Great question! The northeast of India comprises eight states - Arunachal Pra-desh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim. The region is blessed with nature's bounty - from pristine glacial lakes, manmade living root bridges, wild flower valleys to spectacular wildlife; not to mention the delicious and rustic food, festivals and handloom.
The itinerary should allow you to experience its inimitable culture and natural splendour.
Here are a few pointers to breeze through your plan:
The best time to visit is November-March, and you need to plan slightly ahead. Two weeks are just about enough for your northeastern sojourn. It’s recom-mended that you keep aside a day or two for unforeseen delays due to bad weather or road conditions.
2. How to Reach
By Air - Note that states like, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim, don’t have airports. Guwahati in Assam is the most well-connected airport, and travel-ers book return tickets to-and-from here. However, you can arrive in Guwahati and exit from Dimapur in Nagaland, or vice versa. To cover more ground, a re-turn ticket from the same airport isn’t always a smart idea.
By Train - There are overnight trains from Kolkata to Guwahati. However, dur-ing the winter, ie November to February, dense fog can cause unreasonable delay. Therefore, air travel for the win!
Tariff per night in most decent places with breakfast will be around Rs 2000. Do take into account commuting costs within the north-east. Self-driven cars or cabs are your best bet because train connectivity isn’t good. The best idea is to arrive in Guwahati and hire a cab or a Zoom car. A self-driven car is a budget-savvy option, and depending on the size of the vehicle, costs can range from Rs 15000 - Rs 20000 for a week. If you plan to hire a cab, fares per day will be anywhere be-tween Rs 4500 - Rs 7000 depending on the size of the car. You will need a permit pass for visiting Arunachal.
Add to this a rough estimate for flight fares, food and miscellaneous spends to calculate the total expense for a worry-free holiday.
Hidden Gems and Insider’s Tips
You might have heard a lot about the double-decker root bridge in Meghalaya, Tawang in Arunachal and Kaziranga National Park for rhino spotting. But, here are some undiscovered spots for explorers.
Manas National Park is closer to the Guwahati airport than Kaziranga and offers an equally spectacular wildlife experience. Homestays are your ticket for a slice of local life. Do visit the mystical caves called Unakoti in Tripura, about 150 kms from the Agartala airport. And, if you attend the famous Hornbill festival, plan a trekking expedition to the utterly beautiful Dzokou valley of flowers near Kohi-ma.
In fact, the unique festivals of the North-east are a one-stop shop for an immer-sive food and cultural experience; whether they are spring festivals such as Bihu in Assam, Cheiraoba in Manipur, Chapchar Kut in Mizoram, or Tibetan New Year known as Losar in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, among others. Case in point, did you know that the Sangai festival in Manipur (above pic) has super fun boat races?