North East India has a lot to offer from several beautiful hill stations to traditional experiences unlike anywhere else in India. The numerous mountain ranges have kept the region unexplored and most areas are unaffected by urbanization.
North East’s lush forests, diverse wildlife, and pristine water resources make it an ideal spot for travelers looking to explore the off-beat path. Shillong, Gangtok, Cherrapunjee, Darjeeling, Tawang, Ziro, and Kurseong are some popular hill stations in North East India.
Shillong is a wonderful hill station known as the “Scotland of East” that sees a high number of visitors annually among all others. Other popular hill stations in North East India are Gangtok and Tawang. They are great places for explorers, backpackers, and adventure seekers.
Other offbeat places include Haflong in Nagaland which has maintained its quintessential old-school charm with traditional architecture. Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh offers an opportunity to explore nature closely while spending some time with the locals. Lunglei, a less luxurious destination, manages to allure tourists with its natural charm and simplicity. Here are some of the best hill stations in North East India.
Shillong is a beautiful hill city strewn with pine trees. It is also the capital city of Meghalaya. The name Shillong is derived from Lei Shyllong, a deity worshipped at the Shillong Peak. The hill station has cool weather with drizzles making it a perfect place for a relaxing vacation. You can experience the tribal traditions of Khyrim, Mylliem, Maharam, Mallaisohmat, Bhowal, and Langrim tribes.
Shillong is also home to numerous waterfalls gushing through rising mountain peaks. Spread Eagle Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, Sweet Falls, and Elephant Falls are some of the popular tourist places in Shillong.
The spectacular landscape is embellished with crystal clear lakes such as Umiam Lake, Ward’s Lake, and Jakrem. Breathtakingly beautiful golf courses spread across acres of land add to the stunning views. Laitlum Canyons is an unexplored gem offering astounding panoramic views of Meghalaya.
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is a beautiful and captivating hill town. It is at the height of 1650 meters offering stunning views of Mt Kanchenjunga and neighboring peaks all through the year. The spectacular mountain landscapes lure tourists from across the globe.
Gangtok means hilltop and the numerous hill tops make it one of the most beautiful destinations to visit in India. Everything you need from a blend of cultural identities and urbanization, Gangtok has it all. The natural beauty surrounding the hills adds to their charm. Gangtok’s popular tourist attractions are Tsomgo Lake, Ban Jhakri Falls, Kabi Longstok, and Tinkitam Rayong.
There are also many religious sites like Enchey Monastery and Rumtek Monastery which are revered among Buddhist pilgrims. Both of them fall under the most popular Buddhist monasteries in India.
Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok are temples that attract Hindu devotees from across the country. If you are an adventure seeker, River Teesta is one of the best spots for white water rafting in North East India.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Located at a height of about 3048m, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is a hill station known for many important and beautiful monasteries. It is famous for being the birthplace of Tsangyang Gyatso – the 6th Dalai Lama.
The town of Tawang, also pronounced as Dawang, has an astounding landscape to make your trip refreshing. Tawang is the place to be visited for its splendid monasteries, with Tawang Monastery being one of Asia’s most sacred Buddhist sites. It is also India’s largest and the world’s second-largest monastery.
The hill town is also blessed with a breathtaking combination of rocky mountains and water bodies. Madhuri Lake, Nuranang Falls, and P.T Tso Lake are prominent tourist spots in the region. Adventure seekers can enjoy rafting along the Kameng River while enjoying picturesque views of the thick forests and rich biodiversity.
Diphu, a small picturesque town located 250 km from Guwahati in Assam is famous for its tranquil atmosphere. It is a famous hill station in the North East and an even more popular weekend getaway. You can enjoy nature’s beauty with family or friends in Diphu while exploring the local culture.
Singhason and Kohora Khanduli are other tourist destinations you can visit on your trip to Diphu. Tourists also love the ISKON temple which has immense religious significance. Shiva Mandir Deopani is the perfect place to seek blessing and find some peace of mind amidst the hustle-bustle of life.
Flaunting its wide range of flora and fauna, Diphu offers a relaxing atmosphere to nature lovers and spiritual seekers. Adventure activities like trekking in the rocky terrains and hiking along scenic trails also await thrill-seekers. You can also interact with the famous ethnic tribes of Northeastern India such as Dimasa Boro, Karbi, and Garo.
Aizawl is the capital of Mizoram and a quaint hill station in North East India. Located around 1132 meters above sea level, the hill town boasts of its traditions and immense greenery. It is well connected via roads and air to other major hubs of Northeast India such as Silchar and Guwahati in Assam. But you need an Inner Line Pass or ILP to enter Mizoram. The pass can be obtained at Guwahati, Shillong, Kolkata, Silchar, and New Delhi.
Aizawl has been the religious and cultural capital of Mizos. Their rich heritage can be explored through natural history specimens, photographs, and artifacts at the Mizoram State Museum. It has also been shortlisted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO owing to the beauty of its picturesque landscape.
The beauty of the hill station and its surroundings can be witnessed from the numerous viewpoints strewn across it. Reiek Tlang, Hmuifang, and Phawngpui Peak are popular vantage spots in Aizawl.
Unlike other tourist destinations of North East India, Aizawl is a perfect place if you are planning a relaxing vacation amidst hills as it is mostly unexplored. It is the oldest city in the region and home to some stunning tourist attractions.
The Durtlang Hills is popular among trekkers and hikers for its winding trails. You can also spend some time in the lap of nature at Vantawng Falls, Dampa Tiger Reserve, Saiha, Tam Lake, and Phawngpui Village.