If you think India is only limited to visiting the wonderful Taj Mahal or taking a royal tour of Rajasthan, then think again. The north-east of India is equally appealing and stunning, and is still under the radar – majorly unexplored! The unspoilt, beautiful land of the Seven Sisters of India, comprising of the states Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland, will surpass your imagination. The rolling tea gardens, splendid terrains, ethnic diversity, colourful festivals – it all needs to be experienced firsthand. Embark on a journey to North-East India and get ready to be mesmerized by its charm!
Famous for its lush-green tea plantations, Assam has this and much more. Owning to its strategic location, Assam is the gateway to northeastern India. The land is fertile due to the majestic Brahmaputra river and offers a variety of flora and fauna. Home to the famed Kaziranga National Park, wildlife lovers come from far away lands to spot the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. The largest river-island in Asia – Majuli, is yet another highlight of the state. One of the popular harvest festivals of the country, Bihu, is a much awaited festival, celebrated with zest and zeal, and is a must-attend while in Assam. And, if you are daring enough, don’t forget to try bhoot jolokhia – the hottest type of chilly in the world!
The literal translation of Meghalaya is the ‘abode of clouds’. This state receives rainfall all-year-round, giving way to verdant mountains and majestic waterfalls. Meghalaya is home to the wettest place on the planet – Mawsynram. The ‘Living Root Bridge’ in Cherrapunjee is another major attraction of this beautiful state. The ethnic communities of Garos, Khasis, and Jaintias make for a great cultural experience. Those who are seeking relaxation and tranquility, Shillong is an ideal hill station to unwind at. The north-east India trip is incomplete if Meghalaya is not on your itinerary.
The ‘land of dawn-lit mountains’, Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state among the Seven Sisters. Sparsely populated, this stunning state still remains unexplored. Located by the Tawang Chu River, the vintage Taktsang Gompa is a must-visit, to witness the rich Tibetan heritage. Another jewel is the Tawang Monastery located in the quaint town of Tawang; it also happens to be the oldest monastery in India! Adventure enthusiasts can look forward to some awesome river rafting and trekking. Sela Pass, a strikingly beautiful region of frozen lakes offers scenic, undiscovered trails. Those musically inclined are more than welcome to attend the Ziro Music Festival – a four-day music festival celebrated in the Ziro region of Arunachal Pradesh. The local pickle made from bamboo shoots, pika pila is a must-try.
As you step foot in Nagaland, you will be immediately drawn to its unspoilt natural beauty. It has different tribes living in harmony, celebrating their culture through various colourful festivals. Wooden houses built amidst lush valleys, surrounded with rolling hills (many dream about living like this) are a sight. Thick, dense forests and misty weather are reasons enough to head to Nagaland. Hornbill festival, Ahuna, Miu festival, Tuluni are few of the popular festivals of the state. Visit the Dzoukou Valley for an unparallel view of the surroundings, hike to the Japfu Peak or spot animals in the Ntangki Wildlife sanctuary, or experience living with the tribals – you will not regret taking a trip to this surreal land!
Referred to as the ‘Switzerland of the East’, you may actually find Manipur as gorgeous as Switzerland. The state is blessed with winding rivers, stunning lakes, green valleys, misty mountains – no wonder it’s one of the favourite tourist destinations of the north-east! Manipur is home to the world’s only floating sanctuary, Keibul Lamjao, and Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in India. Don’t forget to visit the heritage Kangla Fort for its rich showcase of history and culture. And, most importantly, make sure to shop at the Ima Keithel Women’s Market – one of the world’s all-women markets.
The landscape and weather is what draws tourists to Mizoram. The picturesque lakes of Palak Dil and Tam Dil are soothing to the tired eyes. Vantawng Falls, a two-tie waterfall is the biggest attraction of this state. One can try mountain biking on Hmuifang Hill; trekkers can head to the untouched forests of Mawmrang and Lengteng. The serene town of Champhai is great to relax in the utmost peaceful environment; it’s definitely one of the most stunning places in northeast. Mizoram is a haven for food lovers; roadside eateries serve some delectable local food, and are totally hygienic!
Known for its temples and palaces, Tripura has not yet garnered enough attention as it should deserve! This state has 10 major rivers flowing through it, hence water tourism has picked up among tourists, especially in the Kamala Sagar Lake, Rudra Sagar Lake, and Dumboor Lake. Those who are wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted to visit Gomati Wildlife Sanctuary, Baramura ecopark, Kalapania Nature Park, Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary, and Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary. Unakoti is another major attraction of Tripura; famous for its rock cut carvings and stone images, this is a must-visit! The state is known for Ashokastami festival – a popular festival celebrated with fervor in the month of March or April. Do try the dry-fish chutney, it is definitely worth giving a shot!