Introduction

The chapter introduces readers to the Seven North-eastern states of India, also known as the Seven Sisters. To the majority of you and the rest of the world, these are still uncharted and undiscovered places. They are known for their colourful clothes, dance and song, as well as their natural beauty. The entire area has been classified as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots by environmentalists. 

Arunachal Pradesh

Land of the Rising Sun – the Land of the Dawn Lit Sun, Arunachal Pradesh is a nature lover’s haven. Its people belonging from different tribes are hospitable. Their diet mainly consists of rice and fish with momos being exceptionally popular.  Monasteries, lush green forests, lakes, waterfalls, and deep river valleys dot the land. There is a wide diversity of natural life in the limestone caves known as tapenuru and forest reserves.

Make a point of visiting Tawang’s 400-year-old Buddhist monastery and attending Ziro’s cultural festivals. The Namdapha tiger project is not to be missed. Visitors are also welcome to visit one of the many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks to witness exotic animals, birds, and plants. In addition, the state is also the site of India’s first orchid sanctuary.

Assam

Assam, also known as Ahom lies between the beautiful valleys of the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. Popularly also called the gateway to the seven sisters, it is known for its artistic heritage, exotic dance forms and elegant temples. World Heritage Sites include Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park. The beautiful scenery of golden-green rice fields and groomed tea estates is breathtaking.  And, as you may know, Assam tea is world renowned.

Assam’s lifeline is the Brahmaputra. Petroleum, natural gas, coal, limestone, and other minor minerals abound on the property. The handwoven silks are gorgeous, with natural colours and patterns. The silk fabrics ‘Eri’, ‘Muga’, and ‘Pat’ from Assam are among the most sought after in the fashion world. It is regarded as the land of festivals and fairs.

Meghalaya

Meghalaya, the land of clouds. Because of its highlands, fog, and landscape, the capital city Shillong is known as the “Scotland of the East.” The people speak English, Khasi, Pnar, and Garo, among other languages. The valley mists, undulating hills, countless lakes, waterfalls, caverns, holy forests, and exotic flora and wildlife all add to the allure.

Even now, Jhum, or shifting farming, is practised here. The state is ornamented with beautiful mountains with valley stretches, rivers and highland plateaus. Coal, limestone, uranium, and sillimanite are among the important minerals found in rock formations. Do explore Cherrapunji/Mausinram, one of the wettest areas on the planet. One will be amazed to see the Krem Liat Prah, the longest cave, and Synrang Pamiang which is the deepest cave. You can enjoy the panoramic view of Bangladesh from here. Do come to this pinefresh mountain state during the Wangala festival in autumn. 

Manipur

Imphal, the capital, is home to a velodrome for cyclists. Many residents are from the Meetei ethnic group, and they speak Meetei/Manipuri. It is credited with introducing polo to Europeans. However, because of the utilisation of many aromatic herbs and roots that are unique to the area, the food is very different from the rest of India. The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a sight to behold, since it is home to the unique and endangered brow antlered deer.

 There are 17 uncommon mammal species in this environment. It is the world’s only floating national park. The Loktak Lake and Floating Islands are a must-see. The Manipuri dance is one of India’s most well-known classical dances. The unusual clothes and simple but delicate rhythm of tribal people’s folk dances enchant onlookers. The Manipuri Martial Arts – ‘Thang Ta’ and ‘Sarit Sarak’ – should not be missed.

Mizoram

The plains and valleys are covered with lush forests and thick bamboo groves, green paddy fields, and grape yards.  Travelling in Mizoram is a little challenging, but it comes with its own set of benefits.  The capital is Aizawl, which offers a breathtaking view of the lush emerald Tlawng river valley in the west and the Tuirial river valley in the east from its beautiful location. Zarkawt, a museum in the city’s core, depicts Mizoram’s culture with a magnificent collection of costumes, antiques, and historical artefacts. 

Palak Lake is Mizoram’s largest, covering 30 hectares (74 acres).  The lake is said to have been formed as a result of an earthquake. Champhai is renowned as Mizoram’s “fruit bowl” because of its fertile vineyards.  There are two national parks and six wildlife sanctuaries to visit here. Mizo is the official and most generally spoken language of Mizoram.

Nagaland

Nagaland, one of the smallest States of India, is called the Switzerland of the East. Kohima is the state capital. The majority of the state is mountainous. Mount Saramati, with a height of around 3,840 metres, is the tallest mountain in the range, and it provides a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma. This exotic hill State is home to over 16 tribes and sub-tribes, each with its own colourful and beautifully crafted clothes and accessories to adorn them.

Many young people are now working in the fashion industry. People refer to it as a wealthy East Coast fashion station. The acreage is great for trekking, rock climbing and endless exploration. The state also offers a plethora of therapeutic herbs. It is  regarded as the ‘World Falcon Capital.’ One of the most well-known birds to be found here is the huge Indian hornbill. You must visit the Naga History Village, which highlights its cultural heritage. Do visit and join the Great Hornbill Festival.

Tripura

Tripura meaning ‘three cities’, also means ‘near water’. It is the third smallest state in the country, bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and west. There are three distinct geographical zones on the land: 1. The north to south hill ranges; 2. the undulating plateau terrain; and 3. the low-lying alluvial plains. The land is nourished by many rivers, and the people’s activities are sustained by them. The Gumti, Muhuri, and Feni are the most prominent. Rice, cotton, jute, tea, tobacco, and oilseeds are among the crops farmed in this region.

Among the many tribes and subtribes, the Kokborok-speaking Tripuri people are the most numerous. The capital city is Agartala. Ecotourism and archaeology tourism are two key reasons visitors go to Tripura. The vast tea gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, and specially designed eco-parks, as well as the famous rock carvings at Deotamura, are all major draws.

The Neermahal is a stunning red-and-white water palace that sits on its own island in Rudrasagar’s lake. State festivities such as Garia, Durga Puja, Buddha Purnima, Kharchi, Pous Sankranti, Bijhu, and Christmas attract people from all communities and tribes. The folk dances will fascinate you, and the people will warmly welcome you.

Conclusion

The chapter successfully draws attention to the otherwise underrated states of India and promotes their tourism while glorifying their natural beauty and culture.