Discovering the Hidden Gems of Northeast India


Northeast India, often referred to as the “Seven Sisters” (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura) along with Sikkim, is a region of unparalleled natural beauty, diverse cultures, and rich traditions. This part of India, though less traveled compared to the rest of the country, offers an array of hidden gems that captivate the hearts of those who venture into its picturesque landscapes and vibrant communities. From stunning natural vistas and serene monasteries to unique tribal cultures and historic landmarks, Northeast India is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. This article delves into some of the most enchanting hidden gems of Northeast India, revealing the true essence of this magical region.

Majuli: The River Island of Assam

Cultural and Ecological Marvel

Majuli, located in the Brahmaputra River in Assam, is the world’s largest river island. This serene and picturesque island is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and biodiversity.

Satras and Culture: Majuli is home to numerous satras (Vaishnavite monasteries), established by the revered saint Srimanta Sankardeva in the 15th century. These satraps are centers of art, culture, and spirituality, where traditional dance forms like Pattaya and musical performances are regularly held.

Biodiversity: Majuli’s lush landscape, with its wetlands, water bodies, and rich birdlife, makes it a haven for nature lovers. The island is a hotspot for birdwatching, especially during the migratory season.

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Challenges and Preservation

Despite its beauty, Majuli faces significant challenges due to erosion and flooding by the Brahmaputra River. Efforts are being made to preserve its unique cultural and ecological heritage, but the island remains a fragile gem that needs careful protection.

Tawang: The Land of Monasteries

Spiritual and Scenic Splendor

Tawang, situated in Arunachal Pradesh, is a place of immense natural beauty and spiritual significance. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Tawang offers breathtaking landscapes and a serene atmosphere.

Tawang Monastery: The Tawang Monastery, also known as the Golden Namgyal Lhatse, is the largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. Founded in the 17th century, it is a major center of Mahayana Buddhism and a place of great spiritual importance. The monastery houses a stunning 8-meter-high statue of Lord Buddha and a vast collection of ancient scriptures.

Natural Beauty: Tawang’s landscape is dotted with high-altitude lakes like Madhuri Lake and Pankang Teng Tso, offering serene views and tranquil surroundings. The region is also known for its scenic mountain passes, such as Sela Pass, which provide panoramic vistas of the Eastern Himalayas.

Adventure and Exploration

For adventure enthusiasts, Tawang offers opportunities for trekking, hiking, and exploring remote areas that are rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. The region’s challenging terrains and pristine environments make it a perfect destination for those seeking both adventure and tranquility.

Cherrapunji: The Land of Living Root Bridges

Unique Natural Wonders

Cherrapunji, located in Meghalaya, is famed for its unique living root bridges and its status as one of the wettest places on earth.

Living Root Bridges: These extraordinary bridges are made from the aerial roots of the rubber fig tree, carefully guided and nurtured by the local Khasi tribes over decades. The most famous of these is the double-decker root bridge in the village of Nongriat. These natural bridges are a testament to the ingenuity and harmonious relationship between the indigenous people and their environment.

Waterfalls and Caves: Cherrapunji is also home to some of India’s most spectacular waterfalls, including Nohkalikai Falls, which plunges over 1,100 feet, and Mawsmai Cave, a labyrinthine limestone cave that offers a glimpse into the region’s geological history.

Climate and Lifestyle

The heavy rainfall in Cherrapunji has shaped the lifestyle and culture of its inhabitants. The region’s unique climate supports lush green landscapes and diverse flora, making it a paradise for nature lovers and botanists.

Ziro Valley: The Cradle of Apatani Culture

Cultural Richness and Natural Beauty

Ziro Valley, in Arunachal Pradesh, is a picturesque region known for its unique Apatani tribal culture and scenic landscapes.

Apatani Tribe: The Apatani people are known for their sustainable agricultural practices, particularly wet rice cultivation, and their distinctive facial tattoos and nose plugs, which are part of their traditional identity. Visitors to Ziro Valley can experience the rich cultural heritage of the Apatani, including their festivals, music, and handicrafts.

Ziro Music Festival: Held annually, the Ziro Music Festival is a vibrant celebration of music and culture, attracting artists and visitors from across India and the world. The festival is set against the stunning backdrop of the valley, making it a unique and unforgettable experience.

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Scenic Trekking Routes

Ziro Valley offers numerous trekking routes that take visitors through its lush landscapes, verdant forests, and terraced rice fields. The tranquil environment and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for trekking and nature walks.

Loktak Lake: The Floating Wonder of Manipur

Unique Ecosystem

Loktak Lake, located in Manipur, is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is renowned for its unique phumdis (floating islands).

Phumdis and Keibul Lamjao National Park: These floating islands are made of a heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matter, and they support diverse flora and fauna. Keibul Lamjao National Park, situated on the southern shore of the lake, is the world’s only floating national park and is home to the endangered Sangai deer, Manipur’s state animal.

Fishing and Local Culture: Loktak Lake is central to the local economy and culture, with fishing being a primary occupation for many residents. Traditional fishing methods and the unique lifestyle of the lake’s inhabitants offer a glimpse into the symbiotic relationship between people and their natural environment.

Tourism and Conservation

Loktak Lake is a popular destination for eco-tourism, attracting visitors with its serene beauty and biodiversity. Conservation efforts are crucial to preserving this unique ecosystem, which faces threats from pollution and human activity.

Kaziranga National Park: A Wildlife Haven

Biodiversity Hotspot

Kaziranga National Park in Assam is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of India’s most significant wildlife sanctuaries.

One-Horned Rhinoceros: Kaziranga is renowned for its population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which constitutes more than two-thirds of the world’s population of this endangered species. The park’s conservation success story has made it a model for wildlife protection.

Diverse Wildlife: In addition to rhinoceroses, Kaziranga is home to a variety of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, wild buffaloes, and numerous bird species. The park’s diverse habitats, ranging from grasslands to wetlands, support a rich biodiversity.

Safari and Conservation Efforts

Visitors to Kaziranga can explore the park through jeep safaris and elephant rides, offering an up-close experience of its wildlife. Ongoing conservation efforts aim to protect the park’s unique ecosystem and its inhabitants from poaching and habitat destruction.


Northeast India, with its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique biodiversity, is a treasure trove of hidden gems. From the serene river island of Majuli to the spiritual heights of Tawang, the living root bridges of Cherrapunji, the cultural richness of Ziro Valley, the floating wonders of Loktak Lake, and the wildlife haven of Kaziranga National Park, each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience. As more travelers seek to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, Northeast India stands out as a region that promises discovery, adventure, and a deep connection with nature and culture. Whether you’re an avid adventurer, a cultural enthusiast, or a nature lover, Northeast India invites you to uncover its many hidden treasures.

Read more: The Ancient Temples of Odisha India: A Spiritual Odyssey