The ‘North-East’ is a collective name for the easternmost part of India comprising the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur. Obscured from the greater world by dense forests and formidable mountains, North-East India shares its borders with Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet, and Bangladesh. It spreads over an area of over 262,230 Sq Km, and holds immense beauty as most of its hill towns are still untravelled.
Assam is the most developed and accessible state in this relatively isolated region. It lies just south of the Eastern Himalaya with Brahmaputra River making it rich with paddy fields. Tea plantations proliferate around towns like Jorhat. North-East India’s biggest city, Guwahati, is the best hub for journeys into other North-Eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh or Meghalaya. Majuli in Assam, one of the largest riverine islands in the world, is a centre of unique Vaishnava traditions while Kaziranga National Park is home to the endangered one-horned Rhinos.
In North-East, the tiny mountainous state of Sikkim seems close to heaven. Lepchas, Bhutias, and Nepalis live here, close to one of the highest peaks in the world – Kangchendzonga. At Sikkim, you find stunning lakes like Tsomgo and Gurudongmar. Charming Gangtok and the adventurous Nathu La pass at the China border draw tourists from afar. Another touristy attraction in the region is Manipur. It is a pretty oval valley surrounded by low hills. Its capital, Imphal, stands out for its feisty women weavers, potters and traders. Loktak Lake, the largest lake of North-East lies here, hosting floating islands and Sangai deer. Moirang, Bishnupur, and Ukhrul are other touristy places.
The people of North-East India have historically had close ethnic and cultural bonds with Tibet, Bhutan, and Myanmar. Thus, you see the prevalence of Tibeto-Burmese languages in many towns. Assamese, Nagamese, Nefamese, Manipuri, Nepali, Tripuri, Khasi, and Sylheti are popular languages here amongst an astounding 220 languages spoken in the region. Apart from its exciting mélange of cultures, North-East has some distinctive culinary treats to offer. From the pork chops of Nagaland to wild red rice of Mizoram and Tenga fish of Assam, the diversity in flavours can overpower your senses. Not to miss, the Jadoh and Tungtap of Meghalaya that makes an impeccable food combination.
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