India’s North East, comprises of the seven sister states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. Their pristine landscapes are steeped in monuments from ancient lore and mythology. From plunging Himalayan gorges to dazzling waterfalls, rolling green meadows and swampy grasslands, the Northeast is a smorgasbord of experiences for every kind of traveller.
Taking in all that the Northeast has to offer, on a single trip, is a tall order. So here’s a list of experiences you absolutely must include on your trip.
Kaziranga National Park
For travellers who are looking for solace in nature, this National Park should be at the top of your list. The National Park covers approximately 430 square kilometers,and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO back in 1985. This swathe of marshland, elephant grass and forest is home to exquisite species like the one horned rhino, the Bengal tiger, several species of deer and more.
With barely any exposure to wildlife in the city, the Kaziranga National Park is a unique and raw experience of nature.
India’s largest monastery is perched near the top of a mountain, at about 10,000 feet. The monastery commands a stunning view of the Tawang River valley and its surrounding snow-capped mountains and forests. For Buddhists, it is a place of pilgrimage and worship. For the rest, it is a gem in the crown of Northeast India that combines the splendor of nature with the gloriousness of the divine.
What’s more, if you plan your trip strategically, you can enjoy snowfall in the months of April and May!
‘Living Root Bridges’ of Mawlynnong
A spectacle unique to the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya, are bridges crafted from living tree roots. These stunning bridges have been crafted over centuries by the Khasi and Jaintia peoples of Shillong. The bridges are made by skillfully intertwining and training the growing roots of the rubber fig trees. If you happen to travel to north- east India, missing out on this experience is not an option.
Kamakhya Temple (Guwhati)
This particular temple is the site of worship for the Goddess Kamakhya, the Hindu Tantric goddess of desire. This temple is also presumed to be one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas, a site of worship for believers of the Goddess Shakti/ Sati. Located on the Nilachal Hill in western Guwahati, this site is steeped in lore and is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus.
Plan a trek through the gorgeous Nathu La pass, one of the highlights of the North East. The pass has some of the most breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and gorgeous clear lakes. It is important to note that only citizens of India can visit the pass, and then only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok.
Another must visit, is the Bum La pass located about 37 km away from Tawang. The pass is only accessible with permission from the Indian Army and that too only if the weather is clear. In less favourable conditions the pass is difficult to access and marred with rough terrain. This pass is also home to the Sangestar Tso lake, that make an appearance in the movie Koyla. Thus it is also popularly known as Madhuri Lake after the actress.
The Northeast is studded with stunning views of Mountains and lakes, but the most awe-inspiring views are of the waterfalls. Case in point, the Nurang Falls, also known as Bong Bong Falls. They are located a stone’s throw from Tawang and are relatively untouched, making for a romantic stop on your itinerary.
Next on the list are the Elephant Falls, the most popular falls in the Northeast. Three layers of the falls are accessible to tourists from different vantage points. This makes for a great stopover destination if you’re headed further into Meghalaya.
Last but not the least, are the Nohsngithiang Falls, popularly known as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. These falls are a group of seven-segmented waterfalls located approximately a kilometre away from the Mawsmai village in Meghalaya. Unfortunately the full splendor of these waterfalls is only visible during the monsoon season.
The wonders of the Northeast India are unique and will guarantee you a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Get your backpack out and start planning your trip today!
Written by: Caryn Putman
Caryn is a Social Media expert and history buff, desperate for any chance to travel. She loves animals more than most people and prefers sunny days at the beach to freezing mountaintops.