7 Of The Most Unique Experiences In Northeast India
Unexplored and hidden gems in Northeast India have been slowly started to be noticed by many. The entire region is known for its elemental beauties. Soon the tourism of the Northeast began to attract even more tourists by attaching various activities amidst these breathtaking views.
The unearthed and unhindered beauty that had been kept secret for so many years have come to limelight. Yet, there are still a few places that are so unique and one of a kind. Apart from the regular activities that are too mainstream, these are the ‘once in a lifetime’ things to do if you ever stumble upon Northeast of India.
Visit The Largest River Island In The World
The largest river island in the entire world, recorded to be comprising an area of 352kmsq in 2014, is situated in Assam. Surrounded by the river of Brahmaputra, the river island is called Majuli. Once noted to have a surface area of 820kmsq wide, Majuli, drastically shrunk due to erosion, yet it still holds the title to being the largest river island in the world. The demography of the island has been marked to have 150,000 inhabitants with around 144 villages in the area. The river island can be reached only via ferries, the nearby town being Jorhat.
The island is a hub to the Vaishnavite culture due to its history, places like Garmur and Kamalabari Satra hold many scriptures and artifacts dating back centuries. It is also the home to many endangered species. The island lends shelter to numerous migrating birds during the winter season. You can catch a glimpse of various rare avifauna like the pelican, Siberian Crane, the whistling teal and dark wild geese to name a few.
Furthermore, the island provides the facilities of boat rides along the downstream of the river Brahmaputra. The tranquil winds of the Himalayas drifting in the atmosphere calms your soul. With little to no factories and copious amounts of rainfall, the island possesses low air pollution. Saddeningly, at the brink of extinction due to heavy soil erosion, surveys claim that in less than 20years from now, the island would no longer exist.
Ride A Chopper At The Dzukou Valley In Nagaland
Located above 8000ft mean sea level and having a peak of 2452m, the highest peak of Nagaland, the Dzukou Valley is known for its topography that looks made straight out of graphics. The beauty of the entire valley is so surreal that the visitors feel like they have landed up on a mystical place. The place looks ethereal with its lush rainforests and the wildflowers laid in wait for a wanderlust soul to get lost in.
It has become one of the renowned places for trekking. Every year trekkers from every place begin their journey to reach the top of the valley. The closest air terminal is Dimapur, from which the capital city of Nagaland, Kohima, is only a 2hour ride distance. From the capital city, Kohima, the journey of trekking to the top of the valley proceeds. Having two different routes to reach the valley, one for beginners and other for intermediators, any type of trekker can enjoy this enchanting place.
Along the journey you can witness rustic beauty with the stimulating hues of the wildflowers in the green terrains, all shrouded with a veil of clouds as you go higher. At the top of the valley, the tiny gushing waterfalls and unpigmented waters give a refreshing end to the tiring hike. The highlight of the entire place would be the chopper service provided on top of the valley. The chopper service provided at such a place brings about justice to the vitality of the place as you get an overview of the serene elemental nature.
Stay In The Floating Lake In Manipur
Did you know that the largest body of freshwater lake of Northeast India is in Manipur? That it is also infamously known as The Floating Lake despite being named by the locals as The Loktak Lake? More importantly, the lake consists of phumdis (chain of islands with plenty of vegetation) where the Keibul Lamjao National Park sits on top of, making it the only national park in the entire world that floats.
Encompassing a surface area of 287kmsq, the Loktak Lake is situated at a small town of Moirang in the state of Manipur. The name of the lake comes from two words Lok and tak, where Lok translates to ‘stream’ and tak meaning ‘the end’.
The lake is not only a source of sustenance for the locals, it also harbours the purpose of irrigation and hydropower generation. The brow-antlered deers which are known to be endangered, are also called as Sangai, are native only to Manipur. They are an endemic subspecies of Eld’s deer, that can be found roaming around the floating national park. Not only that, the entire lake is a refuge to a diverse fauna (including the categories of avifauna and aquafauna), and to the numerous rare animals like the sambhar and Indian python.
From the capital city of Manipur, Imphal, the lake is located only 39kms far away on road. Of all the islands on the lake, Phubala and Sendra predominantly serve the facilities to stay and enjoy the breathtaking biodiversity of the lake. The Phubala Resort, only at a distance of 40kms from the capital city, and the Sendra Tourist Home in the heart of the lake is a prime spot from which one can be one with nature.
Travel To The Partially Frozen Highest Lake
Located at a height of 5430m, Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim, is one of the highest situated lakes in India and the entire world. Lying in the North Sikkim, it is very close to the Tibetan border, only 5km south of it. However, the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok, is around 190km away from the lake. The lake was named after the founder of the Tibetan Buddhism, Guru Padmasambhava, who had visited in the 8th Century.
Primarily made out of glaciers, one of the streams of the lake is the source of the Teesta River. The lake remains frozen with a layer of ice sheet spread across it during the winter season from November to May. The lake looks small compared to the actual size due to the topography of the region. The altitude of this region allows many exoctic animals like the blue sheep and Yaks to inhabit.
From the many legends surrounding this lake, one of it claims that while Guru Padmasambhava, who was also called Guru Rinpoche, had visited the place he was requested by the inhabitants to help them. Since the lake remained frozen for most part of the year, it became quite strenuous for the locals to keep a livelihood. He agreed by melting a part of the lake, which remains unfrozen during winter, to facilitate as a source of drinking water.
From then, the lake was considered sacred. It was also said that once upon a time the water of the lake was so clear that the bed of the lake was in sight from the halfway of the lake.
Go Across The Living Architectures In Meghalaya
Being recorded as the wettest place on the planet by receiving abundant amounts of rainfall every year, Meghalaya, is a tropical heaven where the valleys and rivers surge with water during monsoon. For a very long period of time, this had made it impossible for the local tribe communities to make a living. Thus, the indegineous people of the state came up with the idea of making Living Root Bridges, bridges that only grow stronger with time, bridges that aren’t shackled with the mere problems like rusting, fungi or insects.
The innovation soon sprinkled all across the Khasi Hills areas of the state, as the Living Root Bridges have been used as a mode of transit for centuries now. Moulded in shape by interweaving and manipulating the aerial roots of the Indian rubber tree called Ficus elastica, the Living Root Bridges are made utilizing a framework made out of the hollow trunks of the areca nut palms or bamboo scaffolds. Although it requires maintenance for the first few years initially, if taken proper care, the bridges turn out to be perpetually irrepressible.
Lying between the condensed forests of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, of all the functional Living Root Bridges, the Double Decker Root Bridge in Cherrapunji and Single Decker Root Bridge in Shillong are one of their kind. With a pleasingly misty weather and an ecosystem of exuberant flora and fauna, many use the path to these two bridges as a trek.
The longest Living Root Bridge is noted to be 175ft long and the oldest one is marked at least 180years old. The Living Root Bridges are often regarded as green architectures and a marvel of engineering that every modern architect needs to learn from. No wonder that it has garnered itself a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
Exotic Stay Amidst The Wildlife In Assam
Considered to be one of the World Heritage Sites and the abode of the world’s two-third of the great one-horned rhinoceroses, Kaziranga National Park is located in Assam. The place also is a Tiger Reserve with a high density of tigers, in addition to the large population of wild water buffalos, swamp deers and elephants found in the region. Furthermore, it is also regarded as an Important Bird Area. Being situated near the Eastern biodiversity of the Himalaya, the national park has an abundance of diverse species.
Although closed for almost 7 months, from May to October, due to monsoon, the national park has its safari facilities open for people visiting rest of the year. The safaris have the option of either via a jeep or on a guided elephant.
There are also many observation towers (like at the Harmoti and Sohola) for getting a view of the wildlife. Interestingly, four lodges at Kohora and three lodges in the exterior of the park are administered by the Government of Assam for tourists to stay.
Other than these, there are also private lodges run just outside the boundaries of the park. This makes the experience wilder and even more alluring than ever.
Quite recently, in order to increase the vegetation and make the place even more exotically appealing, the Kaziranga National Orchid was set up. It consists of orchids of 500species, 132 kinds of leafy vegetables and sour fruits, 46 varieties of bamboo, cane of 12 different kinds and lastly, numerous types of local fishes.
Retracing The Footsteps Of History In Sikkim
The Nathula Pass is the same route to the infamously recognized Old Silk Route (regarding which the pages of history are filled in numbers). From Tibet, this route was previously utilized to transport valuable items like silk and gold to India. Due to arising conflicts the once legendary route was sealed. However, a few years back an alliance between both the countries has led to reopening the route for business. Using this opportunity, many tourists visit this place to go on treks, to relive the history and enjoy the beauty of the place.
Above 4310m mean sea level, connecting Sikkim with Tibet, the route of Nathula Pass is a mountain pass located in the Eastern district of Sikkim. Lying on the borders of Indo-China, from India, the pass is at a distance of 54km from the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok. Originating from the Tibetan language, the name of the mountain pass translates to nathu being ‘listening ears’ and la meaning ‘pass’. Only Indian citizens with the permit obtained from the capital city of Sikkim can go on this expedition.
Hiking amidst the snow clad mountains, flora and fauna native only to that weather, Sikkim has always been a hotspot for tourism. The twists and turns along the journey of the pass, with an ambience of solace created by the calm air of Himalayas, this place can concoct an overwhelming feeling where you will find yourself lost in the past and nostalgia. With heavy history and breath chasing scenic beauty along the path of the mountain pass, who wouldn’t want to visit this place at least once in their lifetime?