1. Pelling, Sikkim:
Pelling is an absolute family destination and a holiday with loved ones here can certainly add fun to your life. Pelling offers a panoramic view of the mountains like Kangchenjunga, Rathong, Frey, Kabru North and others. You can tour the town, meet people of different cultures, savour delicious Tibetan and Nepalese cuisines and enjoy the scenic beauty. There are some spellbinding places that you can visit in Pelling like Sing shore Suspension Bridge, which is the second highest gorge bridge in Asia and the highest in Sikkim. You can also take a short nature walk towards Pemayangtse Monastery, the oldest monasteries of Sikkim; Rabdengtse Ruins, located at a walking distance from the Pemayangtse Monastery; a sacred lake – Khecheopalri, and Sewaro Rock Garden.
2. Guwahati, Assam:
The largest city in Northeast and the gateway to the seven sisters, Guwahati is a mega city always blooming with celebrations. Basically, an amazing place if you want to sight-see the multicultural displays of Assam. Your family will certainly have a good time to keep you company here. Some notable and must visit places in Guwahati are Kamakhya Temple, Fancy Bazar, Assam State Zoo, Regional Science Centre, and Accoland . You can also take up Boat tour to the island of Brahmaputra, where the famed Umananda Temple is situated. If you feel like meandering and spending quality time with family, Guwahati has some lush gardens too.
3. Haflong, Assam:
Bid goodbye to the city life and say hello to the fresh dwelling of Haflong in Assam. Haflong is the only hill station in Assam and it has captivated people for its charming hillocks and crystal clear streams. With about 7 hours of distance from Guwahati, Haflong is a nature lover’s paradise. Perhaps, a nice selfie session at the Haflong Lake will brighten your day; the lake is a perfect place to enjoy boating. Other popular landmarks in Haflong are Haflong Hill, Panimoor Waterfall, Synod-Presbyterian Church, Dimasa Mahila Samity Sibarai Mandir and more.
4. Gangtok, Sikkim:
Forget about bustling city life when in Gangtok. This divine place is a perfect getaway for many reasons. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim and this land occupies some amazing monasteries and fun adventure things to do. On the contrary, Gangtok is quiet in its own way. You can explore and keep your family amused by visiting sites in Gangtok like Tsomgo Lake, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Pemayangtse Monastery, Saramsa Garden, Banjhakri falls and park, Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir etc. If you want to add a little adventure you can hike up Nathu La and Zero Point Yumesamdong.
5. Shillong, Meghalaya:
The beauty awaits – Shillong is a mesmerizing town that is surrounded by hillock and wondrous landmarks. It has rapidly grown into a modern town and it hosts cultural events, music festivals all year round. A walk in the glory plaza, shopping for north-eastern clothing; and boating on Wards Lake is just some activities that you can enjoy with your family. Apart from this, places to visit in Shillong include Golf Course, Shillong Peak, Laitlum Canyons, Lady Hydari Park, Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, and Elephant Falls. You can also visit nearby places from Shillong like David Scott Trail, Lumpongdeng Island, and Cherrapunji.
6. Cherapunji, Meghalaya:
This subdivisional town in Meghalaya holds breathtaking sights to keep you company all day. Being marked as the wettest place on Earth, Cherapunji houses some spellbinding waterfalls. Nohkalikai Falls, Dainthlen Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, Seven Sisters Falls along with the Mawsmai Cave, Thangkharang Park, Double Decker Living Root Bridge, Mawkdok Dympep Valley are few notable places to sightsee in Cherapunji that can provide a complete rejuvenating experience for you and your family. If you don’t intend to stay back, Shillong is only an hour and a half away from Cherapunji. Else you can accommodate in some guest houses the place offers.
7. Mon, Nagaland:
In order to witness the simplicity of life, Mon district in Nagaland is a perfect place. The people in Mon district live a very humble life and often are found as street vendors selling unique eateries and tribal ornaments. This land will give you new insight on how you see the Northeast, its humble hospitality and cosy cottages of Konyak tribe and its welcome drinks are just some small details. You can certainly enjoy its many exotic landmarks; some villages to visit around Mon are Chui, Naganimora, Shangnyu and you can also expedite the Veda Peak which is the highest peak in Mon district. What’s more interesting is the Longwa Village which is not only famous for its skull exhibits but also a place where you can easily access Myanmar as this village lies on the border.
8. Majuli, Assam:
Explore the hidden gems of Majuli and unlock your knowledge by visiting its unique sites and exploring its assets. Majuli is a river island and what makes it different is that this is the first district island in the country. Majuli can be easily accessed from Jorhat via a ferry ride, the feel and a thrill moving towards Majuli afloat the Brahmaputra River is something unusual. You and your family can indulge in exploring places like Samaguri Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalay, Amreteswar Temple, Bangalpukhari, and Tengapania. You can also visit Bongaori, which is a well-known tourist town at a distance of 8 km from Shamaguri in Majuli.
9. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh:
The smallest of the 16 administrative districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is the place where you can feel the heaven on earth. This exotic land is located about 2,669 meters and it houses mesmerizing sites like Tawang Monastery, Taktsang Gompa, Shonga-tser Lake, Nuranang Waterfalls, Pankang Teng Tso Lake, Bap Teng Kang Waterfall, and Jaswant Garh to keep you occupied. You can also visit passes like Bumla which is the Indo-China border located 37 km away from Tawang and Sela Pass known to be one ofe high-altitude mountain passes in the world that is motorable.
10. Sivasagar, Assam:
Sivasagar is a divine destination for any travellers. It is an uptown of Assam and it stores many gems of historic importance. Some places to visit in Sivasagar with your family are Rang Ghar, Sibsagar Lake, Shiva Temple, Tai Ahom Museum, Central Baptist and Catholic Church, Pani Dihing Wildlife Sanctuary, and Anadaram Baruah Park. If you want to hit the road and explore places around Sivasagar then you can travel to Dibrugarh at a distance of about 76 km, Jorhat at a distance of 55 km, Charaideo at a distance of 28 km away and Talatal Ghar at a distance of 6 km.
1. Losar, Arunachal Pradesh.
Losar is a major festival in Arunachal Pradesh as it marks the Tibetan New Year. Tribes like Monpa, Sherdukpens, Memba, Khamba and Nah following the Mahayana sect of Buddhism celebrate this festival with all pomp. This three-day festival begins on February 11 each year. On the first day of the festival, the priests make offering to the highest priest called the Dharmapala or Palden Lhamo, whereas the masses visit friends and family and wish them Tashi Delek (best wishes). Also according to the local tradition, sprouted barley seeds and buckets of tsampa (roasted barley flour with butter) and other grains are offered on home altars to ensure a good harvest. On the second day of the festival, which is also called Gyalpo Losar, national leaders and kings are honoured. On the third and final day of the festival known as Choe-Kyong Losar, people make offerings to Dharmapala and tie prayer flags on rooftops and across the locality. Although the spiritual observance ends on the third day, the celebration can extend for 10 to 15 days.
Date for 2015: 11 February (fixed)
2. Saga Dawa, Sikkim.
Saga Dawa is one of the major Buddhist festivals in Sikkim and is celebrated in the Tibetan lunar month. The full moon day that falls in the middle of the lunar month is known as Saga Dawa and it is considered as an auspicious day by the Buddhists. Saga Dawa is called the ‘Month of Merits’ and is celebrated between May and June. The festival commemorates the birth, enlightment and death of the Buddha. On the occasion of Saga Dawa in Sikkim, people gather at the monasteries and offer water, incense sticks and dhog. Also, many participate in the circumambulation of the Gompas, where they chant mantras, carry the religious text and turn the prayer wheels.
Date for 2015: Not Declared
3. Ambubachi Mela, Assam
Reckoned to be one of the major festivals in Northeast India, Ambubachi Mela is held in Guwahati, Assam. The festival is celebrated during the month of June in the Kamakhya Temple. Thousands of devotees from all over India and abroad throng the temple; thus this mela can rightly be called the ‘Mahakumbh of the East’. It is believed that during this time of each year Goddess Kamakhya goes through her annual menstrual cycle. The temple remains closed for three days and is considered unclean, however the devotees throng the temple’s premises to seek Goddess’ blessing even though the doors are closed. It is also during this time of the year when the Tantrik Cult is seen performing various unusual rites. After three days the temple re-opens and the devotees are allowed to offer prayer to the deity.
Date for 2015: June 22-26
4. Dree Festival, Arunachal Pradesh
Although Dree is the festival of the Apatani Tribe, it has gained in popularity amongst other tribes in Arunachal Pradesh as well. The festival takes place on July 5 each year; however celebrations associated with the festival begin from July 4 itself. Dree is the biggest festival of the Ziro Valley and is celebrated to ensure a good harvest. During the festival, people offer prayers to four Gods namely, Tamu, Harniang, Metii, and Danyi. Traditional dance is performed and as a symbol of good harvest cucumber is distributed to all. Women brew wine and people also savour various delicacies and rice/millet beer.
Date for 2015: July 5 (fixed)
5. Anthurium, Mizoram
Named after a famous flower, Anthurium is a major festival in Mizoram. Anthurium is celebrated with an objective of promoting tourism and it is held in the month of September each year. A small village called Reiek (about 70kms from capital city Aizawl) is the venue for this fest. Folk dance, music and cuisine are the highlight of this festival.
Date for 2015: Not Declared
6. Bihu Festival, Assam
Celebrated to welcome the Assamese New Year, Bohag Bihu is one of the most prominent festivals in Assam. To be precise, the Assamese celebrate Bihu thrice in a year namely, Bohag or Rongali Bihu, Kaati or Kongali Bihu and Maagh or Bhogali Bihu. The Bohag Bihu calls for huge celebration beginning from April 14 each year. Although the festival is observed for 7 days, the celebration extends for about a month. The first day of Bohag Bihu is called Goru Bihu, in which cow and bulls are bathed and fed. The main festival is observed on the second day; people greet each other and present their relatives with Gamosa (hand-woven cotton towels). On this day, young Assamese men and women form groups and perform Bihu Dance. Assamese delicacies are prepared out of which Pitha (dish made of rice powder, wheat flour, coconut, sesame and jaggery) is the specialty. Stages are set in different parts of the state, where Bihu Dance is performed on a regular basis for a month.
Date for 2015: April 14 (fixed)
7. Hornbill Festival, Kohima Nagaland
Named after a bird, Hornbill Festival is a major festival in Nagaland. Like many festivals in the state, Hornbill festival is also related to agriculture. It is a 7 to 10 days festival that begins with immense zeal from December 1 every year. Held in Kisama Heritage Village, this festival is attended by all the major tribes in Nagaland. Hornbill is a good time to witness the cultural vividness; it also gives the opportunity to bond with different communities. The warrior log drums, colorful headgear, and soulful war cry, exquisite costumes are the highlights of the festival. The Kohima Night Bazaar and contests like pork eating and King Chilly add tingly flavour to the festive mood.
Date for 2015: December 1 (fixed)
8. Wangala Festival, Meghalaya
Wangala is a winter festival in Meghalaya that is mainly celebrated by the Garo tribe. It is held in the second week of November each year in Asanang village near Tura in the Garo Hills and is considered to be a post-harvest celebration. The festival is celebrated in the honor of Misi Saljong, who is considered to be a generous giver. The village chief called Nokma performs rituals a day before the festival begins during which freshly brewed rich beer, cooked rice and vegetables are offered to Misi Saljong. Wangala Festival is also called ‘100 Drum Wangala Festival’; the main attraction of this celebration is the music. Drums, orchestra and flutes offer a wonderful and mesmerizing ambiance that amplifies the festive mood. The feathered head gear is yet another attraction that is worn by everyone celebrating the festival.
Date for 2015: November 7