Commonly known as the Seven Sister States, Northeast India is an amalgamation of undulating hills, rolling valleys and tranquil hamlets. It comprises of the seven Indian states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram. Sikkim is the newest addition and became the eighth state in the year 2002.
Enriched with diverse flora and fauna, these places are away from the tourist circuit. There history, culture and traditions are varied and deep-rooted in the past. Every destination is a slice of paradise and warm locals await to welcome visitors.
Northeast India originated in the 19th century during British rule in India. Between 1839 and 1873, it was a part of the Bengal Province. After India became independent in the year 1947, the Northeastern region consisted of Assam, Manipur and Tripura.
Eventually, the other states were formed from the larger region of Assam. Shillong was the capital of Assam during British Raj. Later in the year 1972, Meghalaya was formed and Shillong became the state capital. Finally, Assam’s capital was shifted to Dispur.
The Northeastern States are often known as the Seven Sister states because they are interdependent on one another. All these states are connected to India via Siliguri Corridor. Hence, that is the only way to reach the Seven Sister States.
Referred to as the least explored state in India, Arunachal Pradesh is wild and pristine. It is an interesting mix of snow-capped peaks, emerald green forests and gushing streams that look straight out of the postcard. Arunachal Pradesh is the home to 26 indigenous tribes and over 500 exotic bird species.
No wonder, it promises visitors with adventures to cherish forever. This region is all about the raw beauty of nature that cannot be found anywhere else. Inhale the mountain air or seek solace amidst the serene environment, this place has everything that can calm your anxious mind.
Sprawling over an area of 78000 square kilometres, Assam is the largest state in Northeast India. It takes pride in conserving the One-Horned Rhinoceros which is near extinction. Assam is also popular for its tea and silk. This region reward visitors with a picturesque landscape and flavoured cuisine.A large area of Assam is draped in verdant tea estates and exploring these plantations is on every tourist’s itinerary. The beauty of this region is unmatched and it has great potential to satiate the wanderlust. It is also the home to one of the oldest pilgrimage site, the Kamakhya Temple that attracts countless devotees from different parts of India.
Meghalaya, popularly known as the ‘Abode of Clouds’, is one of the most beautiful states in our country. It is packed with a plethora of natural spectacles and reward tourists with endless possibilities. The population mainly comprises of tribal people and boasts of a rich heritage dating back to the centuries.
The living root bridges are the main attractions of Meghalaya and entice visitors across the globe. These are manmade wonders built by the Khasi people to cross the gushing streams and rivers. The living root bridges concentrated around Mawlynnong and Cherrapunji.
One of the least explored states in India, Manipur has a dearth of attractions that never fail to impress tourists. It is commonly known as the ‘Land of Jewels’ and reward visitors with bountiful nature. Manipur is an effortless blend of rolling green hills, dense forests, tranquil lakes and exquisite landscapes.
Manipur welcome visitors with verdant hues and pleasing climate. Apart from natural wonders, it is packed with ancient monuments and temples. Shri Govindji is one of the largest temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Devi Radha. Make sure to witness the famed Sangai Festival that digs deep into the authentic culture and heritage of Manipur.
Nestled in the mountainous terrain, Mizoram is the land of the Mizos, the native inhabitants. Dotted with verdant forests and teeming with wildlife, this region is a piece of heaven for nature lovers and thrill-seekers. Mizoram shares its borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
With vibrant festivals in an idyllic setting, Mizoram is one of the least discovered regions in our country. The intricate work of the tribal artisans is one of the many highlights of Mizoram. Apart from the scenic beauty, Mizoram is known for its traditional food which is a real treat to the taste buds. No wonder, this state will never fail to amaze you with its beauty and grandeur.
Bordered by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland is one of the exquisite Northeast Indian states. This region is known for its famed Hornbill Festival that features culture, folk music, dance and delicious food. Around 16 indigenous tribes are living in Nagaland. Hence, the traditional lifestyle is the norm. Nagaland is all about endless explorations.
The quaint tribal villages, wildlife sanctuaries and untamed forests offer an unusual charm to every traveller visiting Nagaland. Here, people wear the traditional tribal attire that looks pleasing to the eyes. Some of the main attractions of Nagaland include Dzukou Valley, Japfu Peak, Kachari Ruins and more.
Covering an area over 10,000 square kilometres, Tripura is the third-smallest state in India. This region is all about hilly terrain and tribal villages in an idyllic setting. Tripura is the home to 19 indigenous tribes and exhibits a culture that is unique yet unusual.
This region is a mix of tribal and Bengali culture where everyone lives in peace and harmony. From sightseeing to trekking and sumptuous food, Tripura has something to offer everyone. Some of the top tourist attractions include Ujjayanta Palace, Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, Chittagong Hills, Tripura Sundari Temple and more.
Northeast Indian states boast of several fairs and festivals that are a riot of culture and tradition. Every indigenous tribe has its unique festival and such celebration takes place throughout the year.
The traditional costumes that people wear during the occasions are one of the many highlights of these fairs and festivals. Some of the major festivals include Assam’s Brahmaputra Festival, Nagaland’s Hornbill Festival, Shillong’s Autumn Festival, Manipur’s Chapchar Kut, Tripura’s Kharchi Puja and more.
The culture of Northeast India is unique and varied. It showcases a tribal culture that is hard to find in other parts of India. Every tribal group has a unique art, cuisine, folk dance and festival.
Apart from the ethnic groups, the people of Northeast are the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim and Christianity.
The staple food of the Northeast Indian population is rice served with spicy meat, fish and green vegetables. They eat a variety of non-vegetarian dishes that comprise of duck, pigeon, mutton and chicken. The local delicacies include Jadoh, Aakhol Ghor, Momos and Pickled Bamboo Shoots.
The Northeastern states are not only known for their lush landscapes but also their exemplary handicrafts. Craft culture has its roots in ancient times. The local people are skilled in weaving and wood-carving. Silk weaving, jewellery making and cane crafts are the most popular items produced by the indigenous tribes and every tribe excel in this art. They produce their speciality and share with the world.
The Seven Sisters States not only boasts of their rich landscapes but also takes pride in their folk dance and music. Shillong is often known as the music capital and it is the prime hub for rock music in India. Singing and dancing play an integral part in their festivals and people love showcasing their culture to the world. Several unique musical instruments are also used by the locals. This includes Tamak Drum, Khamb and Labang
Literature in Northeast India reflects the rich legacy of this region. The unspoilt landscape, tribal culture and political unrest inspire its unique literature which is different from English. The prominent writers from Northeast include Ananda Chandra Barua, Amulya Barua, Banikanta Kakati, Harekrishna Deka, Hem Barua, Nitoo Das, Srutimala Duara and more.
The Seven Sister States with untamed landscapes and vast expanses of greenery is the least explored region in India. This region is a treasure trove of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The dense forests house some of the rarest and endangered wildlife species including 380 bird species, over 50 mammal species and 50 species of reptiles. A few of the rare wildlife creatures includes Great Indian Hornbill, Indian Flying Squirrel, One-Horned Rhinoceros, Clouded Leopard, Red Panda and Indian Civet.
By Air: Each state of Northeast India has its airport which is served by domestic airlines. The major airports are in Pakyong, Agartala, Shillong, Dimapur, Silchar and Lengpui. The international airports are located in Imphal and Guwahati.
By Train: Northeast India has an extensive rail network that is well connected to major destinations around India. The prominent railway stations are located in Guwahati, Itanagar, Agartala, Silchar and Dispur.
By Road: From the airport and the railway stations, buses and taxis are available for your onward journey. There are government buses that operate regularly in the state of Assam. MTC bus services are available in Shillong.
Northeast India can be visited all year round and every season has its flavour. The winter months from November to March are a great time to experience the chill in the air and relish the verdant hues. The temperature is mild and pleasing in the summer months between April and May. July to September constitutes the rainy season which allows tourists to sink in the rain-soaked landscape.