WHY TRAVELLING TO NORTH EAST INDIA IS A GREAT IDEA – INTRODUCING VARUN HEGDE

There are numerous blogs about travel – motivational, informational or simply preaching. You must have seen around you as well, people trying to influence you to take that solo trip – explore the unexplored. My apologies before starting then, as this blog is not too different. It doesn’t preach though, only gives a brief overview ( and picture gallery ) of this amazing trip in the North East of India that I had, and hopes to inspire you to plan yours. If you need more details , don’t hesitate to reach out ( varun@soultravelling.in ) .

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Things you see on a daily basis in North East ( Location : Tawang )

GUWAHATI

Considered the gateway of North East India, Guwahati is probably the most developed if its cities and can give any other ‘big’ Indian cities a run for their money. You have everything you need here – branded showrooms, bustling pubs and shopping streets. A gentle reminder though, that’s not what you came here for!

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The airport welcomes you in a pompous way ( Location : Guwahati )

Well, there are cheap flights to Guwahati from most Indian metropolitan cities , and we used it as our base camp ( or so we called it 😛 ) .   The city is nice too – The always crowded Kamakhya temple is located here, apart from some other monuments. Do all your ‘city’ stuff here, as you’re not to be blamed if you get a feeling of leaving all civilization behind towards the later parts of your journey!

SHILLONG

Shillong gives you your first feel of the extraordinary things you can expect on this journey. That first feel of chill as you go up the mountains ( Shillong is located at a higher elevation ) , the mountains and the lakes you pass by and the isolated paths. It takes your breath away, and how!

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The living root bridge ( PC: Vishnu Khaunte  /  Location : Cheerapunji )

Shillong is located 3 hours away from the Guwahati airport, and you can hire a cab from the airport itself ( 400 bucks per person ) .  The journey is serene, and so is Shillong. The main square of Shillong is called Police Bazaar, if you’re craving for a KFC. Try the local stuff though, and walk around. Try visiting the near-by lakes, and talk to the locals. Trek those mountains that surround this city – Unwind. Shillong is really clean, so make sure you clean up after yourself.

Cherapunji is a few hours away from Shillong, so try to visit it. The living root bridge is a thing of beauty. Dawki on the Bangladesh border is also recommended. I missed out on these due to a comedy of errors ( Read : Air India is a bitch! ) , but that’s a story for another time.

KAZIRANGA / TEZPUR

Our next stop was the land of one-horned giants, the rhinos of Assam. Kaziranga national park is located around 5-hours away from Shillong, and is filled with some really interesting animals. The jeep ride takes you around the park – and is a thrilling experience. You can spot those majestic rhinos, apart from deer and the occasional elephant. The early morning elephant ride is another way to wander around in the park.

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The majestic Rhino ( PC : Pankaj Naik / Location : Kazrianga National Park )

Tezpur is an hours drive away from the national park, and is a preferred destination to camp before you move into the wilderness of Arunachal . It has all amenities and can be a location to do some basic preparations for your journey. The accommodation is cheap here too!

DIRANG

To reach Dirang, be prepared for the journey of a lifetime. Let me explain a bit about how to go about it – Book a Tata Sumo / Bolero from Tezpur and apply for the inner-line permit at the Balukpong border (  Rs. 80 ) , and off you go! The next 5-6 hours will be a bumpy ride, and the roads are not the best. But look around, and the beauty you’ll pass through will keep you going. It increases by many-folds as you approach the majestic city of Dirang.

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Not your regular wall poster ( Location : Near Dirang )

Dirang is a small Buddhist town in the eastern Himalayas, with awesomeness second-to-none. The mountains , the bridges and most importantly those warm people. This is the only place I offer a recommendation for stays – the Thupsung Dhargyeling monastery. Pleasant stay with all the requirements – and waking up to those mountains. Holy bliss! 🙂

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The divine B&B ( Location : Dirang )

TAWANG

Can you believe that we haven’t even got to the best part of the journey ( or the worst, if you are talking about the roads ) yet ? You are correct, we are on our way to Tawang!

Here’s a suggestion – Travel through Sela pass during the day, and pray for snowfall. The sight will be pretty difficult to forget during this lifetime, that’s a promise. We stopped for a cup of hot tea and even hotter samosas at the Jaswant Garh memorial, and counted our lucky starts that we agreed to come here.

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It’s for moments like these that we travel ( Location : Sela pass )

And then comes Tawang, after a laborious journey of 5 hours from Dirang. And you are blown away by it. It is surrounded by mountains, and houses the second biggest Buddhist monastery in the world. The Bumla pass ( Indo-Sino border ) is another couple of hours away, and worth a visit. Tawang is a place where you can spend days together and not realize it, and crave for more by the end of it.

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Time to forget your worldly chores, it’s Tawang time! ( Location : Tawang )

I can go on and on about these beauties, but you have to feel them for yourselves. There are so many places I’ve not been able to mention about here – Balukpong, Bomadilla and others. Get them on your checklist, asap!

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So here’s the preaching part – Pack your bags and visit North East. It will leave you speechless, and then turn you into a story-teller ( quoted ) .

 

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SOFTWARE ENGINEER TURNED TRAVELLER, VARUN HEGDE IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON SETTING UP A TRAVEL SOLUTION FOR GOA, INDIA. HE PLANS TO DEVELOP A BACKPACKING CULTURE IN INDIA, AND WE WISH HIM LUCK IN HIS ENDEAVOR. KEEP SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCES! 🙂

Website : http://www.soultravelling.in/

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