Offbeat Places in the Northeast to Escape the Maddening Crowd 

Tripoto

The Northeast has a lot to offer in terms of beauty, rare wildlife, greenery and hidden wonders. This is still an unexplored paradise for travellers but with beautiful locations like Sikkim, Shillong and Mizoram gaining popularity, it is definitely emerging as India’s hottest new destination.

While some regions are known to many, there are various destinations still waiting to be explored. Here are my top picks for when visiting the northeast on your next trip.

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Photo of Phawngpui National Park, Mizoram, India by Ginny Bansal

1. Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park is in Mizoram. Another national park which is larger than Phawngpui is Murlen National Park. The latter is about 300 km from Aizwal and is relatively close to Myanmar. It was declared as a national park in the year of 1992. The park covers the entire mountain along with the surrounding reserve forest. It is named 'Blue Mountain' since it covers the mountain area of Phawngpui which, at most times, is covered by a thin stretch of clouds which makes it blue in appearance. The temperature, therefore, is mild throughout the year. Phawngpui is the highest peak in Mizoram and is rich in medicinal herbs growing in the wild. It harbours wild animals and birds like the barking deer, sambar, leopard, hoolock gibbon, common langur along with many wild plants and flowers. The area is open for trekkers and campers.

Best time to visit

October to April

How to Reach

By Air: Nearest airport is Aizawl airport, about 300 km from the Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park.

By Rail: Nearest railway station is Silchar railway station, about 185 km from the Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park.

By Road: Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park is well connected to major cities and places by road.

Photo of Mawlynnong, Meghalaya, India by Ginny Bansal

2. Mawlynnong is a village in the east Khasi hill district of Meghalaya. This place is also known as 'God’s own garden' and is famous for its cleanliness and natural beauty. Located around 100 km from Shillong, this small village has won the status of being the cleanest village in Asia.

Bamboo baskets are placed outside every house and are used as dustbins. This village is a community-based ecotourism initiative. The community has made a collective effort to maintain the ambience of a clean village. One of the most interesting things to see here is the Sky View, an estimated 85 feet high viewing tower that’s made of bamboo. On one side, you get stunning views of the village and on the other, you can spot Bangladesh. The modest food, simplicity and warmth of the people make the place special.

Best time to visit

The weather in Mawlynnong is pleasant all through the year. Still, the best time to visit Mawlynnong is monsoon.

Getting there

By Air: Nearest airport from Mawlynnong is located in Shillong, at a distance of 78 km.

By Rail: Guwahati is the nearest major railway station and is 172 km away from Mawlynnong.

By Road: Roads towards Mawlynnong are majorly in good condition. You can easily find buses plying between the village and nearby areas like Cherrapunji and Shillong.

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Photo of Unakoti, Tripura, India by Ginny Bansal

3. Unakoti is a unique place which cannot be compared in terms of absolute grandeur and artistry. The word unakoti means 'one less than a crore'. This place is located about 178 km from Agartala and consists of several huge vertical rock-cut carvings on a hillside. Huge sculptures and images are carved out in rock. The site is situated between lush green forests and mountains. Unakoti has the largest rock-cut images and stone idols of Lord Shiva in India. The question of who made these beautiful sculptures still remains a mystery. This place is worth being tagged as a world heritage site. However, not many tourists frequent this place.

Best time to visit

October to May

Getting there

By Air: Nearest major airport is Agartala, which is 180 kms away.

By Rail: The two nearest railway stations are Kumarghat and Dharama Nagar.

By Road: It is 180 kilometres from Agartala and 8 kilometres from Kalishahar. The major cities of northeast India are well connected by bus.

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Photo of Longwa, Nagaland, India by Ginny Bansal

4. Longwa is one of the biggest villages in Mon, Nagaland and a rather tourist friendly one. There are enough tourist homes for anyone to spend a night or two. The unique thing about this place is that the residents of Longwa, hold dual citizenship of India and Myanmar. It is said that the king of Longwa eats in Myanmar and sleeps in India because a part of his house is located in India and the other in Myanmar.

The town is known for being India’s opium den. Last but not the least, it’s one of the rare places in Nagaland where spotting the last of the tattooed hunters is an underlying possibility.

Best time to visit

October- March

Getting there:

Getting to the state of Nagaland is easy with Dimapur airport. The airport is in a perfect location to access the capital city of Kohima which is a three to four hours drive away. Mon is located on the eastern side of Nagaland and can only be accessed by road.

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Photo of Manas National Park, Gobardhana, Assam, India by Ginny Bansal

If you want to find exotic wildlife living in harmony, Manas National Park is the perfect place to visit. This place is located in the foothills of eastern Himalayas and has the giant Manas River separating it from royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. The national park is home to the Royal Bengal tiger and wild buffaloes. To enter into the park, you require permits. You can take your own four-wheeler inside the park or hire jeep guides.

There is an entry fee of Rs 50 for Indians and Rs 500 for foreign nationals. Manas National Park offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy and appreciate the diversity of nature such as jeep safari, elephant safari, river rafting, village, tea plantation tours and bird watching.

Best time to Visit

November to April

Getting there

By Air: The nearest airport to the national park is 180 km away, in Guwahati.

By Rail: Guwahati is the nearest railway station. From Guwahati, you can take a train to Barpeta which is 22 km away from Manas by road.

By Road: Manas is 176 km away from Guwahati which is a five hour off-road journey.

Do you know of any other place that deserves a spot in this list? Share your story here. Checkout Tripoto's Youtube Channel for interesting videos.

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