I always dreamt of travelling to a secluded place, a place less travelled, a place which has surreal beauties hidden deep inside. I always thought that these places are far from where I live, unreachable. Expense was one of the biggest concern while thinking of these places, as they are not easily accessible… until we decided to visit the less travelled states of north-east India.
We decided to step on three beautiful states of the north-east – Assam, Meghalaya & Arunachal Pradesh. With this visit I have now been to 24 of 36 states in India (as of Jan 2016). Hope to cover the remaining ones soon :).
It was a 11 day trip covering three beautiful states. We were 6 adults and 1 kid. We booked a Tata Sumo for complete trip. Our friend Hemanta picked us from Guwahati airport and dropped us back there safely with bags full of happiness and delightful experience. I would strongly recommend him for your northeast travel. He is not only an excellent driver but a calm, friendly local who injects you with his endemic knowledge throughout the trip.
We started our trip from Guwahati. We reached the peaceful city by afternoon and relaxed for the day. We knew that the journey from Guwahati to Cherrapunjee would be beautiful and hence wanted to cover all in daylight. Our itinerary was as follows Guwahati – Sohra(Cherrapunjee) – Nameri – Dirang – Kaziranga – Guwahati. Northeast is an amazing place and a must visit for every traveling soul, it’s surreal and simple at same time. Don’t believe me, see it for yourself.
Next morning we left for Sohra, covering a few spots on the way. Our very first spot was a lake Umiam. Umiam is a beautiful lake that lies around 17kms before Shillong. We were now in second state “The Meghalaya” the reason I loved this state so much is the fact that it was absolutely clean and green. Infact the other two state were clean too but Meghalaya was something special. Locals in Meghalaya chew betel leaves a lot. It’s kind of habit but I never saw a spit mark in my entire journey. I wish the country learns from this state about keeping itself clean.
Later we visited the Elephant falls. It’s approximately 12kms from Shillong and is a three step fall. Third step is the biggest of the three. The falls is accessible by the stairs.
Guwahati to Sohra was approximately 145kms. However it took us 6-7 hours to reach our destination as we stopped on few spots. We had our lunch in restaurant Soilyna Huts near Sohra. Food was delicious and service was super quick.
We reached Sohra soon after lunch and were greeted by beautiful Sohra valley.
We stayed for 3 nights in Sai-Mika resort @ Sohra. A beautiful property but ill managed. The location was secluded and away from town. I strongly recommend it if solace is what you seek. However be careful, we lost our few luggage bags to mouse that sheltered below the wooden floor of our huge rooms. Nevertheless the place was really beautiful and calm.
Next day we decided to visit one of the wonders of world – “The Double Decker Living Root Bridge”. These living root bridges lie in Nongriat village in east Khasi hills. It took around 4-5 hour trek to reach the place and come back. I have a detailed write-up on the root bridges here.
After feeding our souls with the beauty of this magnificent place, we were dead tired and was time to feed our bodies. We had lunch in Cherrapunjee Resort and headed towards the falls of Cherrapunjee. Surprisingly the seven sister falls were dry and deprived of water. Not a single sister was wet(pun intended). What else could global warming be than dried waterfalls in Cherrapunjee.
Next day we visited Dawki and Mawlynnong village. On the way we came across huge gathering of locals for a fishing competition. Hemanta informed us that people from many nearby villages participate in this competition. The prize money was approximately Rs.1 lakh.
We visited Riwai village for our parents to witness the living root bridges as they couldn’t trek the Khasi hills to see double decker root bridge.
A few kms away was Mawlynnong village, which is considered to be the cleanest village in Asia. However It wasn’t any special as I found the complete state very clean.
After Mawlynnong we headed towards Dawki. Umngot river in Dawki was one surreal beauty. You can read more about Dawki experience here
Next day we moved to Nameri. There we stayed at a beautiful Jia Bhorelli resort, in middle of Jungle. This resort gets it name from a river named Jia Bhorelli which lies near by. This river originates in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The river is known as ‘Kameng’ in the Arunachal Pradesh and ‘Jia Bhorelli’ in Assam. It is one of the major tributaries of Brahmaputra river. The journey through Assam was beautiful with rice fields on both the sides. Road condition is excellent and well maintained.
Jia Bhorelli resort is a beautiful, eco friendly place to stay. The rooms were basic, nothing luxurious but that is what I expect when I am staying in middle of a dense jungle. I saw fireflies after many many years in this resort. This resort was one of the best experience in complete trip. Next day early morning we left for river rafting in the Jia Bhorelli river. We did a approximately 18kms of rafting. Although we couldn’t see many birds as water level was high, the one and half hour ride was completely worth it.
Post rafting we had delicious breakfast in the resort and left for Dirang. Our resort in Dirang was approximately 165kms from Nameri. It took us around 6-8 hours to reach there including 1-1.5hrs spent on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border for permit and stuff. The journey was really beautiful especially once we entered the state of Arunachal Pradesh. We slowly ascend through the Military camps into the dense foggy ghats. Roads at few places were really bad. Temperature dipped to 5-7C as we reached Bomdila.
We stayed at hotel Pemaling in Dirang, The hotel was beautiful with amazing views overlooking the valley. It was economic with per day cost of Rs.1500. The food was nice too.
Next day we started early at 4am towards Sela pass. The reason we had to start this early was because Sela pass was approximately 63kms from the hotel but due to bad roads and never ending ghats it took us around 4hrs to reach the pinnacle. Also, we wanted to be at the top with first sunlight warming up the clouds.
During winter Sela pass generally has dense fog and you really need to be lucky to have sun shining bright, it was all foggy as we were nearing the peak but guess what, we got super lucky… Within no time we had sun shining bright and since it snowed a day before our visit the complete place had heavenly charm to it.
Sela pass is a high altitude pass located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. It has an elevation of 4170 m (13,700 ft). The temperature was around -2C and the crazy wind made it really difficult to walk around and click pictures. However we fulfilled the ritual of playing with snow :p
The best part of Sela pass is that it has two water ponds/lakes which freeze during harsh winters. However these were not frozen during our visit as we visited in the early winter.
What more could you ask for than a bowl of Maggi at 13,000 ft above sea level? This gorgeous lady was nothing less than an angel to have a store setup next to the pond. Her store had almost everything you need there from hot momos to child beer 😉
We stayed there for around an hour or so and started our return journey to Dirang. The sun sets around 4.30pm in the north east so you need to plan your days and activities keeping this in mind. There is not much you can do post sunset but rest. Almost all days we started our travel around 6-7am to be able to wrap up before sunset.
Next day we left Dirang to reach Kaziranga National Park. This was a long day as we had to travel almost 290kms. Thanks to excellent roads of Assam we reached our destination in time.
We stayed at Agoratoli Eco Tourism resort in the Agoratoli range of Kaziranga. The resort was calm and serene. It is very near to the entrance gate for the safari. We did a jeep safari in the Agoratoli range and an Elephant safari in the Bagori range. Agoratoli range is best for birds and Bagori is a good place to get near the one horned rhinos.
We stayed in Kaziranga for 3 nights and had 2 complete days at our disposal. Apart from morning safari each day we chose to roam around in the fields of the Kaziranga near the resort. We saw some of the most beautiful homes, with all necessary amenities to lead a peaceful and happy life.
Northeast is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in India. There are many hidden gems yet to be discovered. We covered 3 states(Assa, Meghalaya & Arunachal Pradesh) in our 11 day trip and were mesmerised by the beauty of each state. Each state in north east is unique yet related like a sister to each other and hence they are referred to as seven sisters of India. Assam is beautiful with lots of green and excellent roads. Meghalaya is clean and has many surreal places hidden under its curtain. Arunachal Pradesh has high peaks which are none less than the heavenly Jammu and Kashmir that sits as a crown to the country.
We spent around 35,000 per head on the complete trip including the flight tickets for Mumbai-Guwahati-Mumbai and a vehicle at our disposal for complete 11 days. So it cost us less than 3200/day/person including food, accommodation and travel. Hence I choose to call it a very successful and budget trip.
Below are some details that might help you to plan your trip and yes, feel free to contact me for any further questions.
Ricon – 1500/night
Sai Mika – 2500/night
Jia Bhorelli Wild Resort – 1800/night
Pemaling – 1500/night
Agoratoli Eco Tourism Resort – 2900/night
Hemanta – 09435149057
Birding Expert – Firoz Hussain
Expert Guide for Kaziranga National Park – Debeshwar Pegu
Thanks for your time. Keep Travelling. 🙂