Surrounded by countries like Bhutan, Tibet, Mayanmar and Bangladesh, the north-eastern part of India comprises of the seven sister states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Known for its natural forests and multiple wildlife sanctuaries and beautiful Monasteries, the North-East is the go-to destination for every traveller, at least once in their lifetime. Following are some of the must-visit destinations in the North East India.
Majuli Island, Assam
Known to be the biggest river island in the world, the Majuli Island in the Brahmaputra river. The beauty of the island lies in its amazing biodiversity including many rare and endangered avifauna species which makes it one of the best destinations for bird watching. Hugely influenced by the neo-Vaishnavite culture, the island is home to a number of exquisite Satras or monasteries. The best time to visit here is during the second week of February, when the people celebrate the five day festival of Ali Aye Ligang with great pomp and show.
Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Famous for its 3 day rock festival at the end of September, and named as a World Herita Site owing to its lush green valleys, the Ziro valley is a small town in Arunachal Pradesh. The small town has various places for the tourists to visit such as the Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a number of endangered species of animals, the ancient Meghna Cave temple, Kile Pakho, Midey and Ziro Puto, all of them are famous for their scenic beauty including breathtakingly beautiful hilltop views of the Apatani Valley and the snow clad Himalayas.
Often called the Hollywood of North East, Shillong is known for its beautiful valleys and mountains, which give you a panoramic view of the natural beauty bestowed upon the place. The most famous places to visit are the Lady Hydari Park, known for its magnificent flowers, Ward’s lake, an artificial lake known for its boating activity, various waterfalls like the Spread Eagle Falls, Sweet Falls and Elephant Falls and the most famous Shillong point located at 1,965m above the sea level which presents an exquisite view of the Himalayas from its top.
One of the most famous places for the adventure lovers, Pelling, in Sikkim offers all sorts of adventure activities like River Rafting on the Rangit River, Kayaking, White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, and other activities like Sightseeing, Birdwatching, traditional sports and much more. The place is also known for its Khangchendzonga Festival celebrated during mid December with flower shows, exquisite food and costume stalls along with traditional crafts and ethnic stores.
Nathu La Pass, Sikkim
A mountain pass connecting Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, the Nathula Pass is situated at a height of 14,140 feet from the sea level. One can see both Indian and Chinese soldiers on the heavily fenced Indo-China border. On the way to the Nathu La Pass, one can see the beautiful Tsang Po lake, which remains frozen during the winters, the ancient Baba Mandir, Sherathang, which contains a shopping mart and India’s highest altitude internet café and Thegu, the location of the highest ATM in the world.
Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya
Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya offer you one of the lesser known yet extremely exciting adventure activities like caving in its magnificent hills studded with a number long and shallow caves, which are artifacts in their own right. The caves are filled with sea green water, making the exploration of the caves possible through a boat ride, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
One of the most climbable peaks, the Gorichen Peak is the best destination for the trek lovers out there. The peak is close to Tawang. The trek leads to one of the most breathtaking views from the mountain top, quite a rewarding view after a tiring adventure. Some other activities includes camping, trekking and rock-climbing, especially during the summer months.
It is one of the best options if you’re looking to spend your summer vacations away from the mighty summers, Cherapunji is known for its beautiful waterfalls. Some of the major ones are Nohkalikai Falls, the tallest plunge waterfall in India, Seven Sister’s Falls, Dainthlen Waterfalls and Mawsmai Falls. Not only these waterfalls are a must visit for their scenic beauty but for experience their sheer magnificence.
Famously known as the ‘White Ant Hillrock’, Haflong is the only hill station in Asaam. The most striking quality of this place is its lack of commercialisation and its natural untouched beauty, which is a rare to find these days, owing to excessive expansion of the tourist industry, especially in hill stations. One can visit Maibong, a quiet place situated 47 Km aeay from Haflong, the famous Haflong hill, one of the major attractions if Haflong town along with its natural environment including lush green forests, pineapple orchards, beautiful valleys and ancient British architecture.
Kaziranga National Park
Declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO, this national park is located along the river Brahmaputra in Assam. Famous for its, Jeep and Elephant Safaris, this reserve comprises of the world’s two-third population of One-horned Rhinos. The park also has about 60% of the India’s wild buffalo population and a huge number of Tigers, Swamp Deer and Elephants.
Potasali Sonitpur, Assam
One of the lesser known places in Assam this place is becoming a famous tourist destination, especially because of the Nameri Eco Camps situated in Nameri, a paradise for the bird lovers. Located in the midst of green forests, the tents are totally eco friendly yet comfortable. The colourful tents have all the basic facilities such as private bathrooms, sturdy beds, running water and electricity. The other most famous activities for the tourists are Bird watching, with over 370 species of exotic birds, rafting in the Jia Bhoroli river, exploration of the nearby villages and a visit to Pygmy Hog Conservation Center.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
Located in the North-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, the Tawang Monastery is a beautiful place offering the both of a holy shrine and a craft centre. Surrounded by the snow covered Himalayas, this Monastery has a most peaceful ambience with three storey building divided into shrine rooms majorly for people to meditate. The place also consists of a huge library called the ‘Parkhang Hall’, housing some of the ancient books and Buddhist scriptures. The major tourist attractions of this destination are its craft centre, which produces some of the finest woollen carpets in the world and the 15 day long ‘Losar Festival’, celebrated to mark the begning of the new Tibetan year.
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
Sited in the Rumtek village over a hill, around 25 km from Gangtok, the Rumtek Monastery is tranquil land, in just 15 minutes walkway. The place is colourful and looks as if came out from the story book. To visit the monastery, one has to pass through the high security but the inside of the temple is as calm as it gets. The rhythmic chanting and ritual services in the morning are bound to make your day peaceful. The major attractions of this place includes ‘Masked Dances’ during the Tibetan New Year, also called ‘Losar’. Other places one should not forget to visit during the trip to this Monastery are the Old Rumtek Gompa and Lingdum Gompa.
The Mokokchung district in Nagaland is the best place to visit if you want a refreshing alternative from crowded hill stations. It is a quiet place, away from the state capital of Kohima. Apart from its natural beauty, one can observe the peace, traditional rituals and customs followed by the people. Chuchuyimlang and Ungma village are some of the other places of attraction in Mokokchung. The Chuchuyimlang village celebrates the Moatsu Festival, during 1st to 3rd May. The people exchange gifts with each other and build friendships.
By: Shilpa Sharma