Into the wilderness of North East India - The journal of an Indo-Canadian couple, Neeraj and Bhakti

Neeraj & Bhakti's expedition to North-east India
Neeraj and Bhakti are an Indo-Canadian couple who love to travel to new and wonderful places. In this travelogue, the couple recollects some moments from 2012 they forayed into the wilderness of North East India.

Lingdum Monastery near Gangtok in Sikkim (August)

Lingdum Monastery, Sikkim –
This was one of the most peaceful monasteries I visited in Sikkim. With the soothing sounds of Buddhist monks chanting and spectacular scenery all around, it is impossible not to fall in love with this monastery!

Tea stop en route to Namchi in Sikkim (August)

I love tea and there is nothing I love more than sipping on a hot cup of 'cutting chai' from a local tea vendor. The fact that it was locally grown Himalayan tea and I was surrounded by spectacular scenery were just icing on the cake. While on way to Namchi from Gangtok, our shared-taxi made a brief stop at a local shop and I had the greatest cup of local tea. It’s the little things that matter.

An Evening by Brahmaputra in Assam (September)

Brahmaputra river, Assam -
It was not by choice that we came to Tezpur (Assam) and only by chance that we ended up spending a very peaceful evening by the mighty Brahmaputra river a midst all the communal rioting going on in the rest of the state.

Madhuri Lake in Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh (September)

Sungester Tso (Shonga-Tseir) or Madhuri lake, Arunachal Pradesh -
The journey to Sungester Tso, more popularly known as “Madhuri Lake” after the 1997 Bollywood movie 'Koyla' starring Madhuri Dixit and Shahrukh Khan was filmed there, is a long and arduous one from Tawang (not to mention expensive). The lake has an interesting history; it was formed after an earthquake in 1970s that destroyed a village. Its violent history notwithstanding, the high-altitude lake surrounded by big mountains and with yaks grazing nearby, is one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen!

Peek-A-Boo Falls Near Cherrapunji (Sohra) in Meghalaya (September)

Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya -
Falling from a height of 1,100 feet, Nohkalikai Falls in Sohra (Cherrapunji, Meghalaya) is the highest
plunge waterfall in India. However, we were very disappointed when we went to “see it” as it was completely shrouded in mist. We could hear the might roar of the falls and imagined what it must look like. Fortunately, our disappointment did not last very long. We realized that the clouds were moving continuously and in-between were clear periods that lasted long enough to give us a glimpse of the falls. We could see the break in the clouds moving towards the falls and we got ready to see it. It was as if the falls was playing hide ‘n seek with us!

Breathless in Meghalaya (September)

Living root bridges, Meghalaya -
Although I had seen photos of Meghalaya’s living-root bridges, I was still not prepared to see it in
person. The living-root tree bridge near Mawlynnong and the double-decker living-root tree bridge near Sohra (Cherrapunji) were something that left me speechless and breathless.

Call of Mt. Saramati in Nagaland (October)

Rickety bridge en route to Thanamir village, Nagaland -
We got more than what we bargained for when we decided to climb the highest peak of Nagaland,
Mt. Saramati. There is a dirt road that connects Kiphire town to the Thanamir village from where the trek to Mt. Saramati starts. We hired a jeep to drive us to that village. However, due to a recent landslide, our jeep could not reach the village and we had to take a “short-cut” to the village, which I can now say was a short-cut through hell! The short-cut involved descending a densely forested valley, crossing a river on an old rickety bridge and then finally climbing up to the village – we did all this in total darkness and encountered two poisonous snakes on the way. It was an adventure of a lifetime!

Yamshe Harvest Festival in Nagaland (October)

Naga ladies performing during Yamshe Harvest Festival in Meluri, Nagaland -
We were yearning to see a local religious festival throughout our trip and we finally got the chance
thanks to a new friend we made in Nagaland. Our friend took us to his home town of Meluri where we experienced the two-day harvest festival of Yamshe. This is what we see on Discovery Channel.

Ten Million (Less One) Rock Carvings of Unakoti in Tripura (October)

Rock carvings at Unakoti, Tripura -
I had wanted to visit Unakoti in Tripura ever since I saw photos of the ancient rock carvings in the
in-flight magazine of Jet Airways in July 2010. Located in Northern Tripura, Unakoti, which means “one less than a crore” (1 crore = 10 million), has some of the most spectacular rock carvings in a natural setting. We hired a rickshaw to reach the site and the journey was through a deserted stretch of road in a jungle. Having heard some reports of militant activities in the area in the past I almost regretted undertaking the journey but as they say, all’s well that ends well!

Durga Puja in Agartala, Tripura (October)

Durga Puja in Agartala, Tripura -
During Durga Puja, an otherwise quiet and laid-back state capital, was alive with activity for the
festive season. The beautifully decorated pandals are a sight to behold and the downtown core is buzzing with activity late into the night with families dressed in their best and new clothes visiting the pandals and feasting on the dozens of road-side food vendors. After Kolkata, the Bengali-dominated Agartala is probably the next-best-place to experience the fervour of Durga Puja!

Bharari (meaning 'taking flight' in Marathi) is an online journal of what the couple sees, experience and believe.