyla in 1996.It is said that the opportunistic tourist guides have since then sold this lake to visitors as ‘Madhuri’ Lake. Once a forlorn but picturesque area around 500km from capital town Itanagar but only 40km from Tawang, the lake is snowbound for most of the year.
Authored by Nikhil Chandra with significant contributions from Bhavna Bura, a travel writer and photographer obsessed with different places around the world; a rather slow traveler who prefers to be solivagant to maintain inner peace. She loves to read travel articles which flows with beautiful rhythms and still well defines author’s experiences and the essence of the places.
Information source: Indianholiday.com
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