The summer holidays are round the corner. If a summer vacation at a destination completely different from the rest of India is on your minds, then the North East India is the place to be in this summer. Comprising of the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, North East India is a cultural paradise and a treasure trove of pristine nature, interesting wildlife, snow capped hills, meandering streams and waterfalls.
Since the entire region of North East India is a vast region, visiting every state and exploring and experiencing everything it has to offer may literally be an uphill task. So, we at Womanistan have listed for you the must-visit places and must-experience things when you are in North East India.
What Not to Miss in North East India:
Situated in the state of Sikkim on the Indo-Tibetan border and standing tall an imposing height of 8585 meters above sea level, Mt. Kanchenjunga is the world’s third highest peak. Literally meaning five treasuries of the great snow in Tibetan, Kanchenjunga is also referred to as the Queen of the Mountains for her sheer spellbinding beauty. This colossal range looks like a great white wall of snow hanging from the sky; a testimony to the grand splendor of the great Himalayas.
Kaziranga National Park
A visit to NE India is definitely incomplete, if you don’t pay a visit to this famous national park in the state of Assam. A world heritage site, this is the only place in the world where you can see the mighty but endangered one horned Rhinos. Take an elephant-ride through the park to get up-close (really, really close) with the Rhinos. Spread across a distance of 430 square kilometers on the southern banks of Brahmaputra, the Kaziranga is also home to the famous Bengal Tigers, elephants, deers, wild buffaloes and a wide variety of water birds.
Cherapunji and Mawsynram (Meghalaya)
If you love the rain and its constant pitter patter, then you will fall head over heels in love with Cherapunji and Mawsynram because these are two of the wettest places in world. Way back in 1876, Cherapunji recorded 104 cms of rainfall in 24 hours! 12 kms away is Mawsynram, an equally wet place that is now beginning to take Cherapunji’s place. Both these places are known for their perennial waterfalls and caves. At Mawsynram, you must visit the Mawsphlang cave to see the shivalingam shaped stalagmite is continuously watered from a breast-shaped stalactite.
Tawang Monastery (Auranachal Pradesh)
This is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. Established in the seventeenth century, the Tawang Monastery is situated at a height of 3500 mts and overlooks a splendid semi-circle of snowcapped mountains. You will be as much stunned by its location as by the intricate designs and carvings in the monastery. The main attraction here is the statue of the thousand armed Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara).
In order to explore more of the North East region’s cultural treasures, undertake a rich cultural/ tribal trip to Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram where there are hundreds of different local tribes who unaffected by the culture of the rest of the world, still practice their own special rituals and traditions, leading a life uninfluenced by any other society.
Darjeeling’s best kept treasure is her vast blanket of tea estates. The Muscatel flavored tea that is indigenous to this area is considered to be a very unique flavour which cannot be replicated. When in Darjeeling, try and experience Tea Tourism, a new concept in which you can stay at a tea estate, pluck tea leaves with the locals, take a nature walk in the tea estate, watch tea being manufactured and also indulge in other tailor made activities like golf, treks, rock climbing, river rafting etc.
If you are planning to spend a large part of your summer in the North East, then the many hill stations of this region are the best places to spend your summers in. Our pick would be Kalimpong, Mirik, Along, Shillong. All of these places are bestowed with immense natural wealth. Perched high up in the eastern Himalayan Ranges, they are rich in flora and fauna. The villages and towns surrounding the hills nurture a distinctive local population which is rich in its own native culture and tradition.
North east India’s many hills and ranges, valleys and rivers are inviting enough for adventure junkies from across the globe. From mountain biking to river rafting, from parasailing to angling and from caving to mountaineering and trekking you can practically do everything here. Some of the popular and must visit spots for adrenaline pumping adventure are Haflong and Kamakhya Hills in Assam (parasailing and gliding), Mt. Kanchenjunga and her neighboring peaks like Kabru, Kirat Chulior, Tent Peak etc in Sikkim and Mizoram (Mountaineering), Rivers Brahmaputra, Teetsta and Ringit (white water rafting), River Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh (angling and rafting), Balukpong and Yempung in Arunachal Pradesh (angling) and Caves of Mawsynram, Krem Um-Lawan, Krem Umshangktat in Meghalaya (Cave Exploration). Trekking is widely possible through the many trek routes interspersed all over North East India.
The north eastern states are prone to unexpected political and ethnic violence every now and then. While the states of Sikkim and Meghalaya are relatively safe, parts of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are considered unsafe for the volatile situation prevailing there. It is advised that travelers check the existing situation before planning a trip.
Travel permit (easily available) is essential for Indian travelers (Inner Line Permit or ILP) before visiting Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland. Foreign tourists need a Restricted Area Permit to visit areas of Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur.
So, are you ready to head to North East India and enjoy the summer there? What are your plans for this summer? We would love to hear from you.