As most of you probably already know, North-East India comprises of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. They are collectively known as the Seven Sisters. Sikkim joined the line-up back in 2002, as the Eighth Sister.
Here are some straight-up, uncomplicated reasons why you may just want to book your tickets now and set off on a journey to this oft-ignored but breathtaking region that encompasses the places in North east India.
Let’s just start this list off with a nod towards all the splendidly warm, helpful and friendly people living in North-East India.
The Ziro Festival of Music
If you wish to unwind and explore the Independent Music Scene, stop by the autumnal four-day-long Ziro Music Festival, in Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh.
Here’s another four-day-long festival that might catch your fancy. It’s in Dambuk, Arunachal Pradesh, and boasts a diverse range of independent musicians and off-road Adventure Sports.
The main aim of this festival, held annually in Kohima, Nagaland, in the month of December, is to protect and sustain Naga traditions and culture.
Menchukha, the Forbidden Valley of Arunachal
Mechuka, or Menchukha, is one of those many places in north east India that attracts tourist attention because of its unparalleled scenic beauty.
The 400-Year-Old Samten Yongcha Monastery
Situated in the Menchukha valley of Arunachal Pradesh, this is one of the oldest surviving monasteries, built in the 14th Century.
The Cleanest Village in Asia – Mawlynnong
Mawlynnong is a village in Meghalaya renowned for its cleanliness and the eco-friendly livelihoods of its inhabitants.
All the local beverages
Give some local brews a try. Take your pick from Apong, Lao Pani, Chhaang, Chuak, among others.
The Living Root Bridges
Explore the Living Root Bridges that occur in the West Jaintia Hills District and East Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya. They also occur in Nagaland.
Dzükou Valley, Nagaland
The Dzükou Valley is located at the Nagaland-Manipur border. If you get bored of its breathtaking views, you could go look for the Dzükou Lily. Among the variety of flowers that bloom there, the Dzükou Lily is exclusive to the valley.
You could literally “test the waters” here, in this of the places in North East India. How? You just have to muster enough courage to go against its mighty rivers.
The Largest City in the North-East – Guwahati
Guwahati, the largest and most populous city in the entire region, can answer all your pizza cravings and provide you with some decent Wi-Fi to fulfill your internet-savvy life. You can roam around inside its malls or just stop by KFC and grab some fried chicken.
Eye of the Tiger
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot these stunning (but terrifying) predators while you’re riding in your Jeep along the jungle safari trails of Manas National Park, in Assam.
Manas National Park
Speaking of Manas National Park, you’ll see much more than just tigers there. Apart from all the flora, their fauna line-up includes Indian Elephants, Indian Rhinoceros, Indian Leopards, Clouded Leopards, Asian Golden Langurs, Black Panthers, Sambar Deers etc etc.
Say hello to the Indian Rhinoceros
If you don’t see these magnificent creatures in Manas, you needn’t fret. You have a few more National Parks and Reserves to choose from in still some other places in North east India.
The animal motherload – KNP
If you love the animal world, welcome. You’ve just reached the motherload. Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage Site, is home to the Indian Rhinoceros and you’re bound to run into one during your (safe) jungle expeditions/safaris. KNP is filled to the brim with other animals – from Tigers, Wild Water Buffalos, Leopards to Swamp Deers and Elephants.
You may as well go Bird-Watching while you’re in Kaziranga. Maybe you’ll spot the Great Indian Hornbill, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Black Necked Stork and some other fabulous avian creatures?
Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
This protected area in Arunachal Pradesh is a prime bird-watching site. Apart from the red panda, clouded leopards and the like, it is also home to 165 species of butterflies including the rare Bhutan Glory.
If it’s adventure you seek, you have the option of going on a trek and exploring the hidden beauty of the region. There are a multitude of routes and destinations for you to choose from. Pick the easiest or the trickiest, it’s up to you.
Home to the Red Panda
The Red Panda is the State Animal of Sikkim. Apart from Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim, these mysterious animals are found in National Parks and Reserves in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam.
The Second-Highest Bridge in Asia – The Singshore Bridge, Sikkim
The Singshore Bridge, an engineering marvel, is located 5 kilometers away from Pelling, Sikkim.
“Footprints of Sita”
Speaking of Pelling in Sikkim, you may just want to venture off to Rani Dhunga, which is a Mixed Heritage Site. Mixed Heritage Sites are both naturally and culturally significant. Legend has it; Sita’s footprints are embedded on a rock she once stepped on in this among the places in North east India .
The Frozen Lake – Gurudongmar Lake
One of the highest lakes in the world, the Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim is considered sacred by quite a few major religious groups; Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs alike. This fresh-water lake also remains completely frozen in the winter.
The Largest Monastery in India – Tawang Monastery
Located in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, this Buddhist Monastery is the largest one in India and the second-largest in the world. The residential buildings within the monastery accommodate about 700 monks.
You might be interested in seeing all the different textile traditions of the different tribes. For these weavers, their pieces aren’t merely clothing. They are an extension of their identity and culture.
Golden Threads of Sualkuchi
Among the most renowned textile traditions is, perhaps, the production of Muga Silk. These golden threads are lucrative for the weavers of Sualkuchi, Assam, who are an integral part of the larger Assam Silk Industry.
Cherry Blossom Festival
If you’re a hardcore anime or manga fan, you’re most likely aware of the symbolism of cherry blossoms. Did you know you can enjoy these beautiful pink flowers all abloom in our very own Meghalaya? They usually start blooming around November.
World’s Largest River Island – Majuli
Before it is completely eroded away by the strong currents of the Brahmaputra River, you might want to visit Majuli, the world’s largest river island!
Major Shakti Peetha – Kamakhya Temple
The Kamakhya Temple, in Guwahati, Assam, is one of the oldest-known Shakti Peethas and is among the 4 Adi Shakti Peethas. It is a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus.
Satras are educational centers in Assam established by Assamese Saint, Sankaradeva (or Shankardev), to spread his teachings and Vaishnavism.
Tallest Plunge Waterfall in India – Nohkalikai Falls
This waterfall in Meghalaya has a sad and disturbing legend behind its name. It was named after Ka Likai – she unknowingly ate the curried flesh of her daughter and jumped off the edge of the waterfall in despair.
Annual Boat Race at Dawki
The Annual Boat Race usually takes place between the months of March and April. You won’t be forgetting the crystal-clear river waters anytime soon.
Rock-cut-reliefs at Unakoti
This is a historic pilgrimage spot for followers of Shaivism, located in Tripura. These rock carvings date back to the 7th or 9th century.
North-Eastern India is a melting pot of different cultures and people who come together to celebrate all their festivals with pomp and splendor.
Nathu La Pass
The Nathu La Pass, in Sikkim, connects India to Tibet, and is a part of the ancient Silk Route.
Yak rides at Changu Lake
Changu Lake, or Tsomgo Lake, in Sikkim, is another lake that remains frozen during the winter. It, however, is a glacial lake. Best of all, you can enjoy yak-rides while you’re there!
Tea time in Assam
You can sip on some of the infamous Assam black tea while you’re holidaying. If you please, you could take some back home as souvenirs for your friends and family.
“Women Market” – Khwairaman Bazar
The largest shopping market of Manipur is owned and operated only by women.
The Ujjayanta Palace is in Agartala, Tripura, and was the former palace of the King of Agartala. It, now, is a State Museum.
Floating Islands on Loktak Lake
What’s unique about this freshwater lake in Manipur is the ‘phumdis’ floating over it. ‘Phumdis’ are a series of floating islands.
Discover Naga heritage by staying at the Touphema Village. It has been developed specifically for tourists to make room for a better understanding of Naga history, lifestyle and traditions.
The Highest Mountain in India – Mt. Kanchenjunga
You could go on a trek to view the celestial Kanchenjunga Mountains, parts of which lie in Sikkim.
The Water Palace
The Neermahal in Tripura stands tall with both Hindu and Muslim influences in its architectural design. The palace was completed in 1938 and was to be a summer residence of the then-King of Tripura.
The Wettest Place on Earth
Mawsynram, in Meghalaya, is known as the wettest place on earth. It records an average annual rainfall of 11,872 millimetres.
Khuangchera Puk is the second-longest cave in Mizoram. You might be more interested when you learn what their Tourism Board has to say about it, “it provides a variety of cave experiences with its dark ambience, peculiar acoustics, specific odours, tactile interaction with earthly surfaces, etc.”.
Celebrated annually in the month of March, Chapchar Kut is one of the three major harvest festivals of Mizoram.
You can get an idea of North-East India’s diversity through their religious monuments, perhaps. Solomon’s Temple, is a church located 10 km away from Aizawl, Mizoram.
Luangmual Handicrafts Centre
If you’re looking for more interesting souvenirs to take back from your trip, you could stop by the Luangmual Handicrafts Centre, Aizawl, Mizoram.
Longest Bridge in India
The Dhola-Sadiya Bridge connects the state of Assam to the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the longest bridge in the entire country and is also a tactical military asset.
Remnants of a bygone era in Sivasagar
Sivasagar, in Assam, is known for housing palaces and monuments showcasing the bygone era of the Ahom rulers. These include places like Kareng Ghar, Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar, amongst others.
Just give the North-East a try
If the 50 aforementioned reasons still aren’t convincing you to come and explore these places and spots of unmatched beauty, culture, history and heritage, maybe you just need to wing it and explore the region at your own pace. Give it time and you’ll fall in love just the same.