The North Eastern states of the country are probably India’s best kept secrets. Often overlooked by travellers, this region remains by and large unexplored. However, in the recent times, these destinations have come into the limelight for their rich natural wonders and cultural heritage.
The North Eastern states, also known as the Seven Sisters, are comprised of the states of Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Tripura. They are home to some of the most beautiful natural marvels, that you can imagine.
Apart from the natural bountry, these states are also rich in cultural diversity, and have a unique heritage. This makes travel through these areas a very interesting experience indeed. The destinations of this region is ideal for satisfying your thirst for adventure. But they are also great for showcasing the cultural heritage of the land.
Most of the states of North East India require an Inner Line Permit to visit, for both international and domestic tourists. These can be easily accquired, and can be arranged for by your local travel agency, or you can apply yourself online.
Popular Destinations in North Eastern India
Even though these destinations have been overlooked by tourists for many years, there are certain places that have become quite popular. These have gained popularity due to a number of reasons including scenic beauty, religious significance, and cultural heritage. Here is a list of the most popular destinations in North East India.
Gangtok, Sikkim: Over the years, Gangtok has built quite a reputation among the travellers, both domestic and international, as a perfect getaway destination. It is a treasure trove of amazing Buddhist monasteries, natural splendours, and fun adventure activities. It is resplendant with natural beauty, and perfect for relaxing in the lap of nature.
Pelling, Sikkim: With panoramic views of the mountains of Kanchenjunga, and others, Pelling is an idyllic paradise for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life. A top choice for couples and families alike, Pelling is also home to the beautiful Khechopalri Lake. Other places of interest include Sing shore Suspension Bridge, Pemayangtse Monastery, and Rabdengtse Ruins.
Cherrapunji, Meghalaya: Once considered to be the wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunji in the state of Meghalaya is truly a wonderous destination for travellers. It is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls, and other natural marvels. You can trek to the famed double decker living roots bridge, or explore the Mawsmai caves. If you don’t wish to stay overnight, you can return to Shillong, which is only an hour and a half away.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh: Tawang is probably as close to heaven on Earth as you can get. The lush surroundings and laid back life of the people, make it a destination to remember for a lifetime. It is situated at an elevation of about 2669 meters, and is home to some of the most exotic sites you can imagine, including the famous Tawang Monastery and the Taktsang Gompa. You can also visit Nuranang Waterfalls, Shonga-tser Lake, Pankang Teng Tso Lake, the Bap Teng Kang waterfalls, and so much more. You can also just sit back, and relax, and let the worries of city life melt away.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam: This national park is quickly becoming one of the favourite destinations for wildlife enthusiasts visiting India. It is home to the rare and endangered one horn rhinos, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is easily accessible from all parts of the country, and has a range of comfortable accomodation options, from budget to luxury.
Upcoming Destinations in North East India
With the thirst for exploring newer, untapped destinations more places are gaining popularity among the travellers to India. There is also a lot of tourism initiatives being taken by the states to promote these upcoming destinations that showcase the unique cultural heritage of the region.
Kohima, Nagaland: Thanks to the vibrant Hornbill Festival that takes place here every year, Kohima is fast becoming one of the most preferred destinations of the region. Organised by the Nagaland government every year in the first week of December, this festival is aimed to showcase and promote interaction between the different tribes of the state. There are a lot of options for accomodation including camping.
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh: Home to one of the most unique tribal groups, Ziro is a quaint hamlet nestled in the lap of nature. It is surrounded by lush rice fields and pine hills, and is perfect for taking long leisurely walks. The mild balmy climate of the place, makes for comfortable travel throughout the year. Ziro is fast becoming the go-to destination for those looking for some quality time with nature, far from the pollution and noise of the cities.
Manas National Park, Assam: Yet another untapped wildlife destination of the region, Manas has one of the richest biodiversities in the country. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to several species of rare and exotic flora and fauna. This is the only tiger reserve in the state of Assam, and is also famed for its population of the cute red pandas and the rare golden langurs. You can also witness the unique cultural heritage of the Bodo tribe.
Bomdilla, Arunachal Pradesh: Also known as “Himalaya’s Verandah”, Bomdilla is a place of exquisite natural beauty. The cool and pleasant climate makes it perfect to be visited all year round. Apart from the marvellous scenic beauty, Bomdilla also offers a range of sightseeing options as well. You can visit the numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples, or simply explore the surrounding areas. The terrain of the region makes it perfect for hiking and trekking.
Best time to visit the North Eastern States
The most ideal time to visit the north eastern states is between the months of November to April. Rainy seasons are best avoided, as there is heavy rainfall leading to disruption of travel and roadways. Winter months, especially Decemeber, can get quite cold in the high-altitude areas such as Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya.
Important points to remember when traveling in North East India
Even though the destinations of North East India are quite safe in general, there are certain areas which are best avoided for safety reasons. It is always best to take the help of local travel agents when traveling to some areas, especially in Manipur. They will be best able to arrange for smooth travel and security arrangements.
Areas such as Nagaland and Assam are also prone to sporadic violence. That is why, it is best to check the latest news updates before arriving. Getting a local travel agent is also a good idea when traveling to these areas.
North Eastern India is one of the most mysterious and unexplored gems of India. It is perfect for quenching your thirst for travel and adventure. A journey through the lush verdant surroundings of this region, will definitely leave you wanting to come back again and again.