There’s an enchanting feel to the number seven. Days of the week, wonders of the world, colors of the rainbow, marriage vows - are all spoken of in sevens! In keeping with the number’s mystical quality, we turned our focus to India’s Northeastern states or the Seven Sisters that are bewitching in their beauty and diversity in their culture. Largely unexplored, the states take pride in the natural way of living, and its people are deeply reverent and respectful of the environment. Shillong, Gangtok, Nagaland, Tawang, Majuli, and Meghalaya have somehow not been on the radar of the Indian tourist. It’s time now to change that. Imposing lush green valleys, mountains, raging rivers, astounding monasteries, ethnic customs, and traditions beckon you to explore its charm that will surely sweep you off your feet. We bring you 15 of the best places to visit in North East India.
The Main North-Eastern Regions Of India:
1. Gangtok – The Shimmering Capital City of Sikkim
Gangtok, an urban settlement and the capital city of Sikkim. It's the largest town in the Indian state of Sikkim which is one of the top recommended places to visit in North East India. With adventure activities, leisure activities, and monasteries, Gangtok has every reason to be your perfect holiday destination.
Places to visit: Nathu La Pass, Hanuman Tok, Rumtek Monastery, Khecheopalri Lake, and Phodong Monastery
Things to do: River Rafting in Teesta, riding a yak at Tsomgo Lake, paragliding, and ropeway cable-ride from Deorali
2. Shillong — A Quaint Town Surrounded by Rolling Hills
Shillong is arguably the best option for those who wish to spend the summer holidays in the north-eastern states of India. The shimmering lakes, lush hills with pine trees, mystical waterfalls and adventure activities make Shillong a major tourist attraction. As an added advantage, Shillong is the only hill station in India that is accessible from every corner.
Places to visit: Ward’s Lake, Sweet Falls, Shillong Peak, Khasi Hills, Umiam Lake, Elephant Falls, Laitlum Canyons, and Mawjymbuin Caves
Things to do: Waterfall rappelling at Elephant Falls, cave exploration, shopping at Bara Bazaar, boating in Umiam Lake, and yacht riding at Umiam Lake Water Sports Complex
Suggested Read: Soothe Your Soul at These Summer Destinations In India
3. Majuli — Cradle of Assam Civilization
Majuli, the cradle of Assam civilization is the largest river island in the world. Situated calmly along the waters of Brahmaputra, it is an unparalleled mixture of culture and heritage. If you are hunting an offbeat place somewhere in the peace of northeast, then you can’t go wrong with Majuli.
Places to visit: Molai forest, Phatobihu, Faato Bihu - Mohghuli Chapori
Things to do: Pay a visit to Kamalabari Satra and Dakhinpat Satra which is the center of culture, literature, art, music in Majuli, Go on a picnic with family at Tengapania, which is a popular picnic spot
4. Tawang — The Urban Summer Destination
Located in the lap of Eastern Himalayas, this less-explored town may prove to be your rendezvous with a different world altogether. Soak in the spirit of Buddhism at the monasteries-dotted canvas of Tawang, discover the exhilarant tribal culture and savor the exquisiteness of the soaring Himalaya.
Places to visit: Tawang Monastery, Brahmadung Nunnery, Urgelling Monastery, Craft Center, Tawang War Memorial, Khinmey monastery
Things to do: Don’t miss the opportunity to visit some spectacular high-altitude lakes, like Ptso and Sangster, with colorful rhododendrons blooming all around
5. Tripura — The Queen of Hills
Greatly known for its large architectural grandeur and medieval history, Tripura is another must-visit destination and one of the perfect places to visit in North East India. Also, known as the "Queen of Hills" and third smallest state amongst the Seven Sisters, Tripura is encircled by deltaic Bangladesh on all four sides. The scintillating rivers, scenic backgrounds, and the strong seasonal rhythms in the climate make this place a unique one.
Places to visit: Ujjayanta Palace, Tripura Government Museum, Unakoti, Neermahal, Sipahijola Wildlife Sanctuary, Rudrasagar Lake, HumHum Waterfall
Things to do: Go boat riding to Neer Mahal, get an idea about the primitive art forms at Unakoti, explore the Buddhist site in Pilak, go Tribal Walking in Jampui Hills, taste Dry Fish
6. Cherrapunji — The Wettest Place in The World
The wettest land in the world finds its shelter in Meghalaya. While Cherrapunji is famous for its living root bridges, formed due to ceaseless rain, it is also popular for being one of the best places to visit in North East India for a holiday.
Places to visit: Mawkdok Dympep Valley, Mawsmai Cave, Seven Sisters Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, Ka Khoh Ramhah, First Presbyterian Church, Rainbow Falls, Double-decker living root bridge
Things to do: You can enjoy the tropical flora and fauna while camping under or climbing the root bridges.
Worth Reading: 10 Gorgeous Unexplored Places In South India
7. Mizoram — The Home of Highlanders
If you are looking for an idyllic, languorous, laid-back holiday then Mizoram is the place to be. Its calm and unhurried pace of life is just the right antidote for a city dweller. Eleven thousand feet above sea level, the city sits on a hilly ridge, with the entire valley lying below like a glittering jewel. You can well imagine the view that awaits you. Do take back a few bamboo or canes artifacts from here to present your beloved ones.
Places to visit: Reiek Mountain, Tam Dil Lake, Solomon's Temple, Aizawl, Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Betlingchhip, Thasiama Seno-Neihna
Things to do: Go mountain biking in Hmuifang Hill, Go trekking in the Virgin Forests, Caving in Khuangchera Puk, Attend the Chapchar Kut Spring Festival, Visit Luangmual Handicrafts Centre, Try the Mizo Bland Food
8. Manipur — A Musical Utopia
Legend has it that this erstwhile royal kingdom was created out of God’s love for dancing. It is only fitting then that one of the most lyrical and graceful Indian classical dance forms, Manipuri, originated from this state. Rich in culture and evergreen beauty Manipur has a few surprises up its sleeve.
Places to visit: Three Mothers Art Gallery, Kangla Fort, Khongjom War Memorial, Manipur Zoological Garden, Sadu chiru waterfalls, Kombirei Garden, ISKCON Temple
Things to do: Boating in Loktak Lake, Shop in the Moreh-Tamu International Market, Visit the Keibul Lamjao National Park
Beautiful Sub-Places To Visit In North East India:
9. Guwahati, Assam
It's one of the largest cities in the state of Assam and also the largest urban area in North-east India. We can also say it's one of the fastest growing cities in the Indian Region which is situated on the banks of Brahmaputra. You'll also discover various ancient hindu temples within the city because of which it is also known as the "City Of Temples". It also inhabits exotic species of wildlife such as Asian elephants, pythons, tigers, rhinoceros, gaurs, primate species, and endangered birds.
Places to visit: Kamakhya Temple, Chandubi Lake, Nehru Park, Assam State Zoo, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Saraighat Bridge
Things to do: Uncover the history at Assam State Museum, Discover wildlife, be a part of jeep safari and boat ride at Pobitora Wilife Sanctuary and Visit The Guwahati Planetarium looks somewhere like a mosque and a landed UFO but has impressive shows depicitng the universe
10. Mokokchung, Nagaland
It's one of the most beautiful districts of Nagaland, which is inhabited by the Ao Naga Tribe It is also known as "Land of Pioneers' because they have produced a great number of luminaries in many fields. It's one of the first Naga Hills area where the Assam Rifles which were led by Britishers - establishd their outposts in the 19th century. They also host several festivals during the sowing and harvesting months to enhance a tourist's experience.
Places to visit: Longkhum, Molung Village, Ungma Village, Langpangkong Caves, Ongpangkong Range
Things to do: Be a part of the Harvesting Festival Tsungremong, Explore the rural life of small villages near Mokokchung - Ungma, Molung, and Chuchuyinlang and Discover the hidden gems of Mokokchung - caves of Peren, Fusen kei and Mongzu Ki.
11. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
A home to the most picturesque sights in North East India, as it's surrounded by the best places such as The Gorichen Peak, Breathtaking Waterfalls, Surreal Lakes like Tso Lake, Tawang War Memorial to revive the history and Jaswanr Garh which is dedicated to Jaswant Singh who was killed during Indo-China War.
Places to visit: Tawang Monastery, Taktsang Gompa, Shonga-tser Lake, Nuranang Waterfalls, Pankang Teng Tso Lake
Things to do: Explore the surreal lakes of Tawang - Tso Lake, Trek To Gorichen Peak, Visit the second largest monastery in the world - Tawang Monastery
12. Agartala, Tripura
It's the capital city of Tripura - Agartala has one of the most surreal Palaces located within its region - Ujjayanta Palace which was built in 1901 by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya. It also houses the first heritage park of North-East India which is the Agartala Heritage Park. It depicts the real art, culture, wildlife reserves, and heritage of Tripura - which marks it as one of the best tourist places in Tripura.
Places to visit: The Sepahijala Wild Life Sanctuary, Rose Valley Amusement Park, Ujjayanta Palace, Tripurasundari Temple, Neermahal Palace, Tripura Government Museum
Things to do: Explore the fauna at Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, Pay Spiritual Tribute at the Jagannath Bari Hindu Temple, Boat Riding to Neer Mahal, Explore The Surreal Art Forms at Unakoti and Buddhist site in Pilak.
13. Pelling, Sikkim
A place to discover the most beautiful monasteries, waterfalls, highest bridges, and garden of Sikkim. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sikkim. Explore everything from flora to fauna of this mesmerizing place. Also, visit the Rimbi Waterfall - This glittering waterfall turns into Rimbi River, which is visited by locals and tourists for swimming and fishing.
Places to visit: Sangachoeling Monastery, Darap Village, Sewaro Rock Garden, Singshore Bridge - Highest Bridge in Sikkim, Rimbi Waterfall, Pemayangtse Monastery
Things to do: Pay a visit to Kanchenjunga Fall, Explore the wildlife at Kanchenjunga National Park, Explore Kanuk - a place Lepcha tribe to know more about the rural culture of Sikkim.
14. Mawlynnong Village
Cleanliness has a new name in India - Mawlynnong Village, it serves as an epitome of cleanliness setting an example for the rest of the country. You'll find dustbins made out of Bamboo all over the village, Plastic Bags are banned whereas smoking is prohibited too - It just can't get better. People are not just adamant about cleaning their houses by also step out to sweep the roads and plant trees around to make it a better place.
Places to visit: Root Bridge, Laitlum Canyons, Mawphlang Sacred Forest, Mawkdok Dympep Valley, Mawjymbuin Cave
Things to do: Trek to the different Root Bridges, Enjoy the local culture by planting a few trees around, Explore the Arwah Caves and visit the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians to pay a spiritual tribute
15. Mon, Nagaland
It's one of the best destinations in Nagaland that you've got to visit to discover the real simplicity of life. If you want to uncover the real north-east then this is the place to be as you'll be left awestruck by the environment of this place. Learn about the Konak Tribe, stay in cosy cottages, expedite the Veda Peak and so much more. There are also several small villages around the area which will give you a great insight into the rural life of Nagaland.
Places to visit: Longwa Village, Tenyimi Church, Museum in Chenloisho Village, Doyang River, Nagaland science center, Hong Kong Market, Shilloi Lake
Things to do: Explore Villages Around - Longwa, Chui, Naganimora, Shangnyu, Trek to Veda Peak and Explore The Konak Tribe
As we said earlier, the North East is a land like no other. With ample views to take from the visit, it serves up a spellbinding view at every corner that you turn. It is a land of the holy, the mighty, and the believers which is brimming with unspoiled beauty, and there’s much more to see that we can possibly list out here.
Q. What is the best time to visit North East India?
A. If you must know, North East India is wonderful year-round. However, the best season to visit North East depends on the experience you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a respite from the heat, you visit during summers, and if you wish to witness nature at its best, you can visit during the monsoon. Though, in general, November to May are the best months to visit North East India as the weather is quite pleasant during this time.
Q. Is it safe to travel to Northeast India?
A. Northeast India has been at the center of ethnopolitical movements and conflicts for decades. Tourism was almost non-existent right till the early 2000s and regulations were heavy. However, the past decade has seen much better development on conflicting issues and today it is easy to travel most parts of all states and an overall peace prevails. Only a few areas in the vast region can be considered unsafe such as Karbi and Bodo territories in Assam, Garo Hills in Meghalaya, parts of Manipur and Tirap district in Arunachal Pradesh. It is wise to take the advice of local experts on the places to avoid and on current situations.