Travelling is not just an activity of leisure that people indulge in from time to time – it’s a necessary retreat for those looking to rejuvenate their senses, acts as a much-needed stress-buster for all those who have completely engulfed themselves in the hustle and bustle of everyday work life, and becomes a means through which one can travel to new destinations, explore new places and experience new experiences. In short, travelling is not just some trendy thing you do that’ll help you spice up your Instagram profile, it’s also an incredibly healthy and refreshing breather to take from your everyday life, one that’ll help enrich your experiences as a human being.
Now often, when we think about traveling, we think about traveling the world – the beaches of California, the mountains of Switzerland, the canals of Venice and the castles of England. When we think of traveling, we think Barcelona and Bangkok, and New York and Sydney. Even back home, if one were to make travel plans domestically, they’d first think of Goa, Jaipur, the backwaters of Kerala and for those looking for some adventure, Ladakh. But perhaps the most underrated, and largely ignored places you could visit as your next holiday destination happen to be in a corner of the Indian subcontinent itself – the vast, diverse and wildly beautiful Northeast India.
Geographically speaking, the Northeast is home to eight states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim), amassing a total land area of 262,230 square kilometers (101,250 square miles) and 8% of India’s total landmass. And yet, it’s barely talked about as a potential destination for one’s travels, despite having so much to offer. Since that makes absolutely no sense to me, allow me to give you just a tiny glimpse of the sheer beauty, delights, and diversity that this unexplored paradise has to offer.
When it comes to talking about the multitude of wonderful things that make the Northeast so special, it’s hard to know where to begin. From the beautiful lakes and exotic wildlife sanctuaries to the picturesque hill stations with their fresh Himalayan air and the scenic banks of rushing rivers, the Northeast has a lot to offer. As it is home to eight different states, each state comes with its own culture, gorgeous landmarks, and unique attractions.
Take for instance the village of Mawlynnong located in Meghalaya. Often labelled as being the cleanest village in Asia, Mawlynnong is home to the Khasi tribe and beautifully illustrates their devotion to look after their environment (something that the rest of us should seriously think about adopting as well).
Then there is the Loktak Lake in Manipur – the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India that is also known as ‘the jewel of Manipur’. A natural wonder if there ever was one, the scenic and breathtaking Loktak Lake harbours the world’s only floating national park. It truly is a remarkable sight – with floating islands called phumdi scattered across the lake, constantly in motion thanks to the movement of the lake’s water.
And then there are the beautiful Nuranang falls – perhaps one of the most beautiful waterfalls you’ll see ANYWHERE in the world. Also known as Bong Bong falls, the Nuranang falls are 100 meters high, situated in Arunachal Pradesh, and simply breathtaking to look at.
And while you are in Arunachal, do visit the largest monastery in India – the Tawang Monastery – located at an elevated height of 10,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh?
And if all of that isn’t enough to satiate your curiosity, how about the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, home to the one-horned Indian rhino? Or if you want to experience something truly unique, you can visit the Nathu La pass in Sikkim and experience the sound of your own voice echoing throughout the pass. Finally, those interested in getting an adrenaline rush from their travels can also try out some river rafting on Siang River. A tributary of the great River Brahmaputra, River Siang is located in Arunachal Pradesh and offers a truly exhilarating river rafting experience.
What you read, just captures the tip of the iceberg, and I can go on and on about the truly wonderful, unique and fascinating attractions that the Northeast has to offer – that’s just how captivating this place is. What’s more important is that you take out the time to discover the many hidden gems that are in the Northeast and, instead of travelling to those clichéd tourist hotspots, plan a trip around these eight Indian states for a fraction of the price. Trust me, you won’t regret it. You will come back with a bagful of memories, lasting a lifetime.