When the sweltering heat of the cities starts bothering us, we badly look for a retreat. In such a situation perhaps those who are single like me do not think much about location, weather, food and a heavy weight luggage. But, if your travel plan involves family as a whole all these concerns create a big hotchpotch and choosing the destination you want to head to turns out to be a million dollar question. Fortunately, India boasts spectacular travel destinations that can be complementary to one another to travel in all season. The present post speaks about the best places in North-East India to explore during summer season where you can expect ultimate peace and an unparalleled experience to cherish in later years.
If you are bargaining for spending your summer break in a hill station other than the Shivalik or Western Ghats, head to Pelling, the popular hill station of Sikkim. One of the best summer holiday destinations in North-East India, Peling is around 10 km from Gyalshing, the district headquarter. The most exciting part of travelling to Pelling is the unsurpassed view of Kanchenjunga at dawn when the valley remains silent and you get the golden opportunity to mingle with nature and be yourself. The famous Pemayangste Monastery is just a kilometre away from Pelling where you can reach by trekking. There are short treks which can be joined for a rejuvenating nature walk passing through a serene environment and scenic backdrop.
You might have seen several tribal villages and communities in your life time, but Mokukchung district in Nagaland will introduce you to some unusual elements that you can’t find anywhere else in India. It takes around 6 hours to reach this place from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. Although the entire community of this region follows Christianity, yet they have not given up their traditional practices; it is an amazing thing one which you can explore when travelling in Mokokchung. The small villages of this district are found on green hillocks and inhabited by friendly Ao Naga tribe. Longkhum is one such village where you can enjoy the best natural views during full bloom season when its narrow roads get filled with the colourful rhododendron. A small group of people follow the animist religion and they worship the deity called Longlanpa Tsungrem. Chuchuyimlang village is popular among the Nagas for several vibrant festivals such as Moatsu. The Moatsu Festival starts first May and continues till third May when the villagers of one particular area exchange gifts and build friendships with the villagers of the other region. Chuchuyimlang and Ungma village are some other places of attractions in Mokokchung.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
A multi-coloured canvas painted with the strokes of white-brown and green, Tawang is the land of the Monpas. Picturesque Buddhist Monasteries, sparkling lakes and cascading waterfalls deck this North-Eastern travel destination which looks nothing less than a slice of heaven. You can easily plan for a vacation as Tawang has enough to meet your expectations. Unlike other Indian cities you don’t have to wait in long queues to visit its monasteries like Taktsang Gompa or Tawang Monastery. So you get sufficient time to explore the rich collection of artefacts and Buddhist manuscripts. As your family will be with you, let them experience the beauty of Sella Pass which exhibits an unsurpassed view. You might not witness snow fall in summer but the small lake at Tawang and the lofty mountains would make you fall in love with this place. If you are not with your kids and love to go adventurous then leaving all worries plan for Gorichen trek which is a moderate grade of trekking option in Arunachal Pradesh. For better sightseeing options explore the attractions like Jaswant Garh, Pankang Teng Tso Lake, Urgyelling Monastery and some more.
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
If you are travelling in summer to take a break from mundane lifestyle and looking for a less commercial yet mind refreshing tourist spot, Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh will be the best place. The flourishing paddy fields, gurgling rivulets and placid locale will amaze you and urge you to sit at the edge of a small hillock to feel one with nature. The long stretches of greenery that expand as far as you eyes can see and the pleasant weather would make you feel enchanted. Go exploring the small villages of Apatani tribes who are very friendly. Observe their lifestyle minutely and you can see how the women of this tribe sport huge bamboo nose plugs. For authentic tribal village tour in North-East, you can explore the villages like Hong, Dutta, Bamin and Hija all of which are located within a distance of 10km. If you want to feel more ethnic go for homestay options arranged by Ngunu Ziro. However, for hotels and other day to day necessities you can depend on Hapoli (New Ziro) which is around 7km South of Ziro Valley.
Dzuk0u Valley, Nagaland
I would suggest you to plan a trip to Dzukou Valley only if both you and your better half are equally zealous and love to explore the most exclusive natural beauty with open eyes. Tucked away at an elevation of 2438m, this valley is the dreamland of trekkers who cannot afford difficult grades. This picturesque hill station of Nagaland earns the sobriquet of the “Valley of Flowers of the North-East” for getting carpeted with wild flowers in summer. Dzukou is located at the border of Manipur and Nagaland and trekking expedition in this valley tends to be easy to moderate. The base camp of this trek is on Viswema Village which further proceeds via a motorable route and a narrow moss-covered hilly route. Numerous low clusters of hillocks host wonderful natural caves and rock overhangs where you can go camping with groups.
The only hill station of Assam, Haflong is dubbed as the “white ant hillock” and you will undoubtedly fall in love with it once you reach there. Located at a distance of 310km from Guwahati, this quaint hill station revives you from inside as there is an absence of commercialisation and disturbing honks. Less crowded and less advertised in comparison to other Indian hill stations, Haflong appears to be the best summer holiday destinations in Assam. The headquarter of North-Cachar District, this tourist spot bears a handful of historical buildings carrying the marks of the British colonial past and looks vibrant for the scenic vistas dotted with crystal clear mountain streams, small hillocks and the blend of lush greenery and dense vegetation of pineapple orchards. Instead of lying down in leisure out of love with this place, go exploring the attractions of Maibong or the mysterious Jatinga where birds from different corners of the globe gather to commit suicide.
If Assam is the cultural hub of the North-East then Majuli is its fulcrum; you will realize the logic behind my argument when you explore the hidden gems of this holy land with utmost care. Located at a distance of 200km east of Guwahati, this river island can be accessed by ferry from Jorhat. Formed on the heart of mighty Brahmaputra, this river island flaunts unparalleled scenic beauty speckled with wind-blown rice fields and water-bodies blooming with flowers. The most significant element of tourism in Majuli is the Satras where the Satriya Vaishnav Religion is nourished by the Mohantas or priests. The rich collection of masks, dresses and jewelleries used in traditional dramas like Bhaona are worth watching. Most of these masks are handmade and represent some mythical characters.
If you are expecting to enjoy your much-awaited summer holidays in North East India without compromising on the level of comfort and class then Shillong town should not escape your sight at any cost. The neat and clean roads meandering through the hills, salubrious weather and the free lifestyle of the locales would inspire you to be here for the second time. Dubbed as the “Hollywood of North-East”, Shillong hosts lavish accommodation built on the edges of placid mountains and lakes. Beautiful pine trees and flower gardens dress this town as a newlywed bride and bewitch you for the picturesque position of the houses on the lap of the hills. For sightseeing in Shillong, Ward’s Lake, Shillong Peak, Elephant Falls, Laitlum Canyons, Lady Hydari Park, shillong golf course, Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures are a few ideal spots. If you are ready to travel for a few kilometres more you can visit Nokrek National Park.
If you want to walk amidst the clouds even in the sweltering heat of July, head this summer to Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on earth. 58km from Shillong this amazing tourist spot has vivacious waterfalls, lush green meadows and delightful weather that make your sweet summer feel appropriate. Officially known as Sohra, Cherrapunji has abundant camera-friendly landscapes which will be not less than a lifetime experience. Nohkalikai Falls is reckoned to be the tallest plunge waterfall in India. Some of the liveliest waterfalls in Cherrapunji are Seven Sisters’ falls, Dainthlen Waterfalls, Mawsmai Falls. For further extending your trip, you can end up exploring the sights of David Scott Memorial, Eco Park and Khasi Monoliths. If your family is enthusiastic enough and want to try something offbeat, go for caving in Krem Phyllut Cave or Krem Mawmluh Cave.
Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
For touring North East India in summer season, Sikkim hardly has any other rivals and to verify this statement you should explore the part of Tsomgo Lake which is tucked at an altitude of 3780m. Located at a distance of around 38km from Gangtok, this lake exudes ethereal views for the surrounding mountain ranges of the Himalaya. The best part of exploring this lake vicinity in summer season is the unmatched vistas painted with blooming rhododendrons, primulas, blue and yellow poppies. If you are travelling in May, chances of witnessing snow are brighter as it remains frozen till mid June. The surrounding areas of this lake are inhabited by the red panda and several species of birds are high. You can also see the exclusive brahminy duck. Do not forget to capture a few shots of them.