North-East India for the Active Traveller: Top 6 Things to Do

"Dangerous, Mystifying, Unexplored..." are some of the adjectives most people use to describe the little-known jungles and hills that adorn the Northeastern states of India. Post independence, inter-tribal skirmishes and a history of violence made this chunk of land almost disappear from the radar. While the rest of the country shone, and state governments come up with innovative ideas to draw the crowds, the north-east remained in the dark nurturing dense, impenetrable forests fleshed open by wide rivers. In the recent past, thanks to the efforts of the new-age explorer, this region has seen some light. As more and more photos of the verdant utopia surface on social media, we realize what we have been missing all along! Home to countless tribes and their colourful (sometimes scary) rituals, sprawling valleys and mist-encrusted hills, rare and endemic flora and fauna and ofcourse hip youngsters with an impeccable taste for fashion and music, the North-East is slowly but steadily opening up its doors. And yes, besides the usual sight-seeing, it is serving up an entire platter of adventurous sports. From trekking along slippery trails of rainforests to rafting down unbridled rivers to squeezing through bat-infested caves, the list growing at an indomitable pace.

The North-East is one of the last reserves of unspoilt nature and tribes who have not given up their lifestyle to modernism. We at GypsyShack encourage responsible tourism

#1. Trekking

The densely wooded hills of the North-East has immense potential to draw trekking enthusiasts from around the world. With heights many times lesser than the Greater Himalayan peaks of the north, this region harbours thick canopied forests and an extremely diverse biodiversity. Isolated tribes live in clearings without any touch with civilization. Most of the trails fall in the easy-moderate grade and run through rainforests and mixed-tropical jungles. Arunachal Pradesh is the top choice for trekkers; Namdapha Rainforest Trek and the Bailey Trail are the favorites. In Meghalaya, one can trek through tribal settlements and dripping forests to the legendary living root bridges. Trekking in the Blue Mountain National Park in Mizoram is slowly gaining popularity. The Dzukou Valley Trek in Nagaland brings you to one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. With little tourist activity, these trails boast of immaculate beauty and are the perfect way of understanding these hilly, jungle counties.

Trekking through the Namdapha Rainforest

Trekking through the Namdapha Rainforest

#2. White Water Rafting

This is mountainous land and, needless to say, the rivers are unbridled. Fed by heavy rainfall, they assume voluptuous avatars post monsoon. Relative lack of pollution and the undulating landscape draws rafters from far and wide. The Brahmaputra is the main draw but with the region opening up to travellers, numerous other tributaries of the gigantic river are scoring high on the list of adventure seekers. The swift currents of the Kameng and Lohit rivers are excellent for rafting.

White-Water Rafting

White Water Rafting 

#3. Caving/Spelunking

The Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills present the best caving opportunities in the country. Most of the caves - Krem Mawmluh, Mawmsai Cave, Siju Caves and Krem Phyllut- are located in Meghalaya. Located inside jungles, these limestone caves and contain a marvellous array of stalactites, stalagmites and cave curtains. Clear streams and pools are found inside the caves. Torches have been installed inside few of the caves. The Siju Cave is home to some rare species of bats.

Caving in Meghalaya 

Caving in Meghalaya

#4. Kayaking

Kayaking can be done on many rivers of the North-East. Running through jungles and the luxuriant plains, the rivers in this part of the country has something for everyone. The Subansiri River is great for kayaking. The thrill-seekers can take to the unrestrained rivers of Arunachal, while for newbies there is the gorgeous Umgot River in Dawki, Meghalaya. The water of this river is so clean that your canoes will appear as if they are floating on pale-green glass. The surrounding hills up the beauty quotient.

Kayaking in Meghalaya 

Kayaking in Meghalaya

#5. Para-gliding

Para-gliding is a relatively new sport here but it is been harnessed as a potential draw for adventure seekers. The lower Himalayas with lush valleys hewn by rivers are breath-taking from the sky. Haflong, Assam's only hill station, is the only place where para-gliding is available as of now. The quaint hill station is a symphony in green. Unspoilt woods, pristine valleys and winding trails are the major draws here.

Para-gliding in the North-East


#6. Jungle Safari

The numerous national forests and sanctuaries in the North-East India are home to a large number of species, including some rare and endemic ones. Kaziranga National Park in Assam is famous for the One-horned Rhinoceros. Manas is home to some rare species like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog. Nameri and Namdapha National Parks in Arunachal Pradesh have been drawing a steady stream of tourists. Dihing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its orchids. Colorful birds, butterflies and insects add a magical touch to the velvety greenery around. Jeep Safaris, Elephant Safaris and Nature Walks are the best ways to encounter wildlife in these jungles.

The famed One-horned Rhinoceros

The famed One-horned Rhinoceros

Come, experience the North-East! 

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