One of the oldest civilizations in the world, India is a mosaic of multicultural experiences. With a rich heritage and myriad attractions, the country is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km (1,269,346 sq mi), extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity.
Fringed by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Head to the mountains, enjoy a beach retreat or cruise through the golden Thar, India has options galore for all.
I. ASSAM – Home of Brahmaputra
The grandeur of dense tracts of tropical forests interspersed with emerald patchwork quilts of paddy and lush tea gardens, the mighty River Brahmaputra makes Assam one of the beautiful and unexplored destination in India Brahmaputra way from near the Mansarovar Lake in the higher reaches of the Tibetan Plateau (as the Tsangpo) through Arunachal Pradesh (as the Siang) and on to the plains of Assam.
1. Places to Visit
It is capital city of Assam and gateway to not only Assam but to the entire North East region Straddling on the banks of Brahmaputra this former capital of the Kamrup Kings is a crowded, busy river-town and a major commercial hub for the region The river cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra river in Guwahati is an experience not to be missed
1.2. Kamakhya Temple
One of the most revered shrines of the Hindu Faith, the temple is located on Neelachal Hill he temple offers grand views of the Brahmaputra and its surroundings The reigning deity here is Goddess Parvati (sati). A rush of devotees throng the temple during the Ambubachi Mela held in the month of middle of June It is considered to be one of the most sacred temples of India.
1.3. Kaziranga National Park
The oldest park in Assam Kaziranga, on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River is world famous for its great Indian one horned rhinoceros It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site spread across 859 40 Sq km The dense woodland, tall elephant grass and swathes of reeds interspersed with vast tracks of marshes and shallow pools make it a favorite haunts of its celebrity prehistoric beast Around 217km from Guwahati and 96km from Jorhat, it is one of the best conservation story of the endangered rhino.
1.4. Majuli Island
Best approached via Jorhat Majuli is the world’s largest inhabited riverine Island It is also the focal point of Vaishnava Culture Majuli is renowned for its important Satras (Vaishnava monasteries) For the Assamese, this place is particularly revered as Sankardeva, the 16th century leader of Vaishnava revivalism who established the satras Majuli is also home to the Mishing tribe who migrated from Arunachal. They are Assam’s only riverine tribal community and they make some astoundingly beautiful shawls and blankets which are also used as wall hangings.
1.5. Pobitora Sanctuary
To see the one harned Rhino one can also visit Pobitora Sanctuary which is closer to Guwahati then Kanziranga.
1.6. Manas National Park
Manas a National Park, a project Tiger Reserve and a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is 176 Km north-west of Guwahati. Other denizens of the dense jungles here are the one-horned Rhinos tigers, hispid hare, gaurs, pygmy hogs and rare golden langurs. It’s a paradise for birdwatchers for it has a stunning selections of avian life. Manas also offers excellent angling opportunities. One can stay at the Forest Bungalow at Mathanguri inside the fores.
1.7. River Cruises
A river cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra is a wonderful opportunity to get a feel of this legendary river There are a variety of options of river cruises run by the government and private organizations. Top it off with a trip to Sualkuchi to explore the dazzling world of Assam Silk.
2. How to Go
By Air-flghts, Guwahati International Airport is well connected with other airports in India as well as other international airports.
Assam silk is one of the hottest souvenirs to take home Choose from Endi (eri), Muga and and Pat Vanities bamboo and Cane are used to produce a wide range of furniture, handicrafts and decorative items. The main shopping areas are Fancy Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar, Asmbary and Pan Bazaar.
Bohag Bihu Festival, held in the month of April is a celebration of the New Year in Assam.
II. MEGHALAYA – A bode of the clouds
Meghalaya natural beauty is most conducive for extended holidays with the hill station of Shillong continuing to be a hot favorite. Three hundred varieties of orchids are found in the state which is also rich in wildlife. Meghalaya has two national parks which are home to some rare species of flora and fauna The gentle hills of Meghalaya are interspersed with rich meadows and pine forest.
1. Places to Visit
Shillong is a hill station and the capital of Meghalaya. The name Shillong is derived from U-Shyllong, a powerful deity and is situated at an altitude of 1,491m above sea level. The city lies in the center of a plateau-The Shillong Plateau and is surrounded by hills This beautiful city is 103kms from Guwahati. Place of Interest-Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak Sohpetbneng Peak Bishop Falls, Beadon Falls, Elephant Falls Lewduh Market, Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, All Saints Church, Don Bosco Museum. Cap Williamson Sangma State museum.
1.2. Umiam Lake
Located about 17 Km from Shillong Umiam Lake is highly popular for a relaxing time. The Orchid Lake Resort here has some water sports facilities such as row-boats, paddle-boats, cruise-boats, sailing-boats, water scooter.
World-renowned for once being the wettest place on earth, Cherrapunjee is just 56km from Shillong The road is good and the drive scenic Cherrapunjee is impressive with its gushing waterfalls and deep gorges Cherrapunji others star attractions are the waterfalls-particularly the glorious Nohsngithiang Falls and the Nohkalikai Falls and you may also Living root Bridges, Meghalaya visit Mawsmai Cave.
1.4. Mawsynram – Mawjymbuin Cave
About 56 Km from Shillong it is reputed for its stalagmite and stalactite caves The Mawjymbuin cave is shaped like Shivalinga revered by Hindus who make annual pilgrimages to this place. Mawsynram, it is now the wettest place on earth.
Located around 64 Km from Shillong this pretty countryside enclave has gained popularity for its hot water springs, believed to have curative medicinal properties. Jakrem has been developed as a health resort.
A 90 Km drive from Shillong. The picturesque village of Mawlynnong has earned the distinction of being the One of the cleanest villages in India The pretty little village offers may interesting sights such as the living root bridge and another strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.
About 96 Km from Shillong Dawki offers gorgeous virs and continues to be a popular tourist destination.
Pretty as Kashmir’s Holiday Resort village of Pahalgam, Ranikor is located on the banks of the blue hued of Jadukata River about 140Km from Shillong This area is famous for abundance of the golden Mahseer. The dark blue waters of Jaukata also offer ample scope for water sports. Every autumn Ranikor burst into festivities of the river-beach festival held in January / February.
It is famous for its picturesque environs and equable climate It lies 324 km away from Shillong via Guwahati The view from atop the peak give you the sweeping vistas of the hills set against a backdrop of low lying plains and majestic curve of the mighty Brahmaputra. This region is famous for its Wangala Festival that takes place annually in October / November.
1.10. The Caves of Meghalaya
For those who enjoy caving Meghalaya is the right place, many of them unmapped and unexplored Of the ones surveyed, five are among the longest in the Indian sub-continent.
1.11. Orchid World
Meghalaya is orchid country It has about 300 of the world’s species growing in its rich forest and gardens and nurseries. There rare specimens include the insect-eating Pitcher plant, Wild Citrus and Pygmy Lity. The wealth of Meghalaya’s exotic butterflies and moth species found in its forests and meadows have been showcased in the delightful Butterfly Museum.
Two of Meghalaya’s national parks, the Nokrek and Balpakram, are home to some of its rare wildlife species such as the golden cat. Approachable from Tura, Balpakram National Park, set in the spectacular Balpakram Plateau is famous for its mighty gorge, often compared to Grand Canyon in the USA. The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is just 2 Km away from Tura peak, Siju and Nongkhyllem are two more wildlife sanctuaries which are fast becoming popular among visitors.
2. How to Go
Shillong Airport, also known as Umroi Airport, is a civilian airport located Umroi, 30 km from Shillong, Meghalaya. It is well connected with other major airports in India via Kolkata and Guwahati.
Lewduh (Bara Bazaar) in Shillong is the oldest and largest traditional market and trade center in the entire North East market. The market is not use a shopping paradise but also a huge tourist attraction. Good buys include hand-woven shawls wild, orange, honey, wild mushrooms, Khasi dresses women, pineapples and other products. Other places for shopping are GS road, Police Bazaar and Laitumkhrah.
Nongkrem Dance (dance festival), Shad sukmynsiem (joyous celebration), Beh Deinkhlam (religious festival), Wangala Dance (Harvest festival).
by Incredible India