Northeast is that precious part of India which is officially known as the North Eastern Region, NER. It is the easternmost region of India representing both geographical and political-administrative division of the country, and consisting of eight different states namely; Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
Beauty in the Northeast is impeccable, consisting of many visit-worthy places which stand as a pride for the Northeast states.
In no specific order, here are few of the top places to visit in North East India -
Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
Tsomgo Lake, which is also called as Tsangu or Changu is one of the must-visit beauty of Sikkim. Situated at an altitude of 12,400 ft.,38 km from Gangtok (state capital) and close to Nathula pass along with Baba Mandir.
The serpentine road blowing the refreshing wind amidst the bleak mountain terrain and cliffs guides the way to Tsomgo, (which means the source of the water in Bhutia language). The water in the lake is from the melting snows of the mountains that surround the lake from every side and as of legendary beauty, the lake looks different at different seasons.
According to the local sources, the lake in winter remains frozen with the surrounding area utterly covered in snow while in late spring the tremendous amount of flowers blooming there gives an ethereal beauty to the lake.
They say that the lake is associated with many myths and legends and is honored by the Sikkimese as sacred. It is believed that in olden times, Buddhist monks would study the color of the water of the lake to predict the future.
The lake provides a beautiful outing to the visitors there, a ride on colorfully decorated yaks, ropeway, boating, stalls by the locals who provide foods and beverages, and for the days when heavy snow is experienced, gumboots and snow boots are available for hire.
Situated in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and 1400 meters above sea-level, Mawsynram is a village, 65 km away from Shillong, the state capital. It is one of the wettest places in the world, comparative to Cherrapunjee (15 km west), with an average rainfall of 11,872 millimeters.
Due to the heavy sound rainfalls, the villagers there have to use thick layers of grasses to make their homes sound-proof.
The name Mawsynram is coined by its villagers upon the megaliths found in the Khasi hills, where ‘maw’ in Khasi means ‘stone’. The place is also known for many caves situated in there, one of the most famous caves here is the Mawjymbuin Cave, where nature-made stalagmite is found.
It is one of the places that are on the must-visit list of everyone’s trip ideas, firstly upon curiosity and next impressed by the hospitality manner of the locals from there.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
It is one of the gems of the state of Assam, which is totally worth visiting for beauty and knowledge. It is a home for more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which is approximately 2/3rd of their total world population.
The park is located on the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots, formed on the recommendation of Mary Curzon in the year 1908, and in1985, the park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Along with the famous one-horned rhino, it is home to many other species of birds and animals, such as the wild water buffalo, swamp deer and is a huge breeding ground for elephants; given the tall marshland area with also a good number of migratory bird species from Central Asia and with the utmost care given to the animals for their breeding in this very land, there has been an increase in tiger population every passing year. Therefore, the government authorities had declared Kaziranga as a Tiger Reserve in the year 2006.
The best time period to visit this exquisite park is between the given seasons:
· Summer (April to May): The climate remains dry and windy during this time of the year; hence one can find animals around the water bodies.
· Monsoon (June to September): The month of June to September in this region there’s heavy rain, approximately 2,220 millimeters (87 in); thus the climate remains hot and humid and the park remains closed from May to October due to warnings of Brahmaputra river floods.
· Winter (November to February): Perhaps the best time to visit the Kaziranga National Park as the climate is mild and dry. Chances of spotting rhinos are more in winter as the grass burns off and the background becomes clearer.
Dzukou Valley, Nagaland
Found between the borders of two states; Nagaland and Manipur, in the Southern Angami region of Northeast India, situated at an altitude of 2452 m above sea level the Dzukou Valley is widely known for its natural environment, seasonal flowers and flora and fauna all around the season, but mostly for the Dzukou Lily which is only available in this valley.
The word Dzukou has originally derived from the 'Viswema' dialect of the Angami tribe. 'Dzüko' which means 'Soulless and Dull' referring to when some ancestors of Viswema who moved out to establish a new village in Dzüko, and due to the unfavorable weather conditions they were unable to harvest crops which led them to say, "The valley is very beautiful but is dull and soulless".
As of World Environment Day 2019, Dzüko Valley is a plastic-free zone.
To get to Dzüko valley the main entry is from the foothills of Viswema village where one can travel to the rest house above Mt. Teyozwü by a taxi. Then one has to climb a distance of about forty minutes to the top of the mountain. Also, it can be reached in five hours of trek from Mount Tempü of Senapati district of Manipur. The five-hour trek is a new route opened by MMTA (Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association).
The Asian Highway 1 and also the NH-2 passes through its foothills. The nearest airport to it is Dimapur Airport at Dimapur near the Assam border about 96 km away from Viswema while the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport is located about 120 km south of Viswema.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Situated in the foothill of the Himalaya amidst the tropical forests and alluvial grasslands, Manas sanctuary is located in the state of Assam in Northeast India with a total area of 39,100 hectares. It covers up the Manas river and is circumscribed to the north by the forests of Bhutan.
The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the core zone of the 283,700 hectares Manas Tiger Reserve and lies alongside the shifting river channels of the Manas River.
This sanctuary provides a safe home for many of the rare and endangered species such as tiger, one-horned rhino, swamp deer, pygmy hog, elephants, etc. According to UNESCO, this sanctuary follows three different criteria; criterion vii, ix, and x.
The tumultuous river swirling down the rugged mountains in the backdrop of forested hills coupled with the serenity of the alluvial grasslands and tropical evergreen forests offers a unique wilderness experience.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is between the months of October to May, as in the other monsoon months the areas closed due to the heavy rainfalls experienced by the state of Assam.
Living Root Bridge, Meghalaya
Jingmaham Living Root Bridge, also commonly known as the "Single Living Root Bridge" is one of the many living root bridges of Meghalaya. It has attracted many tourists being a unique sight to see from recent years and is suitable for people of all the age range.
Taking only 50-100 steps from the village of Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia, visitors enjoy the magnificent view with a fresh, clean stream flowing beneath it.
It was started in ancient times where the 'Khasis' start the process by planting a tree on each side of a water body. Then, they thread and twist the tree's roots around a temporary wooden bridge, which helps guide the roots to the other side of the river. When the roots are long enough to reach the other side of the water, they plant down into the ground, and over time, the roots grow and strengthen, forming the tough bridge.
While no one knows when the first living root bridge was created, written records of the structures appear as early as over 100 years ago.
Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim
Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world and in India.
With an area of 118 hectares (290 acres) and its peripheral length is 5.34 km, situated at the altitude of 5,154 m (16,900 ft) in the state of Sikkim, it is inhabited by various animals like Yaks, blue sheeps and more of the wildlife of high altitudes.
The lake is named after 'Guru Padmasambhava' also known as Guru Rinpoche - the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, who visited this place in the 8th century.
According to the local sources, the high altitude lake is located 190 km away from the state capital, Gangtok, and about 5 km south of the Tibetan (Chinese) border, in the district of North Sikkim.
Taking the route from Lachen via Thangu can guide the way to this lake. The road from Thangu to Gurudongmar passes through rocky terrain with glacial deposits or moraine, which has high alpine grasslands covered with many rhododendron trees. While Indian tourists are allowed to visit the lake, foreigners need to get a special permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi.
The lake, surrounded by glaciers, is located to the north of the Kangchengyao range, in a high plateau area that connects with the Tibetan Plateau. Providing one of the source streams which joins the Tso Lahmu and then forms the source of the Teesta River.
The lake remains completely frozen in the winter months i.e. from November to Mid-May. Therefore, being an eccentric sight to see, many tourists make their way towards Gurudongmar, beginning their journey a day ahead or night ahead to enjoy the view before the sunset.
Kamakhya Temple, Assam
The Kamakhya Temple which is also known as 'Kamrup-Kamakhya' temple is a Sakta temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya. It is one of the widely known temples of the Assam state, located in Nilachal Hill in the western part of the city of Guwahati.
There comes an ample amount of visitors or tantra devotees as it is one of the centers for tantra worshippers for one of the annual festival called the Ambubachi Mela.
Northeast India is known for its rich cultural and linguistic diversity. However, what the region lacks is the proper representation of the area in the mainstream media.
The region had been shown in the bad light for over more than two decades due to the militancy which was prevalent in the region due to various circumstances.
With the increasing number of educated individuals and more access to various amenities, the Northeast region has come far from its militancy past. Northeast India that we know today is welcoming and it has great potential to boost its tourism industry.
Share with us your favorite places to visit in Northeast India in the comments below.
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