Introduction to North East India

North East India, often referred to as the “Land of the Seven Sisters” along with the Himalayan state of Sikkim, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, rich culture, and traditional heritage. This enchanting region comprises eight states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. Each state is a unique tapestry of diverse landscapes, ethnic groups, and cultural practices, collectively making North East India an emerging gem in the realm of tourism in India.

Arunachal Pradesh, known as the “Land of the Rising Sun,” is characterized by its mountainous terrains and vibrant tribal cultures. Assam, the gateway to North East India, is famous for its tea gardens, the mighty Brahmaputra River, and the Kaziranga National Park. Manipur, often called the “Jewel of India,” is renowned for its classical dance forms and the serene Loktak Lake. Meghalaya, meaning “Abode of Clouds,” captivates visitors with its living root bridges and one of the wettest places on earth, Cherrapunji.

Mizoram, with its rolling hills and dense bamboo forests, offers a tranquil escape into nature’s lap. Nagaland, famed for its colorful festivals and warrior tribes, provides a fascinating glimpse into ancient traditions. Sikkim, nestled in the Himalayas, is a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers, boasting stunning views of the Kanchenjunga. Tripura, with its rich history and beautiful palaces, adds a touch of regal charm to the region.

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What sets North East India apart from other destinations is its unspoiled natural landscapes and the intrinsic cultural diversity that offers a refreshing contrast to the more frequented tourist circuits in India. The region’s relative isolation has preserved its pristine beauty and traditional ways of life, making it a perfect destination for those looking to explore off-the-beaten-path locales during their summer vacation. As more travelers seek authentic and less commercialized experiences, North East India stands out, promising an enriching and unforgettable journey.

Top Destinations to Visit in North East India

When exploring the must visiting places in North East India, one cannot overlook the incredible diversity and beauty this region offers. From majestic monasteries to lush national parks, each destination promises a unique experience for travelers. Here are some top picks:

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its population of the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros. Spanning over an area of 430 square kilometers, the park is also home to tigers, elephants, and a variety of bird species. The best time to visit is between November and April when the weather is pleasant and wildlife sightings are frequent. Travelers are advised to carry binoculars for bird watching and book safaris in advance.

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

The Tawang Monastery, perched at an altitude of 10,000 feet, is the largest monastery in India and an essential spiritual site for Buddhists. Founded in the 17th century, it houses a magnificent 28-foot-high statue of Lord Buddha. The best time to visit is from March to October, avoiding the harsh winter months. Visitors should respect the local customs and enjoy the serene environment while exploring the vibrant murals and ancient scriptures.

Cherrapunji, Meghalaya

Known for being one of the wettest places on Earth, Cherrapunji offers breathtaking landscapes, including living root bridges, waterfalls, and caves. Major attractions include Nohkalikai Falls, Mawsmai Cave, and the Double Decker Living Root Bridge. The ideal time to visit Cherrapunji is from October to February when the rainfall is minimal. Travelers should pack waterproof clothing and sturdy shoes for trekking.

Loktak Lake, Manipur

Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, is famous for its floating phumdis (islands). The Keibul Lamjao National Park, located on the lake, is the only floating national park in the world and home to the endangered Sangai deer. The best time to visit Loktak Lake is from October to March. Boating on the lake offers a unique perspective, and visitors should bring a camera to capture the stunning scenery.

These destinations, among others, make North East India a compelling region for tourism in India. Whether you are planning a summer vacation or an adventurous retreat, these places promise unforgettable experiences.

Cultural and Adventure Activities

North East India is a treasure trove of cultural and adventure activities that promise to make any vacation truly unforgettable. The region, known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, offers an array of experiences for every type of traveler.

For those inclined towards adventure, the Himalayan foothills present some of the best trekking opportunities in the country. Trails such as the Goecha La Trek in Sikkim and the Dzukou Valley Trek in Nagaland offer stunning views and challenging terrains. Additionally, the Brahmaputra River in Assam is a hotspot for river rafting, providing adrenaline-pumping action against a backdrop of pristine natural beauty.

Wildlife enthusiasts will find North East India equally captivating. The Kaziranga National Park in Assam, home to the one-horned rhinoceros, and the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, known for its diverse flora and fauna, are perfect for wildlife safaris. Paragliding in Shillong and Dirang offers a bird’s-eye view of the lush landscape, adding another dimension to the adventure.

Cultural activities are abundant, with numerous traditional festivals offering a window into the region’s vibrant heritage. The Hornbill Festival in Nagaland and Bihu in Assam are celebrated with much fervor and provide a unique opportunity to witness traditional dances, music, and local cuisine. Exploring local markets, such as the Ima Keithel in Manipur, the world’s largest women-run market, offers insights into the daily lives and craftsmanship of the local tribes.

Experiencing the tribal culture is another highlight. Villages in states like Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh offer homestays where travelers can immerse themselves in the local way of life. Participation in community activities and traditional ceremonies allows for a deeper understanding of the region’s rich cultural tapestry.

Practical information is essential for making the most of these activities. For trekking, it is advisable to hire local guides and ensure proper gear. Wildlife safaris usually require prior booking and adherence to park regulations. For festival attendance, checking the local calendar and planning trips around festival dates can enhance the experience. Ensuring these preparations can lead to a more enjoyable and enriching vacation in North East India.

Practical Travel Tips and Conclusion

Traveling to North East India offers a unique and enriching experience. Here’s how to ensure your journey is smooth and enjoyable.

Getting There and Navigation

Reaching North East India is relatively straightforward. Major cities like Guwahati, Imphal, and Shillong have well-connected airports. Alternatively, you can take a train or bus from other parts of India. Once there, local transport options include taxis, auto-rickshaws, and buses. Renting a car or bike is also a popular choice for those who prefer flexibility in their travel plans.

Accommodation Options

North East India caters to a variety of budgets and preferences. From budget hostels to luxury resorts, you will find a range of accommodations. For a more authentic experience, consider staying in homestays or eco-resorts that offer a closer look at local life. Cities like Shillong and Gangtok have numerous hotels, while smaller towns and villages offer charming guesthouses.

Local Cuisine

Sampling local cuisine is a must when visiting North East India. Each state has its own unique flavors and dishes. In Sikkim, savor the momos and thukpa, while Assam offers delightful fish curries and rice dishes. Don’t miss out on trying the traditional Naga cuisine, known for its spicy and flavorful dishes. Street food is also an excellent way to experience the region’s culinary diversity.

Safety Tips and Travel Advisories

While North East India is generally safe for tourists, it’s essential to stay informed about local conditions. Check travel advisories before your trip and respect local customs and traditions. It’s advisable to carry a basic first aid kit and necessary medications. Always keep your valuables secure and be cautious when venturing into remote areas.

Essential Packing List

Pack according to the season and activities planned. Lightweight clothing is suitable for summer, while warmer layers are necessary for the cooler months. Comfortable walking shoes, rain gear, and sun protection are essential. Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle, travel documents, and a camera to capture the stunning landscapes.


North East India is a treasure trove of natural beauty, rich culture, and unforgettable experiences. From the scenic landscapes to the diverse cuisine, every aspect of this region is captivating. With careful planning and these practical travel tips, your journey will be both enjoyable and memorable. Add North East India to your travel bucket list and embark on an adventure that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.