Elephant safari in Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Diversity of the Northeast: Take a Northeast India tour

Author: Atul Kaura
Date: 2020-04-07

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Taking a tour of Northeast India is like going on a tour that is emotionally turbulent yet worthwhile. A tour of Northeast India is a romantic adventure for an inquisitive traveller as its home to more than 220 ethnic communities with more than 25% of land covered with forest with a wide variation of altitude. Northeast India is collectively the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura Meghalaya, and Sikkim. Northeast India has its own unique ethnical identity and is different from the rest of India as the Himalayan states of Sikkim and Arunachal have close cultural and religious ties with Tibet, while the other states of Northeast India have cultural ties with East and Southeast Asia.

Northeast India linguistically is also a diverse region being influenced by the Sino-Tibetan from the northern borders, Indo-European from the Western & southern borders, and Kra–Dai from the eastern borders. Northeast India has no less than 220 different communities with their own distinct dialects, food, and art forms with distinct ways of life. Northeast India is equally varied as far as festivals are concerned. With so many tribes and each having their own festivals, almost every second day there is some festival. Northeast Indian festivals are basically either religious or cultural in nature with quite a lot of fun games and food. Usually, adventure games and music are the focal points of these northeastern festivals. Planning a tour around these northeastern Indian festivals is a good option.

The northeast of India has a wide variety of food as its varied cultures; each place has something unique to offer. Usually, the food is simple with not too many spices, accompanied by a hot and spicy relish. The Naga King chilly of Northeast India is one of the hottest chillies in the world along with the cherry peppers from Sikkim. Even though there are quite a few dry states in Northeast India, each state still has its own local brew associated with fun and festivities. A culinary tour of Northeast India is an interesting tour you can take.

Blog post: Mouthwatering dishes of Nagaland

Son Beel during the summer season

Son Beel during the summer season

Along with its cultural diversity, Northeast India has a lot of archeological sites spread across from Assam to Tripura. Some of these sites' folklores are related to the epic Mahabharata, while the others are related to the local kingdoms of the past, such as the Kachari ruins near Dimapur to Kangla fort in Imphal and mystical sites like Unakotii with its giant rock carvings. Tours of Northeast India also offer tours that are related to WW II: upper Assam, parts of eastern Arunachal, Nagaland, and Manipur were locations in the Northeast of India which saw active action during World War II.

Northeast India is also home to almost 25% of the forest area in India, with almost 65% of the total area covered with forest. There are 28 National Parks in Northeast India, along with a number of sanctuaries. Northeast India is home to the one-horned rhino and has more than 200 tigers roaming around in the wild besides the Asiatic Elephants and bison and lots of other animals. A tour of the famous national parks is again one specialty of the northeast.

Blog post: 5 national parks in Assam you can visit this winter

A home on Loktak Lake, Moirang, Manipur

A home on Loktak Lake, Moirang, Manipur

There are a number of unique places in the northeast such as the town of Vijaynagar in Arunachal, which takes a 7-day walk to reach as there is no road connectivity; Nartiang, which has the largest collection of monoliths; the rice fields of Sonbeel, which transform into one of the largest freshwater lakes once every year; and Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur, which is the only floating National Park in India. Touring these unique places in the Northeastern part of India and experiencing them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Northeast India is not just tribals and jungles but has its fair share of modern cities, which are at par with any modern city of India. The city of Guwahati, known as the gateway to Northeast India, is a bustling metro city, while the city of Dimapur in the Northeastern state of Nagaland is another. A tour to Northeast India has multiple entry points, the most important one being Guwahati, which connects to Assam, Arunachal, and Meghalaya. Other Northeastern Indian states like Nagaland are connected with the rest of the country through its airport and railway station at Dimapur, while Tripura, Mizoram, and Manipur have airports in their respective capitals. Agartala, the capital of the northeastern Indian state of Tripura is also connected by railway.

Northeast India’s vast cultural diversity, topped with an abundance of natural marvels and wildlife, makes it an ideal place for a holiday be it a cultural tour, wildlife tour, adventure tour, pilgrimage tour, or river cruise tour.

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