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Seven Sisters – The North East India

Location : North Eastern Part Of India

Region’s Major States : Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram Tripura


Having crossed the north Bengal strip one enters into Assam, which lies astride the Brahmaputra River and juts southwards towards the Barak valley. Crossing the magnificent Brahmaputra so deeply linked to life in Assam, one reaches Guwahati , the capital where the famous Kamakahya temple is located on a hilltop. Guwahati has evolved into a major business centre and most of the travel linkages pass through it. Close to Guwahati is Sualkuchi, which produces the most exquisite Moonga silk fabrics. Assam possibly has more folklore and tradition than any other place in India. There are archaeological ruins all over Assam but the ones around Sibsagar simply must be seen. The largest river island of the world, Manjuli, is a must too along with Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary . The dark green tea gardens blend beautifully with the pastel green of paddy. more…


North of the Brahmaputra and giving Assam an eastern border is the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Served by a few major rivers, lateral movement in these areas was very difficult till a few years back. Driving towards Tawang where there is a Gompa over 400 years old, one goes past orchards of Apples, Pomegranates, Oranges, Sheep farms and colourful valleys full of flowers. This is just a glimpse of one portion of Arunachal Pradesh called Kameng. Subansiri, Siang, Lohit, Tirap… are still to come. Most of Arunachal Pradesh has primary jungles, deep gorges and villages in really remote places. The changing colours provide a constant reminder of diversity and cheerful spirits. Cane bridges, swaying precariously over roaring white waters are often the only means of moving from one place to another. Itanagar , the capital city of Arunachal Pradesh has also quietly witnessed numerous ups and downs of the by gone eras. more…


Nagaland can be approached from Naogaon (leading to Kohima via Dimapur) or from Jorhat, which would take one to Mokokchong, Tuensang and down to Kohima. Dimapur is connected by air and rail and is the capital though Kohima seems to occupy pride of place in Naga thought. In habited by swarthy tribes, Nagaland has its own distinct culture and ethos. Happy and cheerful, the people have an innate sense of music and colour. All the land here is basically owned by villages and individuals (this is true of many areas of the North-East) and, therefore, one rarely hears of land disputes and clashes. The all-prevalent green continues and the scenic beauty of the state overwhelms us. Quite westernised in their outlook, one can see the real traditional dresses only during festivals unless slightly remote villages are visited. more…


Driving down to Imphal in Manipur is yet another beautiful experience. Imphal is connected by air (direct from delhi also) but not by rail. Manipur is somewhat different culturally because of the Vaishnav influence and some of the dance forms are very distinct and stylised. Along with dance forms, various martial arts are practised here and the game of Polo is said to have originated in Manipur. Folklores abound and are supported by a fair amount of recorded history. There is a plethora of handloom and handicrafts, but the shawls and dress material are worth sampling. Manipuri pottery is also very interesting because the potter’s wheel is not used – amazing but true. Birds, animals, flowers abound because of the availability of forests – from the tropical rain forests to the sub alpine. Nature’s unique gift to Manipur are the floating islands of Loktak Lake. more…


National highway 44 takes one into Tripura: the railway line is only up to Dharmanagar. Agartala, the state capital is connected by air to Kolkatta (previously known as Calcutta) and Guwahati . Tripura is steeped in history with linkages established from the legendary Limar dynasty. Recorded history dates back to almost 3,000 years. Even Samudra Gupta’s pillars mention the existence of this state. It is the unique continuous history that has to be absorbed here. In geographical terms, Tripura is a small state (second smallest state of India). This is yet another state like Manipur where Christian influence is negligible. It is the unique continuous history that has to be absorbed here. In geographical terms, Tripura is a small state (second smallest state of India). more…


Meghalaya, the abode in the clouds, is best approached from Guwahati though the highway from Silchar is good and the sights beautiful. Travelling across Meghalaya is not easy. The Garo Hills portion, with Tura as the main township has to be approached from Guwahati separately; Khasi and Jaintia hills are adjoining and easy to visit. With its weather and landscape, Shillong (initially it was Cherrapunji) became the centre of administration in the northeast. Therefore, development also took place with the cantonment being established and comfortable living for the “Sahibs”. Unlike the others of the seven sisters, Meghalaya’s terrain consists more of rolling hills and less of steep climbs. There are beautiful meadows with fringes of pine forests everywhere. As if to complete the picture, there are breathtaking waterfalls with the waters plunging down hundreds of feet’s. more…


From Meghalaya , past Silchar, one gets onto highway to Mizoram, the southernmost of the seven sisters. Mizos or the highlanders, settled in these parts not very long ago. It is believed that this hardy tribe came from Chinglung in China and travelled into Myanmar and finally settled here. Vairengte, with its imposing church, is at the gateway to Mizoram. Passing through in the morning, one observes that virtually all the children are school bound. No wonder the literacy rate here is almost equal to that of Kerala. Christianity is the predominant religion but tradition has not been given the go by. Over the years, the region has managed to maintain its special touch with Aizawl being the hub centre. Pollution is low and despite “Jhuming” – a slash and burn type of cultivation – the greenery is intact. Cheerful by nature, the Mizos have a flair for music and rhythm, and possibly have the best choir singers in the world. All the dances are rhythmic and colourful. “Cheraw”, the bamboo dance, is an excellent example of rhythm, colour and precision. more…

Himalayan Tourism : Himachal Pradesh : Garhwal & Kumaon : Sikkim : North East India

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