The land of waterfalls, the Scotland of the East - Shillong needs no introduction and yet deserves so many. A must-visit if you are visiting the North-East, this lovely town offers you an experience that is unmatched. There is tons to see and do in Shillong and if you are a traveller who enjoys packing a lot of things in your vacation, you'll love Shillong. From numerous waterfalls to lakes to historical sites, you'll be spoilt for choice. Umiam Lake is a manmade lake that resembles the lakes of Scotland and is a wonderful way to spend your afternoon, but be prepared to walk a lot. The boating activity take place a little further from where you park your car and it's quite a long, long walk. Do check the weather before you step out since the weather here can be a little unpredictable. The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is another enlightening spot where you learn about the various cultures and tribes of Assam. The centre may get a little boring if you are not into history and it's best to head here if you are a history buff. Otherwise, you can spend your day at Elephant Falls, which are divine! The sight is incredible and the whole experience brings one much closer to nature. The beauty is mesmerising and the locals there are a treat to interact with. Do take back some bamboo goods when you are here and don't forget to bargain! Mawjymbuin Caves is another great touristy spot here and a treat to explore. The caves are well lit and not dangerous at all albeit a few tricky curves so if you are travelling with children, you can definitely bring them along. Do wear proper shoes when you are out on your expedition to avoid a fall. Reaching Shillong is hassle free and doesn't take too long from the urban city of Assam. Taxis ply at all times of the day and it's almost a 5 hour stunning drive. Do choose your hotels carefully in Shillong since the hotels here are absolutely splendid and you shouldn't miss a chance to enjoy the warm hospitality of this lovely town.
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan. Simple at heart, grappling with growing commercialisation, Thimphu is bustling with energy and is the heart of the country. Thimphu is a delight to explore if history interests you and also if you want a break from the quiet and serenity of Bhutan. Brimming with cafes, nightclubs and restaurants, the city welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. While here, do check out Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the National Folk Heritage Museum which offers a peek into the life of the Bhutanese people, especially the rural way of life. There are tons of parks, gardens and galleries in and around Thimpu and you cover most of these in a single day depending on your interests. The exhibits here range from archaic to contemporary and are definitely worth taking a look at.
The capital of Tripura doesn't serve much more than an en-route destination for those travelling to Bangladesh. But even in those few hours, one can explore small wonders that go with every traveller's 'Indiana instinct'. On that note, Unakoti's rock-cut relief sculptures remain a popular site to visit along with the Heritage Park and the majestic marble-made Ujjayanta Palace, now the the Government Museum. Both provide interesting insights into the royal and historical heritage and cultural background of the state of Tripura. Nature lovers can wander into the rich biodiversity of the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, kingdom of the Clouded Leopard and home to a variety of birds, primates and other animals. It also houses various jungle resorts for those who want to rest, stay or eat. Some more interesting sights such as Dumboor Lake and the floating Neer Mahal (palace) atop lake Rudrasagar are pleasant to visit too. The sleepy city usually comes alive during Durga Puja (October) and the Saraswati Puja, both celebrated with grandeur and religious ecstasy, reflecting the significant and vibrant influence of Bengalis on Tripura. Restaurants such as Shankar Restaurant, Restaurant Kurry Klub and The Manikya Court are well known for vegetarian, non-vegetarian and local Tripuri dishes.
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the lovely city of Paro. Considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, it is definitely a must visit! A perfect mix of culture, beauty, nature and history, Paro offers you an experience unlike another. Do visit the unofficial Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest, which is a delight for trekkers and explorers! Located on a hill, the trek to this monastery is something you'll always remember. Do carry water, wear proper shoes before you start your trek lest the number of halts increases your trek time. Another wonderful place to visit is the National Museum of Bhutan which is located in a former watch tower and hosts a collection of artefacts tracing the history of Bhutan. Among other places to visit, Rinpung Dzong and Drakhapo are definitely worth visiting. The Paro market is also a great place to explore and makes for a perfect location for an evening stroll. If you don't want to stay in the city, Paro is where you should head to. The lush valleys here are a delight to explore and the streams and meadows are nothing less than a postcard.
The capital of Manipur, Imphal, is a politically and economically important city in the North East. If you are visiting Imphal, the Loktak lake should definitely be on your bucket list. Located about 38 km from Imphal, this lake with a cluster of small islands makes for a breathtaking sight. If you are lucky, you may be able to capture the sunset, which looks magical from there! The Red Hill Lokpaching is a hillock located around 16 km from Imphal. It is a sight of historic significance, where the British and the Japanese fought a fierce battle during WWII. It also houses the India Peace Memorial, a monument dedicated to the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives in battle. If you are not short on time, you could also visit the Sadu Chiru Falls or Leimaram Waterfall, located about 25 km from Imphal. It is located in the midst of the valley and is a beautiful testimony to the country's natural beauty.
More than the land of oranges as its original name Sohra connotes, this 'wettest place on the planet' is a land of waterfalls and rainfall. The Seven Sisters Falls and Nohkalikai Falls, Dain Thlen Falls and Nohsngithiang Falls remain the top most attractions for nature lovers. Adventure seekers and outdoor activity enthusiasts should visit during winters from November to February, when they can go river canyoning, explore the natural limestone Mawsmai Cave, Krem Mawmluh Cave, which is the fourth longest cave in the Indian subcontinent, and delve into solitude and quiet at the Eco Park, which explored more, can lead you to yet another quiet isolated waterfall leading to a deep gorge. Another star attraction of this East Khasi district, is the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, which can be reached after a steep but stunning trek through dense forests, also crossing bay leaf gardens and picturesque hamlets on the way. One can go atop an 80 feet observatory made of bamboo shoots, a daring but mesmerising climb immersed in the abundance of nature, from where the scenic plains of Bangladesh are clearly visible. Cherrapunji is a land painted with mystical beauty and its stories of deep rooted culture and history remain within a traveller after interacting with locals throughout their journey before finally carrying back life long souvenirs from the vibrant Cherrapunji Indigenous Festival, which is an annual event.
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