It is rightly said that once you are bitten by the travel bug there is no respite. Whenever the wanderlust hits you there’s no alternative but to keep going in search of new places, new destinations. If you have itchy feet and you are on the lookout for some offbeat destinations, the Seven Sisters of India are just what you need. These Seven Sisters are relatively untouched, unexplored and isolated states of north east India namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland & Tripura. The newest addition to the north east region is the state of Sikkim.
North East India has some real surprises up its sleeves for the travellers. Not so much established on the travellers’ map, yet the North Eastern India has its own charm that will sweep you off your feet. Teetering on the farthest brink of India’s map, the Northeast States are one of Asia’s last great unknowns. Sharing borders with Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and Bangladesh, these remote frontiers are a collision zone of tribal cultures, climates, landscapes and people. A region of rugged beauty, it’s a wonderland where glacial rivers flow through plunging Himalayan gorges.
Let’s take a look at what each of these seven states has in store for the travellers.
The gateway to the northeast, Assam is wedged into a green valley with the Himalayan foothills in the north and the state of Meghalaya in the south. With the mighty Brahmaputra River raging through it, Assam is one of the most fertile states in India spread over 800kms of lush forests and paddy fields. Best known for its terraced tea gardens that produce some of the world’s finest tea and the one horned rhino that roams free in the Kaziranga Park, Assam also boasts of numerous golf courses dotting the many tea estates. Every corner of Assam has something to offer – from wildlife, to temples and monuments, to outdoor adventure, to its amazing people – Assam is a beautiful state.
Arunachal Pradesh means the "land of the dawn-lit mountains" and lives up to its name with its pine-forested mountains that echo with the sound of the gurgling hill streams rushing down the slopes. The state is home to picturesque mountains, unexplored passes, tranquil lakes and famous monasteries. Encompassing extensive geographical diversity with a variety of rare wildlife, flora and fauna, Arunachal Pradesh is now gaining acclaim worldwide as one of the richest biodiversity and heritage spots. It is the only Indian state that can claim to have four major varieties of the big cats in its jungles- tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard. In this incredibly beautiful state, more than 500 species of birds have been recorded, many of which are highly endangered and restricted to this state. One of Asia’s largest Orchidarium is in Arunachal Pradesh and almost every district of Arunachal Pradesh has its own exclusive and rare variety of orchids.
Manipur means `the jeweled land’ and it is believed that the gods cleared this space to dance in abandon. This little corner is a paradise on Earth where Mother Nature has been extra generous in her bounty. Least touched and least discovered, Manipur promises to be the great tourist discovery of the 21st century. An oval shaped valley surrounded by blue green hills, rich in art and tradition, Manipur, with its cascading rapids, tripling rivers, varieties of flowers, exotic blooms and lakes, has inspired description as the “Switzerland of the East”.
Tucked away in the northeast of India, here’s a state which will leave you spellbound. Clouds cradling hills, grass glistening with dewdrops, azure blue skies, whispering pine groves, winding streets lined by English cottages - you’ll truly wonder if you are in Scotland! Picturesque Meghalaya, ‘the Abode of the Clouds’ lives up to its name. Lying sandwiched between Bangladesh and southwest Assam, the northeast state of Meghalaya is the ideal place to unwind and let your eyes feast on nature’s abundance. The hill state of Meghalaya faces the brunt of the southwest monsoon, making this one of the wettest areas on earth. Meghalaya enjoys a temperate climate all year long and this makes Shillong, its capital city, one of the most visited hill-stations in India.
Mizoram lies in the southernmost outpost of North Eastern India, the land of the Blue Mountains. Evergreen ranges of Mizoram hills with blooms of exotic flora and dense bamboo jungles rise sharply from the plains of Assam in a north south direction. These hills and plunging gorges are crisscrossed by gushing rivers and sparkling waterfalls. Highest among its several peaks is the Phawngpui, The Blue Mountain. Mizoram is a kaleidoscopic ‘pleasure trove’ for the discerning visitor with its wide array of festivals and dances, handicrafts, flora and fauna, breathtaking natural beauty and temperate climate. The Mizos are friendly and very hospitable.
Nagaland is another name for exotic, mystic and beautiful. This northeast state of Nagaland is luxuriously green and inhabited by tribes who have fiercely protected their tradition, culture and identity. Colourful costumes complete with clan motifs and headdress, war paint once in a while, lyrical singsong dialects and traditional villages are just some of the intriguing facades of the people of Nagaland. Add to it the verdant green that is broken only by the white and red rhododendrons and multihued orchids, and you’ll have many reasons to enjoy this exotic destination tucked away in the northeast of India.
Tripura is a rare combination of natural beauty and man-made wonders, a unique blend of the old order and new, and a fusion of cultures and architectural styles. Many tribes and communities who have made their home in Tripura have lent an incredible mix of culture and customs to this small state. Much of the state of Tripura is forested and hilly, with natural wonders ranging from lakes to wildlife sanctuaries.
A year round destination, North East India is a true wonderland which is waiting to be discovered. So when are you planning your rendezvous with the Seven Sisters?
Team Veena World