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Seven sisters of India – Travel Guide

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Seven sisters of India

The Seven Sisters of India or the Seven Sister states in the North East India region comprising of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. In 1947, when India gained Independence from British rule, North East India comprised 3 states – Assam, Tripura, and Manipur. 

One by one the rest of the states were formed and the North East India region came to be known as the Seven Sisters of India or the Seven Sister States. It is said that the name was given to them as all of them are interconnected and the gateway to the entire North East India is in Guwahati. If you want to visit any of the Seven Sisters of India in North East India, then Guwahati is usually the starting point.

Here is a breakup of the seven sister states and some of the best places to visit in North East India.


ARUNACHAL PRADESH

Seven sisters of India

The first state in the Seven Sisters of India is Arunachal Pradesh. The name, Arunachal Pradesh, translates to the Land of the Dawn lit mountains and it is one of the least explored and least developed states in India. Blessed by serene natural environs, the Eastern Himalayas, and a thriving tribal population, Arunachal Pradesh is a nature lover’s dream come true.

The state is popular for the immensely popular destination of Tawang, the treacherous Sela pass, the Ziro Festival, Tawang festival, Anini, and Dong valley. Every year thousands of bikers and SUV expedition travelers visit the state to explore its pristine surroundings and indulge in the cultural gems that Arunachal Pradesh presents.

Even though Arunachal Pradesh doesn’t have a developed tourism infrastructure, the opportunities for moto touring are immense. Untouched destinations like Ziro, Dong valley, Walong, Zemithang, and Along are slowly seeing a trickle of international and domestic travelers. However, due to a lack of good hotels and roads, most people still tend to avoid visiting this state.

One of the best ways to explore Arunachal Pradesh is through motorcycle tours or SUV expeditions. Having your own vehicle gives you the freedom of your own itinerary. 

How to reach Arunachal Pradesh

For Western Arunachal Pradesh, you can take a flight or train to Guwahati and then hire a cab from there. Destinations like Tawang, Bomdila, Ziro, Rupa, Sangti Valley, and Itanagar can be covered from there. If you plan to visit Eastern Arunachal Pradesh, then flying to Dibrugarh is a better option. Destinations like Anini, Mechuka, Dong, Tezu, Walong, Pasighat, and Roing are easily accessible from Dibrugarh.

Best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is a year-round destination as it has a combination of mountains and flatlands. The weather doesn’t get too hot even during peak summers. However, since you need to either travel to Guwahati or Dibrugarh, you might want to avoid traveling during peak monsoons. Floods are quite common during the rainy season in Assam and road infrastructure isn’t too good at that time. 

ASSAM

It is the gateway to the Seven Sisters of India and the most developed of the seven sister states. The largest airport in North East India is located in Guwahati offering connectivity to most tier 1 and tier 2 cities in India. The same is true for its railway station as well.

Some of the most popular destinations in Assam include the Kaziranga National Park, Majuli, Sibsagar, Tezpur, Guwahati, and Manas National Park. Kaziranga National Park attracts thousands of travelers from all over the world who throng the park to see the one-horned India Rhinos and the Big cats. To get to Kaziranga National Park, you can reach Guwahati and take a cab from there. If you are a wildlife lover, then do a circuit comprising of Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Nameri forest, and Pobitora.

If you like indulging in cultural experiences, then you must travel to Assam during the Bihu festival. There are 4 of them but the ones celebrated in January and April are the ones to experience. 

How to reach Assam

Assam has two major airports at Guwahati and Dibrugarh. If you plan to visit the Lower Assam regions like Guwahati, Majuli, Nameri National Park, Manas National Park, Haflong, etc then getting to Guwahati works. However, if you want to travel to the Upper Assam regions of Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur, and Digboi, then getting to Dibrugarh is the best option.

Best time to visit Assam

The best time to visit Assam would definitely be from October to March as the weather is quite pleasant then. You should avoid traveling here during peak monsoons as the Brahmaputra causes flooding due to excessive rainfall. Summers are very unforgiving and the high temperatures will limit time spent outdoors. Even Kaziranga National Park is closed during peak summers and monsoons. 

MEGHALAYA

One of the most well-known seven sister states is Meghalaya as it boasts of a constantly improving tourism scene. Carved out of the state of Assam, Meghalaya is one of the most sought-after tourist spots in the Seven Sisters of India. Destinations like Shillong, Dawki, Cherrapunji, etc. are a top draw with travelers across the world. In recent years, due to improved road infrastructure, there has been an increase in road trip tourism especially from bike tourers and SUV expedition lovers.

The name Meghalaya translates to the Abode of the Clouds and you will experience this when you travel to this beautiful northeastern state. Home to the Khasi tribe, Meghalaya is known for its gorgeous waterfalls, amazing living root bridges, sacred forests, bustling city of Shillong, Rasong, Nongkhnum Island and the crystal-clear waters of Dawki.

The Living Root Bridges in Meghalaya are a natural wonder and a must-visit place. These living root bridges have naturally formed with the root of the Indian rubber tree. Thick roots are guided across rivers and streams with the help of bamboo to make bridges out of them. It is quite an ingenious work of the tribals and something that leaves you awestruck.

How to reach Meghalaya

Meghalaya doesn’t have rail connectivity nor does it have an airport. However, Shillong is located just 90 kms from Guwahati and you can drive down in less than 3 hours. Road connectivity is good within the state but due to the hilly terrain, the travel time increases substantially. 

Best time to visit Meghalaya

Like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya is also a year-round destination. The green cover all over the state doesn’t let it get too hot during summers. However, during monsoons do expect to see heavy rainfall. But that adds to the beauty of the state as the stunning cloud cover adds to its natural charm. Waterfalls across the state are brimming with water during monsoons and after it and witnessing them is nothing short of sheer amazement! 

TRIPURA

Seven sisters of India

Tripura is probably the least known of the seven sister states. Located in the southwestern part of North East India, Tripura shares a long border with Bangladesh, Mizoram, and Assam. The landlocked region is yet to come under the tourist map. However, there are numerous interesting sites to see there. 

The most visited places in Tripura include Agartala, Unakoti, Amarpura, Melaghar, Udaipur, Neermahal Palace, Kailashahar, Jampui Hills, and Ambassa. The travel experience in Tripura will be culture-rich as there are numerous ancient temples, monuments, and traditions to be experienced. If rustic travel is your calling, then Tripura will not disappoint you.

How to reach Tripura

Even though Tripura isn’t a very touristy place, it has its own domestic airport in Agartala. Most major towns in India are connected to Agartala through domestic carriers. You could also catch a flight to Tripura from Guwahati. Once in Agartala, you will need to hire a cab to travel across the state. Roads aren’t that great everywhere so plan your trip accordingly.

Best time to visit Tripura

The landlocked state of Tripura experiences extreme weather throughout the year. Summers are quite hot and it is best to avoid traveling there at that time. The sweltering heat drains you out and you won’t enjoy your travel there during that season. The monsoons should also be avoided as heavy downpours are common. The best time to visit Tripura would be from November to February. Average temperatures hover around 28 degrees Celsius making it a pleasant time to do some sight-seeing.

MIZORAM

Part of the Seven Sisters of India is the state of Mizoram, home to the Mizo tribe. The landlocked state shares a border with 3 of the seven sisters of India – Assam, Tripura, and Manipur. Up till 1972, Mizoram was a part of Assam but later it became a Union Territory and then was awarded statehood in 1987. 

It is said that over 95% of Mizoram’s people are tribals which is why it is India’s 2nd least populated state! The state is primarily into agriculture but over the last decade or so, tourism activities have started to pick up as well. Mizoram is another under-developed part of North East India and hence you will find very few popular destinations to visit. 

Some of these include the capital city of Aizawl, Champhai Lake, Lunglei, Murlen National Park, Serchhip, Mamit, Saiha, and Dampa Tiger Reserve.  

How to reach Mirozam

There is a domestic airport in Mizoram but not many flights operate out of there. You might be able to get a flight to Aizawal from either Kolkata or Silchar. The best way to get to Mizoram is to either get to Guwahati and drive from there or to get to Silchar. Silchar has an airport and a railway station and is located 200kms from Aizawl.

Best time to visit Mizoram

The ideal time to visit Mizoram will be from November to March. Average temperatures will be around 28-degree Celsius. The state doesn’t experience extreme weather and that means you can actually go there any time of the year! Winters are not too harsh as well and the 15-degree weather is great for spending maximum time outdoors.

NAGALAND

Seven sisters of India

Once known as the Land of the Headhunters, Nagaland has come a long way in changing its image. Did you know that the north east Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur are the only 2 Indian states where World War II was fought? The Battle of Kohima and Imphal has been rated as Britain’s greatest battle as they stopped the advance of a formidable Japanese army into India! 

Surrounded by Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur, Nagaland is a surreal destination full of tribes, ancient cultures, and untamed forests. The Hornbill festival catapulted Nagaland to international prominence and thousands attend this cultural extravaganza each year. 

Traveling to Nagaland is all about indulging with the numerous local tribes, exploring quaint destinations like Dzukou valley, Kohima, Japfu peak, Kachari ruins, Kigwema, Touphema village, and many smaller gorgeous hamlets.

Apart from the tribal villages, you must experience the famous Naga cuisine that uses local ingredients and is meat infused. Their cuisine is simple yet delicious and the best experiences are had in the local homestays and tribal belts.

How to reach Nagaland

There is no airport or rail link in Nagaland. If you are traveling by rail, then you can get to either Guwahati, Jorhat o Dibrugarh stations and travel to Kohima from there. However, if you plan to fly in, you will have to either land in Guwahati or Dibrugarh. Inside Nagaland, the best way to travel is by personal vehicles or taxis.

Best time to visit Nagaland

Even though the best time to visit Nagaland is from October to March, you can go there any time of the year. Owing to large amounts of forest lands, the weather is quite pleasant throughout the year. Winters are cold but great for outdoor activities. During monsoons, the entire state looks stunning in the green flora and fauna and the streams and waterfalls are brimming with life.

MANIPUR

seven sister states

And the final one in the seven sisters of India is the state of Manipur. Commonly known as the Land of Jewels, Manipur immediately strikes a chord with its visitors. Rolling grass hills, beautiful forests, pristine water bodies, and friendly people are what attract people to Manipur. 

However, it is still an underdeveloped state, and tourism activities aren’t quite as rigorous as Assam or Meghalaya. But if you are looking for offbeat destinations, then Manipur holds a lot of promise. Some of the best places to visit in Manipur include Moirang, Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao National park, and Dzukou Valley. Yes, Dzukou valley is part of Manipur and part of Nagaland as well.

Surrounded by 9 sub-Himalayan ranges, Manipur is blessed with bubbling streams, evergreen forests, beautiful paddy fields, lakes, and waterfalls. One of the main attractions here is the Keibul Lamjao National park; the only floating national park in the world!

How to reach Manipur

The easiest way to get to Manipur is via Jorhat which is about 330 kms away. You could land in Guwahati or Dibrugarh and then reach Imphal by taxi. Or you could travel to Jorhat by train and then drive down to Manipur. Sadly, there is no rail or flight connectivity in the state of Manipur.

Best time to visit Manipur

Winters are the best time to visit Manipur; from October to March. The climate remains pleasant during these months and ideal for exploring the stunning landscapes of the state. During summers, traveling out can be a bit unpleasant but manageable. This is the low season for tourism and there should be fewer crowds at the time. Manipur gets moderate rainfall during monsoons but I wouldn’t plan my trips during the rainy season. If you are looking to plan your trip there, pick a timeframe between September and April.

The Seven Sisters of India have some of the least explored destinations yet the most culturally rich and diverse regions in India. From the mighty Himalayas to the largest river island of the world, some sites will leave you astonished. A vibrant culture, varied cuisines, and a plethora of places to explore are what the North East offers. The time to explore the seven sister states is NOW! Get your memories rolling in before commercialization takes over the place!

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