Must see attractions in Northeast States

  • Top ChoiceSights in Tawang Valley

    Tawang Gompa

    The magical Tawang Gompa, founded in 1681 in what was then a Monpa royal palace, overlooks the town from its ridgetop site. Reputedly the world’s second-largest Buddhist monastery complex after Drepung Monastery (in Lhasa, Tibet), Tawang has over 400 lamas, whose yellow-roofed living quarters surround the central buildings. It's famed in Buddhist circles for its priceless library, standing next to a magnificently decorated prayer hall that contains an 8m-high Buddha statue. Come at dawn to witness monks performing early-morning prayers.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Imphal

    Kangla Fort

    The vast, low-walled fort at the heart of Imphal was, with a few interruptions, the political and religious heart of Manipur for many centuries until taken over by the British after the 1891 Anglo-Manipuri War. Today it's a tranquil, beautifully maintained, parklike space of lawns, moats, ponds and big trees, containing, among many interesting features, several temples, two large white Kangla Sha (protective dragons), a pavilion with spectacular royal longboats, the world's oldest polo field, a historical museum and a pleasant cafe.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cherrapunjee (Sohra)

    Nongriat Root Bridges

    The most fascinating sights around Cherrapunjee are the incredible living bridges – formed from rubber-fig roots that ingenious Khasi villagers have, over decades, trained across streams as natural pathways. Over 40 of these are said to be scattered around the Meghalaya hills and several of them (including an amazing ‘double-decker’) are near the jungle valley hamlet of Nongriat – a steep hike down 2600 steps (and up 500) from Tyrna village, 12km southwest of Cherrapunjee.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Assam

    Kaziranga National Park

    The park’s 2400 one-horned rhinos represent about two-thirds of the world’s total population (in 1904, there were only 200). Kaziranga offers popular 4WD safaris that allow you to get close to the rhinos and other large mammals; you may want to avoid the elephant-back safaris on animal welfare concerns. Safaris are available in four of the park's five ranges, of which the central Kohora Range and western Bagori Range offer the best overall wildlife sightings and also have most safari traffic.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Mechuka

    Samten Yongcha Gompa

    Thought to be about 400 years old, the charming wooden Samten Yongcha Gompa stands on a breezy hilltop 6km (as the crow flies) west of Mechuka, fronted by a forest of prayer flags and with wonderful panoramas over the valley, river and surrounding mountains. The caretaker will probably appear to show you round the two-storey temple with its colourful imagery, including some genuinely scary guardian deities.

  • Sights in Sivasagar

    Talatal Ghar

    The Talatal Ghar palace was the heart of an Ahom capital complex founded by King Rudra Singha. Built in the 1750s over an earlier wooden palace, it originally had seven storeys, three of which were underground (including secret escape tunnels). You can visit the two surviving above-ground levels, which have labyrinthine galleries and a large flat roof holding several pavilions. The remains of Talatal Ghar are about 4km south of central Sivasagar along AT Rd, easily visited in conjunction with nearby Rang Ghar.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kohima

    Kohima War Cemetery

    The immaculately maintained war cemetery contains the graves of over 1400 British, Indian and other Allied soldiers, killed in or around Kohima in 1944 as they resisted a Japanese invasion of India from Burma in one of the fiercest battles of WWII. The cemetery is laid out on what were the terraced lawns of the British Deputy Commissioner's bungalow. Some of the most savage fighting took place across the tennis court near the top, where the white marker lines are still in place.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Agartala

    Ujjayanta Palace

    Agartala’s centrepiece is this striking, dome-capped palace, fronted by two reflecting lakes and housing the large, outstanding Tripura State Museum. The museum's colourful, well-displayed galleries exhibit the arts, crafts, cultures, history and monuments of Tripura and the rest of the Northeast, with some interesting historical features such as a room on the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Imphal

    Ima Keithel

    Housed in three big colonnaded buildings with pagoda-style roofs, this huge bazaar with over 4000 all-women vendors is reckoned to be the largest of its kind in the world. Only married women are allowed to be stallholders. Two buildings focus mainly on clothes and fabrics (look for traditional tribal shawls at good prices), the third deals chiefly in vegetables, fruit, fish and other foods. It's a fascinating place, with some great photo ops (ask first).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Tripura

    Unakoti

    Massive relief sculptures of Hindu deities (some dating back to the 7th century) adorn rock faces at the site, including a 10m-tall face of Shiva sculpted on a monolithic rock and a trio of Ganeshas hewn beside a waterfall. It takes about two hours to see all of the more obvious sights.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Shillong

    Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures

    This well-displayed museum is a fabulous repository of tribal artefacts interspersed with exhibits on Christian missionary work. The self-guided visit takes about 1½ hours. The 17 galleries exhibit tribal basketry, musical instruments, weapons, objects of daily life, costumes and jewellery, along with dioramas, charts, maps, photos and videos documenting Northeast life. Afterwards, you can walk up on the roof for expansive panoramas. The museum is 3km north of the city centre; a return taxi costs about ₹400.

  • Sights in Neermahal & Melaghar

    Neermahal

    The multidomed red-and-white water palace, Neermahal lies empty but shimmering on its own boggy island in Rudra Sagar Lake. Like its counterpart in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, this was a princely exercise in aesthetics, in which craftspeople built a summer palace of luxury for the Tripura royals in a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles. Neermahal was inaugurated by the Bengali Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1930. The waterborne approach by slow motor-boat is a delightful part of visiting.

  • Sights in Sivasagar

    Rang Ghar

    About 4km south of central Sivasagar along AT Rd, look right to see the rather beautiful Rang Ghar, a two-storey, oval-shaped pavilion that has been impeccably restored. Built by King Pramatta Singha in 1746, its gleaming sienna exterior features pretty, mainly floral, carvings. You can walk up to the top floor, from where the royalty watched buffalo and elephant fights and other entertainment, while the general populace looked on from nearby earthen mounds.

  • Sights in Agartala

    Tripura State Tribal Museum

    The well-maintained State Tribal Museum has an impressive display of tribal costumes, handicrafts, instruments, utensils and other objects from Tripura's 19 tribal cultures (about one-third of the state's population). With the aid of videos and a diorama it provides useful insight into Tripura's ethnic matrix and is definitely worth a visit.

  • Sights in Arunachal Pradesh

    Namdapha National Park

    Namdapha National Park, spread over 1985 sq km of dense forest in far eastern Arunachal Pradesh, is an ecological hot spot with a mind-boggling array of animal and plant species, and habitats ranging from warm tropical plains to icy Himalayan highlands. It's famous for being the only park in India with four big-cat species (leopard, tiger, clouded leopard, snow leopard), though you'd be very lucky to see any of them. It’s also a birdwatcher’s delight, with around 500 recorded species.

  • Sights in Guwahati

    Kamakhya Mandir

    According to Hindu legend, when a distraught Shiva scattered the 108 (or 51) pieces of his deceased wife Sati's body across the land, her yoni (vagina) fell on Nilachal Hill, 8km west of central Guwahati. This makes Kamakhya Mandir a specially hallowed shrine for practitioners of shakti (tantric worship of female spiritual power). The ₹501 'special ticket' allows you to jump the usual queues to reach the cave-like inner sanctum. Kamakhya is where the huge Ambubachi Mela festival takes place.

  • Sights in Shillong

    Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute

    This is the venue for a 50-person archery event whose outcome is the subject of a highly popular betting game in Shillong, known as Thoh Tim or Teer or Siat Khnam. At tiny betting stalls all over the city, people wager on how many of the archers' arrows will stick in the target. Visitors are welcome to watch the fascinating spectacle and there's no entry charge.

  • Sights in Loktak Lake

    Keibul Lamjao National Park

    The giant 26-sq-km phumdi filling up the southern part of Loktak Lake is home to some 250 sangai (Manipur brow-antlered deer or dancing deer), the world's last wild population of what is Manipur's state animal. Keibul Lamjao National Park protects the phumdi and surrounding area. The park entrance is 6km south of Moirang (3km along the Kumbi road then 3km east). From the entrance it's 1.5km (driveable) to a viewpoint, where park rangers may lend you binoculars to scan the phumdi for sangai.

  • Sights in Assam

    Manas National Park

    The grasslands and lowland forests of Unesco-listed Manas National Park, abutting the Bhutan border about 150km northwest of Guwahati, are home to a very impressive list of animals including tigers, one-horned rhinos (around 30 each), over 1000 elephants and 500 wild water buffalo – plus clouded and common leopards and some 475 bird species. On a safari you'd be very lucky to sight a tiger, rhino or leopard, but you will almost certainly see a variety of other interesting wildlife.

  • Sights in Tawang Valley

    Khinmey Gompa

    This beautiful monastery in a tiny village east of Tawang (9km by vehicle, 6km on foot) is well worth a visit. Its current head, the Thegtse Rinpoche, is the 14th reincarnation of the guru who founded it in 1440. The main prayer hall is covered with fantastic, brightly coloured murals of hundreds of deities and presided over by the fierce-looking Buddhist sage Padmasambhava, flanked by his Indian and Tibetan wives.