North East Explored
Vacations in the North East cover Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Hiding in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas are the 7 'gems' or 'sisters': Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. They evoke images of remote hamlets, dense jungles, ancient tribes and awesome mountain views. Combined with their mystique, these states are a 'must' on the travel itinerary of those in search of new adventures.
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Arunachal, one of the most sparsely populated states of India, borders China, Bhutan and Myanmar. There are five major rivers - Kameng, Subansiri, Siang (later the Brahmaputra in Assam), Lohit and Tirap. The mountain ranges follow the river systems. Home to a complex mix of communities, its people are friendly, colourful and simple. Arunachal can be justifiably proud of its rich flora which ranges from the alpine to the subtropical, from rhododendrons to orchids. Its verdant forests, turbulent streams, lofty mountains and snow clad peaks make it a unique place offering the tourist numerous opportunities for rafting, hiking and mountaineering.
Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, is a beautiful historic city, also known as `the Land of the Dawn lit Mountains'. It is located to the east of Tawang and has been identified with Mayapur, a city of the 14th or 15th century A.D. The new township has modern buildings, bazaars and traditional homesteads.
Assam, dominated by the River Brahmaputra, the gateway to the East. Assam is best known for its tea plantations and the one-horned rhinocerous which people go to see at the Kaziranga National Park. Guwahati, the capital of Assam, straddles both banks of the Brahmaputra. The town is said to be the legendary Pragjyotishpur or City of Eastern Light and is a bustling, busy and crowded city.
Guwahati has several places of historical interest. Perhaps the biggest attraction is the Kamakhya Temple atop Nilachal hill, where the Goddess Kamakhya is worshipped. The hill commands a majestic view of the city and the river.
A three-hour drive uphill from Guwahati takes you to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, which lies at a height of 1,496 m above sea level. The prominent role of women is highly visible in the Khasi Hills, a matrilineal society where the Khasis, said to have their origins in Kampuchea, South East Asia, speak a language that has its roots in Mon-Khmer.
Shillong is in a picturesque setting with excellent excusrisons to waterfalls, limestone caves, hot springs and rolling hills near a lake.
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.