Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and the Indian Tigers is visited by thousands of tourists every year from across India and abroad. Visitors to Kaziranga National Park are from nations as far away as from Canada and United States. We understand that preparing for a trip from such far off places needs a lot of prior planning to be executed smoothly. From planning your visit, booking your tickets, applying for the Visa and a host of other things needs to be done before your visit. We can surely list down a few points/tips that will help you plan your visit to Kaziranga National Park and these will also be helpful during your stay at Kaziranga National Park. We can assist you with all logistics, transfers, Safari and Hotel bookings once you are here in Assam.
Kaziranga National Park has gained immense popularity across the World as it is a successful story of conservation of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros species from only a handful number to around 2500 now and this has found attraction of tourists from across the World and every year thousands of visitors come to Kaziranga National Park during the tourist season that starts from mid-October to mid- May. The tourists come here to witness their jungle safari experiences in the form of Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari that are conducted across the several ranges of Kaziranga National Park. Kaziranga National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is divided into six (6) zones that are:
- Kohora (Central)
- Bagori (Western)
- Agoratoli (Eastern)
The jeep safari rides inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park are conducted across all the forest reserves where visitors can get to go for a hour and half to two hour long safari ride inside the forest reserves to sight the varied flora, fauna and avifauna of Kaziranga National Park. The elephant safari rides are however limited to two zones viz. the Central (Foreign Nationals) and Western (Indian Nationals).
These two modes of safari are very popular and the visitors to Kaziranga National Park get the perfect opportunity to sight the various animals and bird species of Kaziranga National Park on these two safari rides. Very recently two more safari options have been introduced inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park viz. the wildlife trekking and boat safari. While the trekking trail is carried out at the Chirang Nature trail at the Burapahar range of Kaziranga National Park, the boat safari ride in conducted at the Bhomoraguri safari point under the Koliabhumura bridge near Tezpur under the Nagaon and Sonitpur Wildlife division. The Chirang Nature trail is a perfect way to explore the wildlife of Kaziranga National Park and the trail will take you across a hilly terrain where you can get to explore the forest reserves and this is where you can sight the varied avifauna life of Kaziranga as this National Park is home to around 495 species of birds both resident and migratory and many endangered and near threatened species are known to have been spotted here at Kaziranga National Park. The nature trail is also a perfect opportunity to sight the primate species of Kaziranga National Park as the place is home to the Assamese macaques, capped Langurs, Hoolock gibbons, etc. The Boat safari experience is another feather in the cap for Kaziranga National Park and this provides tourists an opportunity to sight the endangered Gangetic river dolphins that are found in the protected waters across Assam.
Kaziranga National Park in addition to being home to the highest population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros also has the highest population of the Asiatic Wild Water Buffaloes and the Indian Hog Deers. Kaziranga National Park is also a tiger reserves and it has the highest population density of the Royal Bengal Tigers in any protected area in the World. With all these milestones to the cap of Kaziranga National Park it is evident that every day thousands of tourists come to explore Kaziranga National Park to enjoy their wildlife safari experience and to sight the pride of Assam – the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and so one has to plan their visit to Kaziranga National Park much prior to their visit inn case they want their accommodation to be right. Kaziranga National Park is becoming a very popular tourist destination in North East India and even thought it sees lakhs of tourists every year, compared to the footfall, the number of good accommodation options are only a handful that are focussed around the central and western ranges of Kaziranga National Park. The luxury hotels and resorts fall under the 4 Star and 3 Star categories and some of these Hotels and Resort are Borgos Resort, IORA – the Retreat, Diphlu River Lodge, Infinity Resorts, Mandu – the Escape, United 21 Grassland resort, Landmark Woods Resort, etc.
These premier Hotels and Resorts at Kaziranga National Park often are booked much prior to the start of the tourist season at Kaziranga National Park because the reopening dates of the Park coincides with the Indian festival time of Durga Puja (Navaratri) and it is followed by various other festival like the festival of lights of Deepawali to be followed by the winter break along with Christmas and New Year and hence visitors book their accommodation at these premier Hotels and Resort much ahead of time. Hence it is advised to book your tour plan to Kaziranga National Park much ahead of time to avoid last minute hassles. To be very frank the tourism sector across North East India is not very well organized and there are many start-ups who work on organizing tours and itineraries and they do not have years of experience running their operations. There are a handful of very old tour operators who have organized itineraries for guests from various countries and hence have fair understanding of the needs of the guests. But still today many of these operators are based out of location in Delhi and Noida who operate several tours across the region and even though they are not local people and hence they do not have much of an understanding about the various local destinations of North East India.
Your tours to Kaziranga National Park are not limited just to the park itself because visitors do not simply plan a visit to Kaziranga National Park in Assam when they chose to explore North East India. North East India is home to seven sister states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram with the addition of Sikkim as well and hence when tourists come to visit Kaziranga National Park they ensure that they are also planning their visit to other destinations in North East India like Kaziranga National Park with Meghalaya, Kaziranga National Park with Arunachal Pradesh, Kaziranga National Park with Nagaland and Hornbill festival, etc. And hence to travel across these locations you have to ensure that you have a detailed and comfortable Itinerary planned out so that your visit to Kaziranga National Park and the other destinations in North East India will always be the one to cherish for a lifetime. We can arrange for your entire plan to visit Kaziranga National Park along with the other destination in North East India and our services are top notch with an experience of around five years conducting tours to Kaziranga National Park and various other destinations of North East India. We have organized tours to Kaziranga National Park with our guests from across the World from countries as far as USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Slovakia, Japan, Israel, Australia, Czech Republic and many guests from India as well and hence you can be rest assured that when you chose to travel with us across North East India it will be a very memorable experience for you.
We ensure that your tour will have the best possible accommodations (based on your budget), the best in class tour vehicles, well manned drivers and you will be accompanied and hosted along your tour by a member of our team. We never leave you at the mercy of taxi drivers who might have a problem with communication and there will be a member of our team who accompanies you and aligns you with the local guides who will show you better across the place because they have been born and brought up in that place. Our team includes professional photographers and birding and wildlife guides as well and so when you are travelling across the forest reserves of not only Kaziranga National Park but any other National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary of Assam and other destinations of North East India you can be rest assured that the birding and wildlife guide will help you identity and capture pictures of the rare fauna and avifauna of the place. While you plan your formalities of visa, flight bookings and other activities on your tour plan we will ensure that right from the moment you step foot at the airport in Guwahati we will ensure to have all the logistics and accommodations planned for your visit.
To enjoy the wildlife experience at Kaziranga National Park, the forest authorities organize two modes of safari viz. the Jeep safari and the Elephant safari into the interiors of the forests of Kaziranga National Park as mentioned earlier. Although the jeep safari rides are often available for tourists at any moment of the day, the elephant safari rides are conducted only in the morning slots at 5 AM and 6.30 AM and the seats on the elephant back are limited not only in Kaziranga National Park but at other National Parks where this safari is conducted like Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam and hence visitors who choose to go for an elephant back ride inside the forest reserves will need to ensure to book their elephant safari rides much prior to their visit to have a guaranteed slot at the booking. We will ensure to have all the safari bookings in place including you hotel arrangements and so you just need to relax back and enjoy your drive across the beautiful landscapes of the place and enjoy the comfort and luxury of your tour to Kaziranga National Park. The general time you will visit Kaziranga National Park will be during the winter season and so the weather will be cold at night and warm in the day so you need to pack the adequate clothes to suit the climate.
Once you are here in Assam and we head on our drive to Kaziranga National Park from Guwahati airport, you will need around 5 hours to reach Kaziranga National Park from the airport and the drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is across the beautiful highways of Assam that is surrounded by tall mountains and the beautiful agricultural fields of Assam. You will cross certain small towns like Sonapur, Jagiroad, Raha, Nagaon Bypass, Amoni, Koliabor to reach Jakhlanbandha. This is where the actual forests of Kaziranga National Park start and you will be greeted with signage’s welcoming you to Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve and the lush tea gardens of Assam will welcome you to Kaziranga National Park. On the right hand side is the tall backdrop of the Karbi Anglong Hills and the breathtaking view of the landscapes around you will leave any visitor enthralled. The first range you will approach is the Burapahar range at Ghorakati that is one of the five ranges of Kaziranga National Park and the Chirang Nature Trail that allows visitors to go for a trek inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park is located here. Next up will be the Bagori range that is where the elephant safari rides are conducted for the Indian Nationals and also jeep safari rides for both India and Foreign Nationals here at Kaziranga National Park.
The Bagori range is well known for its population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and this range is where visitors can get very close encounters with the Indian Rhinoceros from the elephant safari as well as the jeep rides. Next up is the central range of Kohora and this is where most of the popular hotels and resorts of Kaziranga National Park are located including the government run forest guest houses. Kohora is the central market of Kaziranga National Park and this is the main safari range as well and so tourists prefer to go for the safari rides in this range. Kohora is also home to the Kaziranga Orchid Park – the largest orchid park in India. The Kaziranga Orchid Park highlights the various orchid species of Assam and North East India and along with this; it showcases the various aspects of the life of the indigenous people of Assam in the form of handicrafts and handlooms, rice varieties grown, organic medicines and tea and folk dance performances. The restaurant at the Kaziranga Orchid Park serves one of the best Assamese thali to be found across the state that offers around 50 different items. The final range is the Eastern range of Agoratoli near Bokakhat and this is the range that is known for its population of the Royal Bengal Tigers of Kaziranga National Park and also the various bird species of Kaziranga National Park as well.
So once you are here at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park and you are all set to go for a wildlife Safari experience into the forest reserves then you need to keep certain things in mind on your wildlife safari experience though these are not hard and fast rules but this is best to be adopted and followed to keep in touch and tandem with nature around the place. These rules are as follows:
1| The laws of the jungle are always important to obey and hence planning to leave just footprints and taking back memories should be your aim from the Kaziranga National Park.
2| When you are in Kaziranga National Park, use a map and trace out the route you intend to take inside the National Park. It is always recommended to travel with a companion and hire an experienced local person to assist you as a guide during your visit to Kaziranga National Park.
3| At Kaziranga National Park, it is always recommended to find out whether the route you are planning to take is safe or not before venturing out. The office of the field director is the best source of information in this regards.
4| While inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park and on your Jeep Safari it is always recommended to switch off your engine at times. Sit quietly and listen to the birds. Listen for the warning calls of the chital and langurs and you may get to see a tiger or a leopard at the Kaziranga National Park.
5| Stay vigilant inside the premises of the Kaziranga National Park. If you have company try to sit facing in different directions to double the chances of spotting animals.
6| At Kaziranga National Park, dress to suit the climate. It is always recommended to choose muted forest colors in your clothing like green and brown.
7| Always wear comfortable, closed walking shoes at the Kaziranga National Park. Recommended to travel light and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.
8| High boots with socks are a sensible option on jungle walks as basic protection from snakes here at Kaziranga National Park.
9| Inside the premises of the forests of Kaziranga, avoid perfumes, deodorants and aftershaves as such fragrances could attract biting insects.
10| Fires are a serious problem. Inside the premises of Kaziranga National Park, absolutely no smoking.
11| Always keep a first aid kit handy and travel with enough drinking water.
12| Binoculars and camera are prerequisites for a good trip here at the Kaziranga National Park.
13| It is always a good option to avoid weekend visits to Kaziranga National Park so that you do not add to the overcrowding here.
14| Try not to talk too much. absorb yourself in the surroundings and respect the quiet of the wilderness which will help you spot more of wildlife at Kaziranga National Park.
15| Absolutely no littering in the park. always advisable to carry non biodegradable material back for safe disposal at you place of stay in Kaziranga National Park.
16| Do not try to get too close to animals or disturb them and try to touch or feed them.
17| Bringing arms and ammunition into the Kaziranga National Park premises is a strict offence and likely to attract a jail term here.
18| Swimming and fishing are not permitted inside the protected area of Kaziranga National Park. strictly adhere to this rule.
19| When you are out birdwatching, don’t just look out for birds in the forest, just let your eyes detect movement where nothing else is moving.
20| Birding just outside the forests of Kaziranga National Park than birding inside it.
21| Ponds, streams, lakes and river-banks of Kaziranga National Park are excellent bird watching spots.
22| Avoid bright colored dresses like blues and reds and it is recommended to wear green and browns.
23| Noise is an absolute no-no. Don’t chat on the trails. Even a noisy camera shutter can ruin your bird watching experience at Kaziranga National Park.
24| Enjoy all birds at Kaziranga National Park.
25| Finally, always carry a notebook on your safari inside the Kaziranga National Park. important details can always be jotted down for your future reference.
After your jungle safari experience at Kaziranga National Park is over it is time to plan to explore the various other destinations of North East India.
From Kaziranga National Park you can plan to visit the land of the Ahom kings of Assam at their ancient capital of Sivasagar. Sivasagar is located at around 3 hours’ drive from Kaziranga National Park and this is the place that has few of the historical monuments, forts, temples and the Pyramids of India at Charaideo. On your drive to Sivasagar, you can make a stop at the Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary that is located after Jorhat at Mariani. The Hoolock Gibbons are the only Ape species to be found in India and the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary has an abundant number of these endangered primate species inside the forest reserves. The Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary also has a good population of the Indian Elephants, various other mammals and a wide variety of birds as well. Along the way you can sight the lush green tea gardens of Assam as well. It time permits you can choose to make a halt at Jorhat as well to visit the Toklai Tea Research Institute and to visit the Jorhat Gymkhana club that is the oldest golf course in Asia. Jorhat is also home to two heritage tea garden bungalows that have now been converted to heritage hotels at the Thengal Manor and the Bura Sahib Bungalow and so on case you are interested and you want to experience the heritage life of the colonial past from the era of the British Raj you can choose to stay for a night at either of the place after your visit to Kaziranga National Park is over.
Soon you will reach Sivasagar and this land is where you will find the old Ahom era monuments. At Sivasagar you will visit the Rang Ghar (the House of Entertainment, the Royal Pavilion and Asia’s Oldest Amphitheatre often referred to as the Coliseum of the East), the Talatal Ghar (the Heritage Ahom fort that was built in traditional Ahom architecture of flat bricks and a mortar of duck eggs, sticky rice and lime and the place has a network of underground tunnels on the form of a maze to confuse the enemy in case of an attack and only the Ahom soldiers knew the exits that were at the Royal Palace and the Dikhow river). Follow this by your visit at the Sivadoul temple (a holy temple shrine that is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the temple dome is made of pure gold). The Joysagar lake (the largest man dug out lake in India that has a unique characteristic of never losing its water level be it heavy rains or dry winters), the Ahom museum that illustrates the various times of history and the relics from the times of the Ahom Kingdom. Later you can visit the Kareng Ghar at Sivasagar that was the royal palace of the Ahom royals and is an example of Grand Ahom architecture that details the finesse in architecture 500 years back and finally visit Charaideo to witness the Charaideo Maidams.
These Charaideo Maidams are huge tombs where the Ahom Kings were buried and it is believed that when a royal died all his prime belongings like gold, wife, servants and pets were buried along with him. The Charaideo Maidam tombs contain huge underground chamber where the royals were buried with their belongings and it was designed in such a way that even when miscreants dug out the Maidams in search of a bounty they couldn’t find anything. This will wind up your visit at the historic land of the Ahom Kings at Sivasagar after your visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park and you continue on your drive to travel to Upper Assam and Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. From Sivasagar you drive across the beautiful forests of the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary (to be soon upgraded to a National Park and referred to as the Amazon of the East. Dehing Patkai is a rainforest in India that boasts of some of the very rare and endangered animals and bird species to be found in the World). You will also visit the beautiful Tipam Phake Village that is home to the Tai Phake people of Assam who are a part of the greater Tai community of Assam and visiting their village to learn about their life and culture and continue to the historic oil town of Assam at Digboi.
Digboi is a place where crude oil was first discovered in India and the Asia’s first oil refinery was setup here. This entire area of Upper Assam in known to rich in minerals like coal and crude oil including natural gas and so the British under the AR&T company had established various industries here from the oil refinery, coal mines, plywood factories, tea factory, North East India’s first rail tracks at the Dibru Sadiya Railway, India’s first X-Ray centre at the Assam Medical College at Dibrugarh, etc. At Digboi you will visit the Digboi Centenary Oil Museum that illustrates the history of the oil industry in India, the Digboi Club, the Digboi Golf course, Digboi oil town and the Digboi World War II cemetery that contains burials of around 150 soldiers of the Allied Forces who laid down their lives at the Burma Campaign during the construction of the historic Stilwell Road and fighting against the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese army. This will wind up your visit at Digboi after Kaziranga National Park and you continue further on your drive to Far East at Margherita (the coal queen of Assam). The original Makum Coalfields were started by the British across this area and the place has some of the oldest underground coal mines of India that have now been abandoned.
Margherita is also home to India’s only coal museum that illustrates the various practices of underground as well as opencast coal mining at the Makum Coalfields. Margherita was also the place that has some oft eh finest tea gardens in Assam, and the Margherita Tea factory was established in the early 1900s. The historic Burma Campaign of World War II was fought in these parts of the country and this was where the construction of the mammoth project of the Stilwell Road (aka the Ledo Road) started from Ledo (India) to Kunming (China) via Myanmar when the Japanese forces had cut off the alternate route. The soldiers of the Allied Forces had come to setup their base at Margherita including a huge contingent of the American Army who came here and also established one of the finest hospitals (Grade A) of the American Army here at Margherita to treat the wounded. Asia’s first plywood factory was also setup at Margherita and it is said that the British has learn about the tea brewing in India from the Singpho people of Assam and these people inhabit the region around Margherita and have a perfect ecotourism getaway of the Singpho Eco Lodge that is built in a traditional Singpho tribe was using bamboo, wood and thatch and is raised on an elevated platform.
The Singpho way of brewing tea is very unique and it is done in a way to preserve all the nutrients of the tea leaves that keeps all basic and certain complex modern day body ailments at bay. This way of brewing tea is called as the Phalap and at first the tea leaves are plucked and washed and allowed to dry in the sun. Later these leaves are stuffed inside a bamboo tube and sealed and allowed to roast inside the bamboo tube over wood fire and later stored for a few days inside the bamboo tubes. This allows the tea leaves to take a cylindrical shape and this is later sliced up and boiled in water to prepare the phalap tea of the Singpho people of Assam. This tea is served not by mixing with sugar and instead a piece of jaggery is provided along with the tea. This is the unique tea brewing of the people who are accredited with the actual way and the first tea brewing process of Assam. Next up after your visit at Kaziranga National Park you can proceed to visit the Ketetong village at Margherita that is said to be the place that has the highest concentration of the indigenous communities anywhere in the World and the various tribes of Assam are found at the Ketetong village.
The place around Margherita is the also known to have the famous tea gardens of Namdang and the nearby coal mines present here were the oldest coal mines of the region. The nearby Bibi Majhar is a place that is the burial grounds of two young sisters who started predicting the future of the people from a very early age and today it is a very sacred shrine for the people of the Muslim faith in the area. The Margherita Club at Namdang has a very fine golf course and the entire area is filled with lush and abundant landscapes. Continue further to the site of the 20th General Hospital at Margherita to spot the remains of this Grade A hospital of the American Army. Next up proceed to taste some of the very sumptuous delights of the Singpho cuisine at the Singpho Villa Restaurant at Baragolai and travel ahead to Ledo to sight the historic Ledo airstrip and the Mounglang Khamti Buddhist Monastery. This place is famed fort the holy Buddhist Monk of Bhante Baba who is believed to provide his devotees with a special stone that protects them from any wrong doings and mishappenings and this place is also an International Meditation Centre as well.
The Ledo airstrip nearby is the historic airstrip that was used by the Allied Forces to land their war aircrafts during the Burma Campaign that carried soldiers and supplies during the construction of the Stilwell Road that played a pivotal part in the march of the Allied Forces to victory over the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. Continue further to visit Lekhapani that is the actual place where the historic Stilwell Road starts and this is a memorial site as well as a huge signage that displays the clear map of the Stilwell road that extended from Ledo (India) to Kunming (China) via Myanmar. From Lekhapani you visit Tipong Colliery that are another of the old underground coal mines of Assam and Tipong is also home to the Sumi Naga people who were known to be the most fierce head hunters among the tribes of Nagaland. Tipong is also the land of vast natural beauty and the coal mines of Tipong are known to have the oldest operational steam locomotives in the World of the likes of DAVID and 796. The DAVID steam locomotive was built in 1851 by WG Bagnall of England and it ran across the terrain of Tipong pulling the coal tubs to the dump sites from the underground cave mouths.
After you explore Tipong, you will need to explore the eastern frontiers of India at Arunachal Pradesh as these areas share a strategic border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and also the international border along with Myanmar on one side and China on another eastern front at Kibithoo. From Tipong you can continue on your visit to Jagun and at first you can head straight to visit Miao and further at Deban to explore the third largest National Park in India – the Namdapha National Park that is home to the big four cat species of Tigers, Leopards, Clouded Leopards and the Clouded Snow Leopards and the rainforest that is very less explored and hence home to some of the very rare and endangered species of flora, fauna and avifauna. The flying squirrel found in the forest reserves of Namdapha National Park is a great sight to experience. To visit Arunachal Pradesh you will need to possess a valid ILP (Inner Line Permit for Indian Nationals) or PAP (Protected Area Permit for foreign Nationals) and the ILP can be easily obtained online while to obtain the PAP foreign Nationals need to visit an FRO office to obtain the same. You will first reach the small town of Miao that is home to the Tibetan and the Singpho people and here you can witness the Tibetan Settlement area cum carpet weaving centre and then proceed to Miao and further to Deban to explore the forest reserves of Namdapha National Park.
To explore Namdapha National Park after Kaziranga National Park it will be a complete different experience altogether as you need to explore the forest of Namdapha National Park on foot and no safari is conducted inside the forest reserves. Also it is not possible to explore the forest reserves of Namdapha National Park in one day and so you will need to camp inside the forests and then explore more area the next day. After you finish exploring Namdapha National Park, you can come back to Miao and explore this tinsel town and further come back to Jagun in Assam and take a left diversion to again enter Arunachal Pradesh at Jairampur. To make this visit ensure that you plan on visiting on either the 10th, 20th or 30th of a month as these are the dates that Indian Nationals are allowed to cross the International Border at Pangsau Pass and travel to Myanmar at the Pansaung market area without any necessary passport and visa and a simple order from the office of the SDO at Nampong and the valid ILP to enter Arunachal Pradesh. You can pay a visit at the Jairampur World War II cemetery that is the only war cemetery in India (from the Burma Campaign of World War II) that has burials of the Chinese soldiers along with the Allied forces who laid down their lives during the construction of the Stilwell Road and across the entire stretch you will be travelling across the Stilwell Road itself.
You reach the Pangsau Pass after a scrutiny check by the soldiers of the Indian Army and here you can be a part of the legendary Pangsau Pass that was often referred to as the Hell’s Pass because of its treacherous terrain and this is the border to enter the territory of Myanmar where you will be welcomed by the Myanmar Army and instructed to return back before 4 PM. At the Pansaung market you can explore the vibrant local market that is operational to promote cross border trade and there is a viewpoint here from where you can view the grand Lake of no Return that is surrounded by various mysteries and it is said that many aircrafts had crashed in this lake and every huge army troops disappeared under mysterious circumstances on exploring this lake thereby earning this Lake of no Return a repute of being the Bermuda Triangle of the East. With this you can enjoy a sumptuous meal of Myanmar here and later return back to India at Arunachal Pradesh and continue on your drive to Assam to travel to Tinsukia crossing Margherita, Digboi and Makum.
Your next stop at Tinsukia will help you to explore the 5th National Park of Assam at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and later explore the eastern most fronts of India at Namsai, Wakro, Walong and Kibithoo and also explore the holy land of Tezu and the Dong village – the place that receives the first sunlight in India. This is how you can explore the other tourist destinations across North East India after you visit Kaziranga National Park. Dibru Saikhowa National Park is home to the feral horses, royal Bengal tigers, Gangetic river dolphins and various migratory bird species. Also visit the Maguri Beel area near the park that is a pristine lake that also attracts various bird species as well both resident and migratory. Take the opportunity of exploring the Dibru Saikhowa National Park on board a house boat and this is the only National Park in India where you can get to experience the beautiful flora, fauna and avifauna of the place on board a house boat and do check out the flowering orchids of the place as well. At Tinsukia pay a visit to the Railway Heritage Park and museum that illustrates the rich history of the Dibru Sadiya railway.
Also visit the Nao Pukhuri area near Tinsukia that is a symbol of benevolence of the Chutia Kings of Assam to the subjects by digging a series of 9 ponds across the place and this being the largest water resource of the Nao Pukhuri Lake. The place is spread across a huge area and you can witness the various old constructions from the times of the 17th century here as well. The next place to visit is the Tilinga Mandir or the Bell temple at Bordubi area near Tinsukia. This is a holy temple shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is believed the devotees who come and seek their wishes at this temple are granted true of their wish and when your wish is granted true one has to come back to the temple premises and tie a bell at this temple premise and across the years so many people’s wishes have come true that there are thousands of bells of various shapes and sizes and metals to be found at the bell temple at Bordubi. You too can seek your blessings at this temple shrine as well and then continue further eastwards towards the final frontiers of India on the east. Continue on your visit to the Doomdooma area that is home to the fine tea gardens of Assam and the tea quality here is considered to be one of the nest across the World.
From Doomdooma, continue further to visit the Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu that is the longest bridge in India and a grand one as well that spans across a length of 9.15 Km and is present across the Brahmaputra river of Assam. Cross this grand architecture to travel to the other side at Sadiya at the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and continue further to enter Arunachal Pradesh again at Roing. These places are home to the Mishmi and Adi people of Arunachal Pradesh and these places are located at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and you can travel to Mayodia from Roing that is a high level pass that remains covered with snow during the winter and is a favoured tourist destination in the area. The places around Roing and Mayodia lie around the Mishmi hills and these contain some of the very rare birds of the region and are a popular bird watching destination in Arunachal Pradesh as well. The beautiful snow clad mountains of the eastern Himalayas at Mayodia are indeed a treat to view and from Mayodia you can drive further ahead to Hunli and Anini that are some of the other remote villages of Arunachal Pradesh.
From Roing drive to Tezu that will take you across some of the unique scenic views of Arunachal Pradesh and Tezu is in close proximity to Parashuram Kund that is one of the very holy centres of pilgrimage for the Hindu people on the River Lohit where sage Parashuram got rid of his sins of killing his mother by washing his hands and the stuck axe got rid of his hands. Drive further to Wakro that is called as the Orange Valley of Arunachal Pradesh and is known to produce some of the finest quality of citrus fruits across the region. From Wakro continue to travel to Walong where the Battle of Walong was fought between the Indian and Chinese Army in the Indo-China war of 1962. The Namti War Memorial at Walong is the reminder of the sacrifice of the brave soldiers of the Indian army who laid down their lives protecting their motherland. From Walong you can embark on a hike to the Dong village in Arunachal Pradesh that is the place where the first rays of sunlight falls in India. This is a small village with a few households of the Meyor tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and the sunrise happens as early as 3.30 PM in this place thereby calling it as India’s land of the Rising Sun and earning Arunachal Pradesh the title of being the land of the dawn lit mountains.
From Dong you will head to Kibithoo that is the last motorable road along the eastern most part of India and the final village is that of Kaho. At Kibithoo you can view the border of India and China and the Chinese troops will be visible to your eyes as well. This will end your journey at the Eastern most frontiers of India and you can come back to enter Assam and proceed on your drive to Dibrugarh – the Tea capital of the World. The area around Dibrugarh is also home to numerous tea gardens and this place has the unique heritage tea garden bungalows that now also accommodate guests and you can get a feel of the real life of the British officials here at Dibrugarh. Also visit the Jagannath temple at Dibrugarh that is a holy temple shrine and one of the very beautiful modern temple shrines of Assam that is a replica of the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri in Orissa. Explore the tea gardens of Dibrugarh and also visit the banks of the Brahmaputra River in the evening. Next up proceed on your drive to visit the Bogibeel bridge at Dibrugarh that is India’s longest Rail cum Road Bridge spanning over the Brahmaputra River and from the Bogibeel Bridge continue on our drive to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh that is another pristine tourism destination in Arunachal Pradesh.
Explore the beautiful countryside of Arunachal Pradesh at Pasighat and Dambuk and later you can drive to Mechuka via Along. Mechuka is the beautiful land of the Memba people of Arunachal Pradesh and it is often referred to as the ‘Switzerland of the North East’ because of its endless meadows and snow clad mountain peaks. Mechuka is the strategic border between India and China and tourists visit the place to enjoy the beautiful landscapes where the horses run wild across the farmlands of Mechuka. At Mechuka you will see the vast bounties of nature that the North East of India has to offer to its visitors and the varied culture and traditions of the indigenous people. From Mechuka you can drive back to Jonai in Assam and continue to visit Majuli Island – the largest river island in the World. Majuli is the hub of the neo-Vaishnavite cult of Assam that was founded and propagated by the great Saint reformer Srimanta Shankardeva and his disciple Sri Madhavadeva who preached the principles of Eksarna that all human beings are alike and must be treated equally irrespective of caste, creed and religion. They established the Neo-Vaishnavite monasteries across Majuli and Assam as well where young boys enter at an early age and they learn about the principles of Eksarna and they spend their live in the praise and dedication of Lord Krishna.
These Satras of Majuli Island are great centres of art knowledge and are responsible for giving ride to numerous scholars of Assam and their heritage art of traditional mask making, practice of one among the 8 classical dance forms of India viz. the Sattriya Nritya and the art of fan making with cane. These monks also learn about the traditional boat making art because Majuli being located amidst one of the very powerful and mighty river in the World, the island gets submerged in water due to the annual floods in the monsoon season and boats are necessary to navigate around the place. At Majuli all you will find is tranquil and peace where you can cycle across the island or hire the services of a motorbike and even walk across the place spending your time at leisure, admiring the vast agricultural fields along the river banks and also get to witness the life and traditions of the indigenous Mishing people of Assam who have inhabited Majuli Island since long and are known to be very skilled craftsmen where the men folks use bamboo to create beautiful and elegant handicrafts of Assam while the women weave grand handlooms of the chadors and the Mishing galle on the traditional looms and all the activity is done by hand.
Get to savour the local rice beer of Apong and the rice wine of Sai Mod along with an array of delightful traditional dishes at a local Mishing home during your visit to Majuli and this is a perfect way to spend your time learning about the life of the local people of Majuli. You can even travel to the banks of the River Luit to witness one of the very delightful views of the sunset on your visit to Majuli. When it comes to exploring the Satras of Majuli Island, the prominent Satras to explore are the Auniati Satra, the Samaguri Satra, the Dakhinpat Satra, the Uttar Kamalabari Satra and the Garamur Satra. For witnessing the heritage art of the traditional mask making art of Majuli you can visit the Samaguri Satra and to witness the art form of the Sattriya Nritya dance you can visit the Uttar Kamalabari Satra. Another art form not to be missed is that of the pottery making art with hands where the artists at the Salmora village in Majuli do not make use of any pottery wheel to create the pottery and instead they use their hands to provide shape to the pottery and simply dry it in the sun to get hard and later paint them with organic colours.
The cuisine of the local people of Majuli is one thing to be enjoyed because they will use everything organic to prepare their meals. They have their own farmlands where they grow their rice and also they also grow various leafy vegetables and the seasonal vegetables and they even raise their own livestock and rear pigs so that the food they eat is completely organic and derived from nature. The use of oil and powdered spices in their cuisine is almost nil and they mostly prefer to eat boiled food. This is a particular thing you will find about the eating habit of most of the tribes of North East India and in Nagaland when you travel you will find the most of the food they eat is only boiled food with no use of oil and the flavours are brought in by the use of herbs, ginger, garlic, coriander and the fiery Naga king chilli and the Bhut Jolokia of Assam. The Mishing cuisine makes use of a country chicken, fish or home raised pork and this is cooked along with vegetables or the meat is roasted over fire as well. The food will be served on bell metal plates and bowls and this is a unique combination of metals that imparts a distinct flavour to the meal as it is good for the stomach health.
At Majuli you can take a unique opportunity of staying amidst nature at any of the Eco Camps that are run by the local youth and these camps have the traditional Mishing bamboo cottage that are built on elevated platforms and the use of bamboo and thatch roof is made to construct these bamboo cottages and it is a very cozy experience to stay in one such bamboo cottage. Try to halt at the La Lolat Eco Camp at Majuli that offers visitors a unique budget stay experience amidst a natural environment and this is spread across a huge green area and your stay is completely in the middle of nature. After exploring Majuli continue to travel back to Arunachal Pradesh and head on your drive to the city of Naharlagun crossing the ferry and from Naharalagun you can head to the land of the legendary Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh at Ziro Valley. Ziro Valley is the district capital of the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh and the Apatani tribes have lived here since ages. These Apatani people are known for their unique rice cultivation practice and the Apatani older women are recognized by their astonishing face tattoos and nose plugs. The Apatani women are considered to be very beautiful women and when invaders used to come to Ziro in the olden days they not only used to carry the valuables but they couldn’t resist the beauty of the Apatani women and they used to take the women along with them.
So in order to disfigure their faces, the Apatani women started to tattoo their faces and put a unique nose plug on their nose that disfigured their beautiful face and they started looking less attractive. This practice has now been abolished with the modern times and the young girls no longer adorn them. The Apatani people have very unique rituals and customs and they celebrate many festivals around the year. The known among these festivals is the Dree festival that is festival of harvest celebrated in the first week of July. Ziro also celebrates India’s greatest outdoor music festival – the Ziro festival of music towards the end of September and various other festivals are held across the year. One unique thing about the Apatani homes is that they rear pigs under the platform of their houses and their houses too are built on raised platforms. The bathroom is very unique where there is a hole carved out on the wood surface and the local people do their business on top of these holes and the excrete falls down on the ground and the pigs consume this. Though it might sound a very peculiar practice to the other people but the Apatani people believe that this is a complete natural way of relieving themselves and the pigs are raised to consume this and later for their meat. Explore the vast natural countryside of Ziro and also visit the local villages of Ziro.
At Ziro you can visit the tallest naturally formed Shivalinga in the World at Kardeo in Ziro and this is a unique shaped rock in the form of a Shiva Linga and is a very holy site for the Hindu community and the mention of this Shiva Lingam has been found in old mythological books and this is a very unique sight to witness. Travelling across the paddy fields of Ziro to witness the unique rice cultivation and get a fell amidst the lap of Mother Nature. After you finish exploring Ziro Valley continue on your drive back to Naharlagun and head to explore the capital of Arunachal Pradesh at Itanagar city. Explore the modern market of Itanagar and also explore the museum of handicrafts and handlooms at the capital and continue to head back to Assam and drive to Biswanath Charali and further towards Tezpur. When you will approach Balipara area near Tezpur take the opportunity to stay and pamper yourself at the heritage Wild Mahseer tea garden bungalow at Balipara that is known to be the very popular tea garden stays in Assam and it is visited by many tourists from across the World who come to experience the luxury stay and this place also offers various other tea garden related activities like visit to the nearby tea gardens, tea garden factory exploration and even tasting of tea as well. Take the opportunity to visit this unique tea garden bungalow and put up on your stay here for a night or two and take the next day to explore the various tea garden related activities around the place and also go to visit the Tezpur town where you can spend a day visiting the ‘Fortress of Fire’ – the Agnigarh fort and even go for a boat safari ride at the Bhomoraguri safari zone that falls under the jurisdiction of the Kaziranga National Park under the Nagaon Wildlife Division and this boat safari option is a unique way to witness the endangered river dolphins on the waters of the Brahmaputra River.
Also take the opportunity to visit the 6th addition of Kaziranga National Park at the Panpur range that falls under the Sonitpur and Nagaon subdivisions of Kaziranga National Park and this is the most recent safari site opened to tourists in 2020 and this is where at first you get the experience of crossing the forests under Kaziranga National Park on a boat ride and later you can go for a jeep ride into the park interiors and this will provide you an option to sight the Royal Bengal Tigers of Kaziranga National Park that are known to be sighted in this range along with the Rhinoceros, Asiatic Wild Water Buffaloes, Wild Elephants, Wild boars and various other bird species of Kaziranga National Park. Next up travel to the Nameri National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam that is located ahead of Tezpur on the Tezpur-Bomdila-Tawang highway. Nameri National Park and Tiger Reserve is one of the very amazing forest reserves and it is located along the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas and it is contiguous with the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh that you can visit after Nameri National Park. This park of Assam allows the visitors to go for a unique wildlife trekking experience inside the area of the park accompanied by a forest guard and this provides visitors with a unique opportunity to be in close with nature and sight the varied wildlife and bird species of Nameri National Park.
The highly endangered white winged wood duck can be found inside the forests of Nameri National Park along the banks of the Jia Bhoreli river and Nameri National Park is an ideal spot to witness some of the very rare bird species in the World that come here during the winter season. The Royal Bengal Tigers of Nameri National Park are often spotted inside the forest reserves of on the jungle trek and hence an armed forest guard accompanies a group that goes on wildlife trekking experience here at Nameri. The park authorities also conduct a unique experience of river rafting on the waters of the Jia Bhoreli river that flows across Nameri National Park and this is a wonderful experience to sight the wildlife alongside the river banks where the animals of Nameri come to quench their thirst and also the Tigers follow them in search of their prey. The river rafting experience starts at a point slightly ahead of the forests of Nameri and joins in at the point where the safari inside the park begins. After you wind up your visit at Nameri head to enter Arunachal Pradesh again where you will travel to the Pakke Tiger Reserve and make a stop at Bhalukpong to witness the vibrant local market at this place.
Follow this to travel to the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh that was earlier called as the Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary and this place is known to be home to some of the most diverse wildlife and birds of Arunachal. After your wildlife experience at the Pakke Tiger Reserve continue on your drive towards Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh and this is the Buddhist terrain circuit of Arunachal Pradesh. Visit the Tippi Orchard Research Centre along your drive and this is a famous orchid park cum botanical garden of Arunachal Pradesh. The state of Arunachal has a vast area under forest cover and this falls under the eastern Himalayan Biodiversity thereby allowing the place to have various species of orchids of North East India and this orchid centre aims to preserve and promote these indigenous orchid species because the presence of orchids across the place signifies the balance of nature across that particular place. Continue on your drive to Bomdila from this orchid centre and at Bomdila take the opportunity to visit the local market of Bomdila that is a vibrant market that sells various traditional handicrafts and handlooms of the local Monpa people of Arunachal Pradesh. You should surely check out the hand woven woollen garments that are found in this market at Bomdila.
After exploring the market at Bomdila travel to the Bomdila Monastery that is a very beautiful Buddhist Monastery that is located in the heart of Bomdila town and you will find the calm and tranquil of the place fill your soul. The Monastery overlooks the towering eastern Himalayas and this is a perfect way to witness the snow clad mountain peaks that overlook the horizon. Halt for a night at Bomdila and later travel to the Thembang village near Bomdila that is a very old Monpa village and a very natural landscape area as well from where one of the very pristine trek trails of Arunachal Pradesh starts called as the Baileys Trail trek that is named after a British official who used this trek route to discover these places in Arunachal Pradesh and put in on the map. Thembang is a Monpa village and it has dense forest cover across the place and is home to various species of flora and fauna. The highly revered Black necked Crane comes to the Thembang Village every year in the winters and it is worshipped by the local Monpa people who consider the bird to be auspicious. Witness the true rural life of the local people of Arunachal Pradesh here at Thembang village and also visit the Thembang Dzong that is a fort like encompassing area where the village is situated.
After exploring the Thembang village continue on your drive further to Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh that is another beautiful mountain town and is gradually becoming a very important tourist destination for the proximity of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary that is one of the very famous birding spots of Arunachal Pradesh and tourists from across the World have started visiting the place to witness these bird species and also to enjoy the varied other flora and fauna species of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Mandala as well. Also explore the beautiful Dirang town and the Monastery here and go to explore the peaceful site of the Sangti Valley that is another place known for its birds and the scenic countryside of Arunachal Pradesh as well. Get the opportunity to witness ecotourism at its best at the Sangti Valley and later continue on your travel to Tawang – the land of the largest active Buddhist Monastery in the World of the Tawang Monastery. On the way to Tawang you will need to cross the Sela Pass that is a high altitude pass that remains covered with snow most parts of the year and crossing the Sela Pass is one of the most adventurous drives you can witness in North East India. After crossing Sela Pass you will reach Jaswantgarh that is a high altitude base of the brave soldiers of the Indian army who are posted here to assist the tourists on their journey to Tawang and further ahead to the border of India and China at the Bumla Pass.
This place is named after a brave Sepoy of the Indian army Jaswanth Singh who single handeldy stood his grounds against the Chinese army who had invaded India in 1962 Ind0-China war. The Sela Pass too is named after a local Monpa Girl named as Sela who had helped Jaswanth Singh wade away the Chinese troops by providing him with food and water until he was finally captured by the Chinese troops and Sela too was never heard of again after this incident mostly as she must have fled instead of falling in the hands of the enemy. Jaswantgarh is a memorial site for the brave soldiers of the Indian army who laid down their lives in the war of 1962. Today this is a halt over spot for the tourists who stop here to take a sip of the black tea and hot snacks that are served at the military canteen here and also people who get sick due to the high altitude are attended to by a medical team of the Indian army. Jaswant Singh’s memorial is present at this site and this memorial is like he is still alive and is guarding the place and is provided with food, change of clothes and even promotions at regular intervals.
After exploring Tawang you will need to drive back towards the main cities and towns of Assam by road and in case you have not hired the services of a taxi or have used your personal vehicle to reach Tawang, you can choose the option of flying from Tawang to Guwahati in via the helicopter service (that is operated under pawan hans) and this will be a very short duration as compared to the long drive. Assuming that you have not taken any vehicle to Tawang and instead hire the services of local Tata Sumo vehicle to reach Tawang, then you can fly to Guwahati from Tawang and reach back to the spot from where you had started your exploration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park and the other destinations of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. From Guwahati you can access the second World Heritage Site of Manas National Park that is located in the Baksa district of Lower Assam and is a part of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity that makes Manas National Park a place of varied and rare flora, fauna and avifauna. Every year thousands of visitors from across the World come to Manas National Park to sight the rare and endemic animal and bird species to be found here. Manas National Park is one of the other success stories of conservation of Assam along with Kaziranga National Park (both now UNESCO World Heritage Sites), and this park was recovered from the acts of terrorism to one of the most diverse in the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity.
The Manas National Park is known to be home to the Golden Langurs, Pygmy Hogs, Red Panda, Hispid Hare, Assam Roofed Turtle, etc. that are now limited only to the areas around the place and also the Bengal Florican bird that is to be found in their highest population here at Manas National Park. This is also a tiger reserve and is known for its population of the Tigers, One Horned Rhinoceros, Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo and the Wild Boars but the place still is renowned to be home to the birdwatcher’s paradise in Assam. Explore Manas National Park and later also visit the Orang National Park on the way back to Guwahati as well and Orang National Park is now home to the highest population density of the Royal Bengal Tigers in the protected areas anywhere in the World a tag that was earlier held by Kaziranga National Park. Explore Orang National Park on a jeep safari and sight the Royal Bengal Tigers of the place and also the varied other flora and later continue back to Guwahati and head on to explore Meghalaya at the Scotland of the East – Shillong. Shillong is the capital of the state of Meghalaya – a land known for its beautiful landscapes, tall waterfalls, gorgeous countryside’s, Living Root Bridges and the wettest places of Mawsynram and Cherrapunji.
One the drive to Shillong from Guwahati you will sight the grand mountains of Meghalaya and also the beautiful and crystal clear waters of the Umiam Lake that is the largest artificial water reservoir in North East India where you can get the opportunity to go for boating on the waters of the lake here and explore the place. Later travel to Shillong and explore the vibrant city that is a blend of the modern and traditional World. Shillong is home to the Khasi people of Meghalaya who can be seen running most of the shops and business establishments and the largest market of North East India – the Bara bazar is also located in Shillong. At Shillong visit the Police Bazar, the Wards Lake, the Polo Grounds, Don Bosco Museum, Shillong Golf Course, Ever Living Museum, Abbey Falls, Shillong Peak and the Elephant Falls in Upper Shillong. Continue to visit the Grand Laitlum Canyons of Shillong and also the Smit Village as well. Explore the numerous cafes and pubs of Shillong and witness the music scene of the place as it is said that one in every four household here is known to have a talented musician. With this you can continue to explore the other places of interest near Shillong when you travel to Cherrapunji – the land of the pristine waterfalls of Meghalaya and the second wettest place on Earth.
The drive from Shillong to Cherrapunji is across some of the most verdant landscapes right out of storybook and this will surely make your mind fill with serenity when you are here at Mesmerizing Meghalaya. At the Mawkdok valley get a glimpse of the vast undulating valleys of Meghalaya and it time permits you can also enjoy a round of rappelling at this valley as well. Continue to Cherrapunji and you will be welcomed to the ‘Shade of the Clouds’. At Cherrapunji you can go to visit the tallest plunge waterfall in India at the Nohkalikai Falls that falls from a height of 340m and the drive to the place is one of the very pristine views you can find across the place and it will surely remind you of some European destination. The gushing sound of the waters is a soulful sound to the ears and at the area around the Nohkalikai Falls you will find many local vendors of Cherrapunji (mostly women) who setup stalls and sell some of the very fresh local produce of cinnamon and other local spices that are savoured from the local forests around Cherrapunji. Cherrapunji is a very small town and not much of human habitation is present except from the various spread out villages that are connected by means of the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya and hence the forest cover across the place is very dense and are home to many endangered flora and fauna species.
One noteworthy thing to mention about the Khasi people of Meghalaya is that even though they have adopted Christianity as their faith after the arrival of the Missionaries but they have practiced their ancient traditions and culture and one aspect of this is the practice of a matrilineal society where the family lineage is taken from the mother’s side and the head of the household is the woman of the house and she is the breadwinner for the house and so across Meghalaya you will see that most of the shops and business establishments are run by the women and even top administrative posts are held by the woman folks as well. The family ancestry and wealth is passed on to the youngest daughter in the family who is also entrusted to take care of the parents and the unmarried siblings. The bridegroom goes to the bride’s house after marriage and many such customs that are heard only in a few societies in this World. Continue from the Nohkalikai falls ahead to explore some of the other popular tourist attractions at Cherrapunji like the Mawsmai caves and the Seven Sister Falls. The Mawsmai Cave is a prehistoric cave and is one of the most visited caves in Meghalaya that is a very nice cave to witness the formations of the fossils along with the stalactites and stalagmites.
Meghalaya is home to around 3000 caves and only a few of these have been explored and the World’s longest sandstone cave of Krem Puri is located near Mawsynram in Meghalaya that can be accessed by visitors guided by local adventure tour companies. Next up visit the Seven Sister Falls that is the fourth tallest waterfall in India with the water falling from a height of 315m and the seven distinct waterfalls can be seen clearly especially in the monsoon season. Later you can explore the Eco Park that provides panoramic views of the landscapes and valleys of Meghalaya and also the plains of Bangladesh as well. Continue to explore the Arwah Caves that is another prehistoric cave and is a much wider cave to explore than the Mawsmai Caves and a longer one as well. Travel to a few more beautiful waterfalls of Meghalaya at Cherrapunji of the Wei Sawdong falls, Dainthlen Falls, Garden of Caves waterfall, etc. and take time to relax and unwind at one of the top resorts of Cherrapunji that offer visitors panoramic views of the valleys of Meghalaya and also all the modern luxuries and amenities. One thing noteworthy to be mentioned is that the climate of Cherrapunji is always favourable and across the local homes you will not find fans or air-conditioning that are needed in the summer season.
Continue to visit the grandeur of the Bioengineering marvel of the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at the Nongriat village near Cherrapunji that is also a UNESCO World heritage site. The Living Root Bridge are grown by the indigenous Khasi and Jaintia people of Meghalaya and earlier they had no idea that this out of the box creation of them would go on to become renowned across the World and tourists from all around would start coming to Meghalaya and to Nongriat village to sight this wonder. Actually what happened is that, there are many small villages across the forests of Cherrapunji (also across Meghalaya) and these are separated by perennial stream and small rivers. So the villagers had to come up with an idea to build bridges across these streams to help them cross the rivers in the monsoon season especially. Approaching the local bodies to build bridges was out of question and so their ancestors came up with the idea of growing bridges over these streams instead of building them. These forest reserves are filled with rubber trees and the roots of these rubber trees are allowed to grow in one direction and to guide the roots to grow in a direction, the local people use hollowed out bamboo or areca nut trunks and the roots cross over the stream from one side to another.
This process takes around 15-20 years to grow one bridge and once fully grown, these root bridges last for around 500 years. Generally, the iron bridges would not be adept across these places because the annual rainfall received is quite huge and the iron bridges would rust easily. These Living Root Bridges on the other hand grow stronger with rain and hence they last longer. From Cherrapunji, you will need to drive to the Tyrna village and here you need to keep your cars at the parking spot and embark on your hike to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at the Nongriat Village and you can hire the services of a local guide to take you there. This is a very unique trek because it is across a pathway of 3500 stairs that take you from the top of the Tyrna village to the foot of a hill and later you continue to visit the Nongriat village and here you will sight one of the wonders of the World of the Jinkieng Nongriat Double Decker Living Root Bridge. At Nongriat there are various basic homestays where the guests can halt for a night or two and explore further from the Living Root Bridge to the Mawshaw Living Root Bridge and the Rainbow Falls and trek further to reach Cherrapunji from the base of the Nohkalikai Falls. Or you can even trek back to Tyrna from Nongriat after witnessing the Double Decker Root Bridge.
After exploring Cherrapunji, you can head to visit the cleanest village of Asia at Mawlynnong at the border of Meghalaya with Bangladesh. This village is a small village of around 100 households and it was declared as the Cleanest Village in Asia by the Discover India Magazine in 2003. Before you reach Mawlynnong, you can make a stop at Pynursla village to visit the longest living root bridge in the World here. As mentioned earlier, there are several such root bridges across Meghalaya in the East Khasi and West Jaintia hills and the most popular among them is the Riwai Single Decker Living Root Bridge at Mawlynnong, followed by the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and then the longest Living Root Bridge at Pynursla. This Root Bridge spans across a length of around 50m and hence it is a grandeur to view as well and after exploring the small village you can go to visit Mawlynnong where at first you can explore the cleanest village and later go to explore the Riwai Root Bridge that is the widest Living Root Bridge and then come to visit the Balancing Rocks at Mawlynnong. Take the opportunity at Mawlynnong to stay at a local homestay to learn about the life, culture and traditions of the Khasi people of Meghalaya and also savour their traditional wine and cuisine. From Mawlynnong you can also go to visit the Nohwet Village that is near Mawlynnong and this village offers some great panoramic views of the landscapes of Meghalaya and the plains of Bangladesh as well. At Nohwet you can visit the oldest Khasi hut that will give you an insight of the heritage of the Khasi people of Meghalaya.
After exploring Nohwet and Mawlynnong head on to visit the border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki and along the way you will view two beautiful waterfalls and one of them is called as the Bophill falls. Your visit to Meghalaya after Kaziranga National Park is one of the best moments in your travel itinerary because the place has so much to offer to tourists of various tastes from nature, culture, traditions, food, adventure, etc. Once you reach the border of India and Bangladesh at Dawki take the opportunity to cross the Indian side of the border to reach no man’s land at pillar 1275 and view the border of the country of Bangladesh and later enter back to Indian Territory. Post this visit the place called as Shnongpdeng that offers various water sports on the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River from rafting, snorkelling, kayaking, Angling, fishing, camping, etc. Take the opportunity to sight the crystal clear waters of the Umngot River at Dawki and later continue to visit one of the various homestays or camp grounds at Shnongpdeng for a night’s stay by the banks of the river. From Shnongpdeng you can travel towards Jowai in the West Khasi Hills to visit the very grand Krang Shuri waterfalls that offers very pristine natural views and crystal clear waters as well.
Take the opportunity to go for a swim on the waters of the Krang Shuri falls and later continue on your drive towards Shillong and visit the area of Mawphlang that has one of the Khasi Hills Sacred Groves and the most wonderful trek routes across Meghalaya – the David Scott Trail trek. You can embark on the reverse route on this trek while at Lad Mawphlang and this trek route will take you across the verdant landscapes of Meghalaya and this was founded as a trade route by a British Officer named David Scott and it serves as one of the most important trade routes from Assam to Bangladesh during that time and today various adventure seekers go on the David Scott trek to explore the beautiful landscapes of Meghalaya. Once you complete the trek you will reach Mawphlang that is the site of the heritage Khasi Hills Sacred Groves and also the site of the Khasi Heritage Village where the Monolith festival of Meghalaya is held. These sacred groves are forest pockets that are considered sacred by the Khasi people of Meghalaya and no acts of nuisance are permitted to be carried out at these sacred groves. Various ancient rituals were performed at these sacred groves and the Khasi ancestors used to pray here for a bountiful harvest season as agriculture is the primary occupation of the local people of Meghalaya.
Continue from Mawphlang to visit Mawsynram that is the place that holds the record for the highest rainfall in the World and this is the place known for some of the very famous caves of Meghalaya of the likes of the Mawjymbuin caves and the Krem Puri Cave. The Mawjymbuin cave is considered to be very sacred among the Hindu people as there is a natural Shiva Linga present inside the cave that is fed continuously by a water stream and this cave draws several visitors during the festival of Shivaratri and also various cave formations can be found inside the place. The Krem Puri on the other hand is the longest sandstone cave in the world and visitors can experience the real thrill inside this cave and also enjoy kayaking inside the cave. Also visit the Jakrem hot springs in Mawsynram whose waters are considered to be a natural healer of various skin diseases and problems as it contains special nutrients. From Mawsynram continue to explore the West Khasi Hills where you can get to explore Nongstoin and further to the Nongkhnum Island and then the Kyllang rocks. Continue to visit Tura in the East Garo Hills and here you can visit one of the very pristine National parks of Meghalaya at the Nokrek National Park. Return to Assam from the West Khasi Hills and continue to visit the Chandubi lake in Assam that is a very pristine Lagoon that was created after the great Earthquake of 1897. This lake offers some of the very pristine views of the Garo Hills of Meghalaya and various camps here offer a natural retreat where you can get to taste and savour the Rabha tribe cuisine of Assam and enjoy their traditional folk dances and music as well.
Explore the beautiful forest reserves of Chandubi and you can go for a hike inside the forest reserves as well and get the opportunity to sight the numerous species of flora and fauna and also the bird species of Chandubi as well. This place being a natural lagoon has enough food resources for the birds that come here and hence this place becomes a paradise for bird watchers who can come here to spot the various migratory bird species that come here during the winter season from all around the World and make this place their home for the next few months and they can be spotted at the Chandubi Lake and the various other protected National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Assam as well. From Chandubi continue to Guwahati city and you can make a stop here for a few days at some of the very grand homestays or the 5 Star Hotels to spend you day at leisure and explore the heritage of the ancient city of Kamrupa that is now the largest and the fastest growing city in North East India and also the gateway to the North East as well. From Guwahati you can fly to Imphal at Manipur and continue the rest of the exploration after visit to Kaziranga National Park by first visiting Manipur and later to Nagaland and then continue to another onward destination.
At Guwahati take time to explore the various holy temples around the place and as Guwahati (ex-Kamrupa) has been mentioned across several of the ancient Hindu mythological books and it is believed that many of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses had come to stay at Kamrupa. Even the name of the place is derived from the Hindu God of love (Lord Kamdeva) as it is said that Lord Kamdeva was burnt to ashes by an angry Lord Shiva at the Umananda Island in Guwahati and when Lord Kamdeva’ s wife had pleaded to bring him back to life, Lord Shiva had agreed but Lord Kamdeva (who was known for his beauty) did not find his original form. Years passed on and then it happened that when Goddess Sati (wife of Lord Shiva) was attending the religious ‘Yagna’ at her father’s place and as her father did not like Lord Shiva as her husband and so he started to rebuke Lord Shiva in front of Goddess Sati and this angered her so much that he jumped into the fire of the ‘Yagna’ and self-immolated herself to which Lord Shiva became very furious and he started to perform the Tandava Nritya and the whole world started to reverberate under his feet and to stop this Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra and cut Goddess Sati’s body into 51 pieces and these body parts started falling on the ground and each of the body part landed on one mountain and these sites became holy shrines and later a temple was built atop these mountains. This pacified Lord Shiva and these 51 holy shrines came to be called as the 51 Shakti Peethas of the Indian Sub-Continent and today these are considered to be the most holy temple shrines across India and each day thousands of devotees from across the country come to offer their worship at these temple shrines.
Coming back to Kamrupa, Lord Kamdeva was instructed to build a temple shrine atop the hill where Goddess Sati’s womb fell and upon the construction of this temple shrine he would get back his original beauty and Lord Kamdeva obliged and he built the Holy Maa Kamakhya temple shrine atop the Nilachal Hills and the place where this temple is built came to be known as Kamrupa – the place where Lord Kamdeva regained his beauty and this place today is the bustling city of Guwahati that has varied history to showcase in terms of its temples and other monuments across the place including the Battle of Saraighat that was fought between the mighty Mughal army and the Ahom army where the Ahoms of Assam who were much smaller in number used various intelligent war tactics to beat the Mughals and never allowed them to conquer Assam and put it on their map. So there are many places to explore in Guwahati as well as the areas around the place and you can start by exploring the holy temple of Maa Kamakhya that is a renowned Shakti Peetha and apart from being one of the 51 Shakti Peethas it is also among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas and the 4 Adi Shakti Peethas and Goddess Sati’s womb fell atop the Nilachal Hills as per the Hindu mythology.
The Kamakhya temple shrine in Guwahati is a must visit on your tour across North East India and more number of devotees who are tourists ensure to visit the temple than Kaziranga National Park because of their utmost devotion to the Goddess. As Goddess Sati’s womb fell atop the Nilachal Hills this temples is said to be that of the bleeding Goddess as it is believed that the Goddess menstruates every year in the month of Asad (June) and this is celebrated in the form of the Ambubachi Mela (Eastern Mahakumbh) that sees devotees and holy Sadhus from across the country come and congregate here and this is a belief that celebrates the spirit of womanhood and the ability of a woman to give birth to a child. Kamakhya temple is also associated with the cult of black magic, tantra and Shakti that was very prevalent in the olden times and the black magic sorcerers of Assam who were known to achieve great feats were staunch devotees of Goddess Kamakhya and the Ahom Kings got highly influenced by these practices and they converted to Hinduism and rebuilt the present day construction of the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati. The top gold plated dome you can see has been donated in 2020 by chairman of Reliance Industries Mr. Mukesh Ambani. You will need to climb a pathway of stairs to reach the main temple shrine and a temple priest will assist you with the Darshan of the Kamakhya temple shrine.
At the Inner Sanctum of the temple there are no idols of the Goddess but instead there is a holy stone that is shaped in the form of a ‘Yoni’ or Vulva and this is fed continuously by an underground water stream and your Darshan of the Kamakhya temple is over once you touch this holy water and sprinkle it over your head and also drink is as well. A visit to the Kamakhya temple after or before your visit to Kaziranga National Park is a must and will be included in your travel Itinerary by most of the travel agencies that operate across North East India. As mentioned earlier, there are many other temple shrines across Guwahati and some of the other temple shrines that are very sacred are Umananda temple (located on the Bhasmachal hills on the World’s smallest inhabited river island and is dedicated to Lord Shiva), Navagraha temple (a temple shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and the nine celestial bodies and an ancient centre of astronomy), the Sukreshwar temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the Itakhuli hills and it was where the Guru of the Asuras worshipped Lord Shiva), Ugratara temple, Geeta Mandir, Basistha temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva and the site of the very ancient ashram of Sage Basistha and the site of the confluence of three rivers), Balaji temple (dedicated to Tirupati Balaji and a very grand temple shrine built entirely of white marble).
In addition there are several temple shrines in North Guwahati as well and few of these are Doul Govinda temple (dedicated to Lord Krishna and famed for its celebration of Janmashthami and Doul Jatra), Aswaklanta temple (built by Ahom Kings and dedicated to Lord Krishna), Sri Sri Dirgheshwari temple (another Shakti Peetha that is dedicated to Goddess Durga and very famous for the Durga Puja Festival and the rock cut inscriptions). These are few of the very important temple shrines of Guwahati and you can move ahead to visit Hajo – the holy land of the Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists alike. The Muslims who inhabit Hajo are the descandants of the Mughals as many of the Mughal generals and soldiers who had come to Assam during the Battle of Saraighat fell in love with the place and as they were not allowed to cross the Brahmaputra river by the Ahoms, they decided to settle on the other side at Hajo and today the Muslims and Hindus of Hajo live in a symbol of complete communal harmony. The Hayagriva Madhava temple at Hajo is considered as a sacred temple by the Hindus and Buddhists and one sect of Buddhism believe that Lord Buddha had attained his salvation and nirvana at this temple shrine in Hajo. The temple pond at this place is home to some of the very rare and endangered turtle species of Assam including the Assam Roofed Topped turtle and it was this place that was successful in preserving these threatened species and now is also a natural conservation centre and the turtles are taken from here and left in the protected National Parks of Assam so their numbers in the wild are back to a healthy number again. Later you can visit the Poa Mecca shrine that is a very holy and sacred site for the Muslims and Hindus alike and the belief is that Pir Giasuddin Aulia had brought about 250gm of soil from the holy land of Mecca to build this place.
After exploring Hajo near Guwahati and your jungle safari experience at Kaziranga National Park, you can visit the ‘Manchester of the East’ at Suwalkuchi that is the largest silk weaving village in the World and the weavers of Suwalkuchi are known to weave out wonders in the form of Mekhela Chadors from the three varieties of the indigenous silks of Assam viz. Muga, Eri and Paat. Take the opportunity here to visit a silk weaving workshop where you get to see the local women in action weaving on the traditional looms and understand the elaborate and detailed work done on the silk fabrics and later visit an emporium of silk to buy a memoir of the purest silks of Assam here at Suwalkuchi. Come back to Guwahati to enjoy a nice dinner cruise on-board the Alfresco River Boat and get scenic views of the Brahmaputra River while sipping your favourite wine and tasting some very fine cuisine. Take the next day to visit the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary from Guwahati that is the land that has the highest population density of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros anywhere in the World and is also referred to as the Bharatpur of the East because of the varied birdlife to be found here. At Pobitora take the opportunity to go for a jeep safari ride deep into the forest reserves and sight the pride of Assam and Kaziranga National Park – the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros at the home that has its highest population density.
Sight various bird species like greater adjutants. Lesser adjutants, Kites, Eagles, Black necked Stork, Great Indian Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, etc. here at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary after your visit to Kaziranga National Park. After your safari you can explore the Land of Mayong – the Land of Black Magic. The area around Pobitora near Guwahati was known for being the home of the various black magic sorcerers and especially at Burha Mayong, these black magic sorcerers were known to stay in the villages and perform various acts of sorcery and they could achieve feats like converting man to goat, tame a wild tiger, cause immense harm to a person physically and wealth wise by using a strand of the person’s hair, etc. These black magic practices have been abolished long back and with the death of these black magic sorcerers, the black magic tricks also died away and today only a few sorcerers are alive who practice only white magic and help to cure people of various body ailments using their tricks and medicines they develop by using the various herbs and trees from the forests. To witness the relics of black magic you can visit the Mayong Museum of black magic that is present near the entrance of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and here various relics can be found including the scriptures that were used by the sorcerers and as written on Sachipat (a bark of a tree using special tip of the peacock feathers) and with this you can wind your visit and come back to Guwahati.
At Guwahati ensure to visit the Assam State Museum, the Guwahati World War II cemetery, the GS Road, Fancy Bazaar, Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Samadhikhetra, Garbhanga Reserve Forest, Srimanta Shankardeva Kalakshetra, Science Museum, Guwahati Planetarium, the Emporiums of Handicrafts and Handlooms, etc. With this you can bid farewell to the Gateway of North East India after your visit to Kaziranga National Park and head on your journey to Manipur at Imphal. Direct flights are available from LGBI airport to Imphal or you can take the bus to Dimapur and after exploring Nagaland you can visit Manipur. We recommend you take the route from Guwahati to Imphal and then to Nagaland. At Imphal you can check yourself at a nice Hotel in the capital of Manipur and later take time to explore the land of the Meitei people of Manipur and start by exploring the places in Imphal and at first go to explore the Ima Keithel market that is the largest all women run market in Asia and here you can get to witness the various local handicrafts and handlooms of the Meitei people of Manipur. Visit the Kangla Fort and Kangla Palace that served as the house and fort of the Meitei rulers of Manipur and the grand architecture of the place is absolutely beautiful.
Visit the Shree Shree Govindajee temple at Imphal and later you can plan your visit to Moirang and go to visit the Loktak Lake that is the largest fresh water lake in North East India and it is renowned for the Phumdis that are floating masses of land that are composed of fungi. At the Loktak lake visit the Keibul Lamjao National Park that is the only floating National park in the World and is home to the last of the few surviving Sangai Deers and this can be found only in Manipur. Take a boat ride across the lake and get the opportunity to sight the Sangai Deers and the other species of flora and fauna at the Keibul Lamjao National Park as well and also see how the local people live on these Phumdis and make use of the boats as their means of transport and use the water to catch fish and make a livelihood. Later you can go to explore the place of Moreh autonomous district council and head to visit the Moreh Market that is located at the border of India and Myanmar and this place is known to have some great smuggled electronics across the border to be found here. From Moreh you can go to explore Myanmar from Manipur at Tamu and this is a perfect opportunity to travel along the road that connects India with Thailand.
Indian Nationals are allowed to travel to Myanmar (and even Foreign Nationals as well) at the border check post of Tamu and people can visit the market area of the place and explore the Tamu market area and the beautiful Monastery that is present here and they can come back to Moreh by afternoon and this is the site of the Iron Gate bridge as well that is the strategic location that shows two different colours painted on the bridge. While one half is painted in silver the other half in yellow with silver symbolizing the Indian Territory and silver symbolizing Myanmar territory. This is how you can explore the place and later return back to Imphal. From Imphal you can catch a bus to Kohima in Nagaland and this will be your journey further across North East India after winding up your visit at Kaziranga National Park. Nagaland is one of the very pristine locations across North East India and is often referred to as the Switzerland of the East because of its beautiful landscapes. Nagaland is home to the legendary head hunting warrior tribes who were known to go out on expeditions and they used to chop off the heads of the enemy after the battle and bring back the skull and keep it in front of the porch of the house and the house with the most number of heads would be seen as the most respected house in the village.
Head hunting practices have been long abolished and almost 90% of the population of the State are now Christians but they still have preserved their ancient cultures and traditions. There are 16 principal tribes of Nagaland and there are numerous sub-tribes as well. These tribes are spread out across the several districts of Nagaland and you can either choose to explore each of the districts to witness their culture and traditions of these tribes of you can plan your visit to Nagaland during the annual Hornbill Festival of Nagaland that is hosted every year in the first week of December. The Hornbill Festival is organized by the Department of Tourism (Govt. of Nagaland) and it is one of the largest ethnic festivals of North East India that draws over 3 lakh visitors to the state and it is where all the tribes of Nagaland congregate and display their rich culture and heritage to the World. The Hornbill Festival is held at the Kisama Heritage village that is located 12 km away from the capital of Nagaland at Kohima and it is celebrated after the Sangai festival of Manipur that is another important festival of North East India that illustrates the glory of the Meitei people of Manipur and the endangered Sangai Deer species found at the Keibul Lamjao National Park on the floating Loktak Lake.
Generally when tourists plan a tour to North East India during the end of November across December, they start by arriving at the Imphal airport and start exploration of Manipur at the Sangai festival and then come to Nagaland to witness the Hornbill Festival and later drive to Kaziranga National Park and further to Majuli continuing to Ziro and coming back to Guwahati to cover Meghalaya and end their tour with a visit to the Holy Maa Kamakhya temple shrine. You can either plan your visit to Kaziranga National Park this way or you can alternately choose to explore the separate districts of Nagaland as well. During the Hornbill Festival as all the tribes congregate under one roof at the Kisama Heritage village so you do not need to go out and can witness the various traditional dances and songs, culture, food, handicrafts and handloom of the local people of Nagaland here at the Kisama Heritage village itself. The place turns into a bustling activity ground and various dignitaries come to attend the Hornbill Festival. In addition to the traditional blend of the festival a modern touch is also present where various rock shows and fashion shows are hosted as well along with World War II peace rally of the vintage vehicles. At the Hornbill Festival get to experience Naga cuisine at its best that is one of the healthiest cuisines in the World where he food is prepared from scratch by sourcing all the fresh ingredients and then preparing with natural herbs and spices and the Naga food is prepared without any oil and only boiled all together.
They use a typical meat preservation process where the meat is sliced up and hung on the roof of the local kitchen that is powered by wood fire and the smoke helps to preserve the meat as the climate across Nagaland remains favourable across the year. Start by exploring the city of Kohima where you can visit the Kohima local market, the Kohima World War II cemetery, the Kohima Cathedral, the World War II museum and explore the various local cafes and the centres of Nagas handlooms and handicrafts. Head on to visit the Khonoma village that is a rich testament of the bravery of the Naga warriors who had put up a strong resilience to the British forces and did not allow the British to have gain over Nagaland for long and they had to ultimately give in when the large artillery arrived. Khonoma is known for the very famed Naga traditional wrestling that is a part of the ancient glory of the Angami Naga warriors and visitors can come here and get to witness this spectacle in front of their eyes.
From Khonoma head to visit the pristine Dzukou Valley from the Zakhama or Viswema village. The Dzukou valley is located at the border of Nagaland and Manipur and is often referred to as the valley of flowers because of its pristine landscapes and the various flowers and orchid species that flower here especially during the monsoon season. This is also one of the best known trekking routes across North East India that takes you from either Viswema or Zakhama village to Dzukou Valley and you will be enthralled with the various bounties of nature you will find along this trek. At Dzukou you can have the option of either camping or stay at the rest house at Dzukou valley and this will provide you an opportunity to cut off from the world for a day or two as you will not fond any cellular connectivity, traffic woes or pollution here and the feasible temperatures here will make you forget about terms like Global warming and you spend your time amidst mother nature. Admire the grand landscapes of Dzukou valley and later you can trek back to the Viswema village and continue to explore more of Nagaland by planning a visit to Mokokchung district – the land of the Ao Naga tribes of Nagaland.
At Mokokchung you can visit the beautiful hill station town that enjoys a favourable climate around the year. The Ao Nagas are an important community in Nagaland when it comes to the modern day jobs and business because they hold many administrative posts in the government departments of Nagaland after the Angami Nagas who are the major inhabitants of the Dimapur and Kohima areas. The Ao Nagas celebrate the festival of Moatsu Mong every year in the month of May that is like their annual harvest festival and even today almost 80% of the Ao Nagas are primarily farmers who practice agriculture as their profession. Rice is a major crop of the local farmers because it is the staple diet of the people of Eastern India and so these Ao Nagas celebrate the festival to mark the end of a successful harvest and their granaries being filled they sit down to celebrate and they drink rice beer, rice wine, meat and various other local preparations. Explore the beautiful countryside of Mokokchung and visit the homes of the local Ao people to understand their culture and traditions. Next go to explore the last of land of the Sumi Naga people at the Zunheboto district of Nagaland. You have already met the Sumi Naga people who stay in Assam at Tipong but originally they belong to Nagaland and even considered to be the fiercest headhunting tribes of Nagaland.
At Zunheboto visit the largest Baptist church in Asia and explore the life of the local Sumi Naga people especially their handicrafts of wood and bamboo and the handlooms weaving of the Naga shawls. Later you can visit the land of the legendary Konyak tribes of Nagaland at Mon district in the Longwa village. The Konyak Nagas are the largest Naga community of Nagaland and they were also considered to be among the fiercest head hunting tribes of Nagaland. They used to make tattoos over their entire body and each tattoo symbolized one of their victims of head hunting and you would find some of the last of the these surviving head hunters having their entire body covered in tattoos from head to toe symbolizing the number of heads they had won at war. The Longwa village is a unique village because one half of the village in the Indian Territory and the other half in Myanmar. The Angh of the village on the village head’s house is located half in India and half in Myanmar and it is described that while the family eats and dines in India they sleep in Myanmar because the kitchen part of the house is located in India and the bedroom is located in Myanmar.
This is also one of the very picturesque village of Nagaland and you can get to explore the place on cycles and this is what makes the exploration very easy across the place. These are a dew homestays here that allows visitors to stay at Longwa and Mon and you take the opportunity to learn about the various head hunting tribes of Nagaland once you are here at Longwa. With this you can wind up your visit at Nagaland and head back to Dimapur and explore the beautiful city and the local markets and book your flight to head to Agartala in Tripura that is an ancient place and is the place in North East India known for its palaces and the Unakoti stone inscriptions. Agartala is the capital of Tripura and it is the land where the ancient relics but some of the very magnificent palaces and temple shrines that boasts of its unique architecture. Tripura also shares a strategic border with Bangladesh and every evening the troops of the Indian Army and the Bangladesh Army perform the routine of lowering of their respective flags as in like the Wagah border between India and Pakistan that draws a huge number of tourists the place. At Agartala you can start by exploring the Neer Mahal Palace that is a huge palace that is located amidst the Rudrasagar Lake and one needs to hire the services of a boat to cross the lake and reach the palace. The Neer Mahal is a breathtaking white coloured palace that provides a grand view of the area and the lake and you can spend time here learning about the glorious days of the past of the Kingdom of Tripura and explore the palace area and the display hall where the various parts of the history of Tripura in mentioned. As visit to Tripura is a must for all visitors who are interested in palaces and ancient mythology.
Visit the Ujjayanta Palace later that is another grand palace located in the heart of Agartala town and this is a beautifully built palace that served as a stay place for the Kings of Tripura. Later you can visit the Tripura Sundari Temple near Agartala that is another Shakti Peethas shrine located in North East India and this place is considered sacred because it is believed that Goddess Sati’s little finger of the left leg had fallen on this shrine and this is one of the holiest possible sites of the cult of Shakti. The Goddess here is worshipped as Tripura Sundari and this is a very scared Hindu temple shrine and devotees from across India come to the Tripura Sundari temple to offer their worship to the Goddess. After exploring this temple explore the beautiful city of Agartala and later you can go to visit the Rubber plantations of Tripura that will fall along your drive to the border of India and Bangladesh. Tripura is second in the country in the production of rubber after Kerela and this is one of the prime revenue earners for the state and so all across the place you can find the beautiful cover of rubber trees all around. Soon you will reach the India and Bangladesh border and you can take time to explore the border area that also has a market called as the Border Haat where traders from India and Bangladesh get together to sell their produce and you can find unique local handicrafts of the place in this market.
Witness the evening parade among the soldiers of both these countries and also be a part of the unique opportunity to witness the flag lowering ceremony at this border and it will be a sense of pride for every Indian who comes to visit Tripura. Head on to visit the Unakoti rock cut inscriptions that is a global tourist attraction in Tripura and visitors from across the World come here to witness these old rock inscriptions that are a work of art and this dates back to the 7th century when the reign of the Pala dynasty of Tripua who were believed to have discovered this site on the Unakoti hills and it is said that there are rock inscriptions here that are less that 1 crore as Unakoti in Bengali means less than 1 Kuti. As per mythology Lord Shiva along with his followers were travelling across this place and along with Lord Shiva their numbers were totalling to 1 crore. As everyone was tired so Lord Shiva decided to allow everyone to rest at this site and informed that since they were going to do something very important they had to get up early and then continue on the journey.
The next morning Lord Shiva saw that no one was awake and it was well past time and so he decided to continue on this own and seeked that all of the other followers turn to stone as they proved to be lazy in waking up and continuing on the journey that was very important. This is why all the stone sculptures here are believed to be of the followers who Lord Shiva tuned into stones. This today isa very important tourist site in Tripura and the Unakoti to Tripura is like Kaziranga National Park is to Assam and it is the pride of the state of Tripura attracting tourists from far and near. With your visit to Unakoti you can wind your visit at Tripura and continue to move ahead to visit another state of North East India at Sikkim. Sikkim is one of the eight sister states of North East India and by far the most visited by the tourists from India and abroad as this place is home to the tallest mountain peak in India – Mount Kanchenjunga. Being nestled in the Himalayas, Sikkim enjoys a favourable climate across the year and also the place witnessing heavy snowfall during the winter season that makes the place a very popular tourist attraction in the country where visitors not only come to witness and enjoy the snowfall but also come to witness the great culture and traditions of the people of Sikkim who are mostly the Bhutia, Lepcha and the Nepali people.
Sikkim is a land known for its Monasteries, temples, frozen lakes, snow clad mountains, pristine orchards, orchid blooms, various wildlife and birds and the most pristine view of the tallest mountain peak in India. Sikkim is a very important tourist destination in North East India and by far the most visited because of its close proximity to the Bagdogra airport and also the State’s very recently opened airport viz. the Pangyong airport and the New Jalpaiguri railway station as well. Visitors to Sikkim come to enjoy a holiday in the lap of mother nature, to taste the unique food of Sikkim, to admire the towering views of Mount Kanchenjunga, visit the monasteries of West Sikkim at Pelling travel to North Sikkim to visit the snow covered lands of Lachung and Lachen, to visit the beautiful frozen Gurudongmar Lake, to embark on several trek routes across the state and even attempt to scale the Mount Kanchenjunga as 6 expeditions in a year are allowed to be conducted by the Govt. of Sikkim by authorized travel agents for visitors who come to Sikkim to experience the thrill of the place. At Sikkim you can start by arriving at the capital city of Gangtok that is a busy city in the State and the administrative capital of Sikkim.
Gangtok is a bustling city that sees major business activities and also the tourist land at Gangtok first because of the vast number of hotels, resorts and homestays that are present and the vicinity of the city. At Gangtok, visit the MG Marg, the centre of Tibetan, handicrafts and handlooms, the flower shop, the Rumtek Monastery and enjoy the captivating views of the landscapes of Sikkim. Travel across the beautiful temples and monasteries of the place and learn about the various facets of the Tibetan Buddhism here. The Bhutia and Lepcha people of Sikkim are mostly Buddhists while the Nepali community are Hindus and hence you will find the temples and Monasteries existing in harmony all around the State. Visit the local eateries of Gangtok and get to savour the signature authentic momos and the Thukpa’s along with the Nepali delights of Sial Roti and goat meat. Various homestays and hotels are found around Gangtok and you can choose to stay at a homestay to learn about the traditions and culture of the local people of Sikkim as well. More of the places to explore in Sikkim are Pelling, Nathula, Lachung, Lachen, and take the services of a vehicle by a registered travel agency to explore the Himalayan Kingdom and finally wind up you visit to North East India after exploring Kaziranga National Park.