The North East area in India comprising of eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura – has a certain charm of its own that has definitely played a role in promoting North East tourism. With so many different landscapes to explore, cities to see, cuisines to relish, a North East tour is indeed one of the most interesting holidays you can take.
From lush rainforests to hills and valleys and a diverse set of traditions and cultures, you can certainly expect North East tourism to open your eyes like never before. Whether you’re travelling from anywhere in the world, or anywhere in India for that matter, chances are that you may not be fully aware of numerous aspects of the North East due to various reasons. There’s a lot to be said for the vibrant culture and friendly people here and of course, their interesting and diverse cuisine.
The North East has four geographical regions – the Eastern Himalaya and valley plains of Patkai, Brahmaputra and Barak. North East also has some flatlands interspersed with hilly terrains. The North East is known for Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world and the famous Brahmaputra river also runs through this region. There are 51 forest types found in this region and there are more than 8000 species of flowering plants and more than 60% of North East is under forest cover.
The North East’s climate is influenced by its geographical features and it has a typically subtropical climate which is affected by the monsoons. The North East is also known for its rains and receives an annual precipitation of 2000 mm. In fact, the world’s rainiest place is Mawsynram which is in Meghalaya and has an annual precipitation of 11,872mm. Although the temperatures are moderate in most places, as the altitude increases, the temperature keeps decreasing and there is permanent snow cover at the highest altitudes.
The North East states in India are famed for their unique and diverse cuisines while an important aspect of their culture comes from the classical dances such as Manipuri and Sattriya. Also, there is a rich tribal heritage that is evident here which comes from hunting and crafts while the traditional attire of each community is a testament to the region’s unique culture. Folk dances also play a huge role in adding to the cultural diversity here.
Assam - Assamese, Manipur - Meiteilon, Meghayala - Khasi and Garo, Mizoram - Mizo, Nagaland - Englis
Indian Rupee (INR)
North East tourism is full of exciting places to see and things to do. No matter what sort of vacation you are planning to have, there’s something for everyone here. Nature lovers will rejoice at the many natural wonders here such as mountains and lakes, and those with an eye for culture will enjoy visiting monasteries and other beautiful spots.
A North East tour would be incomplete without a visit to Guwahati, the largest city in the North East which is near the Brahmaputra River in Assam. There are holy sites here such as the Kamakhya temple, dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu while there’s also an 18th century Navagraha temple which has planetary shrines. The Assam State Museum is the place to visit if you want to look at sculptures, textiles and other interesting things while the Guwahati Planetarium is great for stargazing. There’s also a zoo, a botanical garden and a bird sanctuary which should certainly satisfy the visiting wild-life enthusiasts.
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya is a hill station which has beautifully manicured gardens in Lady Hydari Park while there are excellent walking trails around Ward’s Lake. Lots of nature to enjoy here, especially in the southwest where there are waterfalls such as Elephant Falls.
A North East tour should certainly include a visit to the splendid Kaziranga National Park. This is a gorgeous sanctuary which houses two thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. A world heritage site, Kaziranga is also home to tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. The sanctuary has an important role to play in wildlife conservation.
In Sikkim, the Yumthang Valley of Flowers is a perfect spot for North East tourism. With its hot springs, rolling meadows, contemplatively grazing yaks and the rhododendrons which give it the name Valley of Flowers, Yumthang Valley has everything that you are looking for, especially during a vacation. If you happen to visit during the flowering season, from late February to mid-June, there are countless flowers which lie across the valley in a breath taking visual, coloured in the rainbow hues. There’s heavy snowfall during winter when Yumthang is closed but the time to visit is spring when the area is resplendent with beautiful flowers.
Other places to visit in North East include Kohima which has a state museum, a war cemetery and a heritage village; Imphal with its tribal artefacts museum, a Royal Palace and a Shaheed Minar, dedicated to those who died fighting the British in 1891 and Keibul Lamjao National Park where you can spot the rare Sangai deer and several migratory birds; Agartala with its palaces and Mughal style gardens and the famous Rabindra Kanan Park; Gangtok which is a famous trekking base and a Buddhist pilgrimage site with several monasteries and the renowned Gangtok Ropeway Gondola which offers beautiful views of the city. The North East is full of such relatively unknown gems.
If you can’t wait to travel to the North East, do make it a point to visit the SOTC website for offers and deals on North East tour packages.