20 Amazing must see Places in North East India

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According to stats made available by the Indian Tourism Department, around 7 million foreign tourists visit India each year. While these numbers are nothing to boast of considering that India ranks 65th out of 144 countries on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, what is clear that many parts of India remain largely unexplored, both by foreign and domestic tourists. None more so than India’s North-East.

The North-East of India is, perhaps, in terms of natural splendor, the most beautiful region in the country, still untouched by the urban sprawl that dominates the landscape of most Indian towns and cities, with a small population that is charmingly innocent, friendly and curious about tourists. You may claim to have seen everything there is to see in India, but if you’re yet to visit the North-East, you’ve seen nothing yet!

It is true that very few tourists visit North-East compared to places like Goa or Kerala. Perhaps this is because of a general ignorance, as many people still believe the North-East is ravaged by militancy. Not so – the North-East has been completely peaceful for years now, the days of separatist militancy are long gone, people here just wish to get on with their lives and catch up with the rest of the country. Which is why this article seeks to shed light on the beauty of North-East. Here, we give you 20 terrific reasons to visit the North-East. Each of the seven North-Eastern states is represented in our list of 20 “Must See” places in the North-East, that you must visit. Read on!

Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Gompa

Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Tawang Monastry

Photo Credit: Anirudh Rao (Flickr)

Nestled amid the stunning natural beauty of the imposing Tawang Valley, the Tawang Gompa or the Tawang Monastery is a sight to behold. The Tawang Gompa is a majestic structure, the second largest Buddhist monastery in the world and the biggest in India, spread over a vast area, made of nothing but hard stone. It makes for a wonderful sight – as any large building surrounded by mountains on all sides, standing at a height of 10,000 feet above the sea level, would. The Tawang Gompa was built way back in the 17th century, and has 65 buildings in it, housing as many as 500 Buddhist monks. There is no better way to watch the Tawang Valley than from the Tawang Gompa. The imposing statue of Gautam Buddha in the Tawang Gompa is something that would make you instantly peaceful. The large library, with one of the biggest collection of books on the Buddhist religion in the world is another added attraction.

Sela Pass

Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Tawang

Photo Credit: Anirudh Rao (Flickr)

It’s hard to find a person who hasn’t heard of the Khardungla Pass in Ladakh, which is known to be the highest motorable pass in the world. What if we told you that the North-East has a pass that is equally stunning, and perhaps even more challenging? Sela Pass lies at an altitude of 13,000 feet and connects Tawang to the rest of India. The Sela Pass is open all through the year, although it may be shut down temporarily during the winter, when it snows heavily. There is absolutely nothing that would beat the outstanding view you get as you go through the Sela Pass. Also, the Sela Pass is of critical importance to the Indian Army, for defending the nation’s borders. The Sela Pass witnessed a brutal conflict during the India-China 1962 war, as soldiers of both countries fought to gain control of it.

Siang River

Siang River Arunachal Pradesh

Photo Credit – Wet Planet (Flickr)

The Siang River is visually stunning –it’s an almost violent river, in which the water flows at rollicking speed, not stopping by for anything in the world. The water is crystal clear, pure, completely free from pollution of any sort – you can even drink it directly if you wish to. The Siang River is a tributary of the powerful Brahmaputra, which is one of the most important rivers in Asia. What better way to spend time when you’re in the North-East than to go kayaking and rafting on the Siang River? If you have never done it before, perhaps it’s high time you learned?! And as you visit the Siang River, do cross it using the hanging bridge – you’re likely to be scared as hell, but is is perfectly safe and an experience you’ll remember for life.

Ziro Valley

Ziro Valley

Photo Credit – Arpan Kalita (Flickr)

Ziro is an ancient hill station that lies at the heart of the visually pleasing Ziro Valley. The Ziro Valley is a region of rich biodiversity, and has a vast collection of flora and fauna. But the reason Ziro is famous throughout India is the Ziro Festival. The Ziro Festival is a nationwide rock concert where rock bands from all over India and abroad visit and exhibit their wonderful talent in 3 days and 3 nights of great fun and frolic, dance and music. The Ziro Festival is usually held towards the end of September, so book your tickets in the North-East for that month.

Sikkim

Phodong Monastery

Phodong Monastery Sikkim

Photo Credit – hiddelbee (Flickr)

The Phodong Monastery is one of the most important monasteries in Buddhism, particularly in the Kagyu sect of the great religion. It lies in a quiet, natural surrounding just 25 kms away from the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok. It is said that the Phodong Monastery was built in the 18th century, but there are many who suggest that it is far older than that. The ancient murals on the walls of the Phodong Monastery are outstanding works of art. If you’re in the mood for a quiet meditation, there is no better place than the Phodong Monastery, which is practically isolated from the rest of civilization.

Goecha La

Goecha La Lake

Photo Credit – Srinivasa Prasath (Flickr)


Goecha La is one of the highest mountain passes in India, which is thickly covered with lush greenery, and lies at an astonishing height of 16,000 feet above the sea level, and makes for a thrilling experience if you decide to trek across it. You should begin your Goecha La trek from Yuksom, take along enough food, warm clothes and camping gear to last the trek, which would normally last 3 days. Add 3 more days for the return journey. As you trek across the Goencha La, prepare yourself for an amazing view of the Kanchenjunga, one of the highest mountain peaks in the world.

Yumthang Valley

The Yumthang Valley is one of the most gorgeous sights you can hope to see. It lies at an altitude of 14,000 feet and during summer, it is covered fully by the glorious rhododendron flowers – which is also the officially recognized state flower in Sikkim. You can spend a quiet and pleasant afternoon here, watching the locals shepherding their sheep and yaks. If you like winter sports, then you should visit the Yumthung Valley during winter as it would be completely covered with snow, making it one of the few places in India where you can practice skiing.

Nathu La Pass

The Nathu La Pass is historically important because, for centuries, trade between India and China happened through this route. Even today, a lot of trade between the two countries happen through the Nathu La Pass. Nathu La is translated as “listening ears”. The reason being every word you utter here gets echoed by the surrounding peaks, so you get the feeling as though you’re being “heard” by them. The Nathu La Pass is largely barren, but there is a sparse growth of Sikkim’s favorite flowers, the rhododendrons, here and there.

Assam

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park Assam

Photo Credit : Gourab Das (Flickr)


The Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary lies at the heart of Assam and is bisected by the great River Brahmaputra. It is spread over a vast area spanning 858 sq. kms. It is believed that 66% of the world’s rhino population can be found here in the Kaziranga. The Kaziranga is Assam’s most popular tourist destination and has been declared as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Apart from the rhinos, Kaziranga has elephants, tigers, the Indian bison, deer, sambar, over 250 bird species and so much more. Travel through the Kaziranga is by riding an elephant across it. And do get your best camera – it’s time for some great wildlife photography.

Manas National Park

The Manas National Park is not as large as the Kaziranga, but it is a very important tiger reserve, which has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has been named after the River Manas that flows through it. You can find an amazing biodiversity in the Manas National Park. Some of the rarest of rare animals such as the Assam Roofed TurtleGolden Langur, the Pygmy Hog and many more are found here. But the Manas National Park is known in particular for its tigers, and there is a big tiger population here. So, bring your camera along when you visit the Manas National Park and “shoot” a tiger!

Majuli

Majuli is famous as one of the biggest river islands in the world. It is surrounded on all sides by the formidable Brahmaputra river and was once quite big, spanning an area of 1,200 sq kms. But soil erosion has diminished Majuli’s land area and today it is only spread over 420 sq kms. Regardless, Majuli is a must visit for birdwatchers because of the large number of migratory birds that visit. It is a bird lover’s delight. Prepare yourself to be surrounded by a cacophony of bird noises as you visit Majuli.

Manipur

Loktak Lake

Have you ever wondered about a lake that actually “floats”? Well, it’s not a stuff of imagination, because the Loktak Lake in Manipur, does just that – float! Well, not exactly – the Loktak Lake has a lot of dead vegetation and mass that is gathered at its surface, which give it an appearance of floating whenever you take a boat ride on it. On the shores of the Loktak Lake, there is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, where you can find the highly endangered Sangai deer, as well as several other species of wild animals and birds.

Imphal

Imphal is the capital of Manipur and is known to be a quiet and relaxed place. The weather in Imphal is very pleasant and cool even in the summer. You can spend your day in Imphal doing a lot of shopping at the local markets, there are lovely pieces of handcrafted artwork, exotic fabric, tribal jewelry, musical instruments and much more to be found here – just don’t forget to bargain hard for everything, just like Indians do. Imphal is also the site of the ruins of the ancient Palace of Kangla and has world class Polo grounds. Indeed, Imphal’s Polo grounds have been around for more than a century and are among the oldest in the world.

Khwairamband Bazaar

The Khwairamband Bazaar lies at the heart of the city of Imphal and it is unlike any market in the world. It is completely run by women shopkeepers. Only women are allowed to own shops in the Khwairamband Bazaar. You can buy some really special handlooms here, as well as some of the best handcrafted artwork you’ll find anywhere in the world. And if you’re in the mood to prepare a great meal, you will find the freshest fish and meat, as well as fruits and vegetables of the finest quality in the whole of the North-East here.

Nagaland

Japfu Peak

The Japfu Peak is one of the highest peaks in the North-East and a great place to go to for an adventurous trek. It is located at a height of 9,500 feet above sea level and is only a short distance away from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. The best part of the Japfu peak is the Rhododendron tree, which is 130 feet tall, and stands right on top of the peak.

Dzukou Valley

Dzukou Valley - The Valley of Flowers
The Dzukou Valley is a photographer’s delight as it is one of the most visually stunning sights in the North-East. Trekking to the Dzukou Valley is a part of the growing process for every young man and woman in Nagaland, and getting to the top of the valley after a long and arduous trek is a delight in itself. The Dzukou Valley is noted for the exotic flower, Dzukou Lily. The valley is surrounded by a thick bed of greenery which looks amazing when seen from a distance. Get your best camping gear along when you visit the Dzukou Valley and spend at least a night there, if you can.

Meghalaya

Cherrapunji

Nohkalikai Falls Cherrapunji
Meghalaya is famous as the state which has Cherrapunji, which is well known as the wettest place in the world. Nowhere in the world does it rain as much as in Cherrapunji. Besides just being famous for its rain, Cherrapunji is also popular for its living root bridges. It rains so much here that the rubber trees found in this region grow so much that their extremely thick and strong roots form bridges that you can walk on. You don’t have to worry about these living root bridges collapsing because the roots are incredibly strong after several hundred years of growth. You can set up a camp underneath these bridges if you want to – it’s all terrific fun.

Jaintia Hills

Jaintia Hills are giant limestone deposits present at the heart of Meghalaya. They have been formed because of centuries of heavy rainfall, which has created deep caves out of scores of natural limestone rocks. There are several caves in the Jaintia Hills, nobody has been able to count how many, exploring them is great fun for the adventurous tourist. Some of the caves here are quite complex and have several layers of deep passages. Remember to get your very best torches as you visit the Jaintia Hills.

Mizoram

Blue Mountain National Park

The Blue Mountain National Park is one of the most diverse wildlife sanctuaries in India’s North-East. It has a vast collection of flora and fauna and is a wonderful place to trek. It’s a great feeling to be as close to the wild as you would be when you visit the Blue Mountain National Park. At the heart of the park is the peak of the Blue Mountain. Getting on top of this peak is great fun and the wonderful scenery that you witness from here is simply out of the world.

Dampa Tiger Reserve

The Dampa Tiger Reserve is vast – spread over 550 sq kms, and it is well known for housing a vast collection of wild animals such as the tiger, Indian elephant, leopard, gaur,  serow, porcupine,  wild boar,  sloth bear and the Himalayan black bear. Of course, the tiger is the most prominent wild beast at the Dampa Tiger Reserve. You may expect to find a very high density of tigers here.

That’s it. That’s our list of 20 great places you must visit in India’s North-East. We hope we have convinced you that there is more to Indian tourism than beaches in Goa or resorts in Kerala. As we said in the beginning of the article, if you haven’t seen India’s North-East yet, you haven’t really seen India. So, what are you waiting for?!

JayB

A self-described travel enthusiast...

1 Comment

  1. hamid

    June 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    interesting blog with all respects, i have never been to India but each time i see something different than i will be tempted to go. Thank you

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