North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Legendary Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh on your North East India Tribes Tour

North East India is home to over 200 indigenous Tribes who have their own distinct culture and traditions. The origin of the legendary tribes of North East India can be associated largely with the ethnic groups of Indo Mongoloids, Tibetan, Burmese and the South East Asian communities as well as Asio-Austric. The Tribes of North East India can be distinguished mostly with their cultural and religious practices along with their dialect, their attire, jewelry and traditional dances. Each tribal community speak their distinctive language along with the mother tongue of each State. Some of these North East Indian Tribes live in very remote places and hills of the region resulting in generating utmost curiosity among researchers and travelers to study and visit their rich unexplored heritage.

The Tribes of North East India still practice agriculture as their prime occupation. These Tribes of North East India are also adept hunters and skillful craftsmen. Their traditional handicrafts and handlooms are well renowned across the world and demand for these products come from across the Globe. Agricultural being the major occupation of the Tribes of North East India, their festivals are mostly centered around the harvest and sowing seasons of the agrarian calendar of India.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
Handloom weaving an important occupation of the tribes of North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Arunachal Pradesh is one among the largest State among all the 8 States of North East India and is inhabited by a number of tribes like Adi, Apatanis, Mishmis, Monpas, Nyishis, Wanchos, Notchets, Ypobins, etc. Adi is one among the important tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and are divided into different groups such as Padam, Tagin, Gallong, Tangam, Pailiba, etc. Another important tribe are the Noctes who are famous as salt producers and profess Vaishnavism. The Tangsas is also a major tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and they literally mean children of the hill. The Mishmi tribes have three important groups namely the Idus or Chulikatas, Digarus or Taroan and Mijus or Kaman. Their women are expert weavers. The Monpa tribes follow Buddhism and the Nishyi tribes are one of the biggest groups of people inhabiting Arunachal Pradesh in the Itanagar and Naharlagun areas.

Assam also has a wide population of tribal people inhabiting various parts of the State. The major tribes of Assam are the Bodos, Karbis, Mishing and Tai tribes. Bodo tribes are the oldest tribes of Assam and they earn a livelihood mainly by cultivation, tea plantation and poultry farming. Karbi people of Assam originally belonged to China and migrated to Assam. They generally reside in hilly areas and are called Mikir. The Mishing tribe belong to the Tibeto Burmese group and are settled along the river Brahmaputra at Majuli Island. The Tai Phake tribe of Assam are also known as Phakial and follow Buddhism. They speak Assamese as well as Phake language.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Bodo tribe of Assam on North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

The tribes of Meghalaya can be classified into three groups namely Khasis, Jaintias and Garos. These tribes are named after their inhabited hills. The most striking feature of Meghalayan tribes is their following the matriarchal society wherein the property of the family is transferred to their daughters. They practice Christianity as their faith and their main occupation id Jhum cultivation i.e. shifting cultivation.

Nagaland is an entirely tribal State. The tribals here are called Nagas and they belong to the Indo-Mongoloid family. Major tribes under Nagas are the Angamis, Aos, Chakesangs, Changs, Zeliang, Sumis, Pochurys, etc. Each of these tribal communities of Nagaland have their own languages and cultural features.

The Mizos are a tribal community of Mizoram. Mizos have the second highest literacy rate in India and majorly speak Mizo and English. Mizos believe in the code of ethics which revolves around ‘Tlawmngaihna’ which means every Mizo must be hospitable, kind, unselfish and always helpful to the poor and needy.

The most dominant tribes of Sikkim are Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalis. Lepchas are said to be the original inhabitants of Sikkim and have existed much before the Bhutias and Nepalis migrated to the State.

Manipur also has some indigenous tribal communities such as Aimols, Anals, Purums, Raltes, Semas, Simtes, Suktes, Tangkhuls, Thadous, Vaipheis and Zous.

Tripura has a few tribal communities like the Riangs, Chaimals, Halams, Mogs, Chakma Tipperas and Tripuris.

Home to over 200 indigenous tribes, North East India is a journey that every enthusiastic people and heritage loving traveller should always undertake. Spread across undulating mountains and valleys, the geography of North East India has been a place where the indigenous people have been able to survive over the several hundred years keeping in harmony with nature and working with nature to keep the ecological balance intact. As most of these places have not yet been touched with urbanization and remain cut off from the rest of the world due to lack of proper infrastructure, these indigenous people have been able to successfully preserve their ancient practices, traditions and culture as well. These indigenous people had migrated several hundred years ago from far flung places like South East Asia, Myanmar, Mongolia, etc and settled themselves in the places across North East India because of the similarity in the terrains from their lands. Over the years, they have become an integral part of North East India today making the region one of the most culturally diverse places across Earth! From the Bodos and Mishings in Assam, to the Khasis and Jaintia people of Meghalaya, the Apatanis, Adi, Galos, Nyshis in Arunachal pradesh to the last of the headhunting tribes of the Konyaks, Sumi Nagas and the Angamis of Nagaland, India’s North East presents to you a plethora of the rich culture and traditions of its indigenous people.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The warrior tribes of Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

These people consider nature to be their Gods as they derive everything from its food to other necessities of daily survival. They worship the sun and the moon and practice agriculture and hunting as their primary means of survival. They live in harmony with nature and consider the forests to be sacred as these forests provide them their source of timber that in turn leads to the fire in their home kitchen. Like the Khasis of Meghalaya who used the roots of trees of the forests to grow Living Root Bridges across the perennial streams that help them to cross perennial streams that helps them to access the various remote villages in the dense forests. The Khasis of Meghalaya even consider and create certain pockets of forests as Sacred groves where they perform ancient rituals and do not allow any act of nuisance (like felling of trees) inside these sacred groves. The tribes of Assam like the Bodos and the Karbis know their forest areas quite well and they use this forest cover to help them derive food source and to built their homes as well. Bamboo plantations are found in abundance across Assam and these tribal people have perfected the use of bamboo for use in house building, carving our exquisite handicrafts and even for food in the form of bamboo shoots. The Mishing people of Assam derive many of their medications from the forest pockets of the largest river island in the World – Majuli! The people of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh know the importance of their land and some of the people in Aruanchal practice a faith wherein they worship the Sun, Moon, mountains, rivers known as Donyi Poloism. They believe in the powers of nature and have festivities revolved around thanking nature for its bountiful gifts. They even use the trees and plants around them for food, shelter and even creating traditional herbal medicines.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Living Root Bridges grown by the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

In this North East India tribal odyssey we start on an unforgettable journey starting with Assam where we start our visit in Assam’s Manas National Park where we visit the UNESCO World Heritage site to explore the varied flora and fauna and also to witness the Bodo tribal people of Assam. We explore their local villages and learn about their ancient customs and practices of arguable the oldest tribal people of Assam. Next up we head to the Chandubi lake area in Assam to spend our days here with the Rabha tribal people of Assam. Known to be the best admires of the forest area around them, we explore on a jungle trek here with the local people and also get to savour their traditional wine and food as well. Our journey continues to Shillong in Meghalaya where we get a glimpse of the life of the Khasi people of Meghalaya. Shillong is a place where you get to see a blend of the modern and the traditional world. often referred to as the Scotland of the East, this is a popular tourist destination of North East India. We continue further to Mawphlang where we admire the rich heritage of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves and continue our journey to Cherrapunji. We proceed deeper into the East Khasi Hills to the Nongriat village where we catch a glimpse of the traditional life of the Khasi people and also sight the Double Decker Living Root Bridge of Meghalaya. We also cover Mawlynnong – the Cleanest Village in Asia. Our journey continues to Kaziranga National Park – the UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its success story of conservation of the indian One Horned Rhinoceros. After your safaris here at Kaziranga we proceed further into Nagaland where we explore Kohima, Mon and Longwa with the Angami and the Konyak tribes and enter back into Assam to explore the Tipam and Inthong Villages visiting the Tai Phake and the Singpho people of Assam. Continuing further we enter Arunachal Pradesh to visit Roing, Pasighat, Along and Ziro to dwell with the Adi, Mishmi, Tagin and Apatani people here. Finally we arrive back to Assam in Majuli Island to explore the mysteries of the largest River Island in the World with the Mishing tribes. Our journey ends at Jorhat where you catch you flight for your onward destination.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Phom Naga tribes of Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Detailed Day Wise Itinerary of your North East India tribal Odyssey ~

Day 1 ~ Guwahati – Manas National Park

Arrive at Guwahati airport and you will be welcomed by our representatives offering you a warm welcome in an Assamese traditional way. From the airport board your comfortable vehicle and drive to Manas National Park (around 4 hours). At Manas National Park check into your Resort/Jungle Lodge. Evening we will visit the nearby Bodo village and get a glimpse of the culture of the indigenous people around Manas. Return back to you Resort/Jungle Lodge for night halt.

Night Halt: Bansbari Lodge/Florican Cottage at Manas National Park

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2 ~ Manas National Park (Jungle Safari)

Early morning go for a your Elephant Safari ride into the forest interiors of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Manas National Park. Sight the varied fauna species of Manas from the Elephant back. Return to your Lodge and after breakfast for a Jeep Safari ride deeper into the forest reserves of Manas. Evening we will visit the nearby tea gardens and relax by the Bonfire. Cultural Bodo tribal dance performance will be arranged at your Resort/Lodge.

Night Halt: Bansbari Lodge/Florican Cottage at Manas National Park

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 3 ~ Manas National Park – Chandubi

After an early breakfast we depart to the Chandubi lake area near Guwahati (4 – 5 hours). A naturally formed lagoon during the great earthquake of 1897, the Chandubi area is one of the most pristine and diverse forest areas of Assam. The forest reserves here are home to a healthy population of tigers, wild elephants, hoolock gibbons, leopards, burmese pythons, gibbons, slow loris and various bird species. Chandubi is also home to the Rabha tribes of Assam. Arrive by afternoon and check into the Chandubi Jungle Camp here. After lunch we go for a short trek inside the forest reserves of Chandubi. Evening enjoy a traditional dinner of the Rabha tribes along with locally brewed wine named locally as the Rabian Vodka.

Night Halt: Chandubi Jungle Camp at Chandubi

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 4 ~ Chandubi 

Today we explore the nearby waterfalls and visit a local Rabha village. Witness the art of weaving on a traditional loom and also witness the art of making bamboo handicrafts as well. In the evening a cultural performance of the Rabha tribe will await you at the Chandubi Jungle Camp.

Night Halt: Chandubi Jungle Camp at Chandubi

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5 ~ Chandubi – Shillong

Today we bid farewell to Assam and head towards the East Khasi Hills at Shillong in Meghalaya. Home to the Khasi people you get a different vibe once you are in Shillong. On one end you see the modern world with the educated youngsters adorning the best fashions while on the other part you see the traditional world where people survive on selling their produce in traditional attires. Check into your Guest House in Shillong. Evening we visit the Police bazaar in Shillong and witness the ancient betting game of ‘Teer’ (a bow and arrow sport), explore the colonial era Ward’s lake and also visit the Mary help of Christians Cathedral in Shillong. Retire for the night.

Night Halt: Sunrise Guest House at Shillong

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6 ~ Shillong – Mawphlang – Cherrapunji – Nongriat

Morning we head to Mawphlang – the site of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves. We take a short hike across the pristine forests of the Sacred Groves where we get to learn what exactly are these Khasi sacred groves and also learn about the various trees and orchids present here. (If interested we can embark on the David Scott trek which is one of the most pristine trek routes across Meghalaya). Or else we continue on our drive to Cherrapunji. At Cherrapunji we visit the Nohkalikai falls and explore the Arwah caves here. Continue on the drive to Tyrna village and embark on your trek to Nongriat village from Tyrna. At Nongriat your stay will be arranged in a basic homestay here with the Khasi people. Admire the wonder of the bioengineering marvel of the Umshiang Double Decker Living Root bridge at Nongriat village. Explore Nongriat village in the evening.

Night Halt: Basic Homestay at Nongriat village

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Khasi tribes at a local market in Cherrapunji in Meghalaya on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 7 ~ Nongriat – Cherrapunji – Mawlynnong

Today we hike back to Tyrna from Nongriat and from Tyrna we drive to Mawlynnong village – the Cleanest Village in Asia. Mawlynnong is a small village of about 100 khasi households who have been practicing to keep their village very neat and clean across several years earning the place the distinction of being the cleanest village in Asia. At Mawlynnong, we check into a traditional Khasi homestay. later we go to view the balancing rocks here and also to take a view of the plains of Bangladesh from the Nohwet viewpoint. We arrive back at Mawlynnong and in the evening we take a walk around the cleanest village and also take part in traditional Khasi cooking at one of the home stays here.

Night Halt: Homestay at Mawlynnong

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
Dining at a local Khasi Homestay with the Khasi people along with our guests in Meghalaya on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 8 ~ Mawlynnong – Kaziranga National Park

Today after breakfast we depart to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park from Mawlynnong (6 – 7 hours). Along our drive the lush tea gardens of Assam greet us to Kaziranga National Park. We check into a nature Eco Camp at Kaziranga National Park and in the late afternoon we set out to explore the Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity park – the Largest Orchid Park in India. Here we get to witness various orchid species of Assam and North East India. Along with this, this place also has a handicrafts and handloom museum that displays the various traditional handicrafts and handlooms of Assam. There is also a rice museum, cactus garden and a bamboo garden here as well. An open stage is also present where we get to witness the traditional dances of the mishing people and the bihu dance of Assam. Retire to the eco camp for the night.

Night Halt: Nature Hunt Eco Camp at Kaziranga National Park

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The authentic Assamese traditional cottages at Nature Hunt Eco Camp in Kaziranga on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 9 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Kohima

Today we will go for an early morning Jeep Safari ride into the interiors of the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park. Home to the highest population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, Kaziranga boasts of diverse floral, faunal and avifaunal species as well. After the Jeep safari ride we head back to the camp and head on our journey to Nagaland at Kohima. Arrive before sundown at Kohima and check into your Hotel.

Night Halt: Comfortable Hotel in Kohima

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 10 – Kohima

Kohima is the state capital of Nagaland and a bustling city of the state. Home to the Angami people of Nagaland, Kohima is renowned across the World for being host to the ‘Festival of Festivals – the Hornbill Festival’ of Nagaland that happens every year in the 1st week of December. An initiative of the Tourism Department Govt. of Nagaland, the Hornbill festival showcases the rich culture and heritage of the indigenous people of Nagaland spread across a period of 10 days where the various tribes perform and demonstrate their lives to the tourists from across the World. In addition there are various festivities like International Rock concerts, Vintage car rally, Naga King Chili eating contest, Pork fat eating contest, horticultural shows, handicrafts and handloom exhibitions, traditional practices and much more. However, even if you are not visiting Nagaland during the month of December to witness the Hornbill festival across this Itinerary we will be covering the places that illustrate the life of the principal tribes of Nagaland.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Angami tribal people of Kohima in Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Today in the morning we travel to Khonoma village from Kohima. Khonoma is a primary Angami village of Nagaland and is known as the only green village of North East India. The villagers here refrain from falling of trees and practice sustainable cultivation methods. Once you will enter Khonoma village you will get to witness arrays of rice cultivation done in steps where the villagers of Khonoma grow around 40 different varieties of rice. These steps ensure the village is self sufficient when it comes to food. Khonoma has been long known as the Naga village that opposed the British regime for many years. Many of the locals of Khonoma put down their lives fighting against the British invasion but finally surrendered in the year 1879. The Khonoma Fort stands as a testament to this battle and many of the martyrs memorial is here. Khonoma is a rural village of the Angami people of Nagaland where you can witness people still staying in mud houses with thatched roofs. Modern houses of brick and mortar are also to be seen here.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
Traditional Angami head gear at Khonoma in Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Witness the life of the indigenous Angami people of Nagaland here at Khonoma village. Visit their local homes and must visit inside the traditional kitchen of the people here. These traditional kitchens are a unique sight to behold where they hang meat to be smoked. The fire inside the kitchen is mostly a wood fire and the smoke from this fire fills the room and imparts the smoky flavor to the meat. Savor traditionally brewed rice beer and eat locally cooked food especially the ‘Akhuni’ and also a traditional way of cooking rice over firewood. Explore the green village of Khonoma and witness their traditional wrestling form that is still practiced here. Young boys start to learn this art form from a very early age and they demonstrate this wrestling form to visitors to the Khonoma village. This is a unique wrestling form much different from the other forms that are practiced in India. Once you sit down to witness this wrestling form of Khonoma the rules are explained to you beforehand so that you can appreciate the game. After lunch at Khonoma at a traditional homestay we drive back to Kohima town. At Kohima we will visit the Kohima World War II Cemetery that has burials of over 500 soldiers of the allied forces who laid down their lives during World War II. The Kohima War Cemetery was built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Mission. Later we will visit the Kohima Cathedral which is the largest Cathedral in North East India. return to your hotel for night halt.

Night Halt: Comfortable Hotel in Kohima

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 11 – Kohima – Touphema – Mokokchung

Today we bid farewell to Kohima to travel to Mokokchung district in Nagaland – Home of the Ao Naga tribes of Nagaland. Before Mokokchung we make our halt at the Touphema heritage village. The Touphema heritage village is another Angami village and a popular tourist attraction near Kohima. Touphema has a special handicraft and handloom center of the Angami Nagas where Angami ladies weave out exquisite handlooms by hand. The traditional Angami huts at Touphema are a sight to behold. Every year in the month of February the Angami people of Touphema village celebrate the Sekrenyi festival which is basically a cleansing festival where the people use purified water to clean their homes and villages to ward off any evil spirits for the coming year. From Touphema we drive to Mokokchung. Arrive at Mokokchung before sundown and check into your comfortable hotel.

Night Halt: Comfortable Hotel in Mokokchung

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 12 – Mokokchung 

Today is our day exploring the beautiful hill station of Mokokchung – the Land of the Ao Nagas another of the primitive head hunting tribes of Nagaland. Our day at Mokokchung will start by exploring Longkhum – a local Ao Naga village that is known for the practice of animist religion known as Limapur where the people worship a God called Longlanpa Tsungram. This is a very beautiful village covered with Rhododendron trees and beautiful mountains and valley views. We will also visit the home of the expert Ao Naga craftsmen here who weave out very beautiful handicrafts and handlooms.

Later we will explore the Ungma village the second largest village in Mokokchung that is believed to be the birthplace of the Ao tribes of Nagaland and so the local Ao people here try their best to preserve their ancient heritage and culture here. The Ao Nagas of Mokokchung were one among the fiercest head hunting tribesmen of Nagaland who had wandered from Mongolia to settle here in Nagaland. Today they practice agriculture, horticulture and other cultivation to sustain themselves. Most of the Ao Nagas have now converted to Christianity and follow Baptism. As a result of this many of the people from this district as are very well educated and hold key positions in the administrative offices of Nagaland.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Ao Nagas celebrating Moatsu Mong at Mokokchung in Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

The Ao Nagas are adept in weaving of exquisite handicrafts and handlooms as well. Alongside this they are good at pottery, weaving, wood carving, metal works as well. We will wind up our days visit by visiting the District museum at Mokokchung that is a fine museum illustrating the ancient customs and practices and life of the Ao Nagas of Mokokchung. If we are visiting during the month of May we can be a part of the traditional festival of Moatsu MOng of the Ao Nagas where we witness the merrymaking and dancing of the Ao Nagas of Mokokchung as well. Return to your hotel for night halt.

Night Halt: Comfortable Hotel in Mokokchung

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Ao Nagas in traditional attire celebrating Moatsu Mong at Mokokchung in Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 13 – Mokokchung – Sivasagar

Today we depart from Nagaland to enter Assam at the land of the mighty Ahom Kingdom of Assam at Sivasagar. We arrive at Sivasagar by afternoon and we first visit the Pyramids of India at the Charaideo Maidam. The Charaideo Maidam was the ancient burial grounds of the kings of the Ahom kingdom. The structural resemblance of the burials here are similar to the Pyramids of Egypt and so are the unique features here. It is believed that after the Ahom King died he was buried here along with all his beloved people and things like pets, servants and even wives and valuables (hard to believe it to be true). The stories had made this place prone to attacks by robbers and out of the 150 burials that were present here only 21 are now preserved and protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Explore the pyramids of India at the Charaideo Maidam and then proceed to visit the Kareng Ghar at Sivasagar. This summer palace of the Ahom Kings the Kareng Ghar is an example of the grand architecture of the Ahom kingdom dated almost 500 years ago. Explore the mysteries of the Kareng Ghar and later arrive at Sivasagar town to check into a comfortable Hotel for night halt.

Night Halt: Comfortable Hotel in Sivasagar

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Kaziranga National Park, Backpacking in North East India, Solo Travel
The Kareng Ghar at Sivasagar in Assam on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Sivasagar – Mon

Today after breakfast we proceed to visit the Talatal Ghar at Sivasagar. The Talatal Ghar was the fortress of the Ahom Kingdom and is special because of its construction. The place has a series of underground tunnels/mazes that were designed to make the enemy soldiers confused in the act of any invasions. The Ahom army soldiers were well aware of the route and their escape was planned out across the various river banks and the Kareng Ghar that you visited yesterday. Another feature is the construction of the Talatal Ghar where the mortar used to bind the bricks was made using a paste of sticky rice and duck eggs. Admire the grandeur of the construction of the Talatal Ghar and then proceed to visit the Rang Ghar at Sivasagar.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Talatal Ghar at Sivasagar in Assam on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

The Rang Ghar is often referred to as the Colosseum of Asia and was the first Amphitheater of Asia. This place was the royal grounds of the Ahom kingdom and the Ahom Kings used to watch performances of the Bihu celebrations, Bihu dance, Bull fights, Cock fights, traditional wrestling matches, etc. The Rang Ghar meaning the ‘House of Entertainment’ was the royal pavilion and its structure resembles that of an inverted boat. The Ahom kings used to get a panoramic view of the entire pavilion grounds from atop the Rang Ghar. After Rang Ghar we proceed to visit the Sivadol Temple. One of the finest temple structures of North East India built hundreds of years ago this is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a temple dome made up of pure gold. This temple is renowned across the region for its celebrations of Maha Shivaratri. After finishing exploring Sivasagar we travel to Mon in Nagaland via Sonari in Assam. Arrive at Mon by late afternoon.

Night Halt: Comfortable Homestay in Mon

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Kaziranga National Park, Backpacking in North East India, Solo Travel
The Rang Ghar at Sivasagar in Assam on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 14 – Mon – Longwa – Mon

Today we set out to explore the land of the legendary Konyak tribes of Nagaland at Longwa from Mon. The Konyak tribes of Nagaland are the last generation of the surviving headhunters of Nagaland who had practiced this skill of headhunting where they would go out on wars and expeditions and choff off the enemy’s head and bring it back along with them to the village to be kept at their porch outside their house. The house having the highest number of human skulls would be considered superior and be declared the Chief of the village. The Konyaks were the fiercest among all the Naga headhunters and their poweress was characterized in the form of body tattoos and piercings.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The Konyak warrior tribes of Mon in Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Longwa is a predominantly Konyak inhabited village and the place has another interesting fact to it that half of it lies on India and the other half of Longwa village lies in Myanmar (Burma). There is no fixed international border demarcation and people are free to cross the borders for business activities. At Longwa we interact with the Konyak tribesmen where we understand their deep understanding of nature and how the rules and laws of the land oare governed. The Konyak are private people but with the steady footfall of tourists around they have now opened up to visitors. They charge a small fee to be captured on camera and we click our pictures with these legendary headhunters of Nagaland. We will also visit the house of the head of the Longwa village (Angh) that is an interesting house as half of it is situated in India and the other half is in Myanmar. This is a big family as the Angh has 60 wives and he is also a powerful ruler who governs upto 70 villages around Longwa extending upto Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh.

In the Angh’s house in Longwa, while the family cooks and dines in their kitchen in Myanmar they rest and sleep in the part of the house located in India. If we are visiting during the first week of April at Longwa we get to be part of the traditional Konyal festival of Aoling Monyu which is one among the most colorful tribal festivals of Nagaland. After winding up our visit at Longwa we return to Mon for night halt.

Night Halt: Comfortable Homestay in Mon

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The traditional Konyak Naga home at Longwa in Nagaland on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 15 – Mon – Naharkatia

Today we leave Nagaland at the home of the Konyak tribes at Mon to enter back into Assam and travel to Tipam Village near Naharkatia. Home to the Tai Phake people of Assam. Tipam is a quaint village set in the backdrop of the lush green paddy fields and the Dehing Patkai mountain range of Assam and is home to the Tai Phake tribes of Assam. These Tai Phake people are believed to be the descendants of the Shan kingdom of Myanmar. The Tai Phake people of Assam practice Buddhism as their faith and they still practice agriculture as their profession and live in a typical village environment presided by the village Chief. In order to promote ecotourism and to highlight their culture to the World, the Tai Phake people have opened up an ecotourism camp here. We will arrive at Tipam village and check into the Tai Phake Ecotourism Camp.

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
A Tai Phake lady weaving on the loom at Tipam on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

After a sumptuous lunch comprising of Tupula Bhat, boiled leafy vegetables and herbs, traditionally cooked meat we set out to explore the local Tai Phake villages near the camp. Witness the life of the Tai Phake people and how they still lead a primitive lifestyle by working in agricultural fields, rearing livestock, fishing and weaving handicrafts and handlooms. Admire the simplicity of the people in the village and witness the rich bounty of nature surrounding their village. Return back to the Eco camp for night halt.

Night Halt: Tai Phake Ecotourism Camp at Tipam

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
The traditional Bamboo Cottages of the Tai Phake Eco Camp on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 16 – Naharkatia – Margherita

Today we travel to Margherita in Assam to witness the traditions and culture of another set of indigenous people of Assam mostly the Singpho people here at the Inthong and Ketetong villages. we start from Tipam to cross the rich biodiversity of the Dehing Patkai reserve forest to arrive at Digboi – the legendary Oil town of Assam. Digboi is home to Asia’s Oldest Oil Refinery and the Oldest operational oil well in the World. At Digboi, we first explore the Digboi World War II cemetery that has burials of over 150 soldiers of the Allied forces who laid down their brave lives during World War II. Later we visit the Digboi Centenary Oil museum that illustrates the history of Oil in India and also houses the oldest operational oil well in the World. We later travel to Margherita to check into the Singpho Eco Lodge at Inthong village here.

A unique style accommodation option, the Singpho Eco Lodge has been built keeping in mind the traditional Singpho architecture with bamboo and thatch roof. There are around 6 double rooms here at the Singpho Eco Lodge each characterized by low sleeping beds and a unique Singpho environment. In the afternoon we visit the nearby Singpho villages at Inthong and also at Ketetong. Ketetong at Margherita is home to the highest concentration of various tribes anywhere in north East India. We visit the local homes and understand the life and culture of the people here sipping a cup of the heritage Singpho tea blend of ‘Phalap’. Return to Singpho Eco Lodge for night halt.

Night Halt: Singpho Eco Lodge at Margherita

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The Singpho Eco Lodge at Inthong at Margherita in Assam on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 17 – Margherita – Tipong – Margherita

In the morning we explore the Old Buddhist Monastery near the Singpho Eco Lodge. After breakfast we will proceed to Tipong colliery. Our journey will take us across Ledo where we will drive across the historic Stilwell Road that was built by the American army and an army of locals during World War Ii under the able guidance of the American general Vinegar Joe Stilwell. We arrive at Tipong Colliery and we visit the Tipong Colliery chalet to witness the Oldest operational Steam locomotives in the World of the likes of DAVID and 796. After this we visit the Lalpahar Sumi Naga village at Tipong. Another of the warrior tribes of Nagaland who inhabit the Zunheboto district in Nagaland which we did not cover in our Itinerary across Nagaland we will witness the life of one of the fiercest head hunting tribes of Nagaland. We explore the local Lalpahar Sumi Naga village and later travel to Jagun to have a sumptuous tribal lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch we drive back to Margherita to visit India’s only Coal musuem. The coal museum at Margherita illustrates the practices of coal mining prevalent across the coal mining areas of Margherita and also has many relics from the bygone era. Return to Singpho Eco Lodge for night halt.

Night Halt: Singpho Eco Lodge at Margherita

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 18 – Margherita – Namsai – Tezu

Today we bid farewell to Margherita in Assam to travel to Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh. We drive across the beautiful lush tea gardens of Assam at Doomdooma. We will cross the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where the entry documents (ILP for Indian nationals and PAP for Foreign nationals) will be verified post which we will enter Arunachal Pradesh. The lovely green mountains of Arunachal will greet us once we are in Arunachal Pradesh. We will see the snow covered Mishmi hills once we are here and our drive will continue to take us to Namsai. At Namsai we will halt for lunch at the Namsai market and enjoy a traditional cuisine of the Adi people here at Namsai.

Later we travel to Choukham to witness the grandeur of the Golden Pagoda Temple. The Golden Pagoda temple is a unique Buddhist architecture Monastery and is adorned with a gold coating. A sense of peace dawns on you once you are here at the altar premises of the Monastery. Offer you prayers here at the Golden pagoda temple and later travel to Tezu. Arrive at Tezu before sundown for night halt.

Night Halt: Hotel Shivam at Tezu

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The Golden pagoda temple at Choukham in Arunachal Pradesh on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 19 – Tezu

After breakfast we will proceed to visit two local Mishmi villages near Tezu. The Mishmi people of Tezu inhabit this part of the region here in Arunachal Pradesh and have been believed to have migrated from Burma. These people can be easily identified as they have a short stature and the typical dress where the MIshmi men wear a narrow cloth down between their legs. They also adorn themselves with traditional jewellery as well. The Mishmi women wear long skirts reaching up to their angle with a little red embroidery done around the edges. The Mishmi people practice animism as their faith and they worship the gifts of nature around them like the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, etc.

The Mishmis of Tezu practice agriculture, animal husbandry as their profession and they indulge in cultivation of cash crops like oranges, ginger, pineapples, etc. The Mishmis are considered to be good merchants and their produce is now transported across various regions in North east India making their community cash rich. We will look at the Mishmi villages and see how they engage in the day to day activities. Weaving is a primary occupation of certain women folks here and we witness them weaving on their looms exquisite handlooms.

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The Mishmi people of Tezu on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

After this we proceed to Parashuram Kund one of the holy shrines for Hindus here in Arunachal Pradesh. It is believed the here in the waters of River Lohit Holy sage Parashuram washed away his sin of killing his mother with an axe. He did so on the advice of his father father Rishi Jamadagni but was filled with grief and remorse and also the axe that he used to kill his mother got stuck to his hands and could only be removed after washing his hands in the holy waters of the Lohit river. We admire the beauty of nature here and then head back to Tezu. At Tezu we come to explore the Tezu market. We first stop for lunch at an authentic Arunachal restaurant here in Tezu and try some real special cuisine of the people here. Later we explore the market in Tezu that is one of the bustling markets of the eastern most part of India and it offers its visitors a sneak peek into the various local commodities of the Mishmi people from things to eat to various other commodities like locally handcrafted handicrafts and handlooms. Return back to your Hotel for night halt.

Night Halt: Hotel Shivam at Tezu

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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River Lohit at Parashuram Kund on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 20 – Tezu – Roing

After breakfast we proceed to visit the Tibetan settlement at Tezu. The Tibetan settlement here also called as the Lama Camp has a fair population of Tibetan people residing here from quite an early time (1960s). This place comprises of a total of 5 smaller camps and the Tibetan people here have since long preserved their own customs and traditions. We will visit the local Monastery here as well as explore their traditional weaving centers. Later we bid farewell to Tezu to go to Roing in Arunachal Pradesh. Home to the Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, Roing is gradually becoming a very popular tourist destination in the eastern fronts of India (mostly after the building of the longest bridge in India – Dr. Bhupen Hazarika bridge) and also mostly due to the proximity of this place from Mayodia where snowfall occurs during winters.

Along our drive we will cross the river Lohit that flows into Assam and becomes known as the mighty Brahmaputra river. We reach Roing by afternoon and check into our Guest house in Roing. After lunch we set out to explore the local market of Roing as many local traders from the Adi and Mishmi communities involve themselves in dality trade where they bring in their produce and sell it at the market. This market is a sight to behold as you can see so many vegetables and herbs on sale that are not to be seen anywhere in the country. The local people know their forest surroundings well and know what food is edible and that is not. They bring in certain herbs which I bet can be seen no where in the World. The use of meat is very prevalent in the local recipes and you can see various forms of dried meat put up on sale here. The ones noteworthy are the dried squirrels and rats that are considered as a delicacy in this part of the country as well. After exploring the local market at Roing we return to your resort for night halt.

Night Halt: Dekachang Resort at Roing

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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Welcome to Roing in Arunachal Pradesh on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 21 – Roing – Pasighat

In the morning we drive from Roing to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. Pasighat is the oldest town of Arunachal Pradesh and home to the Adi tribes of Arunachal. One of the very beautiful places in Arunachal Pradesh, Pasighat receives the State’s highest rainfall during the monsoon season. The traditional Adi people of Pasighat are to be identified with unique headgears and carrying a weapon around their waists. The name ‘Adi’ translates to ‘hill’ or ‘mountain-top’ symbolizing that these people earlier resided on top of the hills of Pasighat. The Adi people are a major tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and what differentiates them is their culture and their organization of living style. The typical adi village is located atop a hill and is under the command of a village head called as ‘Gaon Burra’. The Adis practice agriculture ‘Jhum cultivation’ as their primary occupation while they also practice animal husbandry, fruit cultivation, bamboo handicrafts and handlooms as well.

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Welcome to Pasighat on your North East India Tribes Tour

Another unique thing about the Adi people is their way of living. They live in dormitory style homes built with bamboo on a elevated platform. Below the house they rear pigs under the platform and the pigs feed on the human waste. In the morning the pigs are let out in the open. These pigs are considered a delicacy and the Adi people. The Adis are also known to eat dried squirrels and rat meat which they consider a delicacy.

At Pasighat we witness the culture of the Adi tribes and visit the local villages and witness their daily life. We take the opportunity to celebrate and dine and dine with them. We witness how the Adi people of Pasighat believe in Donyi-Poloism like the Mishmi people where they worship nature mostly the sun, moon, rivers, mountains, etc. If our visit coincides with one of their traditional festivals like Solung in September we will witness the Adi way of feasting and merry making and also witness their popular traditional dances like Ponung, Delong, Tapu, etc.

Night Halt: Abor Country River Camp at Pasighat

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The Adi warriors of Pasighat on your North East India Tribes Tour. Image ~ pasighat.wordpress.com

Day 22 – Pasighat – Along

From Pasighat we head to Along in Arunachal Pradesh. Along is another Adi town of Arunachal Pradesh and this place will be mostly a stop over point (on our way to Daporijo) as the roads are across the mountains and it would be better to halt for a night here to regain our strength before heading onto Daporijo. We arrive at Along by noon and admire the beautiful valleys of Mechuka here. The area spans across lush green mountains and a river flowing across. Along is known for the presence of numerous cane and bamboo bridges and we take a chance to cross one of these bridges. We explore the local market at Along that is another typical Adi market that has various produce like organic vegetables and fruits along with the dried meat of squirrel and rat. We also visit the Mithun breeding farm and orange plantations here at Along (if time permits).

Night Halt: Hotel Tashi at Along

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The suspension bridge at Along on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 23 – Along – Daporijo

Today we continue to Daporijo in Arunachal Pradesh. Daporijo is located in the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh and is home to the Tagin tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. These Tagin people are a minority tribe of Arunachal concentrated mostly around the Daporijo area and they too practice Donyi Poloism as their religion. The Tagins are one of the oldest tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh and their culture and lifestyle is different from some of the other tribal people if the state. The Tagins are known for their elaborate headgear and traditional ornaments that they adorn themselves with especially during their festivals.

The most important Tagin tribe festival is that of ‘Si Donyi’ wherein one notices various celebrations like worship of deities, animal sacrifices (symbolizing peace for their community) and ritualistic chantings. Their traditional dance is also a sight to behold. The Tagins are known for their knowledge of herbal medicines and they use medicinal plants for the treatment of most of their ailments not relying on conventional healthcare. At Daporijo we halt at a traditional Tagin homestay with the people understanding their life and culture. We take part in their activities in the kitchen and dine along with them in a traditional environment.

Night Halt: Comfortable Homestay at Daporijo

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The Tagin people of Daporijo celebrating the Si Donyi Festival on your North East India Tribes Tour. Image ~ The Sentinel

Day 24 – Daporijo – Ziro Valley

Today we depart from Daporijo to travel to the land of the Legendary Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh at Ziro Valley. The drive to Ziro from Daproijo is across the beautiful mountains of Arunachal Pradesh as Ziro is perched atop an elevation of 7000 feet above MSL. The drive duration is around 4 hours so we reach Ziro from Daporijo by noon. Across the beautiful drive we will sight the various ‘Mithuns’ – large bovines indigenous to North East India along the way. The arrival to Ziro is a very interesting one and can be compared to the arrival at Las Vegas in Nevada (where after crossing a huge area of desert you suddenly come across a bustling city); Ziro too has a similar approach where you travel across the dense forest reserves across the mountains and finally arrive at a bustling town suddenly.

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The Apatani people of Ziro valley on your North East India on your North East India Tribes Tour

At Ziro we check into our place of stay – the Sirro Resort at Ziro and after a sumptuous lunch we head out to at first visit the ‘Tallest Shivalingam’ at Kardeo in Ziro. This Shivalingam has been completely naturally formed and was accidentally discovered by a Nepali person working here. The mention of this Shivalingam being found in Arunachal Pradesh has been mentioned across various ancient Hindu scriptures as well. After this we set out to explore the Sacred Groves of Ziro Valley at the Hari Rantu and the Rantu Pussu sacred groves. The huge trees in the sacred groves stand as a testament of the arrival of the Apatanis at Ziro Valley. The Apatani people consider this place to be sacred and offer their worship here to their ancestors. We will also explore the local Apatani village and witness the life of the tribal people here. Witness the traditional houses constructed using bamboo and thatch roof as well as visit a local Apatani kitchen. The kitchen is very much similar to most tribal homes that are constructed using bamboo and has a wood fire burning in the center where the entire family sits around every evening discussion over rice beer and dinner. Get a chance to savor traditional rice beer of the Apatani people here in Ziro as well. Return to Sirro Resort for night halt.

Night Halt: Sirro Resort at Ziro

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 25 – Ziro Valley

Today is our second day at Ziro and we explore the local countryside of the Apatani land. Visit the numerous paddy fields and the understand how the local Apatani people divide the land among the various family members. We explore another Apatani village in Ziro valley and see how the people engage in their daily routine. Witness the old Apatani ladies in their customary tattoos and nose plugs. Visit the local weaving centers here at Ziro and feel the intrinsic processes involved in weaving some of the most beautiful handlooms. Visit the local Ziro market and witness traders bringing in fresh produce to be sold here. Savor traditional Apatani cuisine at one of the local homestays and end your day by watching the sunset across the beautiful valleys of Ziro. Return to Sirro Resort for night halt.

Night Halt: Sirro Resort at Ziro

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 26 – Ziro Valley – Majuli Island

Today we bid farewell to Ziro to travel to the largest river island in the World at Majuli in Assam. Majuli island is the hub of the Neovaishnavite cult of Assam founded and propagated by the holy guru Srimanta Shankardev and is also home to the Mishing tribal community of Assam. We will have to take a ferry boat at Dhunaguri ghat to cross over to Majuli Island. We arrive in Majuli by afternoon and check into the La Maison De Ananda Homestay here. After lunch we explore the banks of the River Luit here in Majuli. Evening we will witness the performance of the ‘Sattriya Nritya’ which is one of the 8 classical dance forms of India. Witness how the male monks of this Satra perform this dance form with synchronized movements of theirs hands and feet. After witnessing the Sattriya Nritya performance we explore the Uttar Kamalabari Satra and return to La Maison De Ananda for night halt.

Night Halt: La Maison De Ananda at Majuli

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The Sattriya Nritya performance of the Monks of the Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 27 – Majuli Island

Today is our day exploring the mysteries of the largest river island in the World. After breakfast, we proceed to Kamalabari to at first visit the Sri Sri Auniati Satra in Majuli Island. One of the most prominent Satras in Majuli and Assam, the Auniati Satra in Majuli was established in the middle of the 17th century AD. Explore the Satra and witness how the male monks immerse themselves in worship and dedicate their lives in the praise of the Lord. We also witness a very old ‘Tulsi – Holy Basil’ tree trunk that has been preserved here at the Auniati Satra and speaks of how times have reduced this huge tree once to a small shrub these days. We also explore the Auniati Satra museum that has on display various relics from the times of the Ahom Kingdom of Assam. Sight relics like ivory chess boards, ivory chairs, bell metal saucers, ancient swords of the generals of the Ahom army, etc here at the Auniati Satra Museum.

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The Heritage art of traditional Mask Making in Majuli Island on your North East India Tribes Tour

After this we travel to the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island. Samaguri Satra is renowned across the World for the heritage art of traditional mask  making. These masks are made using bamboo and a special clay brought in from the depths of the Brahmaputra river and is in the end painted with organic colors for the final preparations. These masks are used to depict the various mythological characters and used in plays to narrate the life of Lord Krishna as propagated by the holy Saint reformer Srimanta Shankardeva. We will witness the preparations of these masks as well as their demonstration under the guidance of the Satradhikar of the Samaguri Satra, Dr. Hemchandra Goswami.

Later we will proceed to the Salmora village in Majuli Island where we witness the heritage art of pottery making with hand. The villagers of the Salmora village are adept in this art and require no pottery wheel to create these earthen pottery. They provide shape to these earthen pottery with their hands and later put it out in the sun for drying. The clay used to make these pottery items are again bought in from the depth of the river Brahmaputra. Witness a local lady demonstrate this art in front of your very eyes. Later in the day we got to a traditional Mishing village in Majuli island. At the village we will have our lunch at a local house of the Mishing people where the cuisine will be a local delight cooked with local herbs and a choice of meat over a glass of rice beer.

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Brewing of rice wine – Sai Mod at a local Mishing tribe home in Majuli Island on your North East India Tribes Tour
North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
Purang Apin – Rice wrapped in tokou leaves in Majuli Island on your North East India Tribes Tour

After lunch we take a walk around the village and witness local ladies weaving on the traditional looms as well as watch the men folks engage in traditional bamboo crafts and boat making. Witness the brewing of traditional Mishing rice beer and rice win and explore the local village. Spend time bird-watching across the various water pools and lakes in Majuli Island. Return to La Maison De Ananda for night halt.

Night Halt: La Maison De Ananda at Majuli

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

North East India Tribes Tour, Kaziranga National Park, Nagaland Arunachal Tribes
A Mishing tribal lady at her traditional bamboo hut in Majuli Island on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 28 – Majuli Island – Jorhat

Today we bid farewell to Majuli Island to cross over to Jorhat after crossing the river Brahmaputra onboard a ferry. We catch a morning ferry to take a 1 1/2 hour long ferry ride to reach Jorhat. At Jorhat we first visit the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar. The Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar was established by the disciple of the Holy Saint Shankardeva, Sri Madhava Deva and is home to the oldest burning oil lamp in the World that has been burning continuously for the past 500 years. Later we will visit the Lachit Borphukan Maidam at Jorhat – the ancestral home of the brave Ahom General Lachit Borphukan who single handedly commanded the Ahom army who beat the mighty Mughals during the fierce battle of Saraighat. This place has relics from the time of the Ahom kingdom.

Explore the Lachit Maidam and later check into your Hotel at Jorhat. After lunch we will visit the Swargadeo Sukapha Samannay Kshetra. This place is a dedication to the founder of the Ahom Kingdom Swargadeo Sukapha and demonstrates the various milestones of the Ahom Kingdom. Later we travel to the Jorhat Gymkhana club which has the third oldest golf course in the World and the oldest in Asia. Evening we will visit a local market for you to buy your souvenirs of your visit to North East India. Return to Hotel for night halt.

Night Halt: Hotel MDs Continental at Jorhat

Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

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The Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar at Jorhat on your North East India Tribes Tour
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The Lachit Borphukan Maidam at Jorhat on your North East India Tribes Tour

Day 29 – Jorhat Airport

After breakfast we drop you off at the Jorhat airport for your flight to your onward destination. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!

Tribes of North East India ~ Further Reading…

1| Tai Ahoms ~ Margherita ~ Assam ~ North East India

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A Beautiful Ahom girl in her Traditional Attire ~ Margherita ~ Assam ~ North East India

The Tai people of Asia are a sub-race of the Mongoloid stock of human race who are found to spread from the West Garo Hills of North East India to the Hanan islands of South China Sea, covering a vast area of seven countries namely Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

There are around 2 million people of Tai origin who live in North East India. Ahoms, a group of Tai people, came to Assam in the early 13th century, fighting their way to the Brahmaputra valley in 1228 following their Prince, Sukaphaa. Initially they spoke the Tai language and practised Buddhism as their faith. But after the first generation, the Ahoms married the local people, Borahi ( a tibeto-Burman ethnic group) & Moran, and they started adopting  the Assamese language. Their Kings and higher officials converted to Hinduism.

Prince Sukaphaa established his first state in the kingdom of Assam in 1253. The Ahom people kept good records of their past in chronicles called Buranjis. Ahom is the largest group of Tai group in India, settled mainly in Assam.

There are also other groups of Tai people namely Khamti, Phake, Aiton, Turun and Khamyang  who came to the valley at later periods than the Ahoms and made their settlement in various places of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.


2| Bodo Tribe ~ Manas ~ Assam ~ North East India

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A Bodo Tribal Lady of Assam performing the traditional Bodo Dance ~ Assam ~ North East India

The Bodos are an ethnic group of the Brahmaputra valley in Northeast India. The Bodos use the term Bodosa (which is pronounced as Borosa meaning son of Bodo) to describe themselves. Even though Bodos are demographically separated they follow the same culture, tradition, language and religion. Very early on, Bodos had introduced rice cultivation, tea plantation, pig and poultry farming, and silkworm rearing in North East India. The traditional favourite drink of the Boros  is Zu Mai a rice wine. Rice is a staple food of the Boros and is often accompanied by a non-vegetarian dish such as fish or pork. Weaving is another integral part of Bodo culture. Many families rear their own silkworms, the cocoons of which are then spun into silk. Bodo girls learn to weave from a young age, and no Bodo courtyard is complete without a loom. Most women weave their own Dokhonas (the traditional dress of the Bodo women) and shawls. The Bodos are also expert craftsmen in bamboo products.

The local cuisine uses rice and fresh vegetables. Pork, chicken and fish are common, as the Bodos traditionally are non-vegetarians. The favourite drink of the Bodo’s is a rice-wine named ‘Zu Mai’. The Bodo culture is a rich blend of colours, sounds and dances. The growing of silkworms is common and from young age on girls are educated in the weaving of the colourful clothes that later become ‘dokhonas’ and shawls, the traditional customer. Almost every household owns a loom and handing over a shawl or a ‘dokhona’ to a visitor is an honour. Moreover, the Bodo are expert craftsmen in Bamboo.


3| Mishing Tribe ~ Majuli Island ~ Assam ~ North East India

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A Mishing Tribal Lady of Majuli Island in Assam ~ Assam ~ North East India

The Mishing people are an ethnic tribal group inhabiting the districts of Dhemaji, North Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat of the Assam state in India. Their total population is more than 1 million in Assam.

They belong to greater Tani people community which comprises many tribes in Arunachal Pradesh in India and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in China. All Tani tribes share linguistic, cultural and ritual similarities. All Mishings trace back their root to Abotani or Abo Tani (The first man on earth) like any other Tani tribes.

The Mishings were believed to be original inhabitant of the northern part of shansi river stretching Mongolian steppe. The Mishings are East Asian, similar to the mixture of the Mongoloid sub-races inside political China as people from Southern China may look more like the South East Asian brown-skinned Mongoloids and more towards the Northern China more fair skinned Mongoloids dwell. They were dwellers of the hills of present day Arunachal Pradesh. Somewhere around the 13th century, they started migrating towards the plains of Assam, most probably in search of fertile land.

Mishings presently living in plains of Assam were not a one single tribe, but evolved into one when many tribes from various Tani tribes in Arunachal Pradesh migrated to the plains of Assam in search of fertile land as well as in search of civilisational progress. Over a period of time, they became known as Miris which means priest in mishing language. This explains the presence of many Mishing clans with different Mishing dialects as well as different levels of development.


4| Apatani Tribe ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ North East India

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An Apatani Tribal Lady of Ziro Valley in Arunachal ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ North East India. Image Source ~ Internet

The Apatani Tribes of Ziro Valley in the State of Arunachal Pradesh are friendly, simple and hospitable people with an interesting culture and legacy. They are a non-nomadic, agrarian tribe who share a responsible relationship with nature. The Apatani Tribes of North East India cultivate permanent wet land cultivation instead of dry land cultivation which involves burning forests. Apatani Tribes have few unique special characteristic features which differs from other tribes in Arunachal Pradesh and India. Few of these special characteristic features are ~

  • Apatani Tribes of Ziro are permanently settled in one place whereas other tribes are nomadic in nature move from one place to another in search of fertile lands. They travel vast area of forests and settle temporarily for not more than four to five years in one place.
  • Apatani Tribes cultivate permanent wet land cultivations whereas other tribes practice dry land cultivations by clearing the forests by burning the jungles.
  • Apatani Tribes of Ziro Valley used to practice facial tattoos before but now they have dropped this custom few decades back though you can still see a few old women with tattoos which is a highlight of this place.

5| Monpa Tribes ~ Tawang ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ North East India

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The Monpa Tribes of Tawang at a religious festival ~ Tawang ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ North East India

The Monpa Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are the among the principal Buddhist Tribes of North East India inhabiting the Tawang and West Kameng districts of the State. The Monpa Tribes are believed to be the only nomadic tribe in Northeast India, viz., they were totally depended on animals like sheep, cow, yak, goats and horses and had no permanent settlement or attachment to a particular place.

The Monpa are sub-divided into six sub-groups because of their variations in their language. They are namely:

  • Tawang Monpa
  • Dirang Monpa
  • Lish Monpa
  • Bhut Monpa
  • Kalaktang Monpa
  • Panchen Monpa

The Monpa are known for wood carving, Thangka painting, carpet making and weaving. They manufactured paper from the pulp of the local Sukso tree. They are known for their wooden bowls and bamboo woven products.

Principal Monpa festivals include Choekhor harvest, Losar, and Torgya. During Losar, people would generally offer prayers at the Tawang Monastery to pray for the coming of the Tibetan New Year. The Pantomime dances are the principal feature of Ajilamu.


6| Angami Tribe ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

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The Angami Tribes of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Angami Tribes of Nagaland are based in Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. Angami Tribes of Nagaland are distributed in 4 regions in the South-Angamis are located on the foothills of Mt. Japfü, on the west they are on the west of Kohima, and the northern Angamis are located on the north of Kohima and the Chakro Angamis including mostly small villages around Dimapur. The Angami Tribes of North East Idnia are famous for their wood and cane craft, making furniture, weaving shawls and powerful machetes. They are fond of music and dance, their simple acoustic and percussionery music plays an important role in their rituals and festivals. Angami Tribal women practice pottery at their houses, they are expert in making baskets. Pork with bamboo shoots is a very common delicacy among them. Animism is a faith among the tribe. Their folklore are passed on to generations orally, and they speak Tenyidie which is the most common language.

The major festival of  the Angami tribe of North East India is celebrated in the month of February and falls on the 25th day of the Angami month of Kezei. It is a festival of purification with feasting and singing. The most interesting part of the Sekrenyi Festival is the thekra hie. The thekra hie is a part of the festival when the young people of the village sit together and sing traditional songs throughout the day.


7| Ao Tribe ~ Mokokchung ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

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The Ao Tribes of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Ao Tribes of Nagaland are the fraction of the Naga Tribe in particular who took to Christianity very first among their fellow tribes, which made them exposed to Western education. They are from the Indo-Mongoloid race and their language is a branch of Sino-Tibetan dialect. They speak Chungli, Mongsen and Changki. Their historical evidence is totally on oral traditions, customs, habits, and tribal monograms.

The Ao Tribes of North East India observe Moatsu Mong after the sowing is done and the mother earth begins to show the sign of fertility. The festival marked by vigorous songs and dances, merrymaking and fun is now observed only for three days from 1 to 3 May. The women folks of the Ao tribes join the men folk in dancing, eating and drinking and composing warrior’s song. Singing songs in praise of the lover and the village as a whole was done and the older men folk would encourage the young people to be bold and heroic to defend and protect them from enemies as head-hunting was practiced during the time of fore-fathers.


8| Konyak Tribe ~ Mon ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

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The Konyak Tribes of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Konyak Nagas are recognised by their tattoos, which they have over their face and hands, the facial tattoos are earned for taking an enemy’s head. They have the largest population among the Nagas and can be found in Myanmar, Tirap and Changlang district of Arunachal. They are known for their ferociousness and love for warfare. They often attacked nearby villages and take the heads of the opposing warriors as trophies to hang in the Morong, ‘a communal house’. The number of heads indicates the power of a warrior and the tribe becomes a collective totem. They maintain a much disciplined community life and strict duties and responsibilities for every individual.

The entire Konyak community in Nagaland, observes Aoleang Monyu in the first week of Aoleang lee (April) every year since time immemorial. Aoleang is observed after completing of sowing seeds in the new fields and also to mark the end of the old year and to welcome the New Year beginning with spring when a riot of flowers at every hue start to bloom.


9| Khasi Tribe ~ East Khasi Hills ~ Meghalaya ~ North East India

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The Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya at the local market ~ Cherrapunji ~ Meghalaya ~ North East India

Dominating the population of State of Meghalaya, the Khasi Tribes of North East India are famously renowned for their Engineering Marvels of the Living Root Bridges. The Khasi Tribes call themselves Ki Khun U Hynñiewtrep, which means “The Children of The Seven Huts” in their language. A unique feature of the Khasi Tribe is that they follow the matrilineal system of descent and inheritance.


10| Garo Tribe ~ West Garo Hills ~ Meghalaya ~ India

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The Garo Tribes of Meghalaya at the Wangala Festival ~ Meghalaya ~ North East India. Image nelive.in

The Garo Tribe of Meghalaya form the second largest ethnic community of the State of Meghalaya after the Khasi Tribes. The Garo Tribe of North East India are widely spread across the Garo Hills of Meghalaya with certain parts of population present in the State of Assam in the Kamrup, Goalpara and Karbi Anglong districts. The Garos are one of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world along with the Khasi Tribes of Meghalaya.

The common and regular festivals of the Garo Tribes of Meghalaya are those connected with agricultural operations as agriculture is the primary occupation of the Garo Tribes. The Garo Tribes are also adept Huntsmen and skilled Craftsmen.

Greatest among Garo festivals is the Wangala, usually celebrated in October or November, is thanksgiving after harvest in which Saljong, the god who provides mankind with Nature’s bounties and ensures their prosperity, is honored. Other festivals celebrated by the Garo Tribes are Gal·mak Goa, Agalmaka, etc.


11| Rabha Tribes ~ Chandubi Lake ~ Assam ~ North East India

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The Rabha Tribes of Assam performing a Traditional Dance Form ~ Assam ~ North East India

The Rabha is a little-known Scheduled Tribe community of West Bengal and Assam. The language/dialect spoken by the Rabha people is also of the same name. In West Bengal, Rabha people mainly live in Jalpaiguri districtand Cooch Behar district. Moreover, almost, 70 per cent of them live in Jalpaiguri district. In Assam, the Rabhas live mostly in Goalpara and Kamrup districts. The whole area of Eastern and Western Dooars, may be termed as the cradle land of the Rabhas. The Rabhas refer to themselves as Koch and assert a connection to the historical Koch Kingdom. The Rabhas belong to the Indo Mongoloid group of people and have similarities with other members of Koch group such s Garos,Kachari, Mech, Koch, Hajong and others. The traditional economy of the Rabhas in general, is based on agriculture, forest based activities and weaving. In the past, the Rabhas used to practice shifting cultivation. They continued to cultivate the land with Gogo or bill-hook. Later they took up the job of settled cultivation and started cultivation with plough. Besides cultivation, hunting was also an old practice of Rabha people. Weaving was a traditional occupation of the Rabha women


12| Sumi Naga Tribes ~ Nagaland and Assam ~ North East India

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A Sumi Naga Tribal Lady at the Loom ~ Assam ~ North East India

The Sema or the Sumi Naga is one of the major Naga tribes in Nagaland, India. The Sumis mainly inhabit the Zunheboto district, although many have spread out and inhabit in almost all the other districts within Nagaland. They also inhabit the  Tinsukia District of Assam They are also one of the most united tribe and the most aggressive tribe. Since times immemorial, the other tribes of Nagas have feared the Sumi tribe. Despite their ferocity and aggressive nature in warfare, the Sumi Tribe is also known for their simplicity and honesty. Their loyalty towards their tribesmen and friends is unparalleled. The Sumis practised headhunting like other Naga tribes before the arrival of the Christian missionaries and their subsequent conversion to Christianity. The Sumis have two different clan-heads, viz. Swu (Sumi) and Tuku (Tukumi). The major festivals celebrated are the Tuluni in July and Ahuna in November


14| Tangsa Tribe ~ Nampong ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ North East India

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Tanga Tribal Girls in their Ethnic Attire ~ Nampong Arunachal Pradesh ~ North East India

The Tangsa is a community of several tens of thousands living in Changlang Districts of Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Tinsukia District of Assam, in north-eastern India, and across the border in Sagaing Region, Myanmar (Burma). The Tangshang in Myanmar were formerly known as Rangpang, Pangmi, and Heimi/Haimi. Their language is called Naga-Tase. Tangsa in the plains area of India practice wet rice cultivation. Traditional meals consist of a wide variety of recipes. But, staple foods are boiled or steamed rice, vegetables boiled with herbs and spices(stew) and boiled or roasted fish or meat. Snacks include boiled or roasted arum or topiaca. Traditional drinks include smoked tea and rice beer. Traditionally, the Tangsa kept long hair in both sexes, which is tied into a bun and covered with a piece of cloth, known in some Tangsa varieties as the Khu-pak / Khu-phop. The menfolk traditionally used to wear a long and narrow piece of cloth called lamsam / lengti that barely covers the hip and pelvis region. However, nowadays they wear a broad cylindrical piece of cloth called lungi that is green in colour and is lined with yellow, red and white yarns, and accompanied with a sleeveless shirt. On the other hand, the costume of the womenfolk traditionally used to be a piece of cloth wrapped around the chest and a similar piece of cloth wrapped around the waist extending just below the knees. Nowadays, with the availability of yarn, their costume include an artistically woven petticoat, which acts as the lower garment, and a linen blouse


15| Chang Tribe ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

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Chang Tribes performing traditional warrior dance ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Chang Tribes inhabit the State of Nagaland in North East India and are one among the recognized scheduled Tribes of the State. The Chang Tribe is believed to emerged from a place called Changsangmongko.

The Chang, like several other Naga tribes, practiced headhunting in the pre-British era. The person with maximum number of hunted heads was given the position of lakbou (chief), who would settle the village disputes. He was entitled to maintain special decorative marks in his house, and to wear special ceremonial dress during the festivals.

Agriculture is the traditional occupation of the tribe, and jhum cultivation is practiced. Rice, millets, Job’s Tears, pulses and vegetables are the main crops. Trade and business were practiced mainly as subsidiary occupations.

The Changs carried out barter trade with the other tribes, exchanging shawls and other garments for the things they needed. Crafts such as wood-carving, spinning, weaving, pottery and basketry are also pursued.


16| Mizo Tribe ~ Mizoram ~ North East India

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Mizo Tribes performing traditional Bamboo dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Mizo are one of the hill tribes inhabiting the State of Mizoram in North East India. The state of Mizoram has one of the highest rates of literacy in India, at more than 91%. 88.00% of the Mizo are Christian, following a wide variety of denominations.

Mizo people are a part of the great waves of 18th-century immigration from Tibet and Yunnan of China into eastern and southern India. The term Mizo is derived from two Mizo words-Mi and zo. ‘Mi’ in Mizo means ‘person’. There is dispute on the term ‘zo’. According to one view, ‘zo’ means ‘highland’ and Mizo means highlander or people living in high hills. Historian Lalthangliana says ‘zo’ may also mean ‘cold region’ and therefore, Mizo signifies people of the cold region.


17| Dimasa Tribe ~ Nagaland and Assam ~ North East India

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Dimasa Tribes performing traditional Bamboo dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Dimasa people are a group of people inhabiting Assam and Nagaland states in Northeastern India. Dimasa mythology says that they are the children of Bangla Raja (Earthquake God) and the great divine bird Arikhidima. Bangla Raja’s six sons— Sibrai, Doo Raja, Naikhu Raja, Waa Raja, Guyung Brai Yung, and Hamyadao and Arikhidima are their ancestors, and in Dimasa belief, are ancestral Gods. They are called Madai in Dimasa. Evil spirits born of the seventh egg of Arikhidima are responsible for disease, suffering and natural calamities.

Ancient Dimasa tradition maintains that sixty thousand ( 60,000 ) Moon months (Lunar months) ago, they left their ancestral land when it suffered a severe drought. After a long wandering, they settled at Di-laobra Sangibra, the confluence of the Brahmaputra and Sangi or Di-tsang. There they held a great assembly. The place is in the present West Bengal area where the River Ganga and the Brahmaputra join, and where the Kacharis established their first Seat. Over time, their kingdom over large territories.


18| Hajong Tribe ~ Assam ~ North East India

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Hajong Tribes performing traditional marriage ceremony ~ Assam ~ North East India

The Hajongs belong to the Indo-Tibetan group of the main mongoloid race. They had come from Tibet to the north-east India along the Brahmaputra and Tista and their tributaries and had spread over in the Sankush Valley. The Hajongs claim that their ancestral home was in Hajo area of present Nalbari district of Assam. The meaning of ‘Hajong’ can be comprehended as ‘descendants of Hajo. The Hajongs practise Hinduism as their religion and their language is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language the mixture form of Assamese and Bengali. Traditionally, the womenfolk chiefly wear ‘Patin’ or ‘Rangapatin’ used for covering the upper and lower part of the body from the underarm to the ankle similar to Bodo and Rabha tribes. It is a bright striped red dress with alternate layers of different colours between red stripes called ‘Theak’. Patin is woven by women at their family looms known as ‘Bana-gora.’ The Hajong Tribes celebrate Hindu festivals like Durga Puja and Kamakhya Puja. They also celebrate few festivals of their own culture. A traditional festival is celebrated in honour of the Bastu, Paabni and other group of deities.


19| Pochury Tribe ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

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The Pochury Tribe and their Traditional Home ~ Nagaland ~ North East India

The Pochury Tribe inhabit the State of Nagaland. The Pochury Tribe is a composite tribe formed by three Naga communities: Kupo, Kuchu and Khuri. The word Pochury is an acronym formed by the names of three native villages of these tribes: Sapo, Kechuri and Khury. According to the Pochuri legends, these villages fought battles against each others, but united into a single tribe after their elders negotiated peace. Besides the three main communities, migrants belonging to the Sema, Sangtam and Rengma tribes have also been absorbed in the Pochury group.

Agriculture and animal husbandry are the main occupations of the Pochury Tribe. But many Pochurys in modern times have taken up other jobs. Many farming families are now above the subsistence level thanks to the modern equipment, scientific techniques, irrigation channels, government subsidies and new crops.

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