If you have thought of a place away from the bustling cities and closer to rolling hills and mighty mountains, fresh atmosphere, glacier-fed rivers, and calm ambiance, Northeast India is the perfect destination for you. If you are on a budget, traveling to Europe, Maldives or America might seem like a far-fetched idea. One of the most picturesque places on the earth Northeast India will offer you mesmerizing aura of untouched landscape, lower cost of living and a mixture of cultures much different from the rest of India. Here, we have compiled some of the best places to visit in Northeast India.
Traveling in this region can be an adventure and a learning experience. In the Northeast region of India, people belong to varied regions and cultures. Known as one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions, it is home to more than 200 tribes that adhere to their traditional values. This is the best place to visit for people who prefer raw and unmarred natural landscapes. This area is rich in history, fresh blooming valleys, bubbling rivers, and breathtaking views. The land of Seven Sisters offers mesmerizing tourist places which are popular for their cultural diversity, heritage, ancient temples, and snow-covered mountain peaks.
1. Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Have you ever pictured yourself going on a safari in the midst of a dense forest, exploring lush green forests and catching glimpses of the exotic landscapes? Oh, and the best part? You get to see many endangered species including elephants, wild water buffalo, swamp deer and thousands of birds.
Located at the edge of the Eastern Himalayas and in the heart of Assam, this park is famous for being home to 2/3rds of the world’s greatest one-horned rhinoceroses. Kaziranga enjoys the status of being one of the finest wildlife refuges in the world. Serving as a backdrop for many films, books and fairytales, The best season to visit Kaziranga National Park is from November to April while the peak season is from December to January.
If you are at Guwahati en route to Kaziranga, don’t skip the chance of watching rhinos at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
2. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
This quaint town is located amidst the eastern Himalayan ranges and adjacent to the border with Bhutan. Tawang is famous for its rich culture and history. What begins to define the area is its reverence for Buddhism. The highlight of many monasteries is the Tawang Monestry which is also known as the Golden Namgyal Lhatse. The monastery is believed to be almost 400 years old and is built as a three-storeyed large mansion. Magnificent artwork on the main temple, Dukhang, sketches and paintings by Bodhisattvas on the inner walls and other traditional style of Buddhist architecture will make your visit memorable.
The Monpa celebrate several religious festivals throughout the year with each having its own history and importance. Among many festivals like Gorsam Kora, Saga Dawa, Dukpa Tse-She, Choe-Kor, the one you wouldn’t want to miss is Losar. Celebrated with lots of gaiety and festivity, it falls either in the last part of February or the early part of the March. People visit family, and friends to exchange greetings and participate in the traditional mask dance, Aji Lhamu. In the evening, torches are lit to ward off evil spirits and on the last day, donations of food and clothes are made.
Tawang receives lots of heavy snowfall during the months of December and January.
3. Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
When the snow covering the steep mountains melts, it forms the source for one of the most beautiful lakes in Sikkim, the Tsomgo Lake. This glacial lake, also known as the Changu Lake, is a place you must include in your itinerary. Tsomgo is the revered river for the Sikkimese people that also carries special significance for the faith healers (Jhakris) of the state. They believe that the lake water possesses healing properties and heals people dealing with various health issues.
The most splendid feature of this lake is its colour-changing feature. Throughout the year, it presents several contrasting but heavenly scenes for tourists. While winters reveal a frozen lake with chunky snow-filled black and white mountains, summers change it to sapphire blue water and a peaceful view of Orchids and Rhododendrons surrounding the lake. Around this 1km magnificent lake, nature lovers can spot many unique species of birds including rose finches, brahmin ducks, tufted pochards and other common wildlife. Many decorated mules and yaks are waiting for you to choose them as your ride.
4. Kohima, Nagaland
If you are a history buff, you would have heard about Kohima, the site of an intense 64-day-long battle during WW II. It is famous for its Commonwealth War Cemetery which is the resting place of thousands of soldiers who died in the war.
Capital of the state of Nagaland, Kohima is a hospitable, warm place with something instore for every tourist. The Japfu peak and Dzuko valley offer scenic views. The beauty of this valley is one of the reasons Nagaland is referred to as “Switzerland of the East”. A visit to Kohima Zoo, Kohima Museum, Catholic Church on Aradhurah Hill, and Naga Bazaar will make your trip adventurous while giving you loads of memories to look back on.
5. Majuli, Assam
In India’s far northeast, lies a scenic river island in the state of Assam: Majuli. Surrounded by the pristine Brahmaputra River, the only way to reach this island is by booking a ferry that only operates during the day. Once known as the world’s biggest river island, Majuli is slowly caving in and losing its surface to the gushing water of the river. This island is split apart into two towns named Garamur and Kamalabari.
The best thing about visiting popular tourist destinations is that they have the ability to surprise you in the most beautiful ways. When you pay a visit to this scenic place, you will notice people residing in bamboo huts, employing manual labour and not being distracted by the worries of the modern world. During your trip, you will get to experience the serene and peaceful landscape, unwavering hospitality of local people and vibrant culture.
6. Gangtok, Sikkim
Hidden behind the clouds, there exists a hill station that lives up to everyone’s expectations. Most tourists find hill stations to be quite boring but the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok, is a cosmopolitan city with all the modern amenities. Located 1650 m above sea level, this city offers a vibrant nightlife, shopping centers, nightclubs and pool parlors along with many monasteries and Tibetology centers.
Not only does it have the most splendid weather, but it also blesses your eyes with the stunning and scenic views of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world. If you’re looking for something to buy, Gangtok is famous for its fruit processing, Temi and Maha Gurudev Tea. The friendly people of Gangtok will surely aid you in finding the best hotels and restaurants. So become one of the many thousands of tourists who enjoy their summers in this marvelous hill station.
7. Shillong, Meghalaya
This beautiful pine-covered city is the capital of Meghalaya. Known as the “Scotland of the East”, this hill-station is famous for its picturesque locations, rich culture and traditions. The key reason you should visit Shillong is its splendid waterfalls including Elephant falls, Mawphlang falls, Sweet falls, Wahrashi falls and Crinoline falls. Shillong is blanketed in green lush forests with plentiful pines, sals and bamboo. Elephants, leopards, wild pigs, monkeys, gaurs (wild bison), apes, hares, snakes, peacocks, mynas, pigeons, and jungle fowls constitute the wildlife of this hill-station.
Shillong is not only an extraordinary recreational spot, but it also has a vibrant downtown area with numerous hotels, homestays and guesthouses. The Shillong heritage walk is highly recommended if you want to chart the colonial history of this city.
8. Loktak Lake, Manipur
Have you ever thought about visiting a floating national park? Well, the one and only floating lake is in Manipur, India. Fed by the Manipur River, Loktak lake is the largest freshwater lake in India also known as the only floating national park. It comprises of many floating phumdis which appear to be a series of small, circular islands. These phumdis are patches of vegetation, soil and some other organic matter.
Located on these phumdis, Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park and the last resort to endangered Sangai, Manipur brown-antlered deer, one of the three subspecies of Els’s deer and Rucervus eldii. Around 57 species of waterbirds, and 14 birds of wetland-associated birds including 28 species of migratory waterfowl are also found in the lake. A day spent here is a lifetime of memory. Takmu Water Sports Complex is a must-go place for boating and other water sports.
Travel Permits to North East India
Visiting to the three states- Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram would require Inner Line Permits (ILPs) while foreigners including Overseas Citizens of India require Protected Area Permits (PAPs) for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Obtaining an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is not required for visiting Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura for Indians or foreigners.