Northeast India is a land of hidden treasures and breathtaking landscapes. From the rolling hills to the verdant valleys, this region is a true gem. If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, then these most beautiful villages in Northeast India are the perfect destination. Not only are they serene and peaceful, but they also offer a glimpse into the traditional culture of the region.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most beautiful villages in Northeast India and why you should visit them.
Mawlynnong, Meghalaya: The Cleanest Village in Asia
Mawlynnong is a small village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. This village is known for its cleanliness and is often referred to as the “cleanest village in Asia.” Visitors can expect to see well-maintained roads, neat and tidy homes, and a community that takes pride in keeping their village spotless. The lush greenery and blossoming flowers surrounding the village add to its beauty and make it a must-visit attraction.
The Sky View is one of the most popular attractions in Mawlynnong village. This site boasts an 85-foot-tall bamboo viewing tower that offers breathtaking views of the Bangladesh landscape. The tower is situated on the Indo-Bangladesh border, making it the perfect place to admire the beauty of the region. Another major attraction of Mawlynnong village is the Chirps of Epiphany, a 100-year-old structure that stands as a testament to time.
Mawphlang: Meghalaya’s Sacred Forest
Mawphlang village is a small village located 25 kilometers from Shillong and is known for its rich cultural and historical heritage. The word “Maw” means “stone” and “Mawphlang” means “grassy stone,” reflecting the unique geographical features of the region.
Mawphlang is also the site of one of the Khasi Hills’ sacred groves, a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region. These groves are considered to be sacred places of worship and are protected by the local community, who believe that they are inhabited by spirits. Visitors to Mawphlang can take a tour of the sacred groves and learn about the customs and traditions of the Khasi people.
Smit Village, Meghalaya
Smit, a village known for its breathtaking countryside scenery, is the epitome of rural life at its finest. The region is famous for its horticultural richness and cultural significance, making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Adjacent to Smit is one of Meghalaya’s natural wonders, the Laitlum Grand Canyon. The stunning landscape, with its towering cliffs and lush green vegetation, provides a breathtaking backdrop for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
Smit is a pollution-free village that offers a slice of rural life at its best. With its pure air and crystal-clear skies, the village provides a welcome escape from the fast-paced lifestyle of city life. The ‘iing-sad’, a traditional royal residence in Smit, plays host to the famous Nongkrem Dance every year around November. The dance is a significant cultural event that brings together people from all walks of life, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.
Khonoma, Nagaland: Asia’s First Green Village
Khonoma, located approximately 20 km to the west of the state capital, Kohima, in Nagaland, India, is renowned for its hillside terrace agriculture and conservation efforts for endangered species of plants and animals. It holds the distinction of being Asia’s green village. Khonoma is a model for sustainable living, with a focus on conservation, eco-tourism, and community development.
Khonoma is quickly becoming a popular eco-tourism destination, attracting visitors from around the world. The village offers a unique opportunity to experience sustainable living and learn about conservation efforts. Visitors can take part in various activities, such as trekking in the nearby forests, learning about organic farming, and exploring the local culture and traditions. The community has also established homestays, providing visitors with an authentic and immersive experience.
Khezhakeno, located in the Phek District of Nagaland is a historically rich village that is a major tourist attraction. The ancestral home of the Nagas, is steeped in cultural heritage and continues to draw visitors from far and wide. The village is a vital component of the tourism industry in Phek. Throughout its history, various tribes have called Khezhakeno home before eventually migrating to other parts of Northeast India, leaving behind a legacy of rich cultural heritage.
Legend has it that the village is home to a magical stone slab that has the power to multiply the production of paddy even when the land is dry as a bone. This mythical stone adds to the charm and cultural significance of the village, making it an even more fascinating destination for tourists.
Kisama Heritage Village
Kisama Heritage Village, also known as the Naga Heritage Village, is located on the slopes of a hill in the Kohima District of Nagaland. This heritage site is designed to resemble an ancient Naga village and houses the morungs of all 17 ethnic groups of Nagaland.
The stunning scenery of the village has made it a popular tourist destination, leading to a surge in tourism in the region. The Hornbill Festival, the largest festival in Northeast India, is held in the village during the first week of December and is considered the “festival of festivals”. This rapidly growing festival attracts both foreign and Indian visitors.
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh: A Village Known for Its Music Festival
Ziro is a small village located in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. This village is known for its annual music festival, which attracts thousands of visitors from across the country. Visitors can expect to see a vibrant and lively atmosphere, as well as stunning views of the Ziro Valley.
In addition to its music festival, Ziro is also home to several cultural and natural attractions. Visitors can see the Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to several rare and endangered species of animals. The village is also known for its rice paddies and terraced fields, which offer a stunning contrast against the rolling hills in the background. Visitors can also learn about the local Apatani tribe and their traditional way of life by visiting the Ethnographic Museum in the village.
Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh
Mechuka, located in Shi Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh state of India, is a picturesque town perched at an altitude of 6,000 feet. With its stunning landscapes, lush green forests, and snow-capped peaks, Mechuka has become a sought-after destination for trekkers and nature lovers.
The town is surrounded by gentle hills and the Siyom River (also known as Yargyap Chu), adding to its scenic beauty. The Siyom River, flowing through Mechuka, provides breathtaking views of the valley. One of the major tourist attractions in Mechuka is the 400-year-old Buddhist Monastery located on a hilltop in the western part of the town. Visitors can also discover several ancient statues in the area.
Namshu, Arunachal Pradesh
Namshu Village, located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, India, is a hidden gem that remains relatively unknown to the outside world. This remote village is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and is surrounded by dense forests, rolling hills, and pristine rivers. The village is home to the Sherdukpen tribe, a small indigenous community with a unique culture and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Despite its remote location, Namshu Village is a model of sustainability. The Sherdukpen people are dedicated to preserving the environment and living in harmony with nature. They practice sustainable agriculture, use renewable energy sources, and promote eco-tourism in the area.
Haflong is a small hill station in the Dima Hasao district of Assam, India. It is the district headquarters of Dima Hasao and is known for its scenic beauty and cultural diversity. This settlement is located at an altitude of around 680 meters above sea level and is surrounded by hills, lakes, and waterfalls.
It is home to several indigenous communities, including the Dimasa, Zeme Naga, Hmar, and Kuki tribes. Haflong is also famous for its handicrafts and handloom products, including shawls, textiles, and bamboo products. Every year, Jatinga near Haflong attracts migratory birds, and the town is also home to over 200,000 varieties of flowers.
Majuli is a river island situated in the Brahmaputra River in the Indian state of Assam. It is the largest river island in the world, covering an area of approximately 880 square kilometers. The island is known for its scenic beauty, cultural heritage, and traditional handicrafts.
It is home to several indigenous communities, including the Mishing tribe, and is famous for its neo-Vaishnavite culture. The island is also a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims who come to visit its ancient monasteries, including the Kamalabari Satra, Auniati Satra, and Dakhinpat Satra.
Mapao Zingsho, Manipur
Mapao Zingsho, situated in the Kangpokpi district of Manipur, is a model village known for its cleanliness and healthy living initiatives. With its old and modern hamlets, the village is surrounded by lush green landscapes and mountains and has a population of around 700 people, mainly engaged in farming.
The village elders encourage the habit of cleanliness among children and organize regular cleaning drives on Saturdays. Garbage bins are placed near households and along roads to maintain cleanliness. The Tangkhul Naga tribe predominantly inhabits the village, which has a history of promoting peace and brotherhood with other tribes, particularly the Meitei community.
Koide is a small village located in Manipur around 90 km north of the state capital, Imphal. The village is located on the banks of the state’s largest river, Barak, and offers a beautiful view of the green and pristine valley of the hill district. The village is known for its blooming of seasonal flowers, the cosmos, and its serene biodiversity in a picturesque destination called Naamai Zho.
Visitors to Naamai Zho are often amazed by its beauty. During the spring and summer, the hillocks are wrapped in green sheets of grasses giving a spectacular sight to the landscape and at the onset of autumn, the vales will be garlanded with the sprightful dances of the cosmos flower giving the feel of a heavenly abode.
Sialsuk village, located in Mizoram, India, is a natural wonder that offers breathtaking views, vegetation-covered hills, lesser-explored forests, and an abundance of indigenous culture. The area is also home to diverse flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for adventure tourism. A must-visit place in Mizoram for tourists and lovers of nature thrill.
Sialsuk offers a variety of trekking trails that take you through lush forests, past scenic views, and the unexplored Hmuifang forest. This serene and humble village is located on the hillock and has breathtaking views. There is a nearby cliff where you can see the entire mountain range and the clear sky. Sialsuk Tlang is a photographer’s paradise, with endless opportunities to capture the natural beauty of the area.
Champhai is a small settlement in Mizoram and is the headquarters of Champhai district. The town is well connected to other major towns in Mizoram, making it an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of Aizawl. The name, Champhai, is believed to be derived from the Mizo language, where ‘chambo’ means ‘rice’ and ‘ai’ means ‘place’. Thus, Champhai means ‘rice bowl’. The town is surrounded by lush green paddy fields and is nicknamed the ‘Rice bowl of Mizoram’.
Champhai has a number of tourist attractions, the majority of which are in natural settings. These include the Kungawrhi Puk cave, the Tiau Lui river, Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang, and a few others. Rih Dil Lake is another well-known natural attraction in Champhai and Mizoram. Trekking enthusiasts can go to the Thasiama Seno Neihna, which is about 83 kilometers south of Champhai.
Zuluk or Dzuluk, a small village in East Sikkim, is located at a height of 10,100 feet on the rugged terrain of the lower Himalayas. It was once a transit point on the historic Silk Route from Tibet to India and has now emerged as an offbeat destination in the region. The village is home to a population of around 700 people and an Indian Army base that serves as a transit camp for the army movement to the Chinese border, a few kilometers away.
Zuluk is the first village on the Silk Route circuit to offer homestay facilities for tourists, and the Thambi View Point, located 14 km away, offers a panoramic view of the entire Mt. Khangchendzonga range. The village is surrounded by wild forests, some of which are completely virgin, and wildlife such as deer, wild dogs, Himalayan bears, and red pandas can be sighted. Tigers have also reportedly been spotted in the area. However, Zuluk is open to Indian nationals only, who need to apply for a Protected Area Permit to visit.
Kaluk is a picturesque hamlet located at an elevation of 1620 feet in west Sikkim. It offers stunning views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and is known for its natural beauty, Durga Mandir, Rinchenpong Monastery, and Megi Dara. Kaluk lies in the buffer zone of Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and is home to the Lepchas people, who have preserved their traditional culture. Kaluk has shifted from agriculture to eco-tourism in recent years.
The town offers a 180-degree view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and is rich in flora and fauna, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers. April is the best time to visit Kaluk when the valley is covered in a bright red shade of rhododendron blossom with an enchanting aroma.
Lachen is a small village located in the Himalayas in the Indian state of Sikkim. It serves as the starting point for treks further north and is the gateway to Gurudongmar Lake & Chopta Valley. With fewer than 200 houses dotting its hilly landscape, Lachen not only serves as a transit point to the pristine Gurudongmar Lake but is also the base camp for some of the most incredible treks North Sikkim has to offer.
Lachen, with its wooden houses, narrow curvy roads, grazing cattle, and beautiful hill vistas, exudes the charm of a small hill town. While tourism has led to the construction of more concrete and brick houses, the old-world charm still remains. The town doesn’t offer much in terms of shopping, but its picturesque setting is a feast for the eyes. A stroll around the town in the morning or evening is a delightful exercise, particularly for those who appreciate old-world sights. Lachen Monastery, a short walk away, is a beautiful showcase of Buddhist culture.
Vanghmun is a small lesser-known village located in North Tripura’s Jampui Hills 55 km from Mizoram and 220 km from the state capital of Agartala. The village is situated at an altitude of 800 m and has a population of 1,512 in about 253 families.
Vanghmun has made headlines in recent times for being one of the cleanest and most well-maintained villages in the state of Tripura. The village is a strong contender for the title of India’s cleanest, much like its well-known counterpart Mawlynnong in Meghalaya. Nestled among the clouds and hills, this village at the base of Jampui Hills is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in Northeast India.
The most beautiful villages in Northeast India offer a glimpse into the traditional culture and breathtaking landscapes of this region. From Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia, to Ziro, known for its music festival, there is something for everyone in these serene and peaceful villages. So, whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a quiet escape from city life, these villages are a must-visit.
Visiting 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.