Tag Archives: North-East

Joanna and Alejandro’s two week trip to the North-east
Joanna and Alejandro’s two week trip to the North-east

Joanna and Alejandro had explored North India on their first trip to India. On their second trip, they wanted to try something different and go off the beaten path. We were happy to recommend the North-east. Very few travelers choose to visit the North-east during their time in India, but those who do are glad they did.

Why go there?

The North-east is consists of seven small states. Each has a unique culture. The environment is lush and the food delicious. Since it’s relatively undiscovered, it’s also quite affordable. You can go trekking, sight-seeing, rafting or just idle away with a mug of millet-beer. The region has very friendly locals, and some interesting tribes. Its a perfect destination to get to know the people and their rich culture and heritage.

Alejandro and Joanna chose to visit one of the seven sisters, the state of Sikkim.  They also traveled to Darjeeling and Kolkata in West Bengal, and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Being on a budget trip they stayed in a combination of home-stays and hostels, and used local buses and trains as there main mode of transport.

What they felt

Here’s what Alejandro had to say : “I had the best of the experiences traveling with the company, the hotels were always excellent.”

If you’re looking for an exciting off-beat trip, then the North East is for you. We can customise the trip to your budget and length of stay. You can even choose a more active trip of trekking and adventure sports.

Three routes through the Himalayas
Three routes through the Himalayas

1. Himalayas and The Golden Temple (Mountains and Spirituality)

Route: Amritsar – Dharmashala – Mirage by Andretta – Manali – Shoja – Kotgarh – Shimla – Kasauli – Chandigarh

The Golden Temple The Golden Temple is the most visited monument in the country.


Dharamshala is an extremely beautiful town set at the foothills of Himalayas. Dharamshala is an extremely beautiful town set at the foothills of Himalayas.

This route is ideal for people wanting to experience a little bit of spirituality. You can witness the majestic mountains of the Himalayan range in India.


Start your trip off in Amritsar, easily accessible by flight, train and road. Visit the Golden Temple and immerse yourself in the most giving of all the world’s religions. Bask in the architecture and tank up on the humble but delicious Langaar. Backpackers can catch a night’s rest at the amazingly fun Jugaad Hostels or Akaal Residency for some privacy.

If you have a fatter wallet you can opt for the Country Inn and Suites. If you’re positively rolling in money, the Svasa is for you. From here on you can either catch a bus to save money. Or rent a chauffeur-driven car at INR 4000 for pretty much all your connections in the hills.


We’d strongly recommend hiring someone to drive you, both because the roads are tricky for those unfamiliar with them, and also so you’re free to let yourself go in the view. Next you move up into Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama and the adjacent Mcleodganj.

Backpackers can hole up at the Pink House, those looking for a little more comfort can try Chonor House. There’s a rare treat here for the artistically inclined, in the form of Mirage, a home-stay that doubles as an artist’s retreat, replete with pottery wheel and everything.


Next stop, Manali. Blow off some steam hippie style and then satiate your munchies at any of the little town’s adorable cafes. Stay options would be Old Rock Inn for the backpackers, Johnson’s Café for the comfort category and the Himalayan for the luxury seekers. Catch a bus to Shoja, a national park that cradles a small village that makes a perfect base camp as you trek into its leafy recesses.


All class differences are erased here, since there’s only one decent hotel available—Bajara Camps. Kotgarh, your next stop, is tiny and would be absolutely underwhelming if not for the gorgeous stay at Seetalvan Orchards.


Come back to civilization in the charming resort town of Delhi. Head straight to Sunnymead bed and breakfast for a warm meal and great conversation, or Wildflower Hall for plush carpets and endless breakfasts. Wrap up the trip in Kasauli, free of cars, pollution and all the associated bad vibes. Hunker down in HPTDC’s Ross Commons or the elegant Seven Pines.

2. North-East

Delhi – Bagdodra – Pelling – Gangtok – Darjeeling – New Jagalpuri – Guwhati – Shillong – Kaziranga – Guwhati – Varanasi

The North-east is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. The North-east is one of the most beautiful regions in the country.

Make a leap from Delhi to Bagdodra and Bagdodra to Pelling in a single day, by air and road respectively. There, take some time to allow the village to envelop you, preferably from the comforts of Daragaon Village Retreat.


From Pelling take a 5-hour scenic drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim full of icily languid lakes and soaring mountaintops. You can stay at the lovely Hotel Pandim while you’re there, before shifting base to Darjeeling. Spend a few days learning the delicate art of tea picking and processing from the simple town that knows best, and then head back to the shining wood floors and gaping bay windows of Hotel Shangri La for the night.


From here you can hire a car to drop you to New Jagalpuri 5 hours away, from where you can catch a train to Guwahati. When you’ve had your fill of the burgeoning wildlife and ancient temples, you can make the quick 4-hour drive to Shillong, where we’d recommend you drop your bags off at the White Orchid Guest House before heading out to explore the manicured gardens and gushing falls.


When you’re hungry for a little more wildlife, have a car drop you 6 hours away to Kaziranga, where you can stay at Nature Hunt Eco Camp. Finally, take another car down to Guwahati and catch a flight out to Varanasi.

3. Leh-Ladakh

Delhi – Leh – Tso Pangong – Nubra Valley – Leh – Delhi


Nubra Valley in Leh is one of the main tourist attractions of the region, Nubra Valley in Leh is one of the main tourist attractions of the region,

Wrapped up neatly in flights to and from Delhi, this is the perfect for someone who feels the pull of the mountains but isn’t really into the grinding life of the backpacker.


Once you land in Leh, make sure to give yourself some time to adjust to the drastic change in altitude, the only downside of a quick flight.

Once you’ve had your fill of the palaces and stupas, get into a jeep and take a drive through Chang-La Pass, the third-highest motorable road in the world. Come out the other end onto one of the world’s most breath-taking sights—the endless stillness of Tso Pangong.

The next day, you can set your sights 1010ft higher at the world’s highest motorable pass—Khardung La Pass, which will take you into Nubra Valley.  Break through the fog and onto the smooth vistas of snow, take a camel ride, a million photos and a quick dip in the hot sulphur springs at Panamik before heading back the way you came.


Experiencing the Aoling Festival of Nagaland
Experiencing the Aoling Festival of Nagaland

Tucked deep into the forested mountains of eastern Nagaland is Mon, and in Mon are the Konyak Nagas. Endlessly fascinating, the tribe has not let the recent surge in tourist gimmicks dilute their celebration of the arrival of Spring and the New Year, and continues to envelop visitors with their endlessly interesting culture.

Aoling Festival - tourismnagaland Photo Credits – www.tourismnagaland.com

The Konyaks come from a strong practice of head-hunting. Among their rooms you’ll find shelves stocked with skulls in testament to their many victories. Today, they are a happy and peace-loving lot, who spice up their agricultural routine with the occasional hunt. The rest of the time they just sit back with a pitcher full of the local alcohol and maybe a spot of opium. The tribes in this area live incredibly interesting lives, being on the border between India and Myanmar and enjoying dual citizenship. The village chief of nearby Lungwa lives in a hut that’s half in one country and half in the other!

Much like other major festivals in this area, the big spring feast takes place immediately after the jhum crop has been sowed, and in this case lasts for a full six days.

Jhum Fields - thehindu-com Photo Credits – www.thehindu.com

On the first day, or Hoi Lah Nyih, all efforts go into preparation. Firewood is gather, vegetables and fruits are collected, new clothes woven or old clothes patched. More interestingly, families sacrifice chickens to read their future in the entrails. This spirit of preparation continues for the next few days as domesticated animals are gathered for slaughter. Young boys are initiated into the rites of men in the process.

The fourth day marks the big feast. Heady with the local rice beer, the villagers sing and dance and generally make merry. Decked out in traditional handwoven costumes and headgear they follow the graceful dancing with reenactments of the glorious headhunting days of their past.

While much of the North East still remains cut-off from mainland India, and there are tensions of identity that must be recognized before categorizing them as an ‘unexplored tribe’, this will most likely be an experience beyond your imagination which will hopefully shake up your notions of what it is to live with your fellow men and the endless cultural intricacies that hold a society together. Isn’t that the point of travel?