India: +91-11-4670 0000
USA: +1 646-862-1010 (24 Hrs.)
UK: +44 (0) 203 0061005 (24 hrs)
Sin: +65 31583322 (24 hrs)

North Eastern States Of India

ASSAM

Introduction

Assam is the anglicized form of the name of the premier State of North - East India a region most strategically situated , close to India's international borders with as many as four countries - China; Burma, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The basic term Assam is interpreted by some scholars as a formation of Sanskrit derivation, which means peerless or unparalleled. But the opinion more widely accepted in academic circles to - day is that the term has come from the original name of the Ahoms, who had presided over the destiny of the land for a long and unbroken stretch of over six hundred years prior to its annexation by the British.

Climate

Located between 90 deg. - 96 deg. East Longitude and 24-38 deg. North Latitude, Assam is dominated by the mighty Brahmaputra river that has its origins in Tibet. Indeed , a large part of the state is located in the narrow valley that the river has created over the ages. The state's population includes a startling mix of Dravidians and Aryans and Tibeto-Burmans

The Language

Assamese, one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution , is the premier language of Assam and also the official language of the state. Of course, there is the associate language status of Bodo in some Bodo-majorty areas and the recognition of Bengali up to the district level in the Barak Valley.

History

Assam has stood as the sentinel of the North-Eastern outpost of Indian civilization since the earliest days. She has been an witness to and a participant in the shaping of Indian history and civilization in this part of our great country. This land of the red river and the blue hill was known in ancient times as Pragiyotisha and Kamarupa and had then covered a much larger territory, at times extending as far as the border of Nepal. The Authentic history of Assam can definitely be said to begin with the Varman Dynasty. The first king of this dynasty was Pushyavarman who ruled in the second half of the fourth century A.D. and who was a contemporary of Emperor Samudragupta. The last and undoubtedly the greatest and most illustrious king of the Varman dynasty was Kumara Bhaskaravarman (A.D.594-650) who was a worthy friend and ally of Emperor Harshavardhana and who, aside from recovering the lost territory of his kingdom from savant Huen Tsang had visited Kamarupa. From the accounts of Huen Tsang and also from references in the Harshacharita of Banabhatta, it is known that Bhaskaravarman's kingdom covered almost the whole of eastern India and enjoyed great prosperity.

Flora & Fauna

Few other places in India look as fresh an vibrant as Assam with so much of greenery, cool and soothing , lush and luring. There are the verdant hills slowly rising from the plains in undulating Waves , covered be mysterious forests with the winds whispering through them and the wayward streams playing hide-and-seek, the scene occasionally altered by patches of jhum lands flanking picturesque tribal villages with the quaint platform houses. And , of course , there is the mighty Brahmaputra flowing majestically along, brilliant with vast expanses of silvery sand against the azure sky in winter and awe-inspiring with its deluge-causing turbulence in the rainy months.

No description of the landscape of the state , particularly of Upper Assam , can be complete without a reference to the chains of tea gardens with acres and acres of lush green tea bushes arranged in neat rows. Assam is blessed with unusually rich flora. Trees like the Indian laburnum and queen's flower , Indian coral and flame of the forest, rain tree and kadamba, Burmese pink acacia and Australian acacia, some of them indigenous and others exotic, grow almost anywhere. Besides sal, teak and other valuable timber trees which Assam grows in plenty , Assam's forests have the fullest range of tropical vegetation types - the dry evergreen type represented by species like Acacia catechu and the wet evergreen type with such specimens as the giant Dictuacarpus Macro -carpus and the Shorea Sssamica , sometimes measuring upto 150 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter. Then there are the orchids, bright and beautiful, soft, and charming ,dazzling against the luxuriant green of the forest. Many of the abundant varieties are the connoisseur's delight, found nowhere else in the world. Equally, if not even more , attractive is the wealth of Assam's fauna. There are so many species that are either exclusive to her or rarely to be seen in any other part of the country. The hoolock gibbon-India's only ape, the stump-tailed macaque, the capped langur and the golden langur monkeys are peculiar to Assam. The pigmy hog is found nowhere else in the world. Assam is also the habitat of such rare species as the clouded leopard, the golden cat, the peculiar giant civet ,the binturong , the hog badger and the giant squirrel. However , Assam is famous all over the world as the home of the Indian one-homed rhino (rhinoceros Unicorns - one of the four types of rhinos) with which is almost inextricably linked the name of the Kaziranga National Park.True, Kaziranga has the rare distinction of not only saving this prehistoric mammal from the verge of extinction but also of increasing its population in a spectacular manner.

Different species of tigers including the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger were once found in large numbers almost in all parts of Assam and they constituted a kind of menace. But today the tiger is a protected animal and with it is intimately associated the very successful Tiger Project located the famous Manas Sanctuary area.

Faith & Culture

The society in Assam is not just a haphazard conglomeration of diverse racial and cultural elements but a composite whole arising out of the integration and synthesis of all of them. Indeed , Assam has been a curious melting pot into which have gone the Aryan and the non-Aryan , the tribal and the non-tribal , the indigenous and the exotic, making for a delightful fare with a wonderful mixed flavour . The majority of the population in the plains is made up of caste Hindus speaking the Aryan Assamese language. But the Aryan racial strain is prominent only in the upper castes, most of the other castes showing distinctly Mongoloid features. And a very large proportion of the Assamese-speaking population are of tribal stock. The majority of the tribal groups belong to the Tibeto-Burman family, such as the Bodo-Kacharis, the Rabhas , the Tiwas (Lalungs), the Misings, the Sonowalkacharis, the Deuris and the Bannans in the plains, and the Karbis, the Dimasa Kacharis , the Rengma Nagas , the Zemi Nagas, the Kukis and the Hmars in the hills .

In Assam, the line between the tribal and the non-tribal is pretty thin and the so called non tribal Assamese Hindu society retains many elements which are patently 'tribal' by orthodox Hindu standards. Castes are not strictly occupation linked, and caste based disabilities are very few.

Handicrafts

In medieval Assam, the craftsmen were organised into khels or guilds. The Ahom rulers had not only encouraged indigenous craftsmen and their arts but had also brought families of expert artisans and craftsmen from outside the kingdom and settled them here, fitting them into the various khels of guilds. The Assamese chronicles record the settlement of a number of Muslim families specialising in arts and crafts in which the local craftsmen lacked expertise.

Handloom of Assam

If there is any field of arts and crafts in which the north - eastern region surpasses others - be it in colour scheme, decorative design of workmanship - it is that of textiles . Also , nowhere else is weaving so replete with artistic sensibility and so intimately connected with folk life. Spinning , weaving and the execution of designs form the themes of a considerable body of oral folklore in each of the indigenous communities, and weaving silk is considered a most desirable , if not essential , accomplishment for a woman, whatever her status in the society.

Silk Fabrics

Assam's weaving heredity is not confined to cotton textiles alone but also covers silk fabrics of the finest quality. In fact it is claimed that the art of silk weaving was first brought from China to India by the Kirata people of Assam and the land has ever been associated with the production of the best quality silk.

Other Crafts

Bamboo and Cane grow profusely almost everywhere in Assam and they occupy a very important place in her material culture. Bamboo is used for making a astonishing range of day-to-day articles such as musical instruments , fishing gear, weaving accessories and so on.

Fairs and Festivals

A perfect fusion of heritage of her numerous faces have made Assam the home of most colourful festivals at once passionate, compelling and mesmerizing. Most festivals celebrated in Assam have their root in the diverse faith and belied of her inhabitants. Festivals such as Diwali, Holi , Durga Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kalipuja are major festivals of the Shaktas. Those of Islamic faith celebrate Idd & Muharram . Tribals of Assam have their own colourful festivals like the Kherai Puja of the Bodos, the Baikhu and Pharkantis of the Rabhas , Ali-ai-ligang and Parag by the Missing tribe, the Sagra-misawa wansawa and laghun by the Tiwas. Raga music must have made its entry into this area very early on. The Char,'apadas composed in the north eastern region between the 8th and 11th centuries were meant for rendering in specific ragas like Pata-Manjari, Gavada, and so on. This tradition seems to have been carried down through the centuries as can be surmised from the fact that Assamese~ Panchali poets of the 16th century used for their lyrical compositions a set of ragas, some of which had identical names with Charyapada ragas .

Oja-Pali

Oja-Pali is a very old performing art form of Assam, which combines narrative singing with dancing and dramatic interludes .The music of Oja pali has a raga system of clearly classical orientation, and the Neo-Vaishnava heritage.As already indicated , some of the best treasures of Assamese performing arts are associated with the neo-Vaishnava heritage and best preserved in the Safras. First, there are the Vaishnava musical forms of which the most remarkable is a classical genre with a distinctive system of ragas and talas introduced by the great virtuoso Sankaradeva.

Bhaona

The ideal type of the Bhaona is the Ankiya-Bhaona involving the performance of a play composed by Sankaradeva or Madhavadeva, clearly reminiscent of the orthodox Sanskrit drama tradition.

Bihu Songs & Dances

Singing and dancing constitute essential features of the springtime Bihu festival. The Bihu songs are mostly strains woven round themes of love and yearning, often having distinct erotic overtones, with characteristically catchy and earthy tunes. The Bihu dance, performed by young men and women, similarly reflect youthful passion and joie de vivre. Accompanied by lusty playing of the drum (dhol) , the bamboo clapper (taka), the buffalo-horn pipe (pepa), and the Jew's harp (gagana), the dance is characterised by brisk steppings, flinging and flipping of hands , and swaying of the hip symbolizing not only the spirit of the spring but also of the reproductive urge.

Tribal Dance Forms

Some of the important dances of the Bodos are associated with the Kherai Puja festival and are ritualistic in nature. These shamanistic dances are performed by the deodhani/daudini (female shaman) in a state of trance, often with vigorous movements of the head, tossing and swinging the disheveled hair.

Bagurumba Dance

A most graceful and captivating dance of the Bodos is the famous Bagurumba dance of the maidens. In this dance full of rhythm and vivacity, the dancers hop and swing , bend and unbend, and at times give the impression of fluttering butterflies.

Missing Dances

The best missing dances form integral parts of the two major Missing festivals -Ali-Ai-ligang and Po~rag . Hunting, fishing, arrow shooting, rowing, weaving, transplanting and harvesting, etc. are artistically depicted in the Ah-ai-ligung dances in which all people men and women, young and old, married and single dance in rows and circles. In Po~rag, there take place lively friendly competitions in dancing and drumming.

Dances of Tiwas

While the hill Tiwas have some impressive dances connected with their Sagra-misawa, Wan-sawa and Langkhun Puja ceremonies, the most interesting dances of the plains Tiwas are adjuncts of the Barat-puja ceremony, featuring the use of a peculiar musical instrument called sarai-lau and of masks representing various gods and animals.

Karbi Dances

Of the many folk dances of the Karbis, perhaps the most important are those of a ritualistic nature centering around chomangkan, the elaborate death ceremony.

Dimasa Dances

The Dimasas of North Cachar hills also have ritualistic dances performed in ceremonies like Pajini Gobra and Harni Gorba in which the oracle takes part in a state of procession.

Places of Tourist Interest

Guwahati

Straddling either banks of the Brahmaputra, Guwahati said to be the legendary Pragjyotishpur or city of Eastern Light is a bustling, busy and crowded city. Guwahati is actually two words :Guwa meaning areca nut and Hat , meaning market of market for areca nuts .

Kamakhya Temple

Assam's biggest attraction is the Kamakhya Temple atop Nilachal hill, where the Goddess Kamakhya is worshipped and which commands a majestic view of the city and the river. The ponds here are home to giant turtles which are quite used to being fed by the visitors.

Umananda Shiva Temple

Another temple which draws people is the Shiva temple on the island of Umananda .This site is especially busy during the Shiv Ratri festival when God is worshipped and boats, packed with pilgrims, ply to the island. There are other centres of religious & archeological interest such as the temples of Nabagraha and Basista as well as of Janardhana.

State Museum

This is a must for visitors with exhibits which date to the 5th century A.D. stone sculptures and bronzes.

Excursions

Sualkuchi Sualkuchi is an hour's drive from Guwahati and produces the golden silken thread for which Assam is famous. One can see the silk begin the journey from the cocoon stage ,to its unraveling and then to the loom finally as a saree of the traditional Mekhala Chador, the two piece saree, which women wear on festive occasions.

Hajo

Hajo, 25 kms , west of Guwahati , is the site of prince who turned preacher and traveled all the way to Assam in the 12th century to spread the Prophet's teachings. Hajo is revered by Hindus & Muslims, for in the town is the Hayagriba Madhava temple , reached by way of a long stairway. At the base of the stairway is a large pond where resides one of Hajo's most famous residents; the giant turtle . The town is well known for its Bell metal work of plates and serving bowls .

Kaziranga

Kaziranga, is one of the most visited wildlife reserves of India and figures quite often on the itinerary of the discerning tourist from around the world . It is spread over 430 sq kms and is the place where one of the last creatures of the prehistoric age, the rhinoceros lives. The route to the park is full of wetlands and some forests apart from the tall elephant grass , is scenic. Along the route you will pass the town of Jagiroad, where the Assam Silk Mill has an outlet, and the town of Nogaon. 14Kms from Nogaon is Bordoa, the birth place of Assamese saint and reformer, Sankardeva, who led a 15 th century revival movement of Vaisnavism. Sibsagar Sibsagarwas once the capital of the Ahom rulers who dominated Assam of more than 600 years .This city's main feature is the water body from which it gets its name: a 129 acre tank that is at an higher elevation than the rest of the town, with three temples on its banks. Joysagar said to be the biggest man-made lake in the country is spread over 3318 acres of water on the edge of the town. A new addition is the Ahom Museum on the bank of the Sibsagar. It stores artifacts of the rulers including swords and clothes, manuscripts , goblets etc.

Dibrugarh

Take a day trip to Dibrugarh , one of the major tea producing centres of the subcontinent .The road to the city is flanked by tea gardens on either side, a carpet of green bushes ; women and men stand in the shade and sun, plucking the leaves and tossing them into conical cane baskets.

Tezpur

Driving south from Jorhat and then across the Brahmaputra on the Kalia Bhomura bridge , you will come to Tezpur or city of Blood also known as Sonitpur. A special sight of boats and vessels awaits the visitor to this town . Ruins of stone temples and a door frame discovered at Da Parbatia, about 5kms west of Tezpur, date to 5th & 6th centuries. About 50 kms from Tezpur is the Eco Camp near the Jia Bhoroli river & across the river, on the other side is the Nameri National Park.

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks

Assam is perhaps best known for two things: tea and the one horned rhinoceros, which is found in large numbers at Kaziranga National Park. Kaziranga is one of the most visited wildlife reserves of India and figures quite often on the itinerary of the discerning tourist from around the world. Kaziranga is spread over more than 430 sq kms and is the place where one of last creatures of the prehistoric age, the rhinoceros lives .They are best viewed from atop an elephant .At the sanctuary, you can sight herds of wild elephants, the massive wild buffalo , huge numbers of deer - the hog deer, the barasingha or twelve antlered and the large and stately sambhar.

Nameri National Park sprawls over from Assam into Arunachal Pradesh .The best way of traveling here is on elephants. There are no roads inside the Park .The thick jungle with patches of swamp, is home to a variety of animals & birds . Among the animals you can spot are the powerful Mithun of Indian Bison and the rare white Winged Wood Duck, among the most endangered bird species on earth.

Stay

Assam

Capital : Guwahati

Hotel Dynasty
Hotel Rak Mahal
Hotel Brahmputra Ashok
Hotel Nandan
Hotel Rituraj
V.I.P.International
Tourist Lodge

Tezpur

Tourist Lodge (Govt.)
Hotel Luit (pvt)
Tented accommodation in Eco-Camp (Nameri National Park end route Bomdila)

Sibsagar

Tourist Lodge, Sibsagar.

How to get there ?

Assam

Capital: Guwahati

Indian Airlines Connects Guwahati with Calcutta, Delhi, Bagdogra, Imphal, Agartala. Guwahati is connected by good motorable roads with-

Shillong (103 kms)
Kaziranga National Park (217 kms)
Manas Wildlife Sancutary (176 kms)
Dimapur (280 kms)
Itanagar (420 kms)
Imphal (487 kms)
Agartala (599 kms)
Aizwal (538 kms)
Gangtok (624 kms)
Darjeeling (587 kms)
Calcutta (1182 kms)
Kohima (342 kms)

Sibsagar

Sibsagar is well connected by road, Distance from is 369 kms. From Jorhat 56 kms and Dibrugarh 80 kms .All the three places are connected by air, rail and by road.

MEGHALAYA

Introduction

Meghalaya is literally the 'Abode of the Clouds'. The name describes the climatic phenomenon that brings torrents of rain to this region. Meghalaya is a region of great scenic beauty : a panorama of lush, undulating hills, fertile valleys, 250 species of orchids , meandering rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams and lakes .It was declared the 21st state of India on 21 January 1972. It united the areas of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills. The state approximately 22,429 sq kms in area lies between the latitudes 25.10-26.50 N and the longitudes of 85.49 0-92.52 E. It is bounded by Assam in the north and the east , and the plains of Bangladesh in the south and west. The state is divided into three hilly regions - the Garo Hills (Western Meghalaya), the Khasi Hills (Central Meghalaya) and the Jaintia Hills (Eastern Meghalaya).

Climate

The state of Meghalaya is directly influenced by the southwestern monsoon that originates in the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon begins in May and continues until October. Mawsynram in East Khasi Hills district has one of the heaviest rainfalls in the world with a July average of 959 mms. The climate from November to April is almost dry. Winter begins in December and lasts until February

The Language

The principal languages in Meghalaya are Khasi, Garo and English. However, the state language is English.

History

The earliest mention of the word 'Khasi' appears in Sankaradeva's 'Bhagavata Purana' compose about 1500 A.D. in the Indo-Aryan literatures. In fact we come across very few reliable references to the history of the Khasia in the Khasi Hills before the nineteenth century, but the history of Jaintia Hinduised kings and also the history of Khyrim Kings in fragments are preserved in the Ahom, Kachari, Koch and Jaintia 'buranijis'. The warring chiefs of these hill regions were taken advantage of by the British in the early 19th century. With the defeat of the Jaintia Chief, his land was made a British territory and his people were forced to pay house taxes, resulting in political & territorial separation from the rest of the then Khasi States. On the other hand, the 25 Khasi chiefs, although subdued remained more or less independent through treaties and agreements known as Sanads. They did not pay tax to the British , except the petty chiefs who were British subjects , paying house taxes. The region was brought under the direct occupation and sovereignty of the British in the 1820s and was subsequently included in the province of Assam. With India's independence, a number of constitutional and political changes took place in the region that ultimately led to the formation of the seven states of northeast India.

Flora & Fauna

In Khasi Hills , there are more than 2,000 flowering plants in a radius of ten miles from Cherrapunjee. There are 150 species of Ferns and a profusion of Mosses , Fungi and Lichens. More than 250 species of Orchids , 25 species of Balsams, 20 species of Palms and 150 species of Grass are available .Wild species of apples and rhododendrons abound in the higher parts of the central plateau. In the upper hill regions from 1500 meters and above ,in the central plateau of Khasi hills , coniferous vegetations like pines ,Oaks and Ferns are found .This makes a distinct and interesting natural vegetation belt. The dense jungles in Meghalaya provide a natural habitat for various wildlife - mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. Balpakram, in the east Garo hills is the centre of wild elephants population. The other wild animals found here include : Tigers, Bisons, Hoolock Gibbons , Boars , Barking Deer, Sambars, Leopards, Apes and monkeys. Among reptiles many kinds of snakes , poisonous and non poisonous lizards are found here. There are also a wide variety of birds found in the higher altitudes here. A special mention of the approximately 500 species of butterflies found in Meghalaya .Some of them being very rare.

Faith & Culture

There are numerous number of myths and legends of Meghalaya, transmitted orally, for want of any written script, over the centuries from generations to generation. Among the Khasis and the Jaintias, the story of the celestial origin of their 'Hynniew Trep' runs like this: In the good olden days there were sixteen families living in heaven. They descended on earth as and when they liked by climbing down the golden stairs on the peak of ' Sohpetbneng' (the navel of Heaven) a few kilometers away from Umiam lake on way to Guwahati. It is said that seven families lived on earth and God granted their wish. The seven families known as 'Ki Hynniew Ha Tbian' began to live on earth in the hills. God , however, snapped the golden stairs and the seven families remained permanently on earth . The Khasi pnars originated from these 'seven families ' but even now they have not forgotten the 'Nine families' living permanently in heaven.

The Khasis are matrilineal which means that their descendance is along the line of the mother. A boy or girl born of a Khasi mother, belongs to the family of the mother .The property is inherited by the youngest daughter, whereas in Garo society, the parents have option to select any on of their daughters as the heiress. The in Garo society, the parents have option to select any one of their daughters as the heiress. The Khasi society is divided into clans or "Kurs" which are actually outgrown families. The Garo society is divided into three major clans or :chachis" . Each of these Katchis or clans are further sub divided into a number of lineages called 'Machongs'. These 'Machongs' are the basic unit in the Garo social structure, and are named after animals, rivers, caves etc. The dominant Machong in a village selects its 'Nok-ma' or the headman.'Nok' in Garo means house, while 'ma' stands for mother .Though the headman is a male, they call him' Nok-ma'.This shows the importance the Garo attaches to the woman. The khasis and Garos now are mostly Christians.

Handicrafts

The Khasis seem to have possessed a fairly advanced material culture since ancient times .They knew agriculture, metal works, weaving and pottery. In some Jaintia and Garo villages, engravings of the figures of men and animals are found on the house walls .These are perhaps in the memory of men already deceased. Weaving, basketry, pottery, wood and stone carvings, metal works consisting primarily of house-types were the ancient crafts of the Meghalayans. The Garo-women are expert at weaving .Dakmandes ,a kind of women's wear worn round the waist is woven by the Garo women .In the old days Khasis had a very big trade in quarrying ore and they had many smelters all over the hills .The Larnai area in Jaintia hills is known for its pottery works.

Fairs and Festivals

Festivals in Garo Hills:

Among the Garos the most important festival is the Wangala or the hundred-drum festival held on Nov. to Dec. This is a harvest festival in honour of Saljong, the Sun god of fertility. The festival marks the end of the period of toil in the fields, bringing a good yeild of crops. Everybody - young and old joins in the festivites .The men beat the drums and move forward in rhythmic union Doregata Dance festival is another interesting dance. In this dance, the women try to knock off the turbans of their male partners using their heads. Another dance that requires exquisite skill is the Chambil mesara or pomelo dance. This is a solo dance form in which the performer dangles a pomelo or any other fruit on a cord tied to his waist and then whirls it round & round.

Festivals in Khasi Hills

The Khasis have two important festivals-Nongkrem Dance held on October/November and Shad-Suk Mynsiem held on April. Nongkrem Dance is held annually for five days together . It is a religious festival for thanksgiving to God Almighty for good harvest and to pray for peace and prosperity to the community. It is celebrated in the month of November .An important part of this festival is 'Pomblang ' or decapitation of the toats offered by the subjects to the Syiem of Khyrim.The Syiem is the administrative head of the state. Offerings are made to the ancestors and ancestress of the ruling clan.

Festivals in Jaintia Hills

Behdienkhlam is the most important dance festival of the Jaintias .It is celebrated after the sowing period is over. St Jowai town this festival can be seen being celebrated in July .Young man make a symbolic driving away of the evil spirits by beating the roofs of every house with bamboo poles. The climax of the celebrations is the tussle, as seen in a tug-of-war, for a large undressed beam of two groups of people opposed to each other. The Jaintias have also another Dance festival for entertainment called the Laho dance where young men and women dance to the merriment of the audience.

Places of Tourist Interest

Shillong

Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya.Its picturesque setting and salubrious climate were considered suitable for sanatoriums and holiday homes for British civilians suffering from the sweltering heat of the plains. It is described as 'Mini London'. There are many legends surroundings the name Shillong .One says that it originated from the name of a handsome youth called Shillong.

Ward's Lake

This artificial lake located in Shillong received its name from Sir William Ward , Chief Commissioner of Assam in 1893-94 because he took a personal interest in beautifying it.

Lady Hydari Park

Lady Hydari Park was named after the wife of Sir Akhnari Hydari, the first Indian Governor of Assam who assumed charge on the eve of independence. It has a very attractive garden and the best months to see the flowers in blooms are April to October. Next to the park is mini Zoo, where many species of birds and animals are kept.

Golf Links

Shillong's golf course is considered one of best in India. It is situated in the center of the city close to the polo ground. It was established in 1898 by a group of British civil service officers .Golfers from all over the world come here to test their skills.

Museum of Entomology

This place is a treasure house of various kinds of exquisite Meghalayan butterflies and insects, some of which are bred and reared by naturalists and then preserved. The most beautiful and sought after Meghalayan butterfly is Kaiser-I-hind

Waterfalls

In and around Shillong there are numerous waterfalls, especially during the monsoon when they run in milky white torrents : Bishop Falls, Elephant Falls, Spread Eagle Falls, Sweet Falls and Beadon Falls are best known. Bishop or Suna pani falls are located west of Mawprem in Shillong . They are 135 meters high and particularly impressive in monsoon.

Shillong Peak

Forested Shillong peak ,at 1,965 meters above sea level, acts as a vast catchment area. A steep winding road goes right to the top of the peak. On a clear day you can see the Himalayan peaks and plains of Sylhet from the Summit.

Excursions

Cherrapunjee

Cherrapunjee has a rich historical heritage and was the first British outpost in this part of the country .Sohra is the original Khasi name for Cherrapunjee. It is 1300 meters above sea level and 56 kms from Shillong. This place is one of the rainiest rain-belt in the world. A pleasant drive to see roaring water falls leaping into deep gorges, including the famed Nohsngithiang falls. The lovely town is also famous for its limestone caves and orange honey. Centre of Hhasi culture and literature, it also has the oldest Presbyterian Church and also an establishment of the Ramakrishna Mission

Mawsynram

56 kms from Shillong and is known for the giant stalagmite formation shaped into Shivalinga called locally as 'Mawjymbuin'

Jakrem

64kms from Shillong, a popular health resort having hot-springs of sulphur water, believed to have curative medicinal properties.

Monoliths in Khasi Hills

In the Khasi hills are a number of ancient monoliths and table stones, which are either memorials where the ashes of the dead are deposited in cairns or cenotaphs commemorating memorable events . The upright stones represent men generally and are of considerable size, sometimes projecting 6 meters or more above ground.

Jowai In Jaintia Hills

The most important town in the Jaintia Hills district is Jowai, 1380 meters above sea level , situated 64 kms from Shillong. The annual festival of Behdeinkhlam is celebrated in great style in Jowai. En-route from Shillong to Jowai one passes grassy meadows, colourful graveyards, rice terraces, woods of oak or whispering pine and the meandering Myntdu River.

Nartiang

This is located in the Jaintia hills about 65 kms from Shillong and 24 kms from Jowai. There are clusters of monoliths in Nartiang that are among the tallest anywhere in the world.

Tura In Garo Hills

This district headquarters of the west Garo Hills is Tura, which is situated 657 meters above sea level. Tura has a picturesque landscape of hills overlooking the sweeping curves of the mighty Brahmaputra river on the plains below. The Tura peak is very close to town and it is the ideal place for rock climbers, hikers and naturalists.

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks

The state has two National Parks - Nobrek and Balpakam, and two wildlife sanctuaries - Nongkyllem and Siju.

Balpakram National Park

Balpakram is a fertile virgin land. The unsurveyed belts of limestone and coal deposits, along with sea shells fossilized into rocks in Balpakram hill provide immense scope for geological and archeological studies. The Fauna of this area includes elephants, wild buffaloes, gaur (Indian bison) , sambar, barking deer, wild boar, slow loris, capped langur as well as predators such as tigers, leopards, clouded leopards and the rare golden cat.

Nokrek Biosphere and Siju Caves

Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is located in the Garo Hills district 2 kms from Tura Peak. The reserve is one of the least disturbed forest tracts of the sub-Himalayan ranges .It is the first biosphere reserve of its kind in the northeast region. The Garo hills contain many natural limestone caves. The famous Siju cave is located very close to the Nophak Lake near the Simsang river game reserve .The cave is filled with water and is miles long.

Stay

Shillong (Capital)
Government tourist lodge
Circuit House
Hotel Centre Point
Hotel Pinewood
Hotel Alpine
Hotel Pegassis Crown.

How To Get There?

By Air :

Shillong the Capital city of Meghalaya is connected by Helicopter Service from Guwahati. Or else one could take the daily flights to Guwahati and then travel by road - 100 kms (approx) .

By Rail

Shillong is connected by North Frontier & North Eastern Railway via Guwahati .The nearest Rail head is Guwahati (127km).

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

Introduction

Arunachalis one of the most sparsely populated states of India , borders China, Bhutan and Myanmar. There are five major rivers - Kameng, Subansiri, Siang (later the Brahmaputra in Assam),Lohit and Tirap and the mountain ranges follow the river systems .Home to a complex mix of communities , its people are friendly,colourful and simple .Its rich flora ranges from the alpine to the subtropical, from rhododendrons to orchids . Its verdant forests, turbulent streams , lofty mountains and snow clad peaks make it a unique place.

History

Arunachal Pradesh finds mention in literature such as the Kalika Purana and in the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It is believed that sage Vyasa meditated here and also that the remains of the brick structure, scattered around two villages in the hills north of Roing was the palace of Rukmini, the consort of Lord Krishna. The sixth Dalai Lama was born on the soil of Arunachal Pradesh . Arunachal Pradesh became a full- fledged state on February 20, 1987 . Till 1972 , it was known as the North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA). Administratively , the state is divided into three districts . Capital of the state is Itanagar in Papum Pare district. Itanagar is named after Ita Fort meaning fort of bricks built in 14th century A.D.

Flora & Fauna

In Arunachals rich Flora orchids find a place of pride. Out of about a thousand species of orchids in India, over 500 are to be found in Arunachal alone . These are colourful, spectacular and some bear exotic names such as Sita-Pushpa and Draupadi-Pushpa which are believed to have been worn by these Goddesses . Arunachal Pradesh Forest Development Centre at Tippi in West Kameng district for propagation and conservation of these species. In addition to this Orchidorium at Tippi, two Orchid conservation sanctuaries have been developed at Sessa and Dirang in West Kameng district. The Wildlife of Arunachal Pradesh is equally rich and varied. Elephants and Tigers abound, especially in the grassy foothills and leopard and jungle cat are quite common. The White browed gibbon is found in Tirap and lohit districts and red pandas and musk in the higher altitudes. The 'Mithun' exists both in wild and semi-domesticated form. The animal has religious significance and has intimate relation with socio cultural life of the people. Four wildlife sanctuaries at Pankuli, Loli, Itanagar and Namdapha had been set up in 1979, covering an area of 3000 sq.kms

Faith & Culture

There are 26 major tribes and a number of sub-tribes inhabiting this area. Most of these communities are ethnically similar having derived from the original common stock but geographical isolation from each other has brought amongst them certain distinctive characteristics in language, dress and customs.

Broadly the people have been divided into three cultural groups on the basis of their socio-religious backgrounds. The Monpas and Sherdukpens of Twang and West Kemeng districts follow the lamastic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Noted for their religious beliefs, the villages of these communities have highly decorated 'Gompas'. Though largely agriculturist, many of these people are also pastoral and breed herds of Yak and mountain Sheep. Culturally similar to the mare the membas and Khambas who live in the high mountains along the northern borders, Khamptis and Sigphos inhabiting the eastern part of the state are Buddhists of Hinayana sect. They are said to have migrated from Thailand and Burma long ago. The second group of people are the Adis, Akas , Apatanis, Bungnis, Nishis, Mishmis , Mijis, Thangsos etc. who worship the Sun and Moon God. Their religious rituals largely coincide with the phases of agricultural cycles. They invoke nature deities and make animal sacrifices . Adis and Apatanis extensively practice wet-rice cultivation and have a considerable agricultural economy. Apatanis are also famous for their paddy-cum-fish culture. They have specialised over centuries in harvesting two crops of fish along with each crop of paddy. The third group comprises Noctes and Wanchos , adjoining Nagaland in the Tirap district. These are hardy people known for their structured village society in which the hereditary village chief still plays a vital role. The Noctesalso practise elementary form of Vaishnavis.

Handicrafts

 

 

The people of Arunachal Pradesh have a tradition of artistic craftsmanship and sense of aesthetics manifested through a variety of crafts such as weaving, painting, pottery, wood carving. Monpas are known for artistry in weaving carpet and making painted wooden vessels. Beautiful rugs are woven in the Adi Area. Vivid Colour and exquisite patterns are the hallmark of their weaving. Apatanis and Adis make attractive articles in Cane and bamboo. The Wanchos are famous for their wood and bamboo carved figurines. They also make intricate necklaces of colourful beads.

Fairs and Festivals :

Festivals are an essential part of the socio-cultural life of the people. The festivals have a connection with agriculture and are celebrated with ritualistic gaiety either to thank God for the providence or to pray for a bumper harvest. Some of the important festivals are Mopin and Solung of Adis , Lossar of Monpas, Sherdukpens and Boori-Boot of the Hill Miris, Dree of Apatanis, Sidonyi of Taging, Nyokum of Nishis, Reh of ldu Mishmis etc. Animal sacrifice is a common ritual in all festivals. Dances are a vital element in the zest and joy of living of the tribals . They vary from highly stylish religious dance dramas of the Buddhists to the martial steps and colourful performances of the Noctes and Wanchos. The 'Ponung' dance of Adis is performed by teams of young girls to perfect rhythmic unison. Similar group dances are performed by the Nishis and Tagins of Upper and Lower Sanansiri Districts.

Places of Tourist Interest

Itanagar

The capital of Arunachal Pradesh, is a beautiful historic city, also known as the "Land of the Dawnlit Mountains". It is located to the east of Tawang and has been identified with Mayapur, a city of the 14th or 15th century AD The new township has modern buildings , bazaars and traditional homesteads .

Tipi

On the banks of the river Bharali at an elevation of 190 mtrs is Tipi, an orchidarium with over 7500 orchids. On display are some of the finest species with names like the Dainty Lady's Slipper or the more formal sounding Dendrobium. Arunachal has the largest range of orchids in the country.

Bomdila

The journey onwards is most adventurous and perhaps the most difficult as Bomdila, the headquarters of the West Kampeng District is at a height of 2530 meters, offering wonderfully panoramic views of Himalayan Landscapes and snow clad ranges. There are apple orchards and Buddhist monasteries for travellers are now entering an area that has strong Tibetan and Buddhist influences over the centuries

Tawang

A 10 km drive from Bomdila takes you to Tawang, a Buddhist Pilgrimage site, where the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, goes to preach & pray. The most striking building in this Buddhist village is the tall central monastery, the Tawang Gompa. The 400 years old monastery dominates the valley with grand view of the Himalayas . Prayer flags flutter in the breeze and inside, the monks - there are some 500 lamas - light lamps, rush about their chores and drone in joint prayer. An 8 meter high guilded statue of Buddha is here.

Dirang

Situated between Bomdila & Tawang this place is located in the West Kameng District. There are apple orchards and sheep breeding farms here. A few kilometers away from Dirang are the famous hot springs where people go for a holy dip to wash away sins and diseases.

Tezu

Headquartered in Lohit district ,this place Tezu has the Parasuram Kund where particularly during Winter a fair is held during Makar-Sankranti. Pilgrims from all over the country come here for holy dip in the kund . There is a large lake called Glow Lake which can be reached by foot.

Stay

Bomdila

Tourist Lodge Circuit House (PWD)
Inspection Bungalow (PWD)
Forest Inspection Bungalow
Hotel Mayur
Hotel Sweet
Hotel Chuki
Hotel Dawa
Hotel La
Hotel Sangrila
Hotel Dragon.

Tawang

Tourist Lodge
Circuit House(PWD)
Inspection Bungalow
Hotel Shangrilla,
Hotel Nichu.

Naharlagun

Youth Hostel
Hotel Hornbill
Hotel Simong
Hotel Laksmi
Hotel Kameng

How To Get There?

Bomdila

Nearest Airport
Tezpur (190 kms ) with daily flights from Calcutta.
Nearest railway station
Rangapara (100kms), well connected by daily bus service from Tezpur.

Tawang

Nearest Airport
Tezpur (345 kms)
Nearest Railhead
Rangapara (280kms)

Naharlagun & Itanagar

Nearest Airport Lilabari in Assam (56 kms from Naharlagun) (67 kms from Itanagar) Naharlagun is also connected by a helicopter service from Guwahati. Nearest railway station Harmuti (23 kms from Naharlagun) North Lakhimpur (60 kms from Itanagar) in Assam.

TRIPURA

Introduction

The ancient land of Tripura located in the north eastern region of India between 22.56 deg and 24.32 deg North Latitude and 90.09 deg and 92.20 deg east Longitude and is bounded on the north, west , south and south-east by the international boundary of Bangladesh .In the east it has a common boundary with Assam & Mizoram.60% of the total area is under hills and forests. This tiny state has an area of about 10,500 sq.kms. and is inhabited by largely 19 tribes Bengali, Manipuri, and other communities.

History

The ancient history of Tipperah or Tripura is shrouded with mystery. We come to learn from Rajamal that more than 150 tribal kings ruled Tripura since the legendary period and king Ratnapha got the title "Manikya" from the lord of Gauda. But recent readings or Tripura coins have proved that Ratna had his two predecessors Kmaha Manikya and Dharma Manikya.vHence it is perhaps reasonable to conclude that with Mahamanikya the historical period of the "Manikya" Dynasty started which continued till 1949. The history of the rulers of Tripura in medieval period is the story of the continual fights , particularly with the sultans of Bengal.

During the British period some English officials were eager to occupy Tripura, but it was opposed by others..However , the office of the British Political agent of Tripura was created in 1871. After the death of Birbikam Kishore Manikya on May 1947 , a council of regency under the leadership of his widowed wife Maharani Kanchanprava Devi took over the charge of the administration on behalf of the minor prince.

The regent's rule came to an end on September 1947, when due to popular pressure the agreement of Merger of Tripura with the Indian Union was signed by the Maharani on 15th October 1949.Finally Tripura became a full fledged state on January 1972.

The original inhabitants of the land, ,i.e. the hill people were noted for their tolerance and passive obedience. It is only in the 19th century that they started protesting against the oppressive Feudal System.

Flora & Fauna:

Sepahijala Wild life sanctuary , is about 25 kms from Agartala covering an area of about 18 sq kms .It houses about 150 species of birds and the unique spectacled monkey. There is also a botanical garden ,zoo, lake and boating facilities nearby. The Trishna Wild Life Sanctuary is located about 100 kms away.

Faith and Culture

There are only four predominant communities in Tripura professing different religious beliefs- Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. Most of the tribal people have their own tribal customs and beliefs but in a broader sense of the religion they are believed to be followers of Hinduism. They worship elements such as the god of water, the god of fire, the god of forests , the god of earth etc. A trace of their old faith is found in their present practice of striking a bamboo in the ground during religious festivals and worshipping it. Sacrifices form an important part of their religion; the buffaloes , pigs, goats and fowls being the animals ordinarily used for this purpose.

Most of the modern members of the ruling family of Tripura were great patrons of art and literature and had great regard for eminent scholars of the country. Maharaja Dharmamajikya is said to have inaugurated the rajmala, a verse chronicle of the royal house . Tripura, a neighbouring state, have had a spiritual contact with Bengal for well over a few centuries and this contact became all the more significant during the period due to Tagore's continued association with the ruler and his benign influence over them.

Teachers were brought from Mithila for the spread of Music in the state. A flute made of Mulu bamboo of Tripura was very famous. There are also their own improvised musical instruments like Sarinda, Chougpreng and Samu etc. made of bamboo and strings.

The songs are mostly related to their days work and different songs are sung on different occasions . Dancing in Tripura has always been in complementary lines with music and it has always been a very popular aspect of cultural functions. The Garia dance is very popular among the Tripuris.

Handicrafts

Loin-loom, indeed is the oldest and most developed cottage industry of Tripura. Among the traditional produces mention may be made of dubris riha or risa; bed covers , screens, asanas etc. Silk is another age old industry of Tripura. Next to weaving, cane and bamboo works occupy place of prominence. Bamboo is available in super abundance, and this typical forest wealth of Tripura is one material that is used in many ways from building homes to making toys. Many artistic things are made of bamboo or its roots for example toy , tray, vase, photo-frame, human figure, casket, calendar, pen stand etc.

Fairs and Festivals

Of the many festivals which are celebrated in Tripura, the worship of fourteen gods popularly known as "Kharchi puja" occupies a place of pride. This is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the month of July every year. The first day of this week long festival is declared a holiday by the Government .Ker and Garia puja these two traditional tribal festivals , need special mention. Ker puja starts generally fifteen days after Kharchi puja.It is said that this puja is performed for the welfare of the state and its people. The puja is performed within a specific boundary during the puja nobody is allowed to enter of come out of this specified boundary. The garia puja is performed on the seventh day of the month of Baisakh (April). When the puja is over , the devotees , men and women take to dancing. Another remarkable tribal festival is Ganga puja. This puja is held in March -April . About 4 to 5 villages join together to perform this puja. To perform the puja they build a temple of bamboo just on the middle of the river. They sacrifice goats, buffaloes and ganders and pray to god to save them from epidemic disease. Durga puja in the month of October is one of the most popular festivals of Tripura. Next comes Diwali, on the occasion of which each year a big fair is held near Matabari in the temple of Tripura Sundari at Udaipur. Thousands of pilgrims assemble here to offer prayers to the images of Goddesses engraved on the hilly rocks which are found here.

Places of Tourist Interest

Agartala

The state capital is connected by road with Guwahati via Shillong by National highway no 44. It takes about 24 hours by road from Guwahati to reach Agartala. There are flight connections as well, with Calcutta and Guwahati.

Ujjayanta Palace

This is a modern building of the royal house of Tripura and is located in the heart of Agartala, sprawling over a half sq.kms. This two storeyed mansion has a mixed architecture with three high domes .The magnificent titles floor, curved wooden ceiling and beautifully crafted doors are particularly notable. The palace was built by Radha Kishore Manikya in 1901. Its well laid out gardens have two large tanks on either side and the fountains are laid out in the patterns of the Mughal Gardens . Kunjaban Palace situated 1 km ahead on a hillock, was constructed in 1917 and named as Pushbanta Palace by the than ruler, Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya. It is said that the known poet Rabindra Nath Tagore stayed in the eastern apartment of the palace. The southern side is now open to the public and is known as Rabindra Kanan, While the rest of the palace is now the official residence of the Governor of the state.

Neermahal

A summer resort built in 1930 by the late Maharaj Birbikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur, is about 55 kms away from Agartala. It is built in the middle of a lake called Rudrasagar with a total area of about 5.35 kms . A perfect blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture it is the only lake palace in Eastern India. Half of the palace is an open air theatre and the other half on the western side is called the Andar Mahal, used by the Royalty.

Excursions

Unakoti

The rock-cuts and stone carvings of Tripura are huge and have been carved on open vertical walls at Unakoti, Debtamura and Pilak. Unakoti is about 178 kms from Agartala. The name Unakoti means one less than a crore and legend. It is a Shiva pilgrimage site dating back to the 8th or 9th century .The central Shiva carving known as the Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava is about 30 feet high, its head dress is 10 feet in height. Every year a big festival known as Ashokastami Mela is held here in the month of April.

Debtamura

This is 75 kms from Agartala and is situated on the banks of the river Gomati between Udaipur and Amanpur. The rocks on the banks of the river are also called Chabimura and are images of Shiva, Vishnu, Kartik, Mahisasur, Mardini Durga and other deities. The images date back to the 15th and 16th century

Pilak

The stone carvings found here are mostly in stone and terracotta plaques. This is located about 100 kms away from Agartala.

Mata Tripureshwari Temple

Located at Udaipur about 58 kms away from Agartala and 3 kms from Udaipur, is considered one among the 51 pithasthans of India according to Hindu Mythology .It is also known as Kurma Pith because of the shape of the temple resembling the tortoise . The idol of Maa Kali is made of Reddish Black stone and is in the soroshi form.

The Fourteen Goddess Temple:

Is situated about 14 kms from Agartala at a place known as the old Agartala .The famous Kharchi festival is celebrated here during the month of July each year.

Bhuvaneshwari Temple

On the right banks of the Gomati River , was built by Maharaja Govinda Manikya, during 1660-75.It finds its reference in Rabindra Nath Tagore's poetry and drama.

Jampui hills

The luxuriant forests of 'Jampui Hill' , the premier one among the 6 principal hill ranges of Tripura provides a life time's exhilarating experience for the tourist. 'Jampui Hill'- the permanent seat of spring, is situated at an altitude of about 3000 above sea level and about 250km away from Agartala .This hill range consists of cluster of tribal villagers and is home for colourful Lushai and reang tribal communities .The neat and clean traditional wooden houses of the local inhabitants combined with greenery all around provide excellent opportunities for eco-friendly tourism. During the month of November every year, the unique orange festival is celebrated in the Jampui Hill.

STAY

Government tourist lodgesMbr
Circuit Houses and many private hotels.

How To Get There?

By Air

Agartala, the capital city of Tripura is connected by regular flights from Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati

By Rail

Agartala is connected by North forntier Railway via Guwahati. The nearest Rail head is Kumarghat 140 km away from Agartala.

NAGALAND

Introduction

The state of Nagaland ,covering an area of 16488 sq.km is encircled by Assam in the north and west , by Burma and Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and Manipur in the South. The state is predominantly dominated by Naga communities and hence it forms a single cultural region generally definable by common cultural and linguistic traditions . This state was carved out of the territories that were earlier known as Naga Hills - Tuesnsang Area (NHTA), though the state of Nagaland Act , 1962 . It was inaugurated on 1st December, 1963 by the then president of India , Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. The state lies between 2506 deg and 2704 deg of the equator and between the longitudinal lines 93015deg E. The Barail range extending from the south-west via North Cachar runs up to Kohima, with its highest Peak, Japvo, attaining a height of 3048 meters.

Climate

The beginning of winter is marked buy a steep fall (almost 5 degree centigrade) in temperature during December. January is the coldest month. In February the temperature starts rising gradually. The monsoon lasts for five months from May to September with June , July and May being the wettest months. The annual rainfall varies from 100 cm to over 300 cm.

History

The earliest records throwing light on the politico-economic linkages of the Nagas with others are the Buranjis, the chronicles of the Ahoms of Assam. The early Buranjis describe that the Ahom Sukhapa encountered the Nagas of the Patkoi as early as the twelfth century . It is said that Sukhapa, an adventurer who left Maulung in 1215 AD heading a force of eight hundred armed soldiers with 300 horses and two elephants, entered Naga territory enroute to Assam Valley. The subsequent rise and fall of his kingdom ushered in a chequered history of hostility and friendship with the Nagas . The Naga areas in 1852 were constituted into a sub-division under the Nowgong district ,with Asaloo as its headquarters . The Manipuri interests, the threatening postures of the Burmese's and the belligerent attitude of the Nagas had forced the British to shift their headquarters to Samaguting , ten miles inside the Angami territory. .In 1869 Captain Butler , the Political Agent of Naga Hills was given orders to initiate a process of consolidation of the colonial rule in Naga Hills by interfering in inter-tribal disputes . The Naga district in 1874 was brought under the Chief Commissioner of Assam. The beginning of the effective administration of the Naga hills started when Kohima was established as the headquarters in 1878.

Flora & Fauna

The variations in the altitude, climate and soil have given rise to a diversity of forest types , ranging from tropical evergreen to temperate evergreen and the coniferous. Bamboo groves are extensive everywhere. Among the common species mention may be made of the Naga Bhe and plants such as Mesuaferrea, Careyaarbotrea and Fiscus electica. On the hill slopes are found oak, chestnut, birch, magnolia, cherry, maple, laurel and fig. Pine tress are found at high altitude areas varying from 3000 to 4000 ft. Wild vegetables, roots, fruits and tubers are found in abundance throughout Nagaland.

Nagaland constitutes a meeting ground for the sub-himalayan, Indian, Chinese and Burmese type of Fauna . Elephant, tiger, barking deer and sambar are found in different places through the state. The monkey, jackal, wild buffalo, wild pig, bear and wild dog are sparsely distributed through the Naga hills . Among the ritually most valued species is mithun. Other species common are lizards, toads, monitors.

Faith & Culture

The entire Naga inhabited area may be described as one culture are, on account of several ethno-historical factors. There are 14 tribes in Nagaland. The traditional faith, religious beliefs and practices of Naga tribes show signs of being animistic. There is a belief of a supreme creator of mankind, and many deities, ghosts and spirits of trees, rivers and hills. There are priests and medicine men who placate these spirits , banish those who give diseases, attract those who help and guard, and also take the lead in the rites and festivals which stimulate the processes of agriculture .Among the Naga tribes (Chang, Sangtam, Khiamngan) there is a belief that the soul, after death, goes down a narrow path to the land of the dead that is guarded by a spirit with whom it must struggle. Most Naga tribes regard the ultimate ancestry of man and the tiger as very intimately associated . The ancient Kachari capital Dimapur is one of the important sites of megalithic culture. The ruins appear to be contemporaries with the Kachari civilisation, established before the Ahom invasion in the 13th century A.D. There are evidence of a touch of Hindu influence on most of them, though these are predominantly non-Aryan. Today 85% of the people are Christians.

Handicrafts

Nagaland Handloom and handicraft owns a reputation for its quality. The beautifully hand woven tribal shawls of various tribes, Naga mekhelas, Naga hand bags, exquisitely and intricately designed have won worldwide appreciation. The new generation of Nagas have ventured into fashion designing on a commercial scale, reproducing fabrics that represent the past, fused with modern taste. They have handicrafts like Beads, garlands & Baskets made of cane & bamboo.

Fairs and Festivals

There are more of less identical fairs and festivals among the sections of the Angami, Sema, Lotha and Rengma resemble the Angami and the Sema,. and their festivals also roughly correspond. As among the Angami, there is a female first reaper, and stone pulling ceremony is practiced. Every tribes has it's own festivals out of which Angami Sekrenyi. Several festivals are connected with agricultural activities such as reaping , sowing and harvesting .Moastu festival is performed by Ao Naga in the month of May, after the sowing, among the Lotha, pithi is the sacred specialist who performs all ceremonies and rituals. He inaugurates the sowing and harvesting. The AO Naga celebrate many other festivals also, most of which are celebrated to mark the beginning and end of a particular agricultural activity. When crops are ready the festival of Tsungremong is performed . Pigs are sacrificed during this ceremony in honour of the deity Lijaba. The other prominent festivals are Kuki Mimkut, Angami Sekrenyi, Phom Monyu, Konyak Aoling, Rengma Ngada and Zeliang Nga-Ngai.

Places of Tourist Interest

Kohima

The capital : Perched at 1444.12 meters above sea level, Kohima enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. The two hour drive from Dimapur to Kohima can be an enjoyable experience. You could treat yourself to a hot hearty meal of Local cuisine from one of the typical Naga wayside amenities that line the road at regular intervals .The panaromic view of Kohima unfolds at 16 kms from your destination, nestled among the pristine hills.

Kohima War Cemetery

Offers a space for a quiet moment of a contemplative stroll with friends and family. This is a symbolic memorial raised as a citation for the supreme sacrifices made by the officers and men of the allied forces , to halt the tide of the Japanese onslaught during the Second World War. This was their last post . The cemetery is beautifully and meticulously maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

State Museum

For the tourist there are historical artifacts, the log drums, the tools & implements, the old Naga currencies, attire of Warriors, dresses & costumes all preserved here. This museum provides a birds eye view of the fifteen colourful tribes at close quarters.

Dzukou Valley

This valley is tucked away at 2438 meters above sea level. From June to September the entire valley is covered with a carpet of wild flowers. Here you are completely at peace with nature. The valley is surrounded by hills, natural caves & rocks ideal for camping.

Japfu Peak

Scaling the Japfu peak at 3048 meters above sea level can be very trying, but exhilarating. Once up there the expansive vista of natures beauty more than compensates the effort put in. The range gets covered by mist at the breaking of dawn adding to its mystic beauty.

Khonoma

This place offers a peep into the village lifestyle of the people here. This village is not only laced in history but also known for their ecological propriety. The terraced fields carved out from the hill top to the low valley, presents an interesting study. You canal ways hear fascinating stories of folklore here from the villagers.

Kohima Village

Considered to be one of the largest in Asia .A traditional gate greets the visitor. There are stones of varying shapes and sizes implanted within the compound or skulls of buffaloes and mithuns adorning the portico, reminding you of the past glory and status of the great ancestors.

Zoological Park

This place offers you a glimpse of the fauna of Nagaland. The rare Blythe's Tragopan believed to be on the verge of extinction, is being reared here in captivity. Rare Species of Orchids can also be seen here.

Dzulekie

This is an enchanting place near Kohima where domesticated bisons roam freely in pastoral ambiance. The surrounding green hills and little waterfalls thrown in adds to the pleasure to being in this cool getaway.

Dimapur

On the way of Kohima this site was the first headquarters established by the British. The triple falls located in Seithekima village area is another resort being developed by the department of Tourism. As the name suggests it is a three tier waterfall, cascading from a height of 280 feet into an inviting natural pool . Dimapur was the ancient capital of Kachari Kingdom. A small footprint of the megalithic culture still exists.

Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary

Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary is just 37 kms away from Dimapur. It is the habitat of various animals and rare species of birds.

Stay

Kohima Tourist Lodge
Yatri Niwas
MLA Hostel
V.I.P. Guest House
Hotel Pine
Hotel Capital
Hotel Ambassador
Tourist Lodge
Hotel Japfu
Valley View.

MANIPUR

Introduction

Nestling deep within a lush green corner of North East India is the wondrously beautiful little Shangrila called Manipur. Literally meaning -"a jeweled land" this little corner is a veritable, paradise on earth where mother nature has been extra generous in her bounty. Untouched and undiscovered Manipur promises to be the great tourist discovery of the 21st century. An oval shaped valley surrounded by blue green hills, rich in art tradition has inspired descriptions such as the "Switzerland of the East" with cascading rapids, tripping rivers, carpets of flowers and exotic blooms. It lies to the south of Nagaland & north of Mizoram. It shares the international boundary with Myanmar on the western and southern side.

Climate

The state of Manipur experiences a maximum temperature of 32 degree celsius and a minimum temperature as low as 0 degree Celsius. The annual rainfall here is 1467.5 mm and the rainy season is from May to October. The Winters stretches from November to March.

History

Legend has it that the discovery of Manipur was the result of the delight that Gods took in dancing. Still practiced today is a classical dance from marked by graceful and restrained movements and delicate hand gestures, known as Manipuri dances.

Flora & Fauna

Blessed with an amazing variety of flora & Fauna, 67% of the geographical area of Manipur is hill track covered forests. Depending on the altitude of the hill ranges, the forests range from tropical to sub alpine. The wet forests, the temperate forests and the pine forests together sustain a host of rare and endemic plant and animal life. Orchids in Manipur, abound in their natural habitat growing in soil or on trees and shrubs. 48 kms from Imphal is Loktak-Lake & Sendra Island. This is a saucer shaped fresh water lake that attracts many species of birds. Part of it forms a rare ecosystem. This huge and beautiful stretch of water is like a miniature inland sea. The islands of Loktak are unique they 'float' comprising of marsh & grass and root of solid earth. Situated on the fringes of the Loktak Lake is the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Habitat of the endangered dancing deer, the brow-antlered -deer of Manipur, it is the only floating National Park of the world. The Hoolock Gibbon, the slow Loris, the Clouded Leopard, the Spotted Linshang, Mrs Hume's Barbacked Pheasant, Blyths Tragopan, Burmese Pea-Fowl, four different species of Hornbills etc. form a part of the rich natural heritage of Manipur.

Faith & Culture :

The people & tribes of Manipur include Meiteis, Naga and Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups and other colourful communities which have lived in complete harmony for centuries. These are the people whose folklore, myths and legends , dances, indigenous-games and martial-arts, exotic handlooms and handicrafts, are invested with the mystique of nature. In the field of art and culture the state is best represented by its classical and folk dance forms. Ras-Leela songs and dances depict the Leelas (Sports ) of Lord Krishna as a child with the Gopis (milkmaids) of Brindavan, and express their yearning for communion with the Lord.

Handicrafts

It is said that goddess "Panthoibi" drew her inspiration for weaving from a spider making cobwebs in a corner. While almost every household in Manipur owns a loom-womenfolk alone are weavers. Intricate designs are woven on sarees, sarongs, shawls and bedspreads. The handloom industry is the largest cottage industry in Manipur, with the finished items often being exported. Manipur-Pottery is crafted without a potters wheel. It is a rare experience to witness the potters of Andro, Thongjao and Nungbi deftly moulding an unbelievable range of earthenware. Beautiful pieces of art made out of cane and bamboo form an important part of handicrafts . Tourists can take home a Lifan, Phak (weed mats), Phiruk, Manipuri Dolls & host of other beautiful carvings from rare and exotic varieties of Timber.

Fairs and Festivals

The state is best represented by its classical and folk dance forms . The Ras Leelas or dances are essentially lyrical and have extremely graceful movements. A sprint festival, the 'Lai-Haraoba' held in April and May is symbolized by a traditional, stylized and ritualistic dance performed for peace and prosperity. The tradition of sports dates back to the political history of Manipur- a history of a small kingdom which were in keen competition with one another. Wars between Manipur & Burma resulted in martial tradition, which in turn gave due impetus to the promotion of sports. " Sagol-Kangjei" (polo) originated in Manipur. The game flourished during the reign of a long dynasty of kings. The Manipuri Pony is the most versatile, swift and agile polo in the world. It is still a popular game - international players participate in tournaments in Imphal. "Mnkna Kangjei" (Wrestling-Hockey ) is also a very popular game in Manipur.

Places of Tourist Interest :

The capital of Manipur ,Imphal is a bustling mini metropolis situated at a height of 790 m above sea level. Some of the places worth visiting here are :

Shree Govindajee Temple

A historic Vaishnavite centre, adjoining the Royal palace of Manipur's former Maharajas, the Govindajee temple is a simple yet beautiful structure. Twin domes, a paved courtyard, and a raised large congregation hall form a perfect backdrop for priests who descend the steps, to accept offerings from devotees in the courtyard. The shrines of Krishna and Balaram and Jagannath flank the two sides of the presiding deity.

Khwairamband Bazar or IMA Market

An unique all women's market, having 3000 "lmas" or mothers who run the stalls, it is split into two sections on either side of the road. Vegetables , fruits, fish and household groceries are sold on one side and exquisite handlooms and household tools on the other.

Shaheed Minar

The indomitable spirit of the Meitei and tribal Martyrs who sacrificed their life while fighting the British in 1891, is commemorated by this tall Minar at Bir Tikendrajit Park in the heart of Imphal.

War Cemeteries

Commemorating the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the second world war, these cemeteries are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Serene and well maintained, the graves carry little stone markers and bronze plaques recording the sacrifice of those gallant soldiers.

Khonghampat Orchidarium

7 Kms from Imphal on Highway No.39 is the central Orchidarium which covers 200 acres and houses over 110 rare varieties of orchids, which include almost a dozen endemic species. The peak blooming season is March - April.

Manipur Zoological Gardens

6 kms to the West of Imphal, at the foot of the pine growing hillocks at lroisemba on the Imphal-Kangchup Road are the Zoological Gardens. Not to be missed is an opportunity to see the graceful brow antlered deer (Sangai) one of the rarest species in the world, in sylvan surroundings.

Langthabal

8 kms down the Indo-Myanmar road lies this small hill feature with relics of an old, historic palace, temples of architectural importance and ceremonial houses. Set among symmetrically planted jackfruit and pine trees Langthabal offers a view of the Manipur University and some picturesque vistas.

Moirang

45 kms, from Imphal, the town is one of the main centres of early Meitei folk culture with the ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity Lord Thangjing, situated here. In the month of May , men and women , dressed in colourful traditional costumes, sing and dance in honour of the Lord at the Moirang "Lai Haraoba" which is a ritual dance festival held each year. The town also has a special place in the history of the Indian Freedom Struggle. It was at Moirang that the flag of the Indian National Army was first unfurled on April 14, 1944.

Loktak Lake and Sendra Island

48 kms from Imphal, is the largest fresh water lake in the North East region, a veritable miniature inland sea. From the tourist Bungalow set atop Sendra Island, visitors get a bird's eye view of life on the Lake-small islands that are actually floating weed on which live the Lake people, the shimmering blue waters of the Lake, labyrinthine boat routes and colourful water plants. The Sendra Tourist Home with an attached cafeteria in the middle of the lake is an ideal tourist spot.

Bishnupur

27 kms from Imphal on the Tiddim Road, is a picturesque town situated at the foot hill that rolls down the valley. The 15th century Bishnu temple built of peculiar small bricks believed to be of Chinese influence built during the reign of King Kiyamba is of historical importance. Bishnupur is also famous for its chiseled stoneware.

Kaina

It is a hillock about 921 meters above sea level and a sacred place of the Hindus. So goes the story that one night, Shri Govindajee appeared in the vision of his devotee, Shri Jai Singh Maharaja in his dream, and asked the saintly king to install in a temple an image of Shri Govindajee. It was to be carved out of a jack fruit tree which was then growing at Kaina. The scenery in this place is charming and the hill shrubs and natural surroundings give the place a religious atmosphere. It is only 29 kms from Imphal .

Khongjom

36 kms on the Indo-Myanmar road, a war broke out between Manipur and British India in 1891. It is here that Major General Paona Brajabashi,one of the great warriors of Manipur proved his valour against the superior force of the invading British Army in 1891. A war memorial has been constructed on the top of the Kheba hill.

Tengnoupal

69 kms from Imphal. The highest point on the Indo-Myanmar Road, from here you can have a full view of the valley of Myanmar.

Tamenglong

It is 156 kms from Imphal and is the district headquarters of the Tamenglong district. This region is known for its deep gorges, mysterious caves and splendid waterfalls and its exotic orchids . The Tharon cave, Buning Meadow, Zailad lakes, Barak Waterfalls are some of the places of tourist interest.

Ukhrul

83 kms to the east of Imphal ,this district headquarters of Manipur East is the highest hill station of the state. A centre of the colourful warrior tribe Tangkhul Nagas, it is well developed and famous for its peculiar type of land-lily, the Siroi, grown in the Siroi hills . Siroi hills and Khangkhui Lime caves are interesting places for excursions.

Manipur State Museum

The interesting museum near the Polo Ground has a fairly good display of Manipur's tribal heritage and a collection of portraits of Manipur's former rulers.

Red Hill

Red Hill is a hillock about 16 kms from Imphal on Tiddim Road. It is a thrilling spot where a fierce battle took place between the British and the Japanese force in world war II and regarded as a holy place. There is also a monument in memory of the Japanese Martyrs who sacrificed their lives in this fierce battle

Stay

Imphal

Hotel Imphal Anand Continental Prince White Palace Maharaja, Nirmala Tourist Homes at Moirang, Sendra, Phubala, Kaina, Tamenglong and Churachandpur (Govt. of Manipur)

How To Get There?

Imphal

Imphal is connected by air with Calcutta, Delhi, Aizwal, Guwahati and Silchar. Nearest railhead is at Dimapur (215 kms ). By road it is 123 kms. drive from Kohima in Nagaland. Imphal is connected by a network of road with all the important cities on North Eastern India.

MIZORAM

Introduction

Mizoram, predominantly a Christian populated state, is towards the southernmost tip of the North-Eastern states, sharing borders with Manipur, Assam, Tripura than jutting between Myanmar and Bangladesh. The word Mizo means highlander, a collective term given by their neighbours to a number of tribes which settled in this area. They are originally believed to have come from North-Western China and gradually pushed themselves to their present homeland, less then 300 years ago. A mountainous region Mizoram became the 23rd state of the Indian Union in February 1987. The hills are steep with an average height of 900 meters .Its green thick forest is rich in flora and fauna. Mizoram has an area of 21801 sq kms.

Climate

Mizoram has a mild and very pleasant climate of 11 deg C-21 deg C in winter and 20 deg C-30 deg C in summer. The entire area is under the influence of south west monsoon. It rains heavily from May to September and the average rainfall is 254 cm per annum.

History

The word Mizo means highlander, a collective term given by their neighbours to a number of tribes which settled in this area. They are originally believed to have come from Northwestern China and gradually pushed themselves to their present homehold, less than 300 years ago

Flora and Fauna

The state has thick bamboo forests. Rivers run in narrow ribbons that seem to be challenging onlookers to plunge in for some adventure and excitement . The hill ranges running in north -south direction are resplendent with green vegetation throughout the year. The highest peak, Phawngpui Mountain known as Blue Mountain, a garden of rhododendron of arboreum and veitchianum species is 2065 meters. There are a number of hilly streams and rivers which murmur through idyllic scenario. Inhabited by swamp deer, tiger, leopard, elephant and hoolock gibbon, Mizoram can boast a variety of wild life in the Dampa Sanctuary, established in 1976 at the north-western tip of Mizo hills . Best season to visit the sanctuary is from November to March.

Faith and Culture

The majority of the Mizos are Christian by faith. The literacy percentage is 88 percent the second highest literacy rate in the country . The people are a close knit society with no discrimination on grounds of sex, status or religion. They are hospitable , sociable and love music, singing and dancing

Handicrafts

The traditional handicrafts of Mizoram include the Khumbeu ceremonial hat that is made of waterproof wild Hnahthial leaves. Other handicrafts include items such as shawls, textiles, bags and fine bamboo.

Fairs and Festivals

Mizos are basically agriculturists practicing what is known as 'jhum-cultivation'. All their activities revolve around this cultivation and their festivals are also connected with such agricultural operations

Chapchar Kut

Among other festivals, chapchar Kut of spring festival is the most popular festival, celebrated after completion of their most arduous task of jungle clearing for 'jhum' operations. On this day people of all ages, young and old, men and women dressed in their respective colourful costumes and head-gears, assemble and perform various folk dances , sing traditional songs accompanied by the beating sound of drums, gongs and cymbals. Mizos boast of number of folk and community dances that have been handed down over the generations. It is in these dances that the visitor can get a glimpse of the tribal heritage of the Mizos. Most important of these dances are Cheraw (bamboo dance), Khuallam, Solakia and Chheih lam. These dances have evolved through community involvement and participation.

Places of Tourist Interest

Aizawl

l The state capital of Aizawl is located at an altitude of 4000 feet above sea level. It is accessible from Shillong, Guwahati and Silchar by road both bus and car. Standing on a high ridge surrounded on the east by the deep green valley of river Tlawng, with its lush green deep valleys, and on the north protected by beautiful high hills of Durtlang, it stands like a high citadel. An ideal hill station for those looking for some fresh air and solitude. Places of interest in Aizawl include the Museum at Macdonald's hill, the Mizoram State Museum and a mini zoological garden and Durtlang hills, the northernmost part of Aizawl.

Tamdil Lake

A natural beautiful lake, 85 kms from Aizawl near Saitual Village is in the midst of cool, virgin forest that offers an ideal picnic spot for tourists. It has boating facilities for the tourists and accommodation is available at the Tourist lodge.

Vantawng Water Falls

It is 137 kms from Aizawl, located near an idyllic beautiful town of Thenzawl. The fall is 750 feet high, surrounded by a lush green tropical forest filled wit bamboo groves.

Champhai

It is a sub-divisonal headquarters on the Indo-Myanmar border, 192 kms away from Aizawl. Cool and healthy, Champai and its surroundings present the tourist with a view of the hills of Myanmar. The town is a developing venue for Indo-Myanmar border trade and ideal place for marketing all kinds of goods. The legendary Rihdil Lake is 22 kms away inside Myanmar.

Lunglei

Lunglei, a district headquarters town of south Mizoram , is 235 kms from Aizawl. It has great natural beauty of landscape and is rich in flora and fauna. The scenic beauty , cool pleasant climate make Lunglei, a beautiful hill station for the tourist.

Bung and Paikhai

Both are situated at a distance of 16 kms from Mizoram and are cool breezy places for a days vacation away from Aizawl.

Stay

Government Lodges
Circuit Houses
State guest house
Ritz hotel
Hotel Ahimsa
Hotel Chawlhna

How To Get There?

From Calcutta

There is daily vayudoot Air Service between Calcutta and Aizawl. Indian Airlines also operate daily flight service from Calcutta to Silchar (except on Monday). The bus / taxi journey from Silchar to Aizawl along the National Highway no 54 takes usually 5-6 hours.

From Guwahati

Daily Vayudoot service is available from Guwahati to Aizawl (except on Sunday). Day and Night service of private and government buses are available from Guwahati to Aizawl via Shillong. Within the state one can move about by the state transport bus system. Private buses and tourist taxis.

Mail us at holidays@primetravels.com


Name
Email:*
Country
Departure City
Arrival City
Mobile/ (Area-Code)Phone
Travel Date Between
Number of Travellers Adults (above 12)
Child (5-12)
Infant(0-5)
Query/Comments
Enter Code
M4POKF