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Five magical offbeat villages in the Northeast India

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We live in a country that is home to many natural wonders. From staggeringly tall peaks to lusciously flowing rivers, backwaters down south, scenic deserts, national parks rick with wildlife and what not, India offers something for nearly every travel mood. Within its travel gems one of the most prized ones has to be the North-East of India which is of course, stunningly beautiful with its greenery, its waterfalls and rivers and its peaks but at the same time it is also a beautiful experience from a cultural perspective. As adventurers and explorers start to meander through the 7 Sisters to see what they have to offer, here’s looking at some of the magical villages to explore there, to take you on an offbeat path and right into the hearts of these lands.

Molung Village, Nagaland

How to reach: The nearest airport is Jorhat in Assam and the nearest railway station is Mariani Junction which is also located in Assam. From there hire a local taxi to reach Molung.

Best time to visit: October to February

molung village
Source: https://www.jaigaontourandtravels.com/destinations/domestic/nagaland

For the ones who are looking to immerse themselves in the cultural wealth of the North East along with its scenic one, there’s the village of Molung residing in the district of Mokochung. The state of Nagaland has been a major attraction on account of its tribes with their head-hunting to other folklores and uncommon practices. If that intrigues you, then the village of Molung will present you with a chance to see, meet and interact with the Ao tribe on an up close and personal level. The ones living in this village were amongst the first of the Nagas to convert to Christianity. Thus, Molung is home to the first Baptist Church in Nagaland. This village thus started the practice of a religion which would go on to soon consume almost all of the state. This green village is considered by many to be the first one from the state. Explore it by roaming about on foot and taking in your surroundings, conversing with locals and maybe even asking them to show you an ancient lychee tree planted by the first ever American missionary here.

Ukhrul, Manipur

How to reach: Fly down to Imphal International Airport or take a train till the railway station in Dimapur and from there travel by road to reach Ukhrul.

Best time to visit: April to June

ukhrul
Source: https://www.nativeplanet.com/ukhrul/#overview

And to be further engulfed by the mist of the mountains above an expanse of velvet green carpets, head on over to the land of the exotic shirui lilies, Ukhrul. This scenic beauty is home to a tribe known for its prowess over the arts and warfare, the Tangkhul tribe. Get ready to see them standing out in their traditional elaborate and colourful costumes. Ukhrul is a chance to explore the lesser seen parts of this region, to get away from the busy crowds and just step into seeing a beautiful and quaint little land. From waterfalls for you to play around in or gaze at, to park after park inviting you to have a picnic day, this village is for a laidback and cosy holiday. In this tucked away town, you can spot the rare shirui lilies. This flower species with a tinge of blue in its otherwise lavender and pink petals is found only in Ukhrul. Attempts at growing it at other locations have failed. I guess that’s because of the possible mythical reason behind this flower which has been observed to bear all the colours of the rainbow under a microscope. They say that once a princess lived in these hills with her lover. Once the princess had died, she was buried here and they believe that the blooming flowers are a sign of how she still waits in these hills, in the hopes of being reunited with her lost lover.

Reiek Heritage Village, Mizoram

How to reach: You can fly down to Lingui airport but there are limited flights, so, make sure to book your well in advance and cross-check the connectivity. From here the Reiek village is only 35kms away. Alternatively, you can take a train till Silchar.

Best time to visit: September to February

reiek-tlang-mizoram
Source: https://curlytales.com/adventure-exquisite-reiek-tlang-mizoram/

This one is sure to get the adventure enthusiasts excited as they not only get to visit a stunning village but they also get to explore it on foot and by taking on activities such as trekking! The Reiek Tlang or hill stands at a height of about 1,600 metres. Trek up the rocky terrain to reach its cliff like top which stands with yellow needle-like grasses on one side and with rustic looking unadulterated forests on the other side. This is a trail where your trek lets you enter a world that exists in its actual form, untouched and unaffected by the presence of our species, here nature runs wild as it pleases and warmly welcomes those who pay a visit. You will also find some caves here and what better way to learn about it than by asking the locals the stories they heard being passed down through generations about the place. Beyond the mystery, here even the birdwatchers will be mesmerized as they see birds taking flight. Then you are also led up to the gorgeously flowing vast river. Additionally, for the culturally curious a visit here would also be suggested during the annual Anthurium Festival which sees the folks of Mizoram showcasing their life and traditions.

Pfutsero, Nagaland

How to reach: Firstly, either fly down to Dimapur or take a train till there. Then from Dimapur travel to Kohima through either a private or even shared taxis. From Kohima, you can find local buses and shared taxis alike to take you to Pfutsero.

Best time to visit: October to April

pfutsero-nagaland
Source: http://blog.kitemanja.com/traveling-to-pfutsero-nagaland/

Pfutsero in itself is actually a hill station which is home to 18 villages within it. Here you will get the chance to interact with folks from the Chokris and Khezhas tribes. You can learn more about them even at their annual festival in the month of April which celebrates the harvest and displays cultural dances, songs and rejoicing practices. A chance for you to visit the highest altitude town of Nagaland is what awaits you in Pfutsero. Head to its Glory Peak where you can glimpse at panoramic views such as Tuensang and Zunheboto. And on good days, they say the view can even include a glimpse of Mount Everest! Irrespective the villages found here at large have you staring back at lushly green hillocks and mountains, at the touch of nature’s affection displayed with its bloom in the valleys here and their views. There is also a World War II cave and Miracle Cave to see! Khezhakeno Village and Leshemi Village have been around since ancient times and narrate stories of forgotten times. Lesiurely walks and meals with locals, observing the local life and smiling back at the views offered, if that is something that interests you, then head to this destination.

Click here to read about Pfutsero in detail!

Jatinga Village, Assam

How to reach: Take a flight to Rowriah Airport in Assam or if you want to travel by a train, you can reach the Lumding Junction station. Thereafter, travel by road to reach your destination. Local buses are available but frequency is uncertain, so, make sure to check well in advance.

Best time to visit: August to April

jatinga village
Source: https://www.india.com/travel/jatinga/

In Assam’s Dima Hasao district, a tribal village is perched upon a ridge and goes by the name of Jatinga. The village has also come to be known as the valley of death for birds. This eerie was coined as a result of the annual phenomenon that unfolds in the village every year between the months of September to November. Approximately 44 species have been identified which are seen without fail flying to a certain point near the hillock within the village and committing suicide. The villagers for ages believed that this was the foul play of evil spirits in the skies who sought to hurt the flying beings. Considerable number of researchers have also poured themselves over this inexplainable occurrence. Although absolute conclusive results are yet to be determined, possible reasons that are suggested are that the fog, high-octave light and high-altitude confuses the birds, making them delusional and thus, ending in such a dire state. Efforts have also been put in to educate the villagers so that they can play their part to prevent this. Now I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea but those who are looking to be amazed by nature’s unknown events can witness this and also take in the surrounding green mountains.

So, tell me, which one are you eager to visit first and foremost?

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