North East India, the easternmost strip of the Indian subcontinent shares a border area of over 2000 km with countries Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh and is connected to the rest of India by a narrow 20 km narrow land passage squeezed between Bhutan and Bangladesh. Each state of the region has its distinct cultures and traditions and has been the assembly point of myriad communities, faiths and beliefs since time immemorial. Hence it is known to be one of the ethnically and linguistically most diverse regions of South Asia. A place distinguished for its exquisite beauty and unmatched diversity, North East India is the home to more than 220 different tribes belonging to different ethnicity who speak a wide range of languages. The lushness of its landscape, the array of communities and geographical and ecological diversity makes the region stand out in the crowd.
The state of Assam is the most common point of entry for the ‘seven sisters’ for those flying from both national and international destinations. Airports are located in Guwahati (the main commercial city), Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Tezpur (Assam) and Dimapur (Nagaland). There are many trains connecting Guwahati to other cities in India. Train services are available within the state of Assam, besides Dimapur, which falls in Nagaland and connects many interior parts of Assam and Nagaland.
Population, Languages and Climate
Northeast India constitutes around 8% of India’s size and has a population of around 40 million (approx.) (2011 census), 3.1% of the total Indian population. The climate here is subtropical, due to major influence of the southwest and the north east monsoon. It is the rainiest region in the country, with many places receiving over 2,000 mm precipitation annually. It is mostly concentrated in summer during the monsoons. Mawsynram in Meghalaya is the rainiest place in the world with an annual rainfall of 11,418.7 m. The temperature in north east is quite moderate, but it decreases gradually with altitude in the hilly areas. At the highest altitudes, like in some places of Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura there is a permanent snow cover. The best time to visit is from October to April, when the weather is pleasant with sunny days and cool nights, rainfall is moderate. The National Parks and sanctuaries are closed for monsoons between May and September.
Northeast India constitutes a single linguistic region with about 220 languages, of which English, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali are widely spoken. Assamese, an Indo-Aryan language spoken mostly in the Brahmaputra Valley developed as a lingua franca for many other languages like Nagamese (spoken in Nagaland). Tribal languages are mostly Tibetan in origin, but differ mostly differ from region to region. Some local languages are Khasi, Mising, Bodo, Agami, Apatani, Nocte etc.
Safety and Precautions
The North-Eastern region of India is generally peaceful. However, occasional cases of insurgency, though restricted to certain pockets can be seen here. However, it is advisable that when travelers are visiting the state of Nagaland, they don’t wander around without a local – especially, after sunset even though there have been no cases of trouble faced by tourists. Though English is an acknowledged official language in most of North-East, it would be nice to pick up a few Hindi and local helpful phrases when visiting Arunachal Pradesh and some parts of Assam.
Carry a good deal of light-weight, cotton clothing while visiting hot and humid Assam during summer. Do not forget to carry a mosquito-repellent cream or vaporizer while you are planning for a trip to North East of India. Malaria is still a major headache for the administrators of the area.
Please visit your GP for guidance for vaccinations while travelling to North East India. The region is malaria prone. Please also visit this website for more details www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-(east)/india.aspx
Passport & Visa Information
All Foreign travelers, including children must have a valid passport to travel to North east India.
A passport (with at least six months remaining validity) and a current Indian visa are required. Please note that you are required to have a passport with a machine-readable bar code. You will need to apply for your Indian visa in advance from the relevant issuing authority in your home country. British Passport holders can apply for an e-Tourist Visa, a single entry visa valid for 30 days. Please visit the website www.hcilondon.in/pages.php?id=28
The state of Arunachal Pradesh requires Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreigners. The rest of the North Eastern States do not require any permits. We arrange to provide the PAP from the Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh.
It is recommended that you take out appropriate insurance to cover personal accident, medical costs, repatriation, loss of baggage and holiday cancellation.
Indian standard Time (1ST) is 5 1/2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 10 1/2 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. 1ST is 4 1/2 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time, 3 1/2 hours behind Japanese Standard Time and 1 1/2 hours behind Thai Standard Time, Despite its vast geographical territory, India has just one time zone and no daylight saving time in summer.
The currency used is Indian Rupee. There are cash machines/ATMs in Guwahati and all the other capital cities and major towns, however, it is recommended to carry cash while travelling in the remote regions.