If one of your goals this year is to explore India, might we suggest heading to the Northeast? And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out these towns and cities in the region that you should add to your itinerary.
For the last couple of years, one region of the country that has been among the most trending, when it comes to travel, is the Northeast. The region is blessed with phenomenal views, thanks to the abundance of hills and forests here. What makes the region all the more special is its stunning lakes, crystal clear waters, living root bridges and national parks.
Northeast India, thanks to its beauty, has also attracted Bollywood filmmakers to come and shoot in the region. Recent movies such as Anek and Bhediya have explored locales here, as well as ample older movies such as Jewel Thief, Koyla and Rock On 2.
So, in case you, too, want to pack your rucksacks and get going, we suggest checking out these towns and cities in Northeast India that make for a scenic journey in the region!
Towns and cities in Northeast India to add to your travel itinerary this year
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang is a hill station in Arunachal Pradesh. The Himalayan destination shares a border with China and another one with Bhutan. It’s not the easiest destination to reach, but the endless views make up for all the efforts you put in. Complete with snow-capped peaks, beautiful lakes, friendly locals and delicious local food will make it the perfect place to visit in Northeast India. Not just that, being the destination of the Sino-Indian War as well as the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama makes it a destination with a rich cultural past.
Best time to visit: Summers and monsoon, aka March-October
How to reach: The nearest airport is Tezpur, from where you can hire a cab to reach the sleepy town
What to see: Monasteries, Jaswant Garh Memorial, Sela Pass, lakes, waterfalls
One of the best things about Kohima is its untouched natural beauty. The city, which is the capital of Nagaland, is known for its beautiful views and heritage spots that make it special. The city also houses commercial centres as well as town-style homes giving visitors the best of both worlds. Kohima is also known for its handicrafts and handlooms.
Best time to visit: March to October
How to reach: The nearest airport and railway stations are in Dimapur
What to see: Crafts shops, war cemetery, Dzukou Valley, heritage villages
The Meghalayan capital is a haven for those who want to spend some time in the midst of nature. The city in Northeast India is best known for its love for rock music, which was also featured in the movie Rock On 2. Apart from that, the city is popular for its beautiful views, local culture, cuisine and ample adventure. No wonder it is called Scotland of the East!
Best time to visit: February to November
How to reach: Nearest airport is Umroi, and the nearest airport is in Guwahati. You can board cabs or taxis from here
What to see: Umiam Lake, Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak, David Scott Trail
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An amalgamation of wildlife, nature, food and culture, Imphal is a serene city surrounded by the hills. From the all-women market to its beautiful orchids, the destination will mesmerise you and leave you in awe. Sample local Manipuri cuisine, go for a boat ride in the floating park and be sure to purchase local crafts.
Best time to visit: September to April
How to reach: Imphal has its own airport, while the nearest railway station is in Dimapur
What to see: State Museum, Ima Market, local restaurants
The wettest place on Earth, this is one destination in Northeast India which will blow your mind away. Covered in misty skies and wet grounds, the town is serene and mesmerising. Watch the mountains and explore local villages and waters, and spend your time interacting with locals.
Best time to visit: September to November
How to reach: The nearest airport is accessible via Shillong, while the nearest railway station is in Guwahati
What to see: Khreng Khreng Waterfall, Mawjymbuin Caves, Umkhakoi Lake, Split Rock
Aizawl boasts of a rich tribal culture. The city is the capital of Mizoram, and is nestled amidst the hills. This gives the city beautiful views and a clean, crisp air, which will make the trip worth it. However, you will need a permit to enter (Inner Line Permit, or ILP), but the efforts will be worth it. The city is also known for its delicious cuisine and handicrafts, making it a great destination to visit in Northeast India.
Best time to visit: March to May
How to reach: Lengpui Airport, which serves Aizawl, is connected to major cities
What to see: Phawngpui Peak, Durtlang Hills
Gangtok is known for some of the best adventurous experiences such as drives to the Nathula Pass, and visiting the Khangchendzonga Mountain. The city, which is the capital of Sikkim, is known for its delicious food, natural beauty and shopping destinations. The hill station and city will enchant you with its beauty and make for a beautiful place to visit in Northeast India.
Best time to visit: Winter months (December – February) to witness snowfall
How to reach: Bagdogra Airport and New Jalpaiguri Railway Station are the closest to Gangtok
What to see: Ganesh Tok, Khangchendzonga Mountain, Nathula Pass, local markets, Tsongmo Lake
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Majuli is a beautiful river island in Assam, and has been recorded as the largest freshwater river island in Asia and the second largest in the world. The destination exudes serenity, with its clear skies, blue water and lush greenery, making it a destination in Northeast India that simple has to be there on your bucket list.
Best time to visit: Winters and spring (October to March)
How to reach: Majuli is only accessible via a ferry which can be boarded from Jorhat
What to see: Satras, pottery village at Samora, handloom villages, lakes
Among the wettest regions in the world, Cherrapunji is a treat for those who want to see beautiful views of the hills. The place has scenic views of the waterfalls and breathtaking landscape. Combine that with the Living Root Bridges (man-made bridges created by training roots of trees to go in a certain way to make durable structures that can hold upto 50 people) and local lifestyle and culture.
Best time to visit: October to February
How to reach: Guwahati houses the nearest airport and railway station, from where the place is reachable by road
What to see: Nohkalikai Falls, Living Root Bridges, Dain Then Falls
Another great destination in Northeast India that is worth a visit is Pelling. The destination is known for its magnificent views, glass skywalk and the Buddha statue and monasteries. What is also attractive about the place is its natural beauty, too, with waterfalls, ruins and more.
Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn, i.e. February to April and September to December
How to reach: The nearest airport is Bagdogra, the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri
What to see: Glass skywalk, monasteries, Kanchenjunga Waterfall
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
The enchanting town is best known for hosting the Ziro Festival of Music. Located on the Apatani Plateau, what is the most beautiful part of the destination is its natural beauty – lush greenery, mountain views and more. The locals are warm and welcoming, and the quiet, laidback life will draw you in if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation in the hills.
Best time to visit: October (to be able to witness the music festival)
How to reach: The nearest airport is in Jorhat, while the closest railway station is in Naharalagun
What to see: Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Shiva Linga, farms, pine groves, churches
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Yes, Udaipur is the popular lake city in Rajasthan. And no, we aren’t mistaken when we say that Udaipur is in the Northeast. The destination is also known for its lakes, which only adds to the similarities here. Visit the temples and lakes here, and experience local culture to get the full experience.
Best time to visit: October to March
How to reach: The nearest airport and railway station is in Agartala
What to see: Kalyan Sagar Lake, Tripura Sundari Temple, Melaghar
Hero Image: Courtesy of Suraj Jadhav/Unsplash; Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock
Related: 20 Best Places To Visit In February In India To Experience The Beauty Of Our Country At Its Peak
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Summer months are the best to visit Northeast India, but if you want to experience snow, visit in December.
Answer: Yes, as the place has some beautiful natural places as well as a lot of heritage and culture.
Answer: There are several beautiful destinations in Northeast India - Pelling, Gangtok, Assam and Mawsynram are some.