Published on February 8th, 2013 | by Anusuya Suresh3
Hidden Treasures of North East India
Most of us yearn for a holiday that will take us to a place of surreal beauty, which is untarnished by crass commercialization and yet, has at least a minimum of modern-day conveniences to make the trip comfortable. When you travel to North East India, you are sure to get this, and more: rich wild life, adventure sports and a chance to interact with one of the world’s most colorful yet innocent people. The North East region of India comprises the Seven Sister states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and each of these has a few unique offerings for a thrilling sojourn.
Known the world over for its success story of conserving the one-horned Indian rhinoceros, Kaziranga in Assam is also home to wild elephants, royal Bengal tigers, wild water buffaloes and almost 500 bird species. With its amazing flora and fauna and the majestic Brahmaputra, Kaziranga in Assam is a must on the itinerary of any one putting together a North East India travel plan.
Famed one horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga
Adventure in Arunachal Pradesh
With its soaring, snow clad mountains that are a trekker’s delight, beautiful lakes and roaring rivers that make for some thrilling rafting, Arunachal Pradesh has much to appeal to an adventurer’s spirit. And yet, it also beckons those looking for a little calm – the Tawang Monastery and the Parasuramkund are the perfect place to rejuvenate your spirit. You can search online for hotels in Tawang here
Photo Credit: wikipedia
As its name implies, Manipur is truly a jewel in the crown, making it a must on every North East India travel plan. The gushing waterfall of Tamenglong, the tranquil lake at Loktak – the only floating lake in the world and the Sendra Island on this lake and the orchidarium at Khonghampat are just a few reasons to visit Manipur. If you are a performing arts enthusiast, make sure you find an opportunity to witness not just the familiar Manipuri dance but also the lesser known martial art routines and theater.
Manipur’s Loktak Lake with floating phumdis
Bordered by Bangladesh and Myanmar, Mizoram is one of the lesser-known beauties of the Seven Sisters of the North East. It has the hilly topography, cascading waterfalls and winding streams typical of this part of India and yet, differs from the other surrounding states in terms of how well the people here have merged a western lifestyle with the ancient traditions of this land.
Meghalaya has a lot on offer – surging waterfalls, hot springs with medicinal properties, three wildlife sanctuaries, two national parks and one of India’s oldest golf courses. But the most famous place in Meghalaya would surely be Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth and where you would find the famous living root bridge. For adventure enthusiasts, Meghalaya supports rock climbing, mountaineering, and trekking and water sports. The large number of natural sandstone and limestone caves that dot the entire state have been attracting cave explorers from across the world although not many have been developed as a destination for tourists who travel to North East India. Explore Meghalaya by putting up base camp in the capital Shillong.
An almost hidden waterfall near Cherrapunji
Nagaland’s Natural Beauty
Almost everywhere in Nagaland – the waterfalls, stone caves, monoliths, natural geysers and medicinal plants – you find evidence of how nature has blessed this state. Add to this the joie de vivre of the Nagas, and you have a heady concoction of a fulfilling holiday trip. When in Nagaland, do not miss visiting the ruins of the Kachari kingdom, the crafts centres at Diezephe and Khonoma and the Belho weavers. At the end pay tribute to the WWII Allied soldiers at the Kohima war cemetery.
Covered with bamboo and cane forests, Tripura is a picturesque state that is as well known for its wildlife sanctuaries and national parks as for its water tourism. However, there is a lesser well-known attraction for archaeology enthusiasts – the massive open-air rock carvings and stone images at Pilak, Debtamura and Unakoti that charm many a visitor on his or her first visit.
Rich in natural beauty, steeped in a diverse and yet harmonious culture and history of their own, and bursting at the seams with biodiversity, these hidden treasures of the North East have a unique charm. Make it a point to travel to North East India and you will return richer for the experience.