There are few other nations in the world today that represent the amount of ethnic diversity that is present in India. There are 29 states in India that comprise 2000 unique ethnic groups! Despite the diversity, many of these Indian states have intersecting cultures, foods, and festivals.
India’s Northeast states, however, represent a totally different stream of cultures and languages. This part of India may seem like visiting a whole different country if you compare it to the majority of Indian culture.
Northeast India is home to 8 unique states that border the countries of Nepal, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. You can already see by the bordering countries how Northeast India's culture is going to be influenced.
So, what are the 8 Northeast states of India, and what makes them so unique from other states in India? Let’s find out!
One of Northeast India’s smallest states is Tripura. Tripura borders Bangladesh and the Indian states of Mizoram and Assam. It became a state in India on November 1, 1956. It is a region covered in bamboo rainforests with plains on the border of Bangladesh. The climate is tropical savannah with a heavy monsoon season from June to September (similar to most of northeastern India).
The Indian state of Tripura is one of the nation’s most underrated tourist destinations. There is a great variety of what this northeast state has to offer both in culture and in nature. This Indian state has a unique mixture of Hindu and Muslim history as well as tribal culture from its various people groups.
Since it’s an upcoming tourist destination, we put together the top 6 places you should visit in Tripura:
- Neermahal: Also known as the water palace near the capital, Argartala. It was the summer palace for the royal family of Tripura when the state was a country before joining India. To reach it, you get to take a scenic boat ride to the temple over Lake Rudrasagar. One half of the palace was used for housing the royal family, whereas the other half was for theater and dance.
- Heritage Park in Argartala: This Park is a 10-acre garden that holds mini replicas of the major sites of Tripura including Neermahal. It is filled will lush plants and flowers including eucalyptus and lychee. It also has an amphitheater for events and can accommodate large crowds.
- Ujjayanta Palace: A palace of beautiful architecture with a museum on the lifestyle, art, culture and tradition of Tripura and a variety of India’s Northeast states. Great place to learn and enjoy the beauty with family.
- Tripurasundari Temple: One of the 51 Shakti Peethas, this is a Lord Shiva temple that is just over an hour’s drive from Agartala. Many tourists boast about the cleanliness and the enjoyable surrounding of the temple
- Unakoti: This is an open temple for Lord Shiva, Ganesh, and the goddess Durga. The temple consists of large rock carvings surrounded by beautiful greenery and a waterfall. It has recently been coined as one of Tripura’s hidden gems!
- Sepahijala Wild Life Sanctuary: A quick 45-minute drive outside of Argartala you will find this spacious sanctuary. This is a great place for animal lovers and nature enthusiasts. It has five sections: carnivores, primates, ungulates, reptiles, and aviary. The zoological park has a scenic manmade lake surrounded by forest. You and your family can enjoy a small boat tour!
Tour Tripura, India
Starting from the farthest eastern reaching state in India, Mizoram, we find ourselves in a small corner of the Northeast. Mizoram borders Myanmar to the east and Bangladesh to the West. It became a part of India in 1987 and is currently India’s second least populated state.
The best time to visit Mizoram, India, is between November and March. From April to October, you will find it has quite hot temps sandwiching a heavy monsoon season. As it is a bit of a rustic state in India, you will have better travel during the temperate months.
You can check out their famous Mizo Poet Square, which is known as Mizo Hlakungpui Mual. It honors history poets who helped preserve the literature of the Mizos. It’s a beautiful garden space where you can enjoy a gentle walk and some peace and quiet.
Mizoram, India, is a Northeast state known for its hilly terrain and diverse wildlife. If you enjoy waterfalls and forest preserves, then definitely add this state in Northeast to your list!
Tour Mizoram, India
Manipur, India, is a Northeast state that shares a large border with Myanmar. It became a state of India in 1972. Fun fact: Manipur takes the credit for introducing the sport of polo to Europeans!
You will want to book a trip to Manipur somewhere between October to February to avoid excessive heat and humidity. This part of Northeast India has a good mix of lower valleys and rolling hills. Manipur has some breathtaking flora and fauna as well as a great variety of wildlife.
Manipur, India, is famous for giving Indian tourists a taste of Southeast Asia. The food, customs, and culture are heavily influenced by the state’s border of Myanmar. There are plenty of ways to have rich ethnic experiences and submerge yourself into nature when visiting this part of India.
Tour Manipur, India
Nagaland, India, is most famous for its Hornbill Festival around December. At this famous Festival of Festivals you can witness the cultures of the many strong tribes of Nagaland. It’s also a great time to taste a variety of ethnic foods. But, be aware that this is the main event for the year in this Northeast India state. That means book your flights and hotels early!
This Indian state is also home to a family-friendly zoo in Dimapur. It houses a variety of local wildlife including tigers, leopards, monkeys, hornbills, pythons, and deer. It’s a great place to visit with children.
Another aspect of this Northeast India state is its prized “King Chilly,” AKA the ghost pepper and locally the bhut jolokia. Naga food is fresh and spicy. Their diet is mainly made of meat, fish, fermented products, and raw vegetables.
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One of India’s states situated in the Himalayas, this Northeast state borders most of the other Northeast states as well as Bangladesh and Bhutan. Assam became a state in India in 1950. Before the other northeast states split, they were all clumped under the name of Assam.
Assam is the gateway to the majority of the Northeast by road, rail, and air. It has a fairly temperate climate with a typical monsoon season, making it an enjoyable destination for tourists most of the year.
Some major attractions include: Assam tea estates, a variety of temples, and a mixture of national forests and wildlife sanctuaries.
Tour Assam, India
Arunachal Pradesh, India
The Northeast India state of Arunachal Pradesh literally translates to land of dawn-lit mountains. It borders China to the north, Myanmar to the east, and Bhutan to the west. It became a state in India in 1987.
This area of India has a diverse climate ranging from subtropical climates to highland and alpine climates, depending on your elevation and location in the state. Speaking of diversity, this Northeast state is home to a variety of religions, languages, and cultures.
The remote Northeast India state is growing its tourism industry, and more and more tourists are coming to the state. The best tourist activities are nature-related activities such as trekking, angling, and rafting.
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The Abode of the Clouds is the Sanskrit meaning behind this Northeast India state. When India was under British rule, it was nicknamed Scotland of the East. It became a part of India in 1972.
The capital of this Indian state is Shillong. It is one of India’s prized hill stations. Because of the elevation, it has a great temperate climate. Surrounding Shillong there are a variety of accessible tourist attractions.
Meghalaya is one of the Northeast India states that doesn’t require foreigners to have a special permit to enter and stay. This has helped their tourism industry grow with the influx of foreigners exploring their state.
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Northeast India states used to be called the “seven sisters.” When the State of Sikkim joined India, however, the seven became eight. Sikkim joined India in 1975 and is now considered one of the 8 northeast states of India.
Sikkim is one of the states in India that is a hub for Tibetan Buddhism as it historically had strong connections with Bhutan, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama. Sikkim was a kingdom much like Bhutan but became a state shortly after the invasion of China in Tibet.
With its history in mind, Sikkim is a unique destination in India that makes the traveler feel as if they are stepping onto the Tibetan plateau. It is marked by the jagged Himalayan mountains and is home to the world’s 3rd tallest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga. It is a great destination for trekkers, nature lovers, and cultural enthusiasts who travel to the Northeast states for some adventure and relaxation.
Tour Sikkim, India
Get Out of India Without Leaving the Country!
Visiting Northeast India is a great option for Indian tourists who want a different flavor of culture and landscape. The states of the Northeast are worth the journey!