And here we are, ready to welcome yet another year with great fervour, anticipation and resolutions that are seldom kept. We have completed another trip around the sun, and it is time to usher in this year with a different spin. Thus, to kick off 2017, here is a list of the top 10 things to do, see, experience and feel. These 10 commandments, as we call them, are your guide to take in the best of Northeast and start the New Year on a truly special note. Carpe diem!
10. Take a cruise on the Brahmaputra:
With a sky flecked with stars and the gentle breeze for company, a cruise around the mighty river is a perfect way to unwind and soak in the beauty of the sloping hills. The evening cruise aboard the Alfresco Grand with live music is a must for making merry, while the afternoon cruise is apt for those who want to just sit and relax.
9. Watch the sunset in Manas National Park:
Known to be the most picturesque biosphere reserve, sun set in Manas National Park is a treat for the eyes. Flanked with miles of green cover dappled in the sunlight, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has unique species of fauna. It is a perfect getaway if you want the year to start on a quiet note while relaxing with a cup of finely blended Assam tea to keep you warm.
8. Soak in the colours and culture with Losar:
Celebrated with great enthusiasm and splendour, Losar commemorates the advent of the New Year with a host of festivities spread over two weeks. Feasting, merrymaking, dancing and barrels of Apong or the local Arunachali rice beer are highlights of this event. The beauty of the Tibetan and Arunachali culture lies in this celebration, where the festival welcomes good health and happiness in abundance. As the month of February approaches, pack your bags for Arunachal to experience the joy of living.
7. Learn a local northeastern language:
Boasting of having over 220 languages, each tribe in Northeast has its own distinct dialect. While some of them may prove to be tongue twisters, Northeastern languages have been attributed for their dulcet and pleasant tones. This year, take up a challenge to pick up a new language. Instead of going for the usual Western options, opt for one closer home. Quite a fun activity at that, it would be your window to outshine the rest while making thrift shopping a piece of cake.
6. Spend a tranquil and ethereal week:
Located in the midst of valleys and flanked by greenery, the Rumtek monastery in Gangtok, Sikkim, is considered to be one of the most breathtaking monasteries in the country. Enshrining a beautiful golden stupa, it is the beacon of spirituality. Offering splendid views of the Kanchenjunga, the monastery is an ideal retreat to start off the year on a fresh and spiritual note. Spend a week in its simplicity and charm, and go and find your inner peace, this January.
5. Try Bhoot jolokia (Ghost pepper):
Some the most delectable dishes in Northeast are incomplete without a hint of bhoot jo-lokia. Adding its fiery and piquant flavours to boost any dish, it is essential in every household. Despite being the hottest chilly in the world, its mild essence is light on the tastebuds. For all the daredevils wishing to start their year off with a bang, trying bhoot jolokia should make it onto the list, for you truly haven’t experienced the flavours of Northeast if you haven’t tried the ghost pepper.
4. Enter into a momo eating contest:
A favourite in the street food scene, these translucent bite-sized nibbles are the perfect Northeastern delicacies to indulge in. Stuffed with various fillings, from cheese to pork, momos are guilt-free snacks, and for foodies, a trip down to Sikkim is a must to attend the momo-eating contest. An appetite is all you need to build up, for that will mark the begin-ning of a gastronomically delightful year for you.
3. Sit around a bonfire beside Umiam Lake:
Wreathed with conifers, Umiam lake in Meghalaya is an ideal location to seek solace, nes-tled in the lap of nature. As the sun sets, a merry little bonfire with some pork grilled on an open flame spells out contentment. If camping-out is not your thing, a houseboat on the lake is the perfect solution. For the adventure seekers, check out kayaking, water skiing and angling. The rest can wake up to the exquisite sun rise and view of the lake.
2. Clamber through the root bridges in Cherrapunjee:
Borne due to the perennial rains in Cherrapunjee, the living root bridges are an example of the boundless beauty of Northeast. Known for the fauna that seek refuge there, climbing the root bridges is one of the most popular tourist activities in the state. For those willing to brave the rain and the damp climate, camping under the root bridge is yet another activity worth experiencing. After ambling through the bridges, a Khasi meal ends the day on an excellent note.
1. Ride through Northeast:
What could be a greater adrenaline rush than a road trip throughout the eight states on motor bikes? Beckoning all the thrill seekers, adventurers, backpackers and the likes, this is one of the most exhilarating things to do in Northeast. Going beyond conventional ways of travelling, exploring on a bike with your chosen company is the best way to look into the nooks and crannies of every place. Since it doesn’t have the rigidity of a tailored tour or the unpredictability of trains, hop onto a bike and explore away while taking detours for local nibbles on the way.