Tourism has been gaining importance in recent decades with its increasing socioeconomic, geopolitical, and ecological contributions. Northeast India is quickly becoming a popular destination for globetrotters. The mesmerising views of mountains, cascading waterfalls, and the distinct history and culture of the eight states offer an extraordinary experience.
On World Tourism Day, we bring you a hand-picked list of 7 offbeat villages that we think should be on every traveller’s list for the next dream vacation. Check ‘em out!
Zuluk is a small hamlet located at a height of around 10,000 feet on the rugged terrain of the lower Himalayas in East Sikkim. It was once a transit point to the historic Silk Route from Tibet to India. The silk route that connected Lhasa (Tibet) to Kalimpong was in use until the Chinese invasion of Tibet. It was commonly used by traders travelling to Tibet through Jelep-la as an overnight base. 14 km away from Zuluk, the Thambi View Point offers a panoramic view of the entire Mt. Kanchenjunga range. Zuluk is surrounded by wild virgin forests. Sighting of Deer, Himalayan bears, tigers, and red panda is quite common. During the summer months, the area and its surrounding hills are covered with blooming rhododendron.
Serene and picturesque, Namphake in Dibrugarh district radiates an archaic charm. The soothing water of the Burhi Dihing River passing through the heart of the pristine village is a mesmerising sight. Traditional chang-ghars, with roofs made of dry toko leaves, adorn the entire village. Home to 150 Tai-Phake families, the Namphake Buddhist Monastery in the village is one of the oldest monasteries of Assam. The residents are followers of Buddhism. The village has an Ashokan Pillar built nearby and a Buddhist Pagoda. On entering the main temple, one can witness the majestic statue of Lord Buddha made of gold. The water tank inside the monastery, known as the Mucalinda Tank, is considered holy.
Looking for a break from the monotony of life? Head to this ancient village in the Naga Hills called Molung, an Ao tribe village, in the Mokokchung district. This green village is considered by many to be the first one from the state. Lying in the Changkikong Range, there is a famous litchi tree, which is believed to have been planted by Dr E W Clark in 1878; the first American Missionary to the erstwhile Naga Hills. It bears fruits even today. Mongsenyimti – another Ao village with community forests, clan forests, and jhum cultivation blocks – and Langpangkong Mountain Range – located between the valleys of the Dikhu and Milak rivers – are the nearby important tourist places.
About 30 km to the West of Aizawl sprawls a prominent mountain on which Reiek village is located. The mountain has spectacular rocky cliffs notched with caves and caverns with luxuriant natural forest preserved since the days of the Mizo chiefs. The mountain road takes one through the lush green hills, crosses the Tlawng river as it gushes through a narrow rocky gorge, and then climbs up the hills winding up gradually to make a comfortable drive, during which one comes across a few cascades which are a photographer’s delight.
This tiny village about 25 km from Imphal, the capital of Manipur, is tucked away in the foothills of the Nongmaiching range and offers an insightful gaze into the rich history and tribal traditions of the state. From scenic beauty to traditional handicrafts and ancient temples shrouded in folklore, this village offers a wide range of attractions for tourists. The cultural complex-cum-museum established to preserve the slowly disappearing traditions and customs displays the stunning cultural legacy in the form of beautiful paintings, handicraft tribal dolls, stone figurines and wood carvings of local legends. Another captivating sight to see in Andro is the ancient temple dedicated to the governing deity of the village, Panam Ningthou, which houses a sacred fire that has been burning since it was first lit nearly 1,000 years ago. The temple is locally known as Chakpa Panam Ningthou Meithoupirol Shanglen or Mei Mutaba.
Dong, Arunachal Pradesh
Dong, a small picturesque village inhabited by the Meyors just 7 km away from Walong, is situated on the left bank of the Lohit River. This village is said to receive the first sun rays in India. The millennium sunrise was witnessed by people from all across the world at Dong on 1st Jan 2000. At an altitude of 1240 metres, Dong is placed at a strategic location of tri-junction of three countries namely, India, Myanmar and China. The place is enriched with unspoilt natural beauty and is a photographer’s paradise. Trekking is the best way to explore this gorgeous destination.
Kongthong, a small village nestled in the Khat-ar Shnong area, is a must-visit for its panoramic view, unique culture and virgin beauty. In Kongthong village, a mother calls her child by a tune instead of a name. The villagers have two names in Kongthong –a regular name and a song name. In fact, the song names have two versions, a short song and a long song. The short song is normally used at home. The longer names are used in the forest to keep away evil spirits. The musical names are called ‘jingrwai Iawbei’ in the village. Kongthong village, also known as the ‘Whistling village’, was nominated by the Ministry of Tourism for the World Tourism Organization’s “Best Tourism Villages” award along with two other villages in the country.
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