Andaman and Nicobar Islands is home to some of the finest attractions that draw the attention of many tourists from across the globe.
The state is famous for its picturesque and scenic Islands. The tranquil surroundings and the rich marine life are what the islands are known for. Some of the best Islands in the state are Cinque Island, Havelock Island, Ross Island, Viper Island and the Red Skin Island.
The pristine beaches surrounded by miles of silver sands draw the attention of beach lovers, holiday makers, vacationers and honeymooners. Beaches are the ideal place to spot various marine species and water animals like water monitor lizards, salt water crocodiles, green sea turtles and the famous Olive Ridley turtles.
Besides beaches, Andaman is also famous for its wildlife, adventure, fairs and festivals, spas, and its hospitality.
Popularly known as the 'Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains', this beautiful state lies in the foothills of the Himalayas. The state had aboriginals migrating in from Tibet, however, there no records relating to the history of this place except some oral literature and the number of historical ruins found mainly in the foot hills dating from the early Christian era.
Arunachal was once known as North Eastern Frontier Agency and was constitutionally a part of Assam. Until 1965, the Ministry of External Affairs administered it, and later it was taken over by the Ministry of Home Affairs through the Governor of Assam. The tribes living here consisted of the Daflas, Bangnis and Monpas who were influenced by Buddhist ideals.
Well known cities of Arunachal Pradesh are Itanagar – the capital city, Tawang, Basar, Bhalukpong /Tipi, Malinithan and Ziro.
Tourists interested in wildlife viewing must visit the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary, Eagle's Nest Wildlife, Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary, Kane Wildlife Sanctuary, Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mouling National Park, Namdapha National Park, Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Daying Ering Sanctuary, Sessa Orchid Sanctuary and Dr. D. Ering Memorial Wildlife Park.
Religious travelers can visit Bomdila Monastery, Urguelling Monastery, Nunneries of Tawang, Tawang Monastery, Parashuram Kund - Parasuramkonda, Malinithan and Akashiganga.
Those interested in history, can visit the Nehru Memorial Museum, Ita Fort and Bhishmaknagar Fort. Scenic garden and picnic spots include Ganga Lake and Polo Park.
Arunachal experiences subtropical and alpine climates, which is pleasant all through the year. It experiences monsoon rains between the months of July and September. The best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh is between October and March.
For more details visit: www.arunachaltourism.com
Sharing its borders with Bhutan in the North, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagalad, Manipur and Mizoram in the East, and Meghalaya, Bengal and Bangladesh to the west, Assam is a charming state.
Tourists are drawn to the state for the Kaziranga National Park - home to the world famous one horned rhinoceros, the remarkable Majuli Island, ancient Ahom architecture marvels, beautiful golf courses with heritage and luxury resorts, and colonial bungalows.
Assam's spectacular scenery, rare wildlife, music, festivals, cuisine and the warmth of the people make it an inviting holiday destination. It is the single largest tea-growing region in the world. The low altitude, rich loamy soil conditions, ample rainfall and a unique climate help it to produce some of the finest orthodox leaf teas. It is these unique environmental conditions that give the teas their special quality, reputation and character
Well known for its pilgrimages, the famous ones in Assam include Kamakhya, Bhubaneswari Temple and Umananda Temple in Guwahati, Madan Kamdev, Poa Macca in Hajo, Shivadol in Sivasagar, Maha Bhairav Temple in Tezpur and Satra in Majuli.
For wildlife viewing, there is Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Orang National Park, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, Milroy Sanctuary, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Namber Wildlife Sanctuary, Pani Dihing Wildlife Sanctuary and Barandi Game Reserve.
The prominent towns and cities in the region include Guwahati, Dispur, Barpeta, Dibrugarh, Silchar, Majuli, Sibsagar, Tawang and Tezpur.
Adventure aficionados can indulge in Rafting, Angling, River Cruise, Boat Racing, Golf, Mountaineering and Trekking, Mountain Biking and Cycling, Para Sailing, Gliding and Bird Watching.
Well known monuments here are the Kareng Ghar and Talatal Ghar, The Gargaon Palace, Rang Ghar, Cole Park, Da-Parbatiya and Madan Kamdev, which will give you an insight on the state’s history.
Weather changes in Assam, regionally. The plains of Assam have a tropical climate and high humidity, and the hills have a sub alpine climate.
For more details visit: www.assamtourism.org
Bihar's antiquity is evident from its name, which is derived from the ancient word "Vihara" (monastery). It is revered for its Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim and Sikh shrines.
Among all Indian states, Bihar is the one most closely linked to Buddha’s life, resulting in a trail of pilgrimages which is popularly known as the Buddhist circuit. The Buddhist trail begins at the capital city, Patna, where a noteworthy museum contains a collection of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures as well as a terracotta urn said to contain the ashes of Lord Buddha.
The Khuda Baksh Oriental Library has rare Muslim manuscripts including some from the University of Cordoba in Spain. 40 km away, Vaishali was the site for the second Buddhist Council. 90 km south of Patna is Nalanda which translates as the place that confers the lotus (of spiritual knowledge). A monastic university flourished here from the 5th to the 11th century. It is said to have contained nine million books, with 2,000 teachers to impart knowledge to 10,000 students who came from all over the Buddhist world. Lord Buddha himself taught here and Hieun Tsang, the 7th century Chinese traveler, was a student.
Ongoing excavations have uncovered temples, monasteries and lecture halls. Rajgir, ‘the royal palace’, 12 km south, was the venue for the first Buddhist Council. Buddha spent five years at Rajgir after having attained enlightenment, and many of the remains here commemorate various incidents related to life of Buddha, the hill of Gridhrakuta being perhaps the most important, as this is where Buddha delivered most of his sermons. Bodhgaya is the spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, with the Mahabodhi Temple marking the precise location.
The state of Bihar is surrounded by Nepal, Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and comprises four cultural regions -Bhojpur, Mithila, Magadha and Chotanagpur. Rivers Kosi and Gandak from the north and south join the Ganga. In the fertile plains, rice, sugarcane, oilseeds, gram, maize, jute, barley and wheat are cultivated.
For more details visit: www.westbengaltourism.gov.in
Also known as "Vananchal", is derived from the two Hindi words "Vana" which means "forests" and "anchal" means "area". Popularly referred to as "The land of forests", the state of Jharkhand shares its borders with Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east.
The state has abundant forests, low rolling hills, wildlife sanctuaries, backwaters, hills, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and some rare minerals are found here.
Ranchi is the capital city of Jharkhand. Places worth visiting here include Dassam Falls, located in the Taimara village, Hundru Falls - an exciting picnic spot; Jonha Falls and Hirni Falls. Ranchi Hill also offers panoramic views that includes Tagore Hill, Ranchi Lake, Shiva Temple; Gonda Hill, Kanke Dam and Rock Garden.
For more details visit: Tourist Attractions in Ranchi
Welcome to the ‘Switzerland of India’ India - Manipur! Located beautifully in the slopes of the south flowing Sub-Himalayan ranges, Manipur is the gateway to North-East India. Tourists visit Manipur for its beautiful mountains, the biggest fresh water lake in India and the wonderful Ras-Lila.
Major Attractions on your Manipur Travel
The state is famous for its rich culture and tradition, which is depicted in its art forms, handloom clothes and exquisite handicrafts
Surrounded by blue-green hills, rivers, lakes and exotic blooms, the region has been blessed by Nature’s abode.
The people of Manipur include Meitei, Nagas, Kuki-Chin-Mizo and Gorkhas groups, Muslims and other communities which have lived in complete harmony for centuries. Their folklore, myths and legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts form the culture of the state.
Imphal is the capital of Manipur. The district is divided into East and West and the recently constructed stadium (Khuman Lampak Stadium) is also a famous attraction here.
48 kilometers away from Imphal is Keibul Lamjao National Park. Visit this park and marvel at the wide range of endangered species of Brow Antlered deer (also known as Sangai). You will also be amazed to know that this ecosystem is home to 17 rare species of mammals.
One place which you should not miss out whilst traveling around Manipur is the Loktak Lake. The picturesque floating islands, popularly known as Phumdi, are made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. You can hire small boats and see the fascinating way of living on these floating islands. The wetland is swampy and in the district of Moirang.
Shree Govindajee Temple is a well-known monument, and it adjoins the palaces of the former rulers of the state. Visit this simply constructed temple and marvel at the gold domes, paved court and large, raised congregation hall. The deity in the center has other idols of Radha Govinda, Balaram and Krishna and Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on either side of it.
Sahid Minar is yet another inspiring place to visit. This fascinating tall tower of Bir Tikendrajit Park is located at the heart of the city. It was built in memory of the Manipur Martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting against the British in 1891.
A must visit on your itinerary is the Chorus Repertory Theater. The campus stretches for two acres, with housing and working quarters. The theater association has churned out internationally acclaimed plays like 'Chakravyuha' and 'Uttarpriyadashi'. 'Chakravyuha' taken from the Mahabharata, won the Fringe Firsts Award in 1987 at the Edinburgh International Theater Festival. 'Chakravyuha' deals with the story of Abhimanyu (son of Arjun), and his last battle, whereas 'Uttarpriyadashi' is an 80-minute exposition of Emperor Ashoka's redemption.
For more details visit: www.manipur.nic.in/tourism.htm
Separating the Assam valley from the plains of Bangladesh, hilly Meghalaya – the 'abode of clouds' – is a cool, wet and pine-fresh mountain state set amidst rocky cliffs. Tucked away in the hills of the eastern sub Himalayas, the state is blessed with lush green forests, hills, lakes and one of India’s famous rivers – The Brahmaputra. The Khasi-Jainta hills and Garo hills are located here.
Cherapunjee in Meghalaya is one of the wettest places in the world, where it rains the most. Another town worth visiting is Shillong, which offers a panoramic view of the countryside. Sohpetbneng is another place where you can enjoy the backdrop of the green forest, and an attraction here is the “Naval of Heaven” as per Khasi mythology.
Ward's Lake is mesmerizing, which is set amidst rolling flowerbeds and fairyland lighting. Shillong cathedral is a beautiful church built by the British. For history lovers, there’s a special place called Nartiang, the capital of the Jainta Kings, where you will find a Durga temple. There are also some beautiful waterfalls like Spread Eagle Falls, Elephant Falls, Crinline Falls, Noh Kalikai Falls, Dain Thlen Falls, Mawsmai Falls and Imilchang Dare.
If you are fond of exploring mystical places, our Meghalaya Travel Guide will take you to the numerous natural caves. The Khasi, Jaiantia and Garo Hills are replete with such caves, which are major tourist attractions in Meghalaya. Some notable caves are, Mawsmai Cave, Krem Mawmluh, The Cave of Eocene age, Krem Kotsati, Krem Umshangktat, Siju-Dobkhakol and Tetengkol-Balwakol.
For more details visit: www.meghalayatourism.org
A small state located in the north eastern part of the country, Mizoram is perhaps the most picturesque of all the states in the Northeast. The landscape is marked by a number of hills, the highest being Phawang Phui. Pleasant climate and moderate rainfall add to the states tourist appeal.
During the ancient period, Mizoram was believed to be uninhabited. During the period 1750-1850, migrations led to settlements in the hills. The British brought Mizoram under their rule in 1891 but left the administration of village areas to tribal chieftains. After independence, Mizoram was initially a part of Assam. Mizoram's statehood was formalized in 1987.
Mizoram's capital Aizawl is a beautiful hill station. The state museum of Aizawl has an impressive collection of traditional Mizo items which throw light on the culture and tradition of the local people. The mini zoo has different species of animals including the endangered sun bear. Located at a distance of 85 kms from Aizawl, Tamdil lake is visited by most tourist who come to Aizawl. Tamdil is also a popular picnic spot. Other attractions of Mizoram include Phawngpui, Sibuta Lung, Phulpui Graves, Memorial of Chhingpui, Pangzawal, Mangkahia Lung, Tomb of Vanhimailian and Tualchang.
The inhabitants of Mizoram are called Mizos. Mi means people while Zo means hills. The word Mizo therefore means people of the hills. The Mizos have many tribal groups. All the festivals are related to agricultural activities. Feasts and dances are an integral part of the festivities.
Khumbeu ceremonial bamboo hat is the most popular product of Mizoram. The hat is made of waterproof wild Hnathial leaves. Among the other shopping items of Mizoram are decorative items made of bamboo and cane.
The state of Nagaland lies in the extreme Northeastern part of India, and is bordered on its west and north by Assam, on its east by Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), on its north by Arunachal Pradesh, and on its south by Manipur. One of India's smallest states, the Naga Hills run through this small state, which has Saramati as its highest peak at a height of about 12,600 ft. The main rivers that flow through Nagaland are Dhansiri, Doyang, Dikhu and Jhanji. The terrain is mountainous, thickly wooded, and cut by deep river valleys.
Dimapur is one place that you should definitely visit. Ruzaphema, Triple Falls, Governor's Camp and Itankgi Wildlife Sanctuary are other must dos. You should also visit Kohima, which is known for its religious, monumental museums and village attractions. The Cathedral of Reconciliation (a modern church), War Cemetery, State Museum, Zoological Park and two beautiful villages of Bara Basti and Khonoma are best for sightseeing. The Dzukou Valley in Kohima has picturesque hills, cliffs, brooks and flowers.
At Kiphire, you can visit the Saramati Peak (the highest peak of Nagaland), Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary, Cave at Salomi, Cave at Mimi, and Sukhayap (Lover's Paradise).
For more details visit: www.tourismnagaland.com
Also known as the kingdom of Kalinga in the ancient times, Odisha was a seafaring nation which controlled and traded with the sea routes in Bay of Bengal. However Emperor Ashoka, undertook one of the bloodiest wars in the history of mankind to annex Kalinga. The war of Kalinga had over millions of men slain and led to the Daya river turn red with the blood of dead warriors. Devastated by the bloodshed, Ashoka denounced warfare and adopted Buddhism. The calmness that prevailed thereafter still winds through the air of Odisha. The state has preserved most of the temples and monuments built at different times in history by different rulers.
Tourism in Odisha offers various attractions ranging from wildlife reserves and beaches to temples and monuments and the arts and festivals. It is also well known for its sandy beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, exquisite temples and tribal culture. Puri, Konarak and Bhuwaneshwar comprise the glorious Golden Temple Triangle of Eastern India.
The first link of Odisha Golden Triangle, Puri, is the spiritual capital of the state and popularly known as Jagannath Puri. It occupies a significant place in the field of spiritualism of the country.
Jagannath Dham is one of the Char Dhams (four most famous pilgrimage circuits) of India. The other three dhams are Dwarka, Rameswaram and Badrinath. The two main attractions of this city are Lord Jagannath Temple and the sandy beaches.
The second link of Odisha Golden Triangle, Bhubaneswar is the capital city of Odisha. It is also known as the 'City of Temples'. The main tourist attractions of this city are Lingaraj Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, Rajarani Temple, Bindusagar Lake, Khandagiri, Udigiri, Nandankanan and Odisha State Museum.
The Third link of Odisha Golden Triangle, the Sun Temple of Konark, built in the middle of 13th century, is a massive conception of artistic magnificence and engineering dexterity. Designed in the form of a gorgeously decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, and drawn by seven mighty horses, this monument attracts domestic and international pilgrims and tourists in large numbers.
Udaigiri, along with Ratnagiri and Lalitagiri, forms the Buddhist Triangle in India. Here you will come across the largest Buddhist complex which comprises of a monastery that is adorned with a large number of Buddhist sculptures.
Ratnagiri, a splendid Buddhist site situated on a small hill, stands surrounded by rivers on all sides. You will come across magnificent views of vast plains, full of lush greenery from here.
Dhauli Hill is one of the most visited Buddhist pilgrim destinations in India. The hill represents the place where, after witnessing the carnage of Kalinga War, Emperor Ashoka relinquished war and adopted Buddhism. Serving as a proof of this renunciation are the edicts of the Emperor, which have been preserved here.
Lingaraj Temple, another must visit, is dedicated to Lord Shiva, also known as ‘Lingaraj’. The huge statue of Lord Shiva, made up of granite is a marvel. The deity is bathed everyday with water, milk and bhang (marijuana).
Chilka Lake lies on the eastern coast of Odisha. The source of the lake is the Mahanadi River, which drains into it. One of the largest lakes in India, it is a very popular picnic spot and is ideal for boating, fishing and bird watching.
For more details visit: www.Odishatourism.gov.in
Well known for its charismatic environment, the breathtaking landscape, spiritualism and the warmth of the people, the state has some remarkable tourist attractions.
Gangtok is a beautiful hillstation of Sikkim, and is located amidst the multiple-hued mountains of Sikkim. The place is the hub of all political and legal activities of Sikkim. The literal meaning of 'Gangtok' is 'hilltop'. Located in the lower Himalayas, Gangtok is a perfect destination to spend some quality moments in solitude.
Nathula Pass on the Indo-Chinese border serves as a trade link between the two countries. It is sited at a distance of 56 Kms from Gangtok. History has it that Nathula Pass once had been the main access for Sikkim - Tibet Trade. Nathula used to be known as the Silk Route. This place is also renowned for its diverse alpine flora and fauna.
Rumtek Monastery is the most cherished site of almost every Buddhist. This beautiful monastery is situated at a distance of 24 kms from Gangtok in Rumtek. Rumtek Monastery is one amongst the most important seats of Kagyu school of Buddhism outside Tibet.
If you are a wildlife lover, a visit to the Himalayan Zoological Park is a must. This fascinating Park has been established, to preserve wildlife, without disturbing the creatures and keeping them in their natural habitat. It is at a distance of 3 kms from Gangtok. At an altitude of 5,840ft (1,780 mtrs), the park has a splendid view of Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Phodong Monastery is one amongst the six most important Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim. It belongs to the Kargyupa and can be reached easily by hiring private transport like taxis and jeeps from Magan in Sikkim.
Apart from the picturesque locales, the climate of Sikkim also serves to be another major enticement for the tourists. The climate of Sikkim can be categorized as tundra-type in the northern parts whereas the inhabitants residing in the southern wing of the state have to put up with sub-tropical type of weather. An astonishing fact is that the climate in the densely populated regions of Sikkim are of the temperate type.
For more details visit: www.sikkimtourism.travel
Tripura is India’s smallest state. This green little state lies in the extreme east of India. Sharing a long international border with Bangladesh to its west, Tripura is also bound by Assam and Mizoram in the north and east. A visit to this wonderful state will let you have the experience of both hill ranges and valleys. The main hill ranges of Tripura are Jampoi, Sakham Tlang, Langtarai, Athara Mura and Bara Mura. Khowati, Manu, Haorah, Muhuri and Gomati are the big rivers of the state. The beautiful valleys of Tripura include Agartala, Udaipur, Sabrum, Khowai, Teliamura, Amarpur and Silachari. Tripura Travel.
Ujjayant Palace is a must visit while you are touring Tripura. This palace was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya in 1901. Marvel at the Mughal style of architecture, and the Chinese room with carved wooden ceilings, tiled floors and sculpted front doors. It is now the state’s legislative assembly. The Jagannath temple, built in 19th century is across on the artificial lake in front of the palace.
A green hillock known as Kunjaban is renowned for its scenic beauty, and stands to the north of Ujjayanta palace. Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya selected this beautiful place for building a suburban palace which was named as Pushbanta Palace. Poet Rabindranath Tagore stayed in the eastern apartment of this palace during his 7th and last visit to the state in 1926. The well laid gardens and sprawling lawns inside the palace is a beauty. This place is home to the Governor of Tripura now. The southern side of the garden has been made open for the public and has been named as 'Rabindra Kanan'.
Malancha Niwas is a magnificent Bungalow situated adjacent to Kunjaban palace. This bungalow is situated on a hillock and was originally a kaccha house where Tagore stayed during his visit in 1919. The pucca construction was subsequently built and given the name of Malancha Niwas.
Temple Of Chaturdasa Devata, is also a must visit while on your Tripura Tour. This temple is dedicated to 14 gods and goddesses, represented by their heads. It is built in Bengali architectural style, but has a Buddhist type stupa on top.
Unakoti means one less than a crore and it is said that these many rock cut carvings are available here. These carvings are located at a beautifully landscaped forest area with green vegetation all around.
Pilak is a treasure house of Hindu and Buddhist Sculptures. It dates back to 8th and 9th centuries. Fascinating terracotta plaques which are the survival of heterodox creeds and sects represent both Hinduism and Buddhism. Colossal stone images of Avolokiteshwar and Narasimha have also been found here.
Neer Mahal is a beautiful water-palace built in Rudrasagar Lake. It is like a fairytale castle with towers and pavilions and also has moats and bridges.
Sipahijala is a botanical garden with a small zoo. At this place you can also indulge in an elephant ride or take a boating in the lake.
Over the years, the culture of West Bengal has emerged as the perfect blend of modernity and traditions. The region has the most listed and recorded heritage buildings but is still creating space for modern architecture wonders.
Known as the land of the erstwhile Zamindars and Nawabs, Bengal has a rich history. The 13th century saw Bengal coming under Islamic rule and later developing into a prominent destination of trade and commerce under the Mughals. Bengal is also regarded as the first region in India to be ruled by the British. During this era, Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) enjoyed the privilege of being the capital of British India.
West Bengal is the birthplace of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Shantiniketan, a famous university town in West Bengal has gained popularity for its association with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
Bengal is the home and resting place of Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen, Oscar recipient Satyajit Ray and the Karmabhumi of Swami Vivekananda and Shree Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
It is famous for the holy river Ganges and the mighty snow capped mountain Kanchenjunga – the highest peak in the Eastern Himalayas. The Royal Bengal Tiger in the world’s largest Mangrove forest – The Sundarbans. Also renowned for the revered temples of Goddess Kali, majestic Victoria Memorial, the towering Howrah Bridge, the vast landscape of tea gardens, and India’s first underground Metro Rail. The world’s highest operational railway station and longest recorded railway platform, India’s only operational cablecar Tramways and hand pulled rickshaws are other eminent attractions.
Tourism spots include the picturesque hill station of Darjeeling. In close proximity are a few other hill stations namely Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik. A state with a long coastline, West Bengal also has some scenic beaches like Falta, Shankarpur, Digha and Sagar Islands.
West Bengal adorns a new look during the Durga Puja celebrations in the month of October. The festival, celebrated with pomp and gaiety, attracts tourists from all parts of India and even abroad.
The cuisine of Bengal is particularly famous for sweets and fish delicacies.
West Bengal is bound by the states of Sikkim, Assam, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand, and also shares borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh, and is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal.
The vast majority of the people in the state are Bengalis. Sherpas, Gorkhas and Paharis reside mostly in the hilly areas of the north.
For more details visit: www.westbengaltourism.gov.in
The Telegraph Calcutta Wednesday 17th June 2015