50 things to do in North East India
The north-eastern part of India is largely an unexplored land. With handful of population and several remote regions, the seven states of the north-east haven’t really caught travelers’ fancy. However, if you are ready to explore, there is a world of surprises waiting for you in this part of the country. From fantastic treks to lush jungles, natural caves and much more, there is so much to do and experience in the north-east.
If the land has caught your fancy, here are the top 50 things to do in the north east India which you must not miss out on:
1. Tawang Monastery
It is one of the largest monasteries in the world, and the largest one in north east India. Built in the 17th century, the monastery is spread across an area of 140 square meters of land. The whole complex of the monastery has 65 residential buildings which are home to about 450 Buddhist monks. Located at an altitude of almost 10,000 feet, the monastery offers amazing views of the surrounding valley. It is also home to some ancient scriptures of Buddhism, particularly the Kangyur scriptures, which are almost 400 year old.
2. Sela Pass
Arunachal Pradesh has several high mountain passes, but the standout amongst them is the Sela Pass. At an altitude of more than 13,000 feet, the gorgeous mountain pass connects Tawang to other parts of the country. The pass is open round the year, although heavy snow during the winter season can shut it down every now and then. For some gorgeous views of the mountains and picturesque surroundings, you must take a hike to Sela Pass which is one of the adventure things to do in North East India.
3. River Rafting in Siang
Home to the Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh is the Siang River. A tributary of the Brahmaputara, the raging river is just perfect for a thrilling white water rafting experience. There are grade III and grade IV rapids which give you an exciting roller coaster ride. While you are in Siang River, try kayaking and angling as well. And do not miss the hanging bridge here. You will goosebumps walking on the bridge.
4. Subansiri Rafting
If Siang river rafting excites you, what will excite you even more is river rafting in Subansiri. It is one of the most difficult river rafting journeys in India. The Subansiri River is the largest tributary of River Brahmaputra. It passes through lush forests and some particularly difficult terrain. Rafting in this river is a challenging task, as it has volume, speed, as well as some really exciting rapids. With Grade IV rapids, this one is for the experts only.
5. Gorichen Peak
Arunachal Pradesh is home to several gorgeous mountain peaks, the highlight of which is the Gorichen Peak. It is one of the most scalable peaks of Arunachal Pardesh, but don’t let that fact fool you. With a height of more than 6500 meters above sea level, you would have to do plenty of hard work in order to reach the summit. But once you get to the top, you are rewarded with some amazing views of the valley below. The best months for climbing the Gorichen Peak are April, May, September and October.
6. Nuranang Falls
With its hilly terrain, you can expect several waterfalls in Arunachal Pradesh. The best of the lot is the Nurunang Falls, also known as the Bong Bong Falls. The waterfall is not the most famous, but definitely makes for spectacular viewing. As the water cascades down from a height of 100 meters, you get to hear the sweet sound of water hitting the rocks. The lush greenery of the surroundings makes it an ideal spot for spending some lone time with yourself.
7. Madhuri Lake
If you thought the lake has anything to do with Madhuri Dixit, a Bollywood diva, you are right. The lake has been named after the actress by the locals after she shot some Bollywood scenes here. The original name of the lake is Shungatser Lake, which comes from the name of the village by the same name. The village was destroyed by an earthquake several hundred years ago, and what remained is a gorgeous lake. While you enjoy the views here, do not miss the food in the cafeteria close by. The cafeteria is maintained by a contingent of the Indian Army and is known for its delicious momos.
8. Sandakfu Trek
Located on the Sikkim-West Bengal border, Sandakfu peak is the highest in the region. The peak has a height of more than 11,000 feet above sea level. A trek to the top of the peak isn’t technical, but nevertheless requires a lot of hard work and stamina. The summit offers gorgeous views of the Kanchendzonga, one of the highest peaks in the world. North East India treks are almost adventure like Leh Ladakh Himalaya pass.
9. Phodong Monastery
Located about 24 km from the capital city of Gangtok is a quaint little monastery called the Phodong Monastery. While the original structure dates back to the 18th century, several indications suggest that the first structure of the monastery is actually much older. The monastery is one of the most important ones in the Kagyu sect of Buddhism. There are several ancient murals on the walls of the monastery. The rather secluded location of the monastery makes the whole experience a rather magical one indeed.
10. Goecha La Trek
If you are looking for an exciting trekking experience in Sikkim, consider taking the Goecha La trek. Goecha La is one of the highest mountain passes of Sikkim, at a height of about 5000 meters above sea. The Goecha La trek starts from Yuksom and it takes about a week to complete the trek and come back to Yuksom. The mountain pass offers amazing views of Kanchenjunga, while the trek takes you through rhododendron forests and much more.
11. Yumthang Valley
Situated in the northern part of Sikkim is the Yumthang Valley. It is a gorgeous valley which largely serves as a grazing ground for the locals. The valley is situated at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level. During the summer months, the valley comes alive with rhododendron flowers, which is also the state flower. You can see several varieties of rhododendrons and locals grazing their sheep and yak. During the winter months, the valley turns into an adventure hotspot with opportunities for skiing available.
12. Helicopter ride
Seeing the beauty of Sikkim from high-up is an altogether different experience. There are several helicopter rides in Sikkim to choose from. You could choose to fly over the mountain ranges of the region, including the Kanchenjunga Range, or you could fly over several beautiful tea estates of the region. There are quite a few choices you can choose from.
A quaint little town in the southern part of Sikkim is Ravangla. The town is located at a height of about 7,000 feet above sea level. While it is a tourist hotspot, you will find plenty of space and time all to yourself. During the summer months, the town is resplendent with orchids and rhododendrons. During the winter months, you can enjoy the snow capped terrain of the town. The place is also a haven for birdwatchers with several Himalayan bird species frequenting the place during the summer months. If you are in the mood for participations some adventure things, you can always take a trek to Maenam La Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a short distance away.
14. Yak Safari
There is something spectacular about a safari on a beast like animal called the yak. You can choose to embark on a memorable yak safari from Tsomgo Lake or other trekking points of the region such as Dzongri and Chopta Valley. It is a nice way of experiencing the beauty of Sikkim, and a relatively untiring one as well.
15. Tsomgo Lake
Lakes at high altitudes always make for fantastic viewing. That’s what Tsomgo Lake is too. The lake is situated at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet above sea level. The lake gets its water from the melting ice of the surrounding glaciers. About 40 km from the capital city of Gangtok and 5 km from the Chinese border, you need to take an arduous trek to the lake. Despite the hardships involved, the trek to the lake is truly worth it.
16. Rumtek Monastery
One of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism is the Rumtek Monastery, also called the Dharmachakra Centre. The monastery was first built in the 16th century, but has undergone renovation only recently. The monastery was at the centre of a controversy when two organizations fought over seating their own Karmapa. Controversies aside though, a visit to the monastery gives you a breathtaking monastery. Like most mountain monasteries, this one too has an air of calm about it. The tranquil surroundings add to the experience.
17. Gurudongmar Lake
One of the highest lakes in the world is the Gurudongmar Lake, located in the northern part of Sikkim. It is a fresh water lake which remains frozen during the winter months. During the summer months, you can feats your eyes on azure waters which work as a perfect contrast to the surrounding rugged terrain. You can catch glimpses of Kanchenjunga from the lake which are ideal for a photo-op.
18. Trip to Nathu La Pass
A gorgeous mountain pass of Sikkim is the Nathu La Pass. The name of the pass literally translates to “listening ears”, and you can almost feel the peaks around you listening to every word that you whisper. The pass also serves as an important trading route between India and China. The high altitude of the pass means it has a typical alpine geography. There is little vegetation, but you can spot some beautiful tiny rhododendrons here during the summer months.
19. Spot a rhino at Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary
Kaziranga National Park is a wildlife treasure. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the highlight of the treasure is one horned rhinoceros. The wildlife reserve has almost 66% of the total rhino population on earth. It also boasts of the highest density of tigers in wildlife reserves in the world. Other highlights of the reserve include elephants, swamp deer and birdlife. In fact, the region is visited by more than 250 different species of birds during the migratory season. Take a wildlife tour of the park and try spotting a rhino in the wild. You will remember the experience for the rest of your life.
20. Talatal Ghar
A masterpiece of the Ahom architecture is the Talatal Ghar. The name of the monument literally translates to “royal palace.” However, it is not your typical royal palace which is plush and grand. The palace has a rather irregular shape, in part due to the many renovations it has undergone over the course of several years. The present structure of the building dates back to the 18th century and was built by Swargadeo Singha. Despite the irregularities, the seven story structure and the sprawling lawns are worth a visit.
21. Spot a tiger at Manas National Park
Situated in between the beautiful treks of Himalaya’s foothills is Manas National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Project Tiger reserve. The park is named after River Manas which flows through the reserve. The wildlife reserve is known for its rare species of fauna, such as Assam Roofed Turtle, Pygmy Hog, Golden Langur and more. The reserve has a high density of tigers as well, so spotting a tiger in the park shouldn’t be too difficult. A wildlife safari through the national park gives you a glimpse of some rare sights, sights which remain with you for the rest of your life.
One of the most prominent towns of Assam is the Sibsagar town. The name of the town literally translates to “Ocean of Lord Shiva.” It is a town influenced by several cultures over the years. The multicultural influence of the town is evident in its palaces, tanks, temples and museums. It also has the Panidihing Bird Sanctuary, which is a haven for bird watchers. There is so much to do and see in Sibsagar that you need to plan a separate trip to the town to experience it all.
Assam, like the rest of north-east, is known for its eclectic cultures and traditions. Often, the festivals in Assam are a colorful affair, with song and dance routines and more. Assam celebrates three major cultural festivals in an year, which are together known as Bihu. The most prominent of these Bihu festivals is the one celebrated in April to mark the beginning of a new year. You can always be part of the revelry, enjoying the colorful traditions of the place.
Located about 30 km from Sibsagar, close to the hills of Nagaland, is the ancient town of Charaideo. The name of the town literally translates to “a prominent city on top of a hill.” Historically speaking, it is a significant town which was once the capital of the Ahom kingdom. Secluded today, there are plenty of ruins and relics in the place to explore. Charaideo also has many tombs of several Ahom kings and queens. These tombs are sometimes also referred to as the “pyramids of Assam.” Secluded, beautiful locations with an old world charm are what you get in Charaideo.
One of the largest river islands in the world is the island of Majuli, located in the midst of the mighty Brahmaputra River. Back in the days, the island was spread across an area of more than 1200 square kilometers. However, erosion of land because of the river has left it to a size of just 420 square kilometers today. Nevertheless, the island is a rich bio-reserve. It is visited by several migratory birds which makes it a fantastic place for birdwatchers. Colorful tribes inhabit the land, which are skilled in mask making and pottery making. A trip to Majjuli is a cultural affair.
26. Sualkuchi Boat Race
Sualkuchi is a small town of Assam which is known for its rich cultural heritage. Known as the “Manchester of Assam”, the town celebrates several festivals throughout the year, most of them with religious connotations. Out of all the festivals celebrated in Sualkuchi, the most exciting of the lot is the boat race event. Historical evidence has suggested that boat races were a common feature during the reign of Rudra Singh and several other rulers. However, it was in 1965 that the old tradition of boat races was revived in Assam. The town takes on an electric atmosphere during the event, with crowds cheering their favorite team.
27. Nameri National Park
The mighty Brahmaputra River and the climatic conditions of Assam mean that the place is full of lush green forests. That’s why, there are some fantastic forest reserves in Assam, one of which is Nameri National Park. Together with Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, the national park is spread across an area of a whopping 1000 square kilometers. It is a well known elephant reserve, but there are other species which inhabit the region as well, such as Pygmy Hog, leopards, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear etc. If wildlife is what you are looking for, Nameri National Park should be a must-visit on your list.
28. Loktak Lake
World’s only floating lake is the Loktak Lake in Manipur. The lake has a lot of dead mass and vegetation which floats up to the surface of the lake, giving it a floating appearance. You can take a boat ride in the lake and enjoy the scenery of it, or you could visit the Keibul Lamjao National Park which is situated on the eastern shores of the lake. The national park is home to the endangered Sangai, apart from other species of wild animals and birds.
29. Singda Dam
The highest mud dam in the world is the Singda Dam. Singda, located 16 km from the capital city of Imphal, is located at a height of about meters above sea level. It is a popular picnic spot, with its scenic views, and relative calm. There is a health resort too close to the lake here which is ideal for rejuvenation and relaxation.
When in Manipur, a visit to the capital city of Imphal is a must. Unlike other capital cities in the world, Imphal is relatively laid back. You will get plenty of time and space here to just throw your feet up and relax. While in Imphal, visit the ruins of Palace of Kangla, and the polo ground too. Polo grounds in Imphal are the oldest in the world, and a sight unto themselves.
31. Shri Govindajee Temple
A highlight of Manipur is the Shri Govindajee Temple. Located in the city of Imphal, the architecture of the temple is pretty simple, but nevertheless deserves a visit. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, and a visit to the temple is believed to solve all your worries and problems.
32. Khwairamband Bazar
You may have visited hundreds of market around the world, but this one is truly different than the rest of them. Located close to the city centre of Imphal, it is a woman-only market. You will see only women operating the shops here. You can shop for some excellent handloom products here, apart from small souvenirs and locally made arts and crafts. The market is also the best place to shop for some of the freshest produce of Manipur.
33. Hornbill Festival
Celebrated in the first week in the month of December is the popular Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. The festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, a species of bird found in the region. The festival is characterized by several colorful tribes of Nagaland coming together in a show of spirit and solidarity. There are colorful dances to see, intricate artwork of the local tribes to purchase, and enjoying the revelry of the atmosphere.
34. Shilloi Lake
The highlight of the town of Phek in Nagaland is the Shillio Lake. The quaint lake overlooks rugged mountain peaks and makes for some fantastic viewing. As with most things in Assam, there is an interesting folklore associated with the lake. According to the story, one fine day, ca farmer couple left their baby girl at home and went to the paddy fields. However, soon, they could hear the cries of a girl. Unable to withstand the painful voice, they rushed home only to find their girl missing. All the villagers got together and proceeded in the direction from which the voice was first heard. To their surprise, they found the girl in the middle of the lake, on a big leaf, with a hand supporting her from beneath. Their attempts to drain the water of the lake went in vain, and ultimately, the girl died. In order to honor her strange death, the people of the village made a ceremonial killing of a healthy bull. The head of the bull was castrated, placed in the centre of the lake, and was the cooked and eaten on the same night. However, villagers found the same bull grazing the grounds the next day. They took it as an indication that the baby girl had not died too. In fact, they started believing that the baby girl became the queen of the lake.
Once you get to the lake, you will find the panorama as interesting as the story itself.
35. Touphema Village
Located about 40 km from the capital city of Kohima is the Touphema Village. It is a cultural village where you get to know the traditional life of the Nagas in an intimate manner. You get to stay in quaint huts, enjoy bonfire dinners, cultural dances and more. The scenic locales of the village are just the icing on the cake.
36. Japfu Peak-
One of the highest peaks of Nagaland is the Japfu Peak. If you are in the mood for some trekking places, Japfu Peak trek is the ideal activity you are looking for. The peak is located at a height of about 3000 meters above sea level, at a distance of 15 km from Kohima. The highlight of the peak is a Rhododendron tree, which stands 130 feet tall and finds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Of course, there are some amazing views to capture in your camera’s lens too.
37. Dzukou Valley
Located on the Nagaland-Manipur valley is the gorgeous Dzukou Valley. The trek to the valley isn’t challenging or arduous, but it still makes for a memorable trekking experiences in India. The valley is home to the rare Dzukou Lily, apart from several other species of flowers. During the summer months, the valley is an absolute treat for the eyes.
If you thought only Rajasthan can boast of beautiful palaces dating back to the royal times, you are in for a surprise in Tripura. Visit the Neermahal, one of the two water palaces in India, and you will amazed by the beauty of it. The palace was built by King Bir Bikram Kishore back in 1930. It is located in the centre of Rudrasagar Lake and takes inspiration from different elements of Muslim and Hindu architecture. Once the summer residence of the royal family, it is a popular tourist spot in Tripura today. The grandeur of the palace will leave you dumbfounded.
39. Unakoti Hills-
A cultural spot and a natural one too, is the Unakoti Hills, one of the best known tourist attractions of Tripura. The hills have a place dedicated to Lord Shiva, which dates back to several centuries ago. The place of worship has beautiful rock carvings and murals several hundred years old. What’s also striking about the hill is its natural beauty. The hills offer scenic views of the valley, and there are quite a few waterfalls to visit too. The month of April also hosts the Ashokashtami festival, which is a religious festival celebrated by thousands of pilgrims.
40. Ujjayanta Palace
Located in the capital city of Agartala is the Ujjayanta Palace. The palace was named by Rabindranath Tagore and dates back to the 19th century. It was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore, and is known for its grandeur and luxury. You can even watch a mesmerizing fountain show at the palace at night, as the palace shines in the backdrop.
41. Living Root Bridge
Meghalaya is the wettest state of India. The wet climatic conditions make it ideal for the growth of rubber trees, and there are plenty of them too. The rubber trees have secondary roots which are very thick and strong. It is these roots which have been manipulated by the locals to create what are known as the living root bridges. The direction of the roots has been changed to form bridges over the rivers in the region. You can take a walk on these bridges and be rest assured they are one of the strongest structures on earth. You could also camp under the bridges if you are looking for a more eclectic experience.In Meghalaya we can do many things like caving, Trekking and many sightseeing places.
42. Nokrek National Park
Nokrek National Park is a fantastic bioreserve in Meghalaya. Located west of the Garo Hills, the national park is home to some extremely rare species of wildlife. The Red Panda, an endangered species, is found in this forest reserve. It is also home to seven different kinds of wildcats, which include tigers, marbled cats etc. The bioreserve has the Rongbang Dare Waterfall as well, which makes for stunning viewing.
43. Mawlynnong in Meghalaya
The Western world often scoffs at Indians for not being too concerned about cleanliness and hygiene. However, setting a benchmark in cleanliness for the rest of the world is Mawlynnong in Meghalaya. This small village of Meghalaya has been voted as the cleanest village of Asia. It is an eco-friendly village with complete ban on plastic. You will find even the dustbins here made of bamboo. A trip to the village somehow inspires you to take a little more care about your surroundings.
44. Nohsngithiang Waterfalls
Also known as the Seven Sister Waterfalls, they are located a little distance away from the village of Mawsmai. The waterfalls get their name because they are a seven segmented fall. You can see seven separate streams of water falling down from the cliff. One of the highest waterfalls of India, they are spectacle during the rainy season, when they are in full flow.
45. Elephant Falls
You might have seen several high waterfalls in different parts of the world. But what makes elephant falls special is their unique structure. It is a tiered waterfall, and if you look closely enough, the falls resemble the head of an elephant, and hence the name. While they may not be the most voluminous or the highest falls by any length of imagination, they still make for fantastic viewing.
46. Nohkalikai Waterfalls
Located in Cherrapunji is the tallest waterfall of India, the Nohkalikai Waterfalls. It is also the world’s fourth waterfall. You can see water cascading down from a height of 1100 meters here. The sound of water hitting the rocks from such a height is almost like music to the years. Ironic to the beauty of the falls is the name of the falls. The name of the waterfalls translates to “Jump of Ka Likai.” According to popular folklore, a woman named Likai jumped from the cliff here after being fed-up with her husband.
47. Jaintia Hills
If exploring little known caves excites you as an adventure activity, you must head to Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya. The hills have abundant limestone deposits. Together with the ample rainfall that the region receives, it has resulted in the formation of hundreds of natural limestone rocks. There are caves of different difficulty levels to explore in Jaintia Hills. From pretty basic caves to ones with a complex structure of passages, there is a lot to choose from here for avid cavers.
48. Mawkdok Dympep Valley View
The starting point of the Sohra tourist circuit in Meghalaya is the Mawkdok Dympep Valley view. As the name suggests, it is a viewing point from where you get spectacular views of the gorgeous Mawkdok Dympep Valley. Don’t compare it with the usual viewing points you get in other hill stations of the country. This one is truly special.
49. Kyllang Rock
You will find the Kyllang Rock something straight out of a Superman movie. It is a red granite structure located close to Mairang district of Meghalaya. The rock has a height of more than 5000 feet above sea level. You can climb the rock from its eastern and northern faces, while the southern face provides a steep incline which even the most avid rock climbers won’t risk. The rock is surrounded by dense forest on its northern side, which is known for its rare rhododendron trees.
Mawsynram is a small village of Meghalaya, and also the wettest place on earth. The place receives an annual rainfall of about 11,500 millimeters. The wet climatic conditions make it an ideal habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. You can expect dense forests and plenty of caves in Mawsynram. The rock star of all caves in Mawsynram is Mawjymbuin. The cave has a natural structure inside it which somewhat resembles the shape of a Shivalinga.
We can see most beautiful destinations, where you can experience many adventure things to do in North East India.