India is a unique country for various reasons. One of them being that you can’t possibly define this country with one image, place, custom or factor. Some associate India with the glorious Taj Mahal, some with the valleys of Kashmir, some with our food, our movies and some with the wide expansive deserts of Rajasthan. It is a land diverse in every aspect imaginable, whether it be topography, languages, customs, food or religion. Ethnically and culturally diverse from the rest of India is the north-eastern region of India, a unique testament to the great Indian diversity.
North-East India is an amalgamation of the culture and natural bounty of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and the state of Sikkim. Collectively, this region is touted as the “The Land of Seven Sisters”. This unexplored, isolated yet magical paradise transports you to a different world altogether. The blue skies and green mountainside charm its visitors and the unparalleled hospitality of its people makes this one of the most worth visiting places in India. Here are a few must have experiences while embarking on a journey to North-East India.
Brahmaputra River cruise
The Brahmaputra is India’s longest river and the source of life for most of north-east India. The opportunity for a River Cruise across this mighty river is the greatest attraction for most tourists. It entails voyaging on the waters of the holy river that has been witness to the flourishment of a whole civilisation. Assam Bengal Navigation offers cruises that allow you to explore both nature as well as the country life. A cruise on this river offers attractions such as wildlife safaris (including rides on elephant backs), visit to the famous Assamese tea gardens, barbecues on river islands, dance performances, visits to craft workshops, visits to temples and the opportunity to explore forts and palaces of the Ahom dynasty that ruled over Assam for nearly six centuries. If you are lucky, you will be able to catch a glimpse of a group of Gangetic Dolphins playing in the holy waters of the river. This cruise is more about solitude than grandeur and more about tranquillity and purity than most others, but it is a voyage for lifetime.
Soak yourself into nature at the Kaziranga National Park
The Kaziranga National Park gives you the opportunity of looking at a glowing, prosperous ecosystem with an astounding intimacy. It is not merely riding in dense vegetation on Elephant back, but also the opportunity to see a variety of species including the Wild Asiatic Water Buffaloes, Swamp Deer, Indian Elephants, Bengal Fox, Golden Langur, Pythons, Assamese Macaque, Large Indian Civet, and the famed Bengal Tiger, in all its predatorial glory. This UNESCO world heritage site is also a bird watcher’s paradise, being a haven for a number of rare species like the Bengal Florican, Dalmatian Pelican, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Ruddy Shelduck, Grey Headed Fish Eagle, Himalayan Griffon, Eastern Imperial, to name a few. It is a huge piece of land spread out over 430 sq. km that will take you an entire day to unravel, at the least. Most visitors come here with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Great One Horned Rhinoceros. In a world where treasuring wildlife has become a harsh painful reality, a visit to this National Park is something that will enshrine its importance all the more in your minds. Kaziranga’s role in conservation of wildlife is undeniable, as is the chance to visit this place!
Immerse in the Spirituality of Tawang
The holy town of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is located at a height of 12,000 ft. above the sea level and shares its border with Tibet and Bhutan. It is a picturesque piece of heaven surrounded by dense coniferous forests and snow peaked mountains. And this sense of tranquillity is further boosted by the aura of the Buddhist monasteries in the town, including the Galden Namgey Lhatse Monastery, the second largest Buddhist Monastery in the world. Tawang is also the Shangri-La for hiking enthusiasts, with the hike to the Gorichen Peak, at the incredible height of 22,500 feet above the sea level an equally enthralling and challenging feat. The Sela Pass is another integral aspect of the beauty of Tawang, with over a hundred lakes sacred to the Buddhist monks, and silver gleaming water surrounded by mighty white mountains. The Tibetan settlement market, the milky white Nuranang Waterfall and a number of other hiking and trekking options are what have made tourists fall in love with the charm of this town recently. There are numerous Other holy monasteries of note are the Tawang Gompa, Urgelling Gompa and Brama Dungchung Ani Gompa.
Stay on a Tea Estate in Darjeeling
Ever since the days of Colonial India, Darjeeling has been a favourite for holiday-goers for two reasons, the natural beauty of the town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and its famous tea. While it is today known as the home of ‘The Champagne of Teas’, tea plantation here began as an experiment way back in the 19th century. Today, there are 87 operational tea estates in Darjeeling together covering an area of about 19,000 hectares. The most prominent ones are the Makaibari Tea Estate, Glenburn Tea Estate, Goomtee Tea Estate, Puttabong Tea Estate and Happy Valley Tea Estate. Owing to the increasing popularity of tea tourism, these tea estates have embraced the idea to open small estates for tourists who wish to witness the tea production process as well as understand the intricacies of its taste and its flavourful history. You get to lounge in stylish cottages by the side of vast expanses of lush green tea plantations, see the sun rise over the peaks of Mount Everest, take easy strolls through the thriving tea vegetation, sample every variety of Tea that there is offer (every Tea lover’s idea of paradise), watch the entire production process and interact with the people whose intricate and steadfast work keeps these tea plantations running. What morning ever could beat the privilege of having a Himalayan sunrise and the world’s best cup of hot tea?
Explore the Unexploited Sikkim
Sikkim might be India’s second smallest state, but that is no measure to what all this Switzerland of the East has to offer. Whether you are an adventurous hiking enthusiast, or a lover of nature, an ornithophile, or a shopaholic Sikkim is the destination you are looking for. A trip to cities like Pelling, Yuksom, Gezing, Jorethang, Mangan, Kalimpong and Mirik offer perfect relaxing holidays and superb views of Kanchenjunga range (India’s highest peak, and the third highest in the world). If you are looking for exciting trekking routes in this unspoilt terrain, or a quiet communion with the mountains, there are few places in India that would match the Himalayan state of Sikkim. The high of river rafting in the wild waters of Teesta, or riding a yak by the green, calm Tsomgo Lake, the wildlife and beauty of the famed Indo-China Silk Route by Nathula Pass, paragliding in Gangtok and the view of the gorgeous mountainside in the cable car are some of the best attractions in the state. A holiday here offers the best chance to go off the beaten track and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the people of north-east India. If you wish to explore the history of Sikkim, visit the Rumtek Monastery or the sacred Changu Lake in east Sikkim. A special mention also goes to the Yume Samdong Hot Springs at Yumthang Valley. The water in the pools of these springs is believed to have natural healing and soothing powers. If given a chance, do not miss out on taking a rejuvenating dip in the pools by this hot spring. This tiny state is so full of wonders that it will keep pulling you back over and over, for a holiday that is so much more than just that.
About Odyssey Travels
Odyssey Travels is a leading IATA accredited Travel Company, established in 1992. We specialize in planning customized holidays in India and abroad for our clients which includes air ticketing, worldwide hotel reservations, inclusive tours, sightseeing activities, visa assistance & travel insurance services. We offer customized tour packages for wildlife holidays and East India tours. For further information or to make a booking contact 020-66442929 or visit http://www.odysseytravels.net/