The days of cannibalism in the far corners of Nagaland may be a thing of the past. But feathered headdresses and quilted skirts are not. Every year at Kohima, 16 indigenous tribes gather to participate in a showcase of their grand traditions, making it the perfect place for you to catch a glimpse of the state in its essence. You can also dig into the deliciousness that comes in tow at the many stalls around the fair grounds.
Much like the hipster culture in the valleys of California, the Indie Music scene is nurtured in Ziro Valley. Through four days of tantalizing music from around the world and savoury delicacies from the region, patrons will get a good look at the evolving music scene of India. Go with open ears and an open heart, the valley is filled with like-minded souls who are just seeking a good time.
The sweet fragrance of hundreds of species of flowers envelope you in a hard-to-shake-off scent. While horticulturalists are raring to visit one of the most sought after Flower Festivals in the world, if you’re a regular Joe-nature lover, you can still gain insight on the many ways to foster the flowers right in your backyard. But if not for anything else, you shouldn’t miss this simply for the colours.
The cultural explosion on the river island of Majuli is unbelievable. Across the many monasteries set up in the 15th century, art forms of the dancing monks, mask making and pottery making have strived with substantial Hindu and Buddhist influences giving rise to a blend of hues and forms that are singularly marvellous. If the mask making takes your fancy, you need only ask and the monks would be pleased to share their craft with you.
If you have an itch to go caving every time an Indiana Jones movie plays on the telly, Cherrapunjee will not disappoint! While there’s no crystal skull at the end of the tunnel, swishing through knee deep waters, crawling on all fours through a channel where you can barely see two feet in front of you, and a cavern with a natural skylight that takes your breath away, is reward enough. So, strap into an adventure of the limestone variety.
Back in the day when conservation efforts were of little consequence, two Englishmen decided to golf around thick groves of pine and rhododendron trees. What remains is a lush golf course set in an undulating landscape making it not only the oldest, but also one of the toughest spots to land par.
From the tea estates of Darjeeling to the rolling hills of Sikkim, follow a journey of delectable tastes as you indulge in the aromatic tea of Darjeeling, the crispness of cool mountain spring, the warmth of a hot chocolate in one of Gangtok’s most happening cafés and top it off with a traditional, home cooked meal of Momos, Wai-Wai and locally brewed Hit Beer.
The professional tea taster can distinguish infinitesimal changes in the notes of a good cup. The various notes sing as beautifully as those of a harp, distinct and sharp yet harmonious. At a tea estate up in Wild Mahseer, you can give in to the aromas that waft through the air and wrap you in a cool sense of relaxation. Or you can dive nose first into a one-of-its-kind tea tasting session that will warm you from the inside.
You will not soon forget the experience of exotic spices that grow in the shadow of the revered Mount Kanchendzonga. While the scape and weather are incredibly enticing, if there was a piece of Sikkim you wished you could take back with you, we bet it would be the cuisine. In just a few short hours you can master the traditional techniques of ethnic, mouth-watering, Sikkimese dishes – to never again miss what it means to be in the hills of Sikkim.
If necessity is the mother of invention, it’s easy to see why Sualkuchi is such a fine craftsman’s village. Once an incubator for various small industries like the hand-loom and oil processing using traditional ghani methods, the village now solely produces the exquisite Muga silk. When you learn that this is the only place in the world that produces silk by turning only open silkworm cocoons, it warrants a pause to reflect on the Gandhian principles that seem remiss these days.
If the national animal of India wasn’t a tiger, it would probably have been the Indian Rhino. This horn wielding animal is one of the gentlest and, as we’ve seen in the past few decades, one of the most resilient beings on Earth. At Kaziranga National Park, you can hop on an elephant and traipse into the depths of the jungle to catch these unique creatures in action.
After all the excitement of a North-Eastern escapade, it is important to just relax and unwind – where better to do this, than at Tarku? The therapeutic stay, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, is as close to paradise as you can get (if paradise was a tea plantation smothered by clouds of the fluffy kind). If not, at least stop by on your way to take some amazing pictures that you can look back on when you’re back in the grind.
Hills and knolls swathed in green welcome you to the cleanest village in Asia. The air seems cleaner and every cell tingles with glee as you enter Mawlynnong. And deep within the undulations, two banyan trees proclaim their fondness like no other. Their roots stretch and twine, reaching across a stream, to form a living root bridge that can support up to 50 men. Now there’s a love that can withstand anything!
The Brahmaputra is unique, not only in its atypically male name, but also in that it flows through frigid mountains, arid plains and fertile jungles. A cruise on this astounding river that flows both eastward in some parts and westward in other, offers up an expansive range of experiences such as a visit to a jute mill, a stop at a tea plantation, a homestay by the banks of the river and much more.
The image of happy, rose-cheeked Buddhist monk babies, coloured Buddhist flags flying across misty mountains, locals clamouring around quaint shops, and hypnotic chants in the air, captures Tawang in a nutshell. It boasts some impressive virtues as the second largest monastery in the world. It makes you wonder if the Buddhists are proponents of ‘Go big or go home’!
Click for a quick taste of the region!
To put it simply, Tawang is mesmerizing. In snowfall and in its greenery, it is a beautiful gem in a literal corner of India. The glacial lakes are a sight to behold in the winter while they become a haven for birds in the summer months.
A quick pit stop on the way to Tawang from Bomdila, this place is best known for the hot spring said to cure the body of most anything. Walk up to the local Dzong for a picturesque vista of the region.
This photographer’s paradise has a treasure trove of sanctuaries, valleys and monasteries that all provide picture perfect scenes to capture.
The crystal-clear waters of the Dawki River give the impression of floating on air. Of course, like all illusions its best observed from afar, but the experience in itself is astounding.
A cute back-and-forth with nearby Mawsynram has this little region vying for the title of ‘Wettest Place on Earth’. But the air feels electric with the coolness the rain brings with each downpour.
Shillong sparkles and shines as the home to hipsters, breath-taking waterfalls and just an all around happy vibe.
This charming town has some beautifully kept parks, attractive lakes and enchanting views of the mighty Brahmaputra River as it laps the town’s edge. Stop by on your way to Upper Assam or Arunachal Pradesh to catch some shut eye.
Fashionable in its outlook yet traditional in its position as one of the major riverine port cities along Brahmaputra, Guwahati brings in the tourists and the attractions like a magnet on steroids.
Nestled amidst majestic, snow-peaked mountains of the Himalayan Range, the once ancient capital is the most pious place in Sikkim. It also holds the mantle of being the eco-friendliest tourist spot in India.
This small town at the foothills of Kanchendzonga is best known for the Pemayangtse Monastery. Surprisingly, it touts the best views of the great mountain after a quick shower.
The winding access road to Gangtok is a dizzy approach to a bustling port of activity. Most hikers begin their sojourn into the Himalayas from here, making it a tourist hotspot and bringing with it the hidden gems of Sikkim.
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