Top Pick of North East India
“Mawllynnong-Cleanest Villa ge in Asia…!!”
This small village has earned the distinction of being the Cleanest Village in Asia by ‘Discover India’ in 2003. Nestled in the pristine hill state of Meghalaya along the Indo-Bangla border, this colorful little village is known for its cleanliness and community based Eco Tourism initiative. About 82 households live in Mawllynnong. The people of the village are very passionate about flowers, as a variety of flowers can be seen around the villages. The village provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the plains of Bangaldesh. Another attraction is short trek to living root bridge. Although residential facilities are still scarce and are in the process of being developed, the existing ones constructed from bamboo and thatch are quite hospitable and functional.
Chandubi Eco Tourism Site
Only 2 hours journey from Guwahati city, Chandubi Eco Tourism Site is truly a destinations for nature lovers. Located at the foot of Garo Hills, it is a quiet, calm, peaceful place covered by deep forests, small and distinct villages and attractive eco tourism destinations. The Chandubi lake, The Jaraimukh Rabha Tribal village, jungle trail, boating, Bird watching, Camp fire, night Camping are the main attractions. The local people has taken steps towards community based Eco Tourism initiative.
Majuli River Island….!! The hotbed of Assamese culture
Majuli, among the largest freshwater riverine island in the World, is surrounded by mighty Brahmaputra and hence the name Majuli meaning ‘in the middle’. This is where the 15th Century saint and fountainhead of Assamese culture, Srimanta Sankardeva, first established a Satra or Neo Vaishnavite monastery. Apart from that, this island is also home to the Mishings, the Deoris and the Sonowal Kacharis and other Assamese races. A walk through the villages of Majuli is highly recommended to savor the warmth of the people and their simple way of life. Most of them practice agriculture, fishing and weaving. Majuli also has exciting bio diversity. If the visit timed right, one can spot many rare and endangered avifauna species here. The treasures of Majuli are undoubtedly its Vaisnavite Satras. The first satra was set up by Sankardeva and Madhabdeva together but now no longer extant. Subsequently, Majuli became the centre of 65 such Satras. Of these, 31 survive today.
The Satras are not just monasteries, but centers of traditional performing arts. The songs and dances initiated by Sankardeva such as Borgeet, Bhatima, Jumura, Chali, Paalnam, Satriya dance etc are taught and promoted here, apart from numerous other crafts of which mask making is particularly significant.
The most visited Satras are:
Auniati Satra, house of Assamese artfacts, utensils, jewellery and handicrafts. Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh satra, Kamalarbari which is a centre of Art, literature, culture and classical studies. The finest boats on the island is made here. Bengenati satra, the gold raiment here belonging to the Ahom king, Swargadeo Godadhar Singha, is preserved here. The Shamaguri Satra is famous worldwide for its mask making tradtion.
Sivasagar…!! The ruins of Mighty Ahoms
Ruled around 600 years in Assam, the mighty Ahoms came to Assam in 1228 AD from South East Asia with a leadership of Sukapha who was a Shan prince. During their regime, that Assam saw a kind of cultural renaissance; in areas of arts, religion, literature, music, drama and philosophy. Sivasagar was the Capital of this dynasty. Before Sivasagar, Charaidew was the first Capital of Ahom dynasty where around 42 burial mounds of Ahom kings is observed. The practice of burying the dead was common amongst the Shan people from whom the Tai-Ahoms traced their descent.
Sivasagar got its present name from Sivasagar Tank, literally, big lake, excavated by the Ahom queen Ambika. Main attractions in Sivasagar are: Shiva Dol (Temple, one of the loftiest Shiva temple in India), Vishnu Dol, Devi Dol, Tai Museum which houses textiles and other artfacts like swords, manuscripts, goblets etc belonging to Ahom kings and their people. Next is Jaisagar Tank, covering 318 acres, the largest man made tanks in India.
Rang Ghar, is a unique amphitheatre from which the Ahom kings and nobles witnessed games like buffalo fights specially during Rongali Bihu. Close to Rang ghar, on the banks of river Dikhow is Talatal Ghar and was the defence headquarter of those days. Another Ahom palace is located at Garhgaon, about 15 kms from Sivasagar town which was four storeyed for the royal families.
The Buddhist Tribal Pockets of Upper Assam……!!
Distributed in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Upper Assam, there is still presence of some tribes which belong to Buddhists who are believer of the Hinyana sect of Buddhism. Though their population is very few but they are still maintaining their own ethnic cultures and other rituals.
Khamti Tribe: The Khamti tribe is a sub group of the Shan people found mainly in Burma and Arunachal Pradesh. However a small number of this community can be found in Assam (Tinsukia District) also. They pray every morning in their rooms and provide offerings of flowers and food. Like any other Buddhist they are peace loving people.
Singpho Tribe: Though major hubs of Singpho tribe are exist in China and Myanmar, it is seen in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and near about 25,000 numbers is still seen in Tinsukia district, Upper Assam too, presently known as Dehing Patkai region. This Mongoloid tribe was the first to discover the process of tea cultivation in India. They taught the process to the British, who then grew the Indian tea trade exponentially without giving the Singpho community their due credit. Like Khamti they also follow Buddhism and Animism is also widely followed in this community. Agriculture is main source of income and tea is widely planted.
Tai Phake Tribe: Tai-Phake is among the 6 Tai races residing in Tinsukia Districts of Assam, who migrated to Assam during year 1775. From then, for around 75 years, they were roaming for a permanent settlement. Ultimately they settled in Dibrugarh district, near Naharkatia on the bank of river Burhi dehing river and established ‘Namphake village’ and ‘Tipam Phake village’ and rest settled in Tinsukia district near Margerita sub division. From then they have been living permanently there and their literature, culture and society started flourishing in various aspects. Tai Phake people are strict followers of Buddhism and falls under the category of Hinayana sect. In each village they establish a Buddha Bihar where Buddha images made of brass are installed and regular prayers are offered by monks(known as Chow Moun) and the villagers.
Tangsa Tribe: Tangsa, this Mongoloid Naga tribe who resides near Lekhapani, Dehing Patkai region, apart from Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. They migrated from South-West China Province of Yunan through Burma and setteled in this region in the beginning of 13th century. The Tangsas are socially organised and hospitable. Like other tribes, they also live in ‘Chang Ghar’ made of wood, bamboo and jengpat(a kind of large leaf). They have joint family system. Every Tangsa village has a headman called ‘Keang Walang’ who commands tremendous respect from villagers in every aspect of their lives.
Last Shangri La On Earth…. Arunachal Pradesh..!!
Arunachal Pradesh, a veritable treasure house of nature, tucked away in the North Eastern tip of India, invites you to relax in its picturesque hills and valleys encircled on three sides by Bhutan, China and Myanmar. Come to Arunachal Pradesh to revel in nature in its full splendor. Enjoy the salubrious climate and meet its simple and hospitable people. Snowy mist, famous monasteries, unexplored passes and tranquil lakes come together to form some of the prettiest mountains in Arunachal Pradesh.
Arunachal Pradesh, a few days back, has won BBC’s travel magazine ‘Lonely Planet’ as second runners-up in the ‘Emerging Destinations in India’.
Arunachal Pradesh is:
- The largest state in the North East India covering an area of 83,743 sq kms with evergreen forests covering more than 82% percent of the state.
- Inhabited by 26 major tribes and a number of sub tribes.
- Thinnest population density in the country with only 17 persons per sq km.
- Home to more than 5,000 varieties Orchids. At Tipi it has the largest Orchidarium in Asia.
For the nature lovers, they can explore Eaglenest WLS, Mehao WLS and Namdapha NP and Tiger Project etc, for adventure lovers there are lots of destinations for trekking, rafting like Dirang area, Roing, Mechuka, Namdapha NP, Siang, Subanasiri, Kameng, etc, for cultural and tribal tour guests have lots of options like Ziro, Daporijo, Along, Pasighat, Roing, Mayodiya, Hunli, Bomdila, Dirang, Tawang etc and lastly for leisure tour whole the Arunachal Pradesh is left.
- Guwahati – Bhalukpung – Bomdila – Dirang – Tawang
Main attractions: Route covers historic Tezpur of Assam to the 17th century Monastery built on a jutting spur overlooking the wide Tawang valley at an altitude at an altitude of 10,000 feet. In between, Bhalukpung on the border of Assam and Arunachal with beautiful scenic beauty, Tipi Orchidarium, beautiful Bomdila, the district headquarter of West Kameng district and having a Bird’s eye view of Gorichen peaks the highest peaks of the state. Sela Pass the Second highest motorable pass in the World situated at an altitude of 13,700 feet with a high altitude serene crystal blue water natural lake. Nuranang Falls, 1962 Indo-China War memorial the Jaswant Garh.
- Guwahati – Likabali – Along – Mechuka
Drive to the border of India and Tibbet, stop at Mechuka the remotest and quaint hill station. Move via Likabali, the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Along or Aalo situated in a picturesque valley at the confluence of Sipu and Siyom rivers. Then to Mechuka. One can see the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Arunachal Pradesh situated on a hill top overlooking the valley.
- Guwahati – Itanagar – Ziro – Daporijo – Along/Aalo – Pasighat
Explore the tribal route and find the culture and traditions of Nyshi, Apatani, Hill Miris, Tagins, Adi (Galong, Miniyong, Pasi, Padam, Bori and Borak ), Minnyiong etc.
- Tinsukia – Roing – Myodiya – Hunli – Parshuram Kund – Hayuliang – Namdapha NP
Explore Mishimi Hills with Namdapha. Cross Lohit and move to Roing, the land of Mishimi Tribe and other sub tribes. They cross the highest point in Mishmi Hills, Myodiya Pass, 9,000 feet MSL and reach Hunli. Then to Hayuliang, which has the breathtaking landscape and natural beauty at the confluence of Lohit and Delai rivers. Back to Parshuram Kund, a pilgrimage place surrounded by beautiful hills and rivers. Then the Wildife destinations The Namdapha NP, the largest NP in Arunachal Pradesh covering an area of 1,985 sq kms. Famous for its rich Bio diversity, the Noa-Dehing river meanders through the forest fed by numerous tributaries.
Come and take a look at this exotic way of life of the people, its nature and wildlife.
Song of the Misty Mountains…. Nagaland..!!
Surrounded by Myanmar on the East and three Indian states on the other side, Nagaland is indeed quite a beautiful state which gives the chance to observe various Tribes with their hospitality, festivals, the terrace cultivation, hills and many more. With 16 different tribes, each representing a different cultures, customs, dialects, these colorful tribal people span across 11 administrative districts, with Kohima its Capital, its having a population density of only 120 persons per sq km. Historically, the people of Nagaland have always been brave, independence loving warrior and hardcore hunter. As a result of this practice, numerous species of flora and avifauna have disappeared from these areas. But, with the initiative of Government and local NGO for the past 15 years, it has been turning slowly to the previous position.
Best time to visit Nagaland is between October and May when the landscape wears green carpet and the flowers light up the skies with their bright hue. Rhododendrons and Orchids cover the landscape of Nagaland and one cannot miss them even as he is driving or trekking the challenging terrain.
Main attractions: Colorful tribes, customs and their festivals, Naga Cuisines, Dance, the festivals, Trekking the challenging terrain etc. The major attractions of Nagaland is during December 1st week of each year when they heal the Hornbill Festivals at Heritage Village called Kisama. This festival is a cultural extravaganza where the Govt, local communities and various NGO s get a chance to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage. For visitors, it is an opportunity to get a ringside view of this elusive land, its people and culture. During this period, all the Naga activities are featured in the form of traditional dances, folk songs, traditional sports and tribal food and drink go around in plenty.
Come to Nagaland, taste it and be a member of this brave state.
Abode of Wildlife- Kaziranga NP, Manas NP, Nameri NP, Dibru Saikhowa NP
With two Nature’s World heritage Site namely Kaziranga NP and Manas NP, Assam’s Wildlife is always incredible. At the heart of its mind boggling biodiversity is the rich topography of Assam, with its lush hills and valleys dissected by the grand Brahmaputra and its many tributaries. From riverine grasslands to tropical and sub tropical forests, marshy wetlands and bamboo groves, this is where nature dwells at her creative best. And naturally therefore, over 180 species of mammals, including several rare and endangered species like the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Golden Langur and Hoolock Gibbon and a spectacular range of avifauna have to call it home. The Birding paradise, Nameri NP, situated on the foothills of Arunachal Hills, and the riverine National Park Dibru Saikhowa is always a great attraction for nature and wildlife lovers.
Apart from above mentioned National Parks, there are lots of Wildlife Sanctuaries and among them Pobitora WLS which is the nearest wildlife sanctuary of Guwahati is abode of Rhinoceros. For Primate lovers, Hollogapar Gibbon WLS is best destinations.