The north-eastern Indian states cover a total area of around 2.62 lakh square kms. The region is mostly hilly and has numerous waterfalls, tea gardens, and varied flora and fauna. It is a paradise for tourists seeking to explore nature in its pristine best. Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura are promoting tourism to strengthen their economies.
Most of the tourists visiting the region prefer to do so during the monsoon and winter. Monsoon offers beautiful waterfalls and the winter comes with the promise of snowfall. The Nohkalikai waterfall in Meghalaya is the tallest waterfall in India. The Kynrem waterfall located in Cherrapunji, the Vantawng waterfall located in the Serchhip district of Mizoram, the Nuranang waterfall in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, the Seven Sisters and the Langshiang waterfalls of Meghalaya are the other main attractions. The Palak Lake, the Tamdil Lake, the Rengdil Lake and the Dawky Lake are beautiful to behold. There are various wildlife sanctuaries in the region that are popular. The Khawnglung Wildlife Sanctuary in Mizoram, the Kaziranga forest and the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, the Eagle’s Nest Sanctuary and the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, the Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary and Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Tripura are some of the wildlife attractions in the region.
Mountaineers can look forward to various interesting trek routes that span across the north-eastern states. The Mahabharata Range, known as the Lesser Himalaya, located in Sikkim shares its border with Nepal and Bhutan. It is a favourite destination for mountaineers. The Jongsong Peak (7462 M) is the highest peak of Sikkim. The Tent Peak (7362 M) is another attraction in the same state. Dazipfu (2114 M) and Mol Len (2748 M) are located in Nagaland and also quite popular among tourists. Kelingon (4365 M) and Tani Razi (4579 M) offer some great adventurous trekking options. Tourists are also exploring the caves of Mizoram. The most famous caves are the Pukzing Cave and the Lamsial Cave.
Samya Guha, a mountaineer from Kolkata, informed BE, “The Goechala trek (5029 M) in Sikkim and the Namdapha trek, (4500 M) in Arunachal Pradesh are some of the popular treks. Both take at least ten days to complete and are two lifetime experience destinations for all mountaineers.”
The region is associated with age-old myths and mysteries. The indigenous tribes and their various traditions offer a rich culture to explore to the visiting tourists. The region is inhabited by more than 200 tribes having fascinating lifestyles. Garo, Khasi, Bhutia, Rengma, Angami, Nishi, Adi, and Kuki, Bodo are some of the prominent tribes. Many travellers enjoy the local cuisine, dances and music. The north-eastern states are using rural tourism to strengthen their rural economies. Most of the state governments are promoting village tourism. Sikkim has performed increasingly well in this regard and is also promoting eco-tourism. Zuluk, Yaakten, Sreebadam and Chayatal are some village tourism options in Sikkim. Mawlynnong, located in the state of Meghalaya, is the cleanest village in India. It is also generating some interest as well.
Government policies to boost the tourism industry
The economy of the region is largely based on agriculture and forestry. Other than this, tourism has always been a major revenue generating sector. The state governments are encouraging tourism as it has positive ramifications on the region’s economy. The central government has also focused on the region. ‘The Vision 2020’ released by the central government in 2008 focuses on the region and aims to accelerate its developmental processes. The state administrations are working to improve communication. Road connectivity is a key area. Such focused policy-level interventions are augmenting well for the tourism sector. Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox and King's, said, “The bookings for the north eastern states have gone up by 18% as compared to the same period (April-June) of last year. Tourism in the region is expected to grow by at least 10% to 12% in the next year. Air connectivity has tremendously improved with new routes opening in the region.”
Thus, the north-eastern states can be explored by domestic and international tourists again and again, with each trip unearthing a hidden gem of the treasure trove that makes the region.