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10 Lesser Explored Places in North East India

1. Ziro valley (Arunachal Pradesh)
150 kms from Itanagar

Ziro is one of the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh. It is a World Heritage site approved from UNESCO. It is the home of the Apatani tribe. This place is a peaceful getaway for a cool climate and the scenic beauty of nature. Apart from that there are many things to exolore here, but as facilities are minimum one has to plan in advance before travel. Trekking can be undertaken with the help of some locals. Every year it hosts The Ziro Music Festival around the month of September, where musicians from all round the country come here to perform. Have a look for the paddy cum fish cultivation which is unique in this area. Try the local cusine and also dont forget to try the locally brewed rice beer. The Orchid Research centre. Pine groove, blue pine trres in Midley or the Bamboo groove where One stem bamboo can be seen are some other places to be explored. The Meghna Cave Temple is a very old temple to see here. Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary can also be explored.

2. Ultapani (Assam)
220 kms from Guwahati

Ultapani is a forest area located at the forest base of the Eastern Himalayas in the Manas Biosphere Reserve. The name Ultapani was derived from the flow of the course of River Manas which flows first towards the east and then turns west. The place is known for the evergreen trees as well as animals like Black panther, elephants, golden langur, clouded leopard and many more. Try trekks around the forest. Look out for the various flora including orchids of the region. The place has many types of birds so carry binoculars. The other attractive thing to do is to explore the wide range of butterflies seen here. Mas Bhandar is a beautiful place where you can send a full moon night by the lake. The beauty of the lake in the moonlight is inexpressible. One can hire a car from Kokrajhar which is 53 kms away. Stay - Forest bunglow, night camping, home stays are available. Tel - 09207042330/31

3. Tsongmo Lake (Sikkim)
43 kms from Gangtok

Tsongmo is a glacial lake in Sikkim is located at a height of 12,000ft in the Gangtok-Nathula highway. The Chinese border is just 18 kms away. The lake is rich in aquatic life and is the habitat of Brahmi duck and many other migratory birds. The lake stands in the midst of gigantic mountains which increase the beauty of the lake to a heavenly feel. There are many small temples located on the sides of the lake. Have hot momos and tea from the shacks around the lake. Buddhist artifacts and woolens are available to buy from the shops. Take a yak ride around the lake. Its a good option to just walk around the lake loking out for birds and the beauty from every angle. One can stay at Gangtok and spend the day here.

4. Tura (Meghalaya)

220 kms from Guwahati

Tura is one of the largest towns in Meghalaya, which is in the Garo hills. There are many interesting and unexplored places here to see. The native god Durama was believed to reside in the hills. There are many streams and waterfalls here. The other destinations like Siju cave, Nokrek and Balpakram requires one to pass through the Tura. Siju cave is said to be one of the longest cave in Asia. In Tura one must not miss Pelga and Rongbangdare water falls. Just have a quiet and relaxing walk around the place. Taste the garo delicacies. Traditional Garo food includes boiled rice, different preparations of Pork, beef, chicken and dry fish. If in a mood to explore more take a trip if 112 kms to Naphak lake from Tura.

5. Dzukou valley (Manipur)
99 kms from Dimapur

Dzukou is a beautiful valley located in the Manipur - Nagaland border and is one of the trekking spots in the North east. Dzukou is a bamboo brush which covers the valley and so when we look from far it appears as a mowed lawn. In the spring time the valley comes alive with beautiful flowers as well as rhododendrons. In extreme winters the places freezes as the small streams too freeze up. Since the facilities are minimum one should be well equipped in advance before taking this trip. Explore a bit further by spending a night in the open with the clear visibility of the stars. Mao legend said that when lovers go to Dziikou the night also turns like day and moonlit shines as of the sun. There is not much to do except gazing and enjoying the beauty of nature and picturing the beautiful flowers in the valley. The rare DzŁkou Lily is found only in this valley.

6. Keibul Lamjao (Manipur)

45 kms from Imphal

Keibul Lamjao is known for its national park which is the only floating park in the world. It is located in the fringes of Loktak Lake, and is the last natural habitat of Sangai - the dancing deer or Eld's deer or brow-antlered deer of Manipur. During the month of February the park is full of birds both migratory and other water birds. The main attraction of the lake are the two islands. The watch towers can also give you a good view. One can go to the top of Sendra island to have a good view of the park. The park can also be explored on boats. Its a beautiful place for photography. The numerous floating islands called phumdis can also be visited. An adventurous trip would be to take a walk through the park but the phumdi is not a firm ground. There are just basic options for stay here, so one can stay at Imphal and visit here. Forest rest houses are there apart from Sendra tourist centre, and Moirang tourist centre.

7. Kibithu (Arunachal Pradesh)
220 kms from Wakro

Kibithu is the eastern most point of India in Arunachal Pradesh. It lies on the Line of Actual Control. The Lohit River enters India at Kibithu. This small town is nestled in between high mountains and has many waterfalls and streams. The mountain peaks are tough to climb as they are very steep and range from 10,000 to 16,000ft. During the Sino-Indian war this town was the entry point for the Chinese attack in this region. This is also a wounderful place for trekks. The big hanging bridge on the Lohit river can be explored but one has to be careful of the high winds. Kibithu also serves as starting point for white water rafting (level 5). Dont forget to stop at Wakro to buy some juicy oranges. Also visit the temple site of Parsuram kund located right beside the Lohit river. Once can undertake the journey of aprox 230 km from Tezu to Kibthu which is very beautiful.

8. Jatinga (Assam)
330 kms from Guwahati

Jatinga is a small village located in the Dima Hasao district of Assam. It is 9 kms away from Haflong, which is the only hill station in Assam. Jatinga is famous for the rare and mysterious bird phenomenon of 'bird suicide'. From September to November thousands of birds meet their death by suddenly dashing on the ground. Actually on foggy nights birds are disturbed by the locals and they are attracted to lights. These dazed birds are captured using bamboo poles by the locals. Studies have showed that the .. birds are disturbed by the high velocity winds. When the disturbed birds fly towards lights as refuge they are hit with bamboo poles and killed or injured. Awareness has been created among the illiterate villagers. Since then, the amount of birds killed have decreased by about 40 percent. Here too there are many trekking spots. Get a bikeand ride around the areaand have a look at the village. Bird watching is also a wonderful option. Try the Jaintia cusine. Water sports and angling are other options to try here.

9. Namdapha (Arunachal Pradesh)
200 kms from Dibrugarh

Located in the Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh. It is located in the Myanmar border and is the third largest national park in India in terms of area. Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot. The park has extensive bamboo forests. Various flowers and mammals are found in the park. Have a trek around the park. Take an elephant safari. Bird watching is the best way to spend time here. Look out for the wide variety of flowers. Sapria himalayana and Balanophora are root parasites related to Rafflesia recorded from the area. The world's tastiest rice beer Marawa is a must try here.

10. Mawlynnong (Meghalaya)
90 kms from Shillong

Mawlynnong is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state, India. It is famous for having been dubbed Asia's cleanest village. It is a known place among the tourists of the North East. Autumn is the best season to visit this place. It is nestled between the plains of Bangaladesh and the foothills of the war region. Vibrant red, yellow and green Cleous and Japonice grow profusely by the roadside giving the whole village a garden of Eden look. The pleasant weather of the place is right for the most exotic flora and fauna. Surely visit the living root bridges that connect the village to other neighbouring villages. Visit the oldest church of the Church of North India. Go for the Sky walk for a bird's eye view of the beautiful village. Take a picnic with lots of fruits and vegetables available as the local produce. Trek to Nohwet village and other sorrounding villages of historic importance.

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