The North Eastern reaches of our country are often overlooked when it comes to identifying holiday destinations. Yet, there are several, stunning places to scout here. Several online travel portals offer North East packages to tour the unexplored parts of the North East. The mighty mountains of the Eastern Himalayas, pleasant climes, easy air and train connectivity encourage tourism here. Comprised of the seven sister-states of Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura and Sikkim – the North East of India is paradise unexplored.
The Best Time To Venture Out
Visit the North-East between the winter months of November and March if you wish to experience the chill in the weather. This is after the monsoons have retreated from the hills and there are guaranteed sightings of the lofty Himalayan peaks. The average temperature range varies greatly depending upon your destination. In Aizawl, the day temperature rises to 22°C but slips to 10°C by night in January. Guwahati is warmer with temperature ranging between 12°C and 26°C.
If you are looking at a summer escape from the crushing heat of the Indian plains, how about a few places to visit in Sikkim? Lachung and Ravangla are great to visit in April and May before the rains arrive. The weather during this time is pleasant as the temperature hovers between a maximum of 25°C and a minimum of 15°C. Tour Shillong in Meghalaya or Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Summer evenings in these hills are comfortable and cool. While the average summer temperature in Shillong ranges between 24°C and 15°C, Tawang experiences a comfortable temperature between 5°C and 21°C.
How to Reach the North East
North East India is served by major airports at Guwahati, Agartala, Pakyong, Shillong, Lengpui, Dimapur, Dibrugarh, Silchar and Imphal. Leading domestic carriers serve these destinations. Helicopter services are available in Naharlagun (14 km away from Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh) and Aizawl in Mizoram. The international airports that serve the North-eastern part of India are Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (Guwahati), and Imphal International Airport.
Railway connectivity is offered by the North East Frontier Railways. Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri, Dispur, Itanagar, Silchar and Agartala are the major train stations of North East India.
From the railway station, you can hop on to buses or hire cars and taxis. You will find counters at the airport where you can book taxis. The Assam State Transport Corporation and Network Travels have services in Assam and Sikkim. If you are in Shillong, you can check the MTC Bus Station
These Are a Few of Our Favourite Places
While it is challenging to draw a list of must-visit places in the North East without running the risk of omitting some beautiful locations, there are a few destinations you should consider visiting before others.
The Kaziranga National Park is home to one-horned rhinoceros. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, about 230 kilometres away from Guwahati and easy to reach by road.
There are a host of places to visit in Guwahati with the Kamakhya Temple and 18th-century Navagraha Temple being key, and a cruise on the Brahmaputra a must-do.
Majuli in Assam is the biggest river island in the world. Located on River Brahmaputra, it is about 2 hours away from Jorhat Airport.
Visit Shillong in Meghalaya from Guwahati by road. It is a distance of about 100 kilometres. The walking trails at Ward’s Lake will reconnect you with Nature.
Cherrapunji is 54 kilometres away from Shillong. Surrounded by verdant greens and waterfalls, it is home to the Khasi tribe.
Tour Kohima in Nagaland. It is the capital city and hosts the famous Hornbill Festival. Held every December, it showcases the cultural richness of Naga traditions.
Travel to Mokokchung from Kohima. It will take you about three hours to get there by road. Visit the Ungma Village here to meet the Ao tribe – it is said to be their place of origin.
The Tawang Monastery dates back to the seventeenth century and is perched on a hill-top. It is however a sixteen hours’ drive from Guwahati. Spot migratory birds at Lake Penga Teng Tso every summer.
From Itanagar – the capital city, view the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance. Gompa is a Buddhist temple here.
Do not skip Aizawl in Mizoram when you tour the North East. The Falkawn Village is a must-visit. Tour it to survey the culture of the Mizo tribe which lives here.
Lunglei is six hours away from Aizawl. With picturesque settings, it is a place of great beauty.
At Agartala, the Ujjayanta Palace used to be a royal residence which has now been converted to a museum. Rabindranath Thakur had gifted the palace its name and was a frequent visitor here.
Kailashahar is a great trekking destination and surrounded by tea gardens. You can get there by road in about five hours from Agartala.
Imphal is home to the Kangla Fort on the banks of River Imphal. Tour it to learn of the architectural and historical significance of the fort.
Chandel is the ‘Gateway to Myanmar’ and 64 km away from Imphal. It is home to about twenty native tribes.
Gangtok is three and a half hours off from Siliguri. Visit Ganesh Tok in Gangtok. You can view the Kanchenjunga peak from this temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
Check out Sikkim tourism packages, if Pelling is on your mind and take a trip to this offbeat and amazing place.
Try out Tibetan and Nepalese delicacies like ‘tsampa’ and ‘thukpas’ at Pelling. The drive from Siliguri will take you about four and a half hours.
The vacation of a lifetime awaits you in the North East. Happy yatra to you!