Tea, Bamboo, Crude Oil, Brahmaputra, Silk, Natural Gas, Handicrafts, One Horned Rhinoceros, Elephants and the list goes on and on. The states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura which together bear the sweet name of ‘Seven sister states of India’ is the abode of all the vital gifts which are mentioned above.
From old times, India’s Seven Sister States has been the meeting point of many communities, faiths and cultures. A place far-famed for its magical beauty and flummoxing diversity, North East India is the home for more than 166 separate tribes speaking a wide range of languages. Some groups have migrated over the centuries from places as far as South East Asia; they retain their cultural traditions and values but are beginning to adapt to contemporary lifestyles. The luxuriance of its landscape, the range of communities and geographical and ecological diversity makes the North East quite different from other parts of the subcontinent. The most fascinating feature one can observe and enjoy in this part is the festivals and celebrations which are a vivid reflection of their lives.
The 24th state of the Indian Union, Arunachal Pradesh is bounded by Bhutan to the west, Myanmar to the east, China to the north and north-east and the plains of Assam to the south. It is recognized to be one of the most resplendent, motley and multilingual tribal areas of the world. The place is dowered with thick evergreen forests with various streams, rivers and gorges and hundreds and thousands of species of flora and fauna covering more than 60% of the total area. The land of the Dragon gates, hundred pristine lakes and numerous waterfalls, situated high up in the misty-eyed Eastern Himalaya, TAWANG, is a one of the most famous tourist destination.
Tawang Monastery, locally called Gumpha, and the world’s second highest pass, Se La Pass, are also among great attractions in the Tawang valley.
Another fine place which is in Arunachal Pradesh is Bomdila, which offers spectacular panoramic views of Himalayan landscapes and snow clad mountains. Bomdila, lies amidst apple orchards, wild orchids, forests and cascading waterfalls. Tipi, Asia’s largest orchidarium and Bhalukpong, a beautiful picnic are not the places to be missed.
The Zoo, Craft Centre, and Polo Park of Ita Nagar; the Pine covered mountains of Ziro; the Akashi ganga in Along; Dr. D. Ering Wildlife Sanctuary in Pasighat are the other mind blowing assets to visit.
A state known for its breath taking scenic beauty, rarest flora and fauna, lofty green hills, vast rolling plain, mighty waterways and a land of fairs and festivals; Assam, is a gateway of north east. It forms part of a global bio-diversity “hotspot”, out of 41 listed endangered species of wildlife are found in Assam, which includes Golden Langur, Hoolock Gibbon, Pygmy Hog, Hispid Hare, White-Winged Woodduck, Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Swamp Deer, Gangetic Dolphins, etc.
The Srimanta Sankardeva kalakshetra, a grand exposition of the life and culture of the people of Assam is a wonderful place to visit in Guwahati. State Zoo cum Botanical garden; Dighalipukhuri, a water body in the heart of the city with boating facilities, cruises on the river Brahmaputra in the ‘Jolporee’, the famous Balaji Temple of Tirupati,Planetarium, the Saraighat Bridge over the Brahmaputra, the Guwahati Oil Refinery, Lachit Barphukan Park and the Guwahati University are places worth visiting.
Chandubi lake with a natural lagoon, Sualkuchi with its silk, Hajo with a meeting point of three religions( Hindu, Muslims, Buddhists), Majuli with the world’s largest river Island, Haflong with its rainbow, and Tezpur with its legends are the highlights of Assam.
The ‘land of gems,’ Manipur, is the land of rich valleys surrounded by beautiful hills and lakes, a land of blue blooded people who like to make merry. Due to geographical isolation and inaccessibility, Manipur remained almost unaffected by political vicissitudes in the subcontinent. The floating mass of vegetation on the Loktak Lake sustains small herds of the most unique ‘Sangai- the dancing deer.’
The largest freshwater lake in the north eastern India, Loktak Lake, rich in bio-diversity has made it the perfect home of avian life. The beauty of the lake has been enhanced by the presence of floating weed. Sendra Island in the middle of the lake, with a tourist cottage offers a spectacular view of the surrounding. Moirang, Langthabal, Kaina, Ulkhrul are some beautiful destinations to visit in Manipur.
The abode of the cloud, Meghalya, is endowed with a rich variety of flora and fauna. Of about 17,000 species of orchids in the world, around 3000 varieties are found in Meghalaya. A botanical wonder, the pitcher plant, an insect eating plant is found in the district of Jaintia hills, West Khasi hills and South Garo hills of the state. The interesting birds found in the state include Hornbills, King Vulture, Crested Serpent, Eagle, Partridges, Teals, Snipes, Quails etc.
One can visit the Shillong peak, Ward’s Lake, Botanical Garden, Lady Hydari Park, Elephant Falls, Spread Eagle Falls and a old 18 hole Golf Course in the “Scotland of East” i.e. Shillong. Jaintia hills, Jowai, and the paradise of Naturalists, Garo Hills fall among most visited tourist attractions.
The land of the highlanders, which celebrates the festivals like Mimkut, Chapchar kut and Pawl, Mizoram, has a beautiful range of colorful wild flowers. The people of Mizoram, Mizos, are a close- knit society with no class distinction and discrimination on grounds of sex, status or religion. They are hospitable, sociable and love music, singing and dancing. Mizos are agriculturists, practising what is known as “Jhum Cultivation”or slash- and- burn system of cultivation.
One of the most well known enjoyable spots of Mizoram is Tamdil, which is endowed with a scenic lake with some of the most amazing locations of Mizoram in the backdrop. The resort village and the nearby jungles along with the fascinating flora and fauna have transformed this small location into a hustling tourism spot. Another major tourism attraction in Mizoram is Champai which is also known as the ‘fruit bowl of Mizoram’, as it is known for its vineyards
The land of Naga’s, Nagaland, is a hilly state whose hills are a continuation of the Burma Arc being joined with the Sub-Himalayan ranges in the north and stretching into the hills of Manipur. Even when the city is small, the people here speak many languages and differ widely in dress and other cultural traits, as well as in physical features. They belong to Mongoloid stock but yet there are great differences in the details between one tribe and other, as well as between different people of the same tribe.
The Ruins of the Medeival kachari Kingdom, Diezephe Craft Village, Rangapahar Reserve Forest situated in Dimapur are amazing destinations. Some of the alluring and popular places in Nagaland include the scenic Kohima, Mon, Wokha,Phek, Peren and much more.
Girded almost on the three sides by Bangladesh, linked with Assam and Mizoram in the northeast, the ancient home of Bodos, Tripura, has not only people hailing from different regions but also people constituting different ethnic groups. Each ethnic tribe has its own language and distinctive forms of cultural expressions, such as music, dance and festivals.
The Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, located at a distance of 28 kms from the capital city of Agartala and on the way to Udaipur, the ancient capital of Tripura has an aura of its own. Neer Mahal, the royal summer palace built in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake is a fascinating view as the boat approaches the palace in the middle of the lake. Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya constructed the palace in 1930 perhaps inspired by the Lake Palace of Udaipur in Rajasthan and the palace was christened as Neer Mahal by none other than Rabindranath Tagore. The palace illustrates Mughal school of architecture with copious dome shaped minars. Jampui Hills, Dumboor Lake, and the temples are other soures of attractions in this state.
One must say that the seven states, “Paradise Unexplored,” is beautiful in many aspects and thus, a must-visit place to explore and enjoy