ABOUT NORTH EAST INDIA

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

Arunachal Pradesh attained its statehood on 20th February 1987. It is situated in the North-Eastern part of India with 83743 sq. kms area and has a long international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km). It stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of Brahmaputra valley in the south.It is situated between latitude 26° 30′ N and 29° 30 ‘ N and longitude 91° 30′ E and 97° 30’ E. Itanagar is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh and located at an altitude of 530 meters above MSL. It is named after Itafort meaning fort of bricks built in 14th cen

The population of Arunachal is 1,091,117 according to 2001 census and is scattered over 12 towns and 3649 villages. The State has the lowest density of 13 persons per sq. km. As against decadal growth rate of 21.34% at the national level, the population of the State has grown by 26.21% over the period 1991-2001. The sex ratio of Arunachal Pradesh at 901 females to 1000 males is lower than the national average of 933.

Total literacy of the State rose to 54.74% from 41.59% in 1991. The number of literates is 487,796. There are 20 major tribes and a number of sub-tribes inhabiting the area. Most of these communities are ethnically similar, having derived from and original common stock but their geographical isolation from each other has brought amongst them certain distinctive characteristics in language, dress and customs.

THE PEOPLES

THREE CULTURAL GROUPS : Broadly the people may be divided into three cultural groups on the basis of their socio-religious affinities. The Monpas and Sherdukpens of Tawang and West Kameng districts follow the lamaistic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Noted for their religious fervour, the villages of these communities have richly decorated Buddhist temples, locally called ‘Gompas’. Though largely agriculturists practising terrace cultivation, many of these people are also pastoral and breed herds of yak and mountains sheep. Culturally similar to them are Membas and Khambas who live in the high mountains along the northern borders. Khamptis and Singphos inhabiting the eastern part of the State are Buddhists of Hinayana sect. They are said to have migrated from Thailand and Burma long ago and still using ancient scripts derived from their original homeland.

The second group of the people are Adis, Akas, Apatanis, Bangnis, Nishis, Mishmis, Mijis, Thongsas etc., who worship Sun and Moon God namely, Donyi-Polo and Abo-Tani, the original ancestors for most of these tribes. Their religious rituals, largely coincide with phases of agricultural cycles. They invoke nature deities and make animal scarifices. They traditionally practice jhumming or shifting cultivation. Adis and Apatanis extensively practice wet rice cultivation and have a considerable agricultural economy.

Apatanis are also famous for their paddy-cum-pisciculture. They are specialised over centuries in harvesting two crops of fish along with each crop of the paddy.

The third group comprises Noctes and Wanchos,adjoining Nagaland in the Tirap District. These are hardy people known for their strictly structured village society in which hereditary village chief still plays a vital role. The Noctes also practise elementary form of Vaishnavism.

TRIBES There are about 20 Major tribes with a number of Sub-Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.

Adi | Apatani | Bugun | Galo | Hrusso | Jingpho | Khamba | Koro | Memba |Meyor |

Mishmi (including Idu, Taroan and Kaman) | Monpa | Nyishi (including Bangru and Puroik) |

Sajolang | Sartang | Sherdukpen | Tagin | Tai Khamti (including Khamyang) | Yobin |

Tangshang (including Muklom, Lonchang, Tutsa,Tikhak, Hawoi, Longri, Mungrey, Mushaung, Lungphi, Joglai, Ngaimong, Ponthai, Khalak, Lungkhai, Halley, Chellim, Shechu, Shiangwal, Rera, Shiangtee, Dohe, Moitai, Hatseng, Gajee, Gaja, Kochong, Lowchang, Laki, Gallon, Chamchang, ringkhu, Shohra, Bowngtai, Ronrang of Changlang District and Nocte, Wanchoo and Tutsa of Tirap District)

Here is a brief description some of these tribes :

A group of Adi Tribal ladiesThe Adis have two main divisions, (the Bogum and Bomis) and under each there are a number of sub-tribes. The Minyongs, Karkos, Shimongs, Bomdo, Janbos, Paggis, Pailibos, Bogum, Padams, Milangs and so on from one group ; while the Gallong and seven other groups constitute another group of Adis. The Adis by nature are democratic and organised village council called Kebang. Their traditional dance called Ponung is famous in the whole of Arunachal Pradesh. Dances are very popular among them. Adi villages are situated generally on the spurs of hills. Polyandy is unknown but polygyny is practised. Adi women are very good weavers and weave cloth with highly artistic designs.

The Apatanis are settled agriculturists inhabiting the valley around Ziro-the headquarters of Lower Subansiri district. The older men-folk tie the hair in top-knots and tattoo the faces. Wearing of circular nose plugs and tattooing of faces is the most characteristic aspect of ornamentation of older Apatani women. However, new generation of Apatani men and women have stopped this practice of tying hair knot, nose plugs and face tattooing since early 1970s. The Apatani are good cultivators and practice both wet and terrace cultivation. Paddy cum fish culture is very popular among them. Unlike other tribes of Arunachal their economy is stable.

The Buguns or Khowas are gentle, hospitable and affectionate people. They are agriculturist and perform a number of rites and ceremonies for their welfare.

The Hrusso or Akas have a custom of painting their face with black marks. They figured frequently in old historical records. Their popular belief is that they were related with the Ahom Kings.They are keen traders and trade, mainly in cloth, blankets, swords etc. They have come to some extent under both Hindu and Buddhist influence.

The Singphos represent a section of the Kachin tribe of Burma. They live on the banks of Tengapani and Noa Dehang rivers. They are agriculturists and expert blacksmiths. The ladies are good weavers too. They follow Buddhism but at the same time believe in a host of spirit.

Khambas and Membas inhabiting northern part of West Siang are Buddhist by religion. Polyandry is prevalent among them. But it is more in vogue among the Membas. Agricultural activities are popular among them . Millet and Maize are their staple food . They grow cotton and barle also.

Mishmis form the bulk of the population of Lohit, Upper Dibang Valley and Lower Dibang Valley districts. There are also the Khamtis, the Singphos and a few Adi settlement. The Mishmis are divided into three main groups namely- Idus or Chulikatas, Digarus or Taroan and Mijus or Kaman. A section of the Idu Mishmi are also called Bebejia Mishmi . Their women are expert weavers and make excellent coats and blouses. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. By nature they are traders. Since very early days the Mishmis had relations with the plains of Assam. The chief items of trade are deer –musk, wild medicinal plants, animal skins , Mishimi – tita etc.

The Monpas are simple, gentle and courteous people. They are friendly and possess a rich heritage of culture. They dress well in artistically designed clothes. Their communal life is rich and happy. They follow Buddhism and profess Mahayana Buddhism which centre round the Tawang Monastery. Each house has a small chapel attached to it.

The Nyishi are the largest groups of people inhabiting the major part of Lower Subansiri district. Their menfolk wear their hair long and tie it in a knot just above the forehead. They wear cane bands around the waist. They believe that after death the spirit of a dead travels to the ‘village of the ancestors’. The Sulungs or Puroik are considered to be one of the oldest of the tribes in the area. Their dress and constumes are simple, and the religion is a form of the primitive ‘ spirit culture’.

The Sherdukpens are a small tribe. They are good agriculturist but their main interest is trade. Their religion is an interesting blend of Mahayana Buddhism and tribal magico-religious beliefs.

The Tagins are main inhabitant of Upper Sunansiri district. Their main occupation is agriculture. Polygamy is customary among them. Their dress is very simple consisting of only one piece of cloth.

The Khamtis are believed to have migrated from the Shan states of Burma . They are the only tribe in Arunachal who have a script of their own, They are Buddhist ( Hinayana cult) by religion, and bury the dead in a coffin. They include Khamyang tribe

The Wanchos inhabit the western part of Tirap district, bordering Nagaland. They are a carefree, cheerful and hard-working people. Head hunting was customary with them in the old days. It was connected with many of the social activities of the tribe. Their society is divided into four classes the Wanghams ( chiefs ) , the Wangpana , the Wangaue and Wangaas . They have a strict sense of discipline and the law and order of the society is maintained by a village council. The entire tribe is divided into about forty confederacies of villages. Tattooing is a social custom among them . They believe in the existence of two powerful deities, Rang and Baurang. The women are good weavers but the art is restricted to the members of the chief’s families only. They are expert in wood carving also.

The Noctes inhabit the central part of Tirap to the east of the Wanchos. They are organized under powerful chief-those of Namsang and Borduria,They profess Vaishnavism and are disciple of the Bareghar Satra of Nazira, Assam, Naga Narottam who was a close friend of Shri Ram Dev Ata, the founder- satradhikar of the Brehar satra, , become his first disciple, Noctes are famous as salt producers which is their chief item of trade and barter. They are agriculturists. They also cultivate betel leaves on a commercial scale.

The Yobin, also called Lisus , are a small group of people inhabiting the remote easternmost corner of the

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE

The whole population of Arunachal can be divided into three cultural groups on the basis of their socio- politico religious affinities.There are three kinds of religions practiced here. The Monpas and Sherdukpens in Kameng and Tawang district, who met the Tibetans in the north, adopted Lamaism of the Buddhist faith, while the Khamptis in Lohit district practice Mahayana Buddhism. The second group, Noctes and Wanchos in Tirap district, whose long association with the Assamese in the south, converted them to Hindus.

They are associated with the practice of head hunting. The third group comprises of Adi, Akas, Apatanis, Nishings, etc.- a large majority of the total population, who maintain their ancient belief and indigenous concepts of nature and worship- the Donyi-Polo (The Sun & Moon).

Apatanis, Hill Miris and Adis make attractive articles in cane and bamboo. The Wanchos are famous for their wood and bamboo carved figurines.

ECONOMY

For about 35% of the population of Arunachal Pradesh, agriculture is the main occupation. 17% of total cultivated area is under irrigation. The main crop is rice, grown on valley bottoms and on some terraced slopes. Maize, millets, pulses, potatoes, wheat and mustard are the other important crops. About 62% of the total area of the state is under forests. There is no large scale manufacturing industry, though some coal and lignite are mined. The principal industries are forest based. Forest products, especially bamboo, are vital resources. Saw mills, plywood and veneering mills, rice mills, fruit preservation units, soap and candle manufacturing, steel fabrication, oil expellers are in the medium and small industrial sectors.

Deposits of dolomite, ore, limestone, graphite, quartzite, kyanite, mica iron-ore, copper ore have also been reported. Weaving is the universal craft, highly coloured fabrics being made largely by women. The multi coloured masks, fine wood-carving, cane, bamboo and fibre works bear eloquent testimony to the fine artistic temperament of the people. There is a steady export market for Monpa carpets, Adi skirts and Mishmi bags and shawls with a view to develop the traditional handicrafts of the people. The government has established a number of Cottage Industries, Training- cum- production centres, where local boys and girls are trained in various crafts to enable them to earn their livelihood by practicing these crafts. The craft centres are also helping the people in finding markets for their products.

FESTIVALS

Festivals are an essential part of the socio- cultural life of the people. The festivals are usually connected with agriculture and are associated with ritualistic gaiety either to thank God or to pray for bumper harvest. Some of the important festivals are Mopin and Solung of Adis, Lossar of Monpas & Sherdukpens and Boori-Boot of the Hill Miris, Dree of the Apatanis, Si-Donyi of Tagins, Nyokum of Nishing, Reh of Idu Mishmis, Tamladu of Mishmi, Loku of Nocte, Mol of Tangsa, Sanken of the Khampti and Singpho, Khan of the Miji, Nechi Dau of the Akase of the Tagins, Ojiale of the Wancho, Kshyat-Sowai of the Khowa, Longte Yullo of the Nishing,etc.

PLACES OF INTEREST:

Along, Annini, Bhismaknagar (archaeological sites), Bomdila (at a height of 2530 mts provides a panoramic views of the Himalayan landscapes and snow clad ranges), Changlong, Doparijo, Itanagar (capital, with excavated ruins of historical Ita Fort and attractive Ganga lake [Gekar Sinyi]), Pasighat, Malinithan (archaeological sites), Sessa (orchid park), Namdhapha (wildlife sanctuary in Changlang district), Parasuramkund (place of pilgrimage), Tawang (at a height of 12,000 ft, 400 year old Buddhist Monastery, associated with the famous Torgva festival, is the largest of its kind in the country and is the birth place of the 6th Dalai Lama.), Ziro, Tipi (orchidarium with over 7500 orchids), Akashiganga ( bird’s eye view of the Brahmaputra), Talley Valley ( eco tourism), Roing and Miao.

 ASSAM

THE LAND

MAP OF ASSAM

Assam (অসম)is the gateway to the north-east, a state known for its unparallel scenic beauty, rarest flora and fauna, lofty green hills, vast rolling plain, mighty waterways and a land of fairs and festivals. Known in the ancient lore as the kingdom of Pragjyotisha and Kamrupa, the capital having been Pragjyotishpura situated in or near Guwahati. It originally included in addition to modern Assam, parts of modern Bengal and modern Bangladesh. The name Assam is of recent origin. It came into use after the conquest of Assam by the Ahoms. It is also known that “Assam” is derived from the word “Asama” meaning uneven. Assam is almost separated from central India by Bangladesh. Nagaland, Manipur and Myanmar bound it in the east, west by West Bengal, north by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh and south by Meghalaya, Bangladesh, Tripura and Mizoram. It is dominated by the mighty Brahmaputra, one of the great rivers of the world (length: 2900 kms), which not only has a fertile alluvial plain for growing rice, but also is famous for tea. Earthquakes are common.

Regarded as the gateway to the region Assam is the second largest state within this geographic belt. A state with an abundance of forest cover, Assam also has five national parks and around half a dozen other wildlife sanctuaries. Another aspect that separates Assam from the rest of Indian states is the rich composite culture of the state. Assamese constitute the majority of the state’s population but the state has over two dozen other big and small tribal groups with many of them having their own language, script, dance forms and traditions. Hence, Assam is also called a Mosaic of Cultures.

GEOGRAPHY

Located south of the eastern Himalayas, Assam comprises the Brahmaputra and the Barak river valleysalong with the Karbi Anglong and the Dima Hasao district.Assam is surrounded by six of the other Seven Sister States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya. These states are connected to the rest of India via a narrow strip in West Bengal called the Siliguri Corridor or “Chicken’s Neck”

When comes to wildlife, Assam too has successfully conserved the one-horned Indian rhinoceros from near extinction, along with the tiger and numerous species of birds, and it provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant. It is becoming an increasingly popular destination for wildlife tourism, and Kaziranga

and Manas are both World Heritage Sites.Assam was also known for its Sal tree forests and forest products, much depleted now.

A land of high rainfall, Assam is endowed with lush greenery and the mighty river Brahmaputra, whose tributaries and oxbow lakes provide the region with a unique hydro-geomorphic and aesthetic environment. Geomorphic studies conclude that the Brahmaputra, the life-line of Assam is an antecedent river, older than the Himalayas. The river with steep gorges and rapids in Arunachal Pradesh entering Assam, becomes a braided river (at times 10 mi/16 km wide) and with tributaries, creates a flood plain (Brahmaputra Valley: 50–60 mi/80–100 km wide, 600 mi/1000 km long). ] In the south, the Barak originating in the Barail Range (Assam-Nagaland border) flows through the Cachar district with a 25–30 miles (40–50 km) wide valley and enters Bangladesh with the name Surma.

Assam is temperate (summer max. at 95–100 °F or 35–38 °C and winter min. at 43–46 °F or 6–8 °C) and experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity.

WILDLIFE 

the golden langur
GOLDEN LANGUR

Assam is one of the richest biodiversity zones in the world and consists of tropical rainforests,] deciduous forests, riverine grasslands, bamboo, orchards and numerous wetland ecosystems.The Kaziranga, home of the rare Indian Rhinoceros, and Manas are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Assam. The state is the last refuge for numerous other endangered species such as the Golden Langur (Presbetis geei), White-winged Wood Duck or Deohanh (Cairina scutulata), Bengal Florican, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Pygmy Hog, Greater Adjutant and so on. Some other endangered species with significant population in Assam are the tiger, elephant, Hoolock gibbon, Jerdon’s Babbler and so on to name a few. For the State Bird, the White-winged Wood Duck, Assam is a globally important area.[23] Assam is also known for orchids. The state has the largest population of the Wild Water Buffalo in the world. The state also has the highest diversity of birds in India with around 820 species. With subspecies the number is as high as 946. The mammal diversity in Assam is also high with around 190 species.

PEOPLE OF ASSAM

Assam has many ethnic groups and the People of India project has studied 115 of these. Out of which 79 (69%) identify themselves regionally, 22 (19%) locally, and 3 trans-nationally. The earliest settlers were Austroasiatic, followed by Tibeto-Burman, Indo-Aryan speakers, and Tai–Kadai speakers. Forty-five languages are spoken by different communities, including three major language families: Austroasiatic (5), Sino-Tibetan (24) and Indo-European (12) Three of the spoken languages do not fall in these families. There is a high degree of bilingualism. There are 23 notified Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Assam with the Bodos (40.9 per cent) making half of the total ST population (around 13 per cent) of the state. The other STs (both plains and hills) include Miri, Karbi, Rabha, Kachari, Lalung, Barman in Cachar, Borokachar, Deori, Hajai, Mech, Dimasa, Hajong, Singhphho, Khampti and Garo, Chakma, Hmar, Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam, and Kuki.

 Assamese and Bodo are the major indigenous and official languages while Bengali holds official status in the three districts in the Barak Valley and is the second most widely spoken language of the state.Dimasa is a one of the oldest language spoken in North East India particularly in Assam.Dimasa language is one of the last languages of the North East India which still has undiluted rich vocabularies. Other native languages of Tibeto-Burman origin and related to Bodo-Kachari are DEORI Mishing, Karbi, Rabha, Tiwa, etc.

There are also speakers of Tai languages in Assam. A total of six Tai language were spoken in Assam, although two are now extinct. Tai Phake, Tai Aiton, Khampti, Khamyang (critically endangered), Ahom (extinct), Turung (extinct).

FESTIVALS

There are diversified important traditional festivals in Assam. Bihu is the most important and common and celebrated all over Assam. Durga Puja is another festival celebrated with great enthusiasm. Muslims celebrate two Eids (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha) with much eagerness all over Assam.

Bushu Dima or simply Bushu is a major harvest festival of the Dimasa people. This festival is celebrated during the end of January. Officially January 27 has been declared as the day of Bushu Dima festival .The Dimasa people celebrate their festival by playing musical instruments- khram (a type of drum), muri ( a kind of huge long flute). The people dances to the different tunes called “murithai” and each dance has got its name, the prominent being the “Baidima” There are three types of Bushu celebrated among the Dimasas Jidap, Surem and Hangsou.

Moreover, there are other important traditional festivals being celebrated every year on different occasions at different places. Many of these are celebrated by different ethno-cultural groups (sub and sister cultures). Some of these are:. Me-dam-me-phi, Ali-Aye-Ligang, Kherai, Garja, Hapsa Hatarnai, Awnkham Gwrlwi Janai, Chojun/Swarak, Rongker, Sokk-erroi, Hacha-kekan, Porag.

TOURISM IN ASSAM

Assam is the central state in the North-East Region of India and serves as the gateway to the rest of the Seven Sister States. For the purposes of tourism there are wildlife preserves like the Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park etc. The climate is sub-tropical. Assam experiences the Indian monsoon and has one of the highest forest densities in India. The winter months are the best time to visit.

MAIN DESTINATIONS

BRAHMAPUTRA: The only male river in India, this is both a source of sorrow and sustenance for the people of Assam. There is cruise facility to enjoy the beauty of the river.

GUWAHATI: One of the key urban centres of Assam and the biggest city in North-East India, this serves as the major gateway to the whole region. The notable tourist spots of the city are Kamakhya Temple, Assam State Museum, Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden, Shankardev Kalakshetra, Shilpagram, Umananda Temple etc.

JORHAT: Jorhat was established as the new capital in the closing years of the 18th century by the decaying and declining Tunkhungia Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat is also a major tourist spot in Assam. It has a numerous tourist spots and temples like Tokolai Tea Research center, Hatigar Dewal, Burigosani Than or Dewal, Garakhiadol Temple (Shiva Temple), Borbheti Than (Originally monastery), Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar, NEIST, Gymkhana Club, Lachit Borphukan’s Maidam, Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, The Chandrakanta Handique Bhavan of Asom Sahitya Sabha etc.

MAJULI: The largest river island in the world on the Brahmaputra River.

GOLAGHAT (Kaziranga National Park): This is one of the few places covered as a World Heritage Site and the main habitat of the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros.

JATINGA: The mystery of the bird suicides in Jatinga in Dima Hasao District (DHD), Dimaraji, Assam.

TEZPUR: Small town steeped in history and culture. Check out Usha Pahar, Agnigarh, Chitralekha Udyan, Bamuni Pahar, Kanaklata Pahar, Mahabhairav Temple, etc...

SIVASAGAR: Seat of the Ahom Kingdom. Check out Rang Ghar, Talatal Ghar, Sivadol, Kareng Ghar of Garhgaon etc

HAJO: Hajo is a small township situated to the northwest of Guwahati across the river Brahmaputra. Hajo is a remarkable example of communal harmony. This is an ancient pilgrimage centre for three religions Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.

DIBRU-SAIKHOWA NATIONAL PARK: Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is a beautiful National Park situated in Tinsukia district. There are few Eco lodges situated here to enjoy the beauty of this park.

 

GOALPARA: Goalpara is also a major tourist spot in Assam. It has a numerous tourist spots and temples like Sri Surya Pahar, Tekreshwari Pahar, Paglartek in Pancharatna, Pir Babas Mazar in Joleshwar, Naranarayan Setu (Bridge) connecting northern Assam districts like Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri etc. to Goalpara, Guwahati and major part of Meghalaya.

 

KARBI ANGLONG: Assam’s largest district which also has the largest forest cover in the state. It is home of several rare wild life and has five wildlife sanctuaries and two elephant reserves.

ATTRACTIVE DESTINATIONS

Assam has several attractive destinations; majority of these are National Parks, Wildlife and Bird Sanctuaries,[83] areas with archaeological interests and areas with unique cultural heritage. Moreover, as a whole, the region is covered by beautiful natural landscapes.

1.      Kaziranga National Park

2.      Manas National Park

3.      Nameri National Park

4.      Dibru-Saikhowa National Park[84]

5.      Orang National Park

6.      Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

7.      Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary

8.      Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary

9.      Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary

10.Burasapori Wildlife Sanctuary

11.Bornodi Wildlife Sanctuary

12.Sonai-rupai Wildlife Sanctuary

13.Nambor Wildlife Sanctuary

14.Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary

15.Bherjan Borajan Podumani Wildlife Sanctuary

16.Pani-Dihing Bird Sanctuary

17.Deepor Beel Sanctuary

18.Majuli

19.Barpeta

20.Sualkuchi

21.Sarthebari

22.Jorhat Gymkhana Club

23.Bogamati

24.Digboi oil town[85]

25.Ledo and Stilwell Road

26.Haflong, Maibong and Jatinga

27.Umrangshu hotwater spring

28.Chandubi lake

29.Hajo archaeological region

30.Madan Kamdev archaeological region

31.Sareswar beel

32.Sibsagar archaeological region

33.Charaideo

34.Surya Pahar Goalpara archaeological region

35.Tezpur archaeological region

36.Kapili Valley archaeological region

37.Dhansiri/Dhonxiri Valley archaeological region

38.Karbi Anglong

39.Mayong

40.Bordua

41.Chapanalla Waterfall


 

 

 

MANIPUR

  THE LAND

     Manipur is the land of rich valleys surrounded by beautiful hills and lakes, a land of gentle people full of laughter and joy. Manipur means the ‘land of gems’. This north-eastern state was described as the land of gold or ‘Suvarnabhu’. Manipur was a princely state under the British rule in 1891. A democratic form of government with Maharaja as the executive head was established in 1947, under the Manipur Constitution act.The territory became a full-fledged state with the integration on 21st January 1972.

    The Meiteis (Meeteis), who live primarily in the state’s valley region, form the primary ethnic group (60% of the total population) but occupy only 10% of the total land area. Their language, Meiteilon (Meeteilon), (also known as Manipuri), is also the lingua franca in the state, and was recognized as one of the national languages of India in 1992.

  GEOGRAPHY

    The oblong picturesque valley of Manipur spreading over an area of 22,356 km. is an isolated hill grit state. The climate of Manipur is healthy and salubrious. The rainfall varies from about 149cm. in the valley to about 380cm.Manipur is one of the seven states of Northeast India, and one of the Seven Sister States. The state is bounded by Nagaland in the north, by Mizoram in the south, by Assam in the west, and by the borders of the country Burma in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal. The state lies at latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,347 km².

    WATER BODIES

    There are four major river basins in Manipur State, the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) to the west, the Manipur River Basin in central Manipur, the Yu River Basin in the east, and a portion of the Lanye River Basin in the north.[4] The total water resources of Barak and Manipur river basins are about 1.8487 Mham. The Barak river, the largest river of Manipur, originates in the Manipur Hills and is joined by a number of tributaries such as the Irang, Maku, and Tuivai. After its junction with the Tuivai, the Barak River turns north and forms the border with Assam State, and then enters the Cachar Assam just above Lakhipur. The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers: the Manipur, Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills.

    The altitude ranges from 40 m at Jiribam to 2,994 m at Mt. Iso Peak near Mao Songsong.

    VEGETATION

     The natural vegetation occupies an area of about 14,365 km² which is nearly 64% of the total geographical area of the state. The vegetation consists of a large variety of plants ranging from short and tall grasses, reeds and bamboos to trees of various species. Teak, pine, oak, uningthou, leihao, bamboo, cane, etc. are important forest resources growing in plenty. In addition, rubber, tea, coffee, orange, and cardamom are grown in hill areas. Rice is a staple food for Manipuris. Rice and cash crops make up the main vegetation cover in the valley.

    CLIMATE

      The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region which defines the geography of Manipur.The maximum temperature in the summer months is 32 degree C. In winter the temperature often falls below zero, bringing frost. Snow sometimes falls in some hilly regions due to the Western Disturbance. The coldest month is January, and the warmest July. The ideal time for tourism in the state, in terms of climate, is from October to February, when the weather remains bright and sunny without the sun being too hot.

      It receives an average annual rainfall of 1467.5 mm.

   LANGUAGE

    The official languages of the state are Manipuri and English.

    There are 29 different dialects spoken in Manipur. Eight main hill dialects recognised by Government of Manipur for medium of instruction & examination up to class XII are :

     Thadou-Kuki, dialect of Kuki people, the second language in the state after Meiteilon during Colonial Period.Tangkhul,   dialect of Tangkhul  people Zou,  dialect of Zou People Hmar, dialect of [[Hmar|Hmar people Paite, dialect of Paite  people Mao, dialect of Mao People Rongmei ,dialect of Rongmei people Kom, language of Koms

    FESTIVALS

     The various festivals of Manipur are Lui-ngai-niNingol Chakouba, Yaoshang, Ramjan ID, Kut, Gan-ngai, Chumpha, Christmas, Cheiraoba, Kang and Heikru Hidongba.

    NINGOL CHAKOUBA (NOVEMBER)

    A social festival of the Meiteis and many communities of Manipur where the married women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba-literally calling to a meal;for dinner or lunch) to a feast at their parental house along with their children.

    YAOSHANG (FEBRUARY/MARCH)

    Yaoshang is one of the colourful festival of Manipur similar to holy festival. Another feature of this premiere festival is the Thabal Chongba (Dancing in the Moonlight). The boys from various places will come to the site of the festival and dance with the girls by holding on to their hands and moving in circles. It is celebrated for five days starting from the full moon of Phalguna (February/March). this celebration is also take part in other side of Manipur.

    KUT (POST HARVEST FESTIVAL) (NOVEMBER)

     A post harvest festival predominantly celebrated by Kuki-Chin tribes in Manipur has become one of the leading festivals of the state. Kut is not restricted to a particular community or tribe but the whole state populace participates in merriment.

    GAAN-NGAI

     Gaan-Ngai is the greatest festival of the Zeliangrong people. Its a 5 day long festival and is usually performed on the 13th day of the Meitei month of Wakching as per the Meitei Calendar of the lunar year.really in this festival Zeliangrong people enjoys a lot.

    CHEIRAOCHING KABA

    People of Manipur clean and decorate their houses and make a sumptuous variety of dishes to feast upon after offering food to the deity on this day. This is the first date of the Meitei Lunar calendar. After the feast, as a part of the rituals, people climb the nearest hill tops or the “CHEIRAOCHING” located in Chingmeirong; in the belief that it would excel them to greater heights in their worldly life. It is observed during the month of March/April.

    TOURISM

    Manipur, as the name suggests, is a land of jewels. Its rich culture excels in every aspects as in martial arts, dance, theater and sculpture. The charm of the place is the greenery with the moderate climate making it a tourists’ heaven. The beautiful and seasonal Shirui Lily at Ukhrul (district), Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are few of the rare things found in Manipur. Polo, which can be called a royal game, also originated from Manipur. Some of the main tourist attractions are:

    IMPHAL (CAPITAL)

   SHREE GOVINDAJEE TEMPLE

    This temple in Manipur diplomatically adjoins the palaces of the former rulers of the then kingdom, dull in design with gold domes, a paved court and a large, raised congregation hall. The deity in the center has other idols of Radha Govinda, Balaram and Krishna and Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on either side of it.

    KEIBUL LAMJAO NATIONAL PARK

     Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km (30 mi) away from Imphal is an abode of, rare and endangered species of Brow Antlered deer (also known as Sangai). This ecosystem is home to 17 rare species of mammals. The greenery of the place and the moderate temperature makes a pleasant experience to visit.[3] It is the only floating national park of the world.

    LOKTAK LAKE

     Loktak Lake is a freshwater lake where most of the people of Manipur get their share of fish. The special treat to watch are the floating islands popularly known as Phumdi which is made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. With a nominal fee, people can hire small boats and see the fascinating way of life on these floating islands. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species to thrive on. It is in the district of Moirang. Etymology of Loktak is “Lok = stream and tak= the end” (End of the Streams) 

    LAMKA

    Lamka is the second largest town in Manipur. The town is thriving business centre in the Khuga Valley. The main attraction of the district is the Khuga Dam, Ngakik Falls which is some 7 km south of the proper town. The town is inhabited by different Christian communities like Thadous, Hmar, Zou, Simte, Vaiphei, Gangte, Paite and Lushei.

     The lush green hills surrounding Lamka offer a very good opportunity for trekking or mountaineering.

    MOREH

    Moreh is a small border town in the Indo-Burmese border. It is inhabited mainly by the Kukis and some other ethnic communities like the Meiteis, Nagas, Sikhs, Bengalis, Biharis, Rajasthanis, Tamils, Nepalese, etc. There is a thriving trade between India and Burma through this town. With the legal trade there also exist and a thriving illegal trade, mostly opium, going on through this town. To control this town there was a huge tussle between the militant groups, KNA of the Kukis and NSCN(IM) of the Nagas, which resulted in ethnic conflict between the two resulting in the loss of thousands of lives in the early 1990s. Of late, the Kukis want to benefit largely from this thriving border trade and increasing their livelihood.

     Other places of interest

   ASHEININGTHOU GARDEN

    located at luwangshangbam matai,near mantripukhri is a beautiful garden owned by khoirom muhindro.its a great place.

    WAR CEMETERIES

    Commemorating the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the Second World War, these cemeteries are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Serene and well maintained, the graves carry small stone markers and bronze plaques.

    MANIPUR ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS

     6 km (3.7 mi) to the west of Imphal, at the foot of the pine growing hillocks at Iroisemba on the Imphal-Kangchup Road are the Zoological Gardens.

    MOIRANG

      45 km (28 mi) from Imphal, the town is one of the main centres of early Meitei folk culture with the ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity Lord Thangjing, situated here. In the month of May, men and women, dressed in colourful traditional costumes, sing and dance in honour of the Lord at the Moirang “Lai Haraoba” which is a ritual dance festival held each year. The town also has a special place in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. It was at Moirang that the flag of the Indian National Army was first unfurled on 14 April 1944.

     LOKTAK LAKE AND SENDRA ISLAND

     48 km (30 mi) from Imphal, lies the largest fresh water lake in the North East India, the Loktak Lake, a veritable miniature inland sea. From the Tourist Bungalow set atop Sendra Island, visitors get a bird’s eye view of life on the Lake-small islands that are actually floating weed on which live the Lake people, the shimmering blue waters of the Lake, labyrinthine boat routes and colourful water plants. THE SENDRA TOURIST HOME WITH AN ATTACHED CAFETERIA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE IS AN IDEAL TOURIST SPOT.

    KAINA

     It is a hillock about 921 metres above sea level and a sacred place of the Manipuri Hindus. So goes the story that one night, Shri Govindajee appeared in the dream of his devotee, Shri Jai Singh Maharaja and asked the saintly king to install in a temple, an image of Shri Govindajee. It was to be carved out of a jack fruit tree, which was then growing at Kaina. The scenery in this place is charming and the hill shrubs and natural surroundings give the place a religious atmosphere. It is only 29 km (18 mi) from Imphal.

      KHONGJOM

     36 km (22 mi) on the Indo-Burmese road, a war broke out between Manipur and British India in 1891. It is here that Major General Paona Brajabashi, one of the great warriors of Manipur proved his valor against the superior force of the invading British Army in 1891. A War Memorial has been constructed on the top of the Kheba Hill. 23 April is celebrated as Khongjom Day every year and is a state holiday.

    TENGNOUPAL

    69 km (43 mi) from Imphal. The highest point on the Indo-Burmese Road, from here, you can have a full view of the valley of Burma.

   UKHRUL

    83 km (52 mi) to the east of Imphal, this district headquarters of Manipur East is the highest hill station of the state. A centre of the colourful warrior tribe Tangkhul Nagas, it is well developed and famous for its peculiar type of flower-lily, the Shirui, grown in the Shirui hills. Shirui Hills and Khangkhui Caves (Mangsor) are interesting places for excursions.

     MAIBAM LOTPA CHING

      It is a hillock about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Imphal on Tiddim Road. It is a thrilling spot where a fierce battle took place between the British and the Japanese force in World War II and regarded as a holy place. There is also a monument in memory of the Japanese Martyrs who sacrificed their lives in this fierce battle.

    WILLONG KHULLEN & YANGKHULLEN

      Willong Khullen is a village located some 37 km (23 mi) from National Highway 39 (India) (Maram) on the Maram-Peren Road. It is home to a stone erection very similar to Stonehenge. Some of the tallest stones are seven meters tall and one meter thick.

     The village of Yangkhullen is built on a steep slope on the hills.

    SADU WATERFALL

    A popular tourist and picnic spot in Sadu(near Ichum Keirap village)27 km (17 mi) from Imphal, in the Sadar hill area, Senapati district. Hundreds of tourist flocks to this place to enjoy the view of this waterfall and the natural beauty surrounding it. Consisting of three falls with the first fall about thirty meters high.

 

      On the side of it, a newly park or garden-‘Agape park’ is situated. It is owned and managed by Kamlun Telien of Ichum Keirap.

MEGHALAYA

THE LAND

Meghalaya is a state in north-eastern India. The word “Meghalaya” literally means the Abode of Clouds in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi (22,720 km²). The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong also known as the Scotland of the East, which has a population of 260,000.

About one third of the state is forested. The forests of Meghalaya are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants. It was previously part of Assam, but on January 21, 1972, the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya.

Shillong, the capital of the state, is a popular hill station. There are several falls in and around Shillong. Shillong Peak is highest in the state and is good for trekking. It is also known as the “abode of the gods” and has excellent views. If one is not in a mood for camping, the state also offers many good hotels and lodging facilities

Tribal people make up the majority of Meghalaya’s population. The Khasis are the largest group, followed by the Garos. These were among those known to the British as “hill tribes”. Other groups include the Jaintias, the Koch, the related Rajbongshi, the Boro, Hajong, Dimasa, Hmar, Kuki, Lakhar, Mikir, Rabha and Nepali.

LANGUAGES

The principal languages in Meghalaya are Khasi, Pnar and Garo with English as the official language of the State.Khasi is one of the chief languages of Meghalaya. The Garo language has a close affinity with the Koch and Bodo languages.Another language of Meghalaya is the language spoken by the people of the Jaintia hills. This language is closely related to the standard Khasi language. The Jaintia language is spoken, along with the Khasi language, by the Khynriam, Bhoi, Pnar and War tribal groups .

GEOGRAPHY

Meghalaya is one of the Seven Sister States of India. The State of Meghalaya is also known as the “Meghalaya Plateau”. It consists mainly of Archean rock formations. These rock formations contain rich deposits of valuable minerals like coal, limestone, uranium and sillimanite. Meghalaya has many rivers. Most of these are rainfed and are therefore seasonal. The important rivers in the Garo Hills Region are Daring, Sanda, Bandra, Bhogai, Dareng, Simsang, Nitai and the Bhupai. In the central and eastern section of the plateau, the important rivers are Umkhri, Digaru, Umiam, Kynchiang (Jadukata), Mawpa, Umiam or Barapani, Myngot and Myntdu. In the southern Khasi Hills Region, these rivers have created deep gorges and several beautiful waterfalls.The elevation of the plateau ranges between 150 m to 1961 m.

CLIMATE    

With average annual rainfall as high as 1200 cm in some areas, Meghalaya is the wettest place on earth. The western part of the plateau, comprising the Garo Hills Region with lower elevations, experiences high temperatures for most of the year. The Shillong area, with the highest elevations, experiences generally low temperatures. The maximum temperature in this region rarely goes beyond 28 °C (82 °F)[8], whereas sub-zero winter temperatures are common.

 

The town of Cherrapunji in the Khasi Hills south of capital Shillong holds the world record for most rain in a calendar month, while the village of Mawsynram, near the town of Cherrapunji, holds the record for the most rain in a year. The best time to visit Meghalaya is during the months of March to July.

FLORA AND FAUNA

 

As per the State of Forest Report 2003, published by the Forest Survey of India, Meghalaya has a forest cover of 9,496 km², which is 42.34% of the total geographical area of the state. The Meghalayan subtropical forests are considered to be among the richest botanical habitats of Asia. These forests receive abundant rainfall and support a vast variety of floral and faunal biodiversity. A small portion of the forest area in Meghalaya is under what is known as “sacred groves” (see Sacred groves of India). These are small pockets of ancient forest that have been preserved by the communities for hundreds of years due to religious and cultural beliefs. These forests are reserved for religious rituals and generally remain protected from any exploitation. These sacred groves harbour many rare plant and animal species. The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in the West Garo Hills and the Balaphakram National Park in the South Garo Hills are considered to be the most biodiversity-rich sites in Meghalaya. In addition, Meghalaya has three wildlife sanctuaries. These are the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, the Siju Sanctuary and the Bhagmara Sanctuary, which is also the home of the insect eating pitcher plant Nepenthes khasiana.

 

NEPENTHES KHASIANA

 

due to diverse climatic and topographic conditions, meghalayan forests support a vast floral diversity, including a large variety of parasites and epiphytes, succulent plants and shrubs. two of the most important tree varieties include: shorea robusta (sal tree) and tectona grandis (teak). meghalaya is also the home to a large variety of fruits, vegetables, spices and medicinal plants. meghalayan is also famous for its large variety of orchids — nearly 325 of them. of these the largest variety is found in the mawsmi, mawmluh and sohrarim forests in the khasi hills.

ANIMALS

 

Meghalaya also has a large variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The  important mammal species include elephants, bear, civets, mongooses, weasels, rodents, gaur, wild buffalo, deer, wild boar and a number of primates. Meghalaya also has a large variety of bats. The limestone caves in Meghalaya such as the Siju Cave are home to some of the nation’s rarest bat species. There is an interesting population of red pandas in Garo Hills.The state has a remnant population of Wild Water Buffaloes in South Garo and West Khasi Hills districts.The hoolock gibbon still occurs in all districts of Meghalaya.

 

Prominent bird species in Meghalaya include the Magpie-Robin, the Red-vented Bulbul, the Hill Myna is usually found in pairs or in flocks in the hill forests of Meghalaya, the Large Pied Hornbill and the Great Indian Hornbill, which is the largest bird in Meghalaya. Other birds include the Peacock Pheasant, the Large Indian Parakeet, the Common Green Pigeon and the Blue Jay.Meghalaya is also home to over 250 species of butterflies, nearly a quarter of all butterfly species found in India.

TOURISM

 Meghalaya is considered to be one of the most picturesque states in the country. It has enough tourism content to attract tourists of many different interests.

TOURISM CONTENT

 

Meghalaya has some of the thickest surviving forests in the country and therefore constitutes one of the most important ecotourism circuits in the India today. The Meghalayan subtropical forests support a vast variety of flora and fauna. Meghalaya has 2 National Parks and 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries.

 Meghalaya also offers many adventure tourism opportunities in the form of mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking and hiking, water sports etc. The state offers several trekking routes, some of which also afford an opportunity to encounter rare animals such as slow loris, assorted deer and bear. The Umiam Lake has a water sports complex with facilities such as rowboats, paddleboats, sailing boats, cruise-boats, water-scooters and speedboats.

 

Meghalaya has an estimated 500 natural limestone and sandstone caves spread over the entire state including most of the longest and deepest caves in the sub-continent. Krem Liat Prah is the longest cave, and Synrang Pamiang is the deepest cave. Both are located in the Jaintia Hills. Cavers from United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Ireland and the United States have been visiting Meghalaya for over a decade exploring these caves. Not many of these have however been developed or promoted adequately for major tourist destinations.

IMPORTANT TOURIST SPOTS

 

CHERRAPUNJIis one of the most popular tourist locations in North East of India. The town is well known and has guided tours of Tree Root Bridges. It lies to the south of the capital Shillong. A rather scenic 50 kilometer long road connects Cherrapunji with Shillong.

 

The popular waterfalls in the state are the Elephant Falls, Shadthum Falls, Weinia falls, Bishop Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Langshiang Falls and Sweet Falls. The hot springs at Jakrem near Mawsynram are believed to have curative and medicinal properties.

 

Meghalaya is also known for its “Sacred Groves”. These have been preserved by the traditional religious sanction since the ancient days. The Mawphlang sacred forest, also known as “Law Lyngdoh,” is one of the most famous sacred forests. It’s located about 25 kilometres from Shillong. It’s a must visit for nature lovers.

 

Nongkhnum Island located in the West Khasi Hills district is the biggest river island in Meghalaya and the second biggest in Asia. Its 14 kilometres from Nongstoin. The island is formed by the bifurcation of Kynshi River into the Phanliang River and the Namliang River. Adjacent to the sandy beach the Phanliang River forms a very beautiful lake. The river then moves along and before reaching a deep gorge, forms a pretty waterfall about 60 meters high called Shadthum Fall.

 

The Mawlynnong village located near the India-Bangladesh border is known for its cleanliness. The travel magazine Discover India declared the village as the cleanest in Asia in 2003, and the cleanest in India in 2005.Some of the interesting features include the presence of a Living Root Bridges and another natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.

 

Meghalaya also has many natural and manmade lakes. The Umiam Lake (popularly known as Bara Pani meaning Big water) on the Guwahati-Shillong road is a major tourism attraction for tourist. Meghalaya has several parks; Thangkharang Park, the Eco-park, the Botanical Garden and Lady Hydari Park to name a few. Dawki, which is located at about 96 Kilometres from Shillong is the gateway to Bangladesh and affords a scenic view of some of the tallest mountain ranges in Meghalaya and the Bangladesh border lands.

 

Balpakram National Park with its pristine habitat and scenery is a major attraction The Nokrek National Park, also in Garo Hills has its own charm with lot of wildlife.

NAGALAND

Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. The state of Nagaland has an area of 16,579 km2 with a population of 19,80,602 (nineteen lakhs eighty thousand six hundred two) as per the 2011 census making it one of the smallest states of India. The state is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley. Mount Saramati is the highest peak in Nagaland with a height of 3,840 metres and its range forms a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma. It lies between the parallels of 98 degree and 96 degree East Longitude and 26.6 degree and 27.4 degree latitude North of the Equator.

 

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

 

Nagaland is largely a mountainous state. The Naga Hills rise from the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam to about 2,000 feet (610 m) and rise further to the southeast, as high as 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Mount Saramati at an elevation of 12,552 feet (3,826 m) is the state’s highest peak; this is where the Naga Hills merge with the Patkai Range in Burma. Rivers such as the Doyang and Diphu to the north, the Barak river in the southwest and the Chindwin river of Burma in the southeast, dissect the entire state. 20 percent of the total land area of the state is covered with wooded forest, rich in flora and fauna. The evergreen tropical and the sub tropical forests are found in strategic pockets in the state.

 

Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 70–100 inches (1,800–2,500 mm), concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures range from 70 °F (21 °C) to 104 °F (40 °C). In winter, temperatures do not generally drop below 39 °F (4 °C), but frost is common at high elevations. The state enjoys a salubrious climate. Summer is the shortest season in the state that lasts for only a few months. The temperature during the summer season remains between 16 °C (61 °F) to 31 °C (88 °F). Winter makes an early arrival and bitter cold and dry weather strikes certain regions of the state. The maximum average temperature recorded in the winter season is 24 °C (75 °F). Strong north west winds blow across the state during the months of February and March.

FLORA AND FAUNA

 

Nagaland is rich in flora and fauna. About one-sixth of Nagaland is under the cover of tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests—including palms, bamboo, and rattan as well as timber and mahogany forests. While some forest areas have been cleared for jhum cultivation, many scrub forests, high grass, reeds; secondary dogs, pangolins, porcupines, elephants, leopards, bears, many species of monkeys, sambar, harts, oxen, and buffaloes thrive across the state’s forests. The Great Indian Hornbill is one of the most famous birds found in the state. Blyth’s Tragopan, a vulnerable species of pheasant, is also found in the state and is the State Bird of Nagaland. It is sighted in mount Japfü and Dzükou valley of Kohima district, Satoi range in Zunheboto district and Pfütsero in Phek district. Of the mere 2500 tragopans sighted in the world, Dzükou valley is the natural habitat of more than 1,000.

 

Mithun (a semi domesticated Gaur) found only in the North Eastern states of India, is the State animal of Nagaland and has been adopted as the official seal of the Government of Nagaland. It is the ritually most valued species in the state. With a view to conserve and protect this magnificent animal in the North East, the National Research Centre on Mithun (NRCM) was established by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) in the year 1988 in the state of Nagaland.

 

HORNBILL FESTIVAL OF NAGALAND

 

Hornbill Festival was launched by the Government of Nagaland in December 2000 to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of the state. Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof. This festival takes place between the 1st and the 7th of December every year.

 

The week long Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions.[17]

 

The Festival is named after the Hornbill, the globally respected bird and which is displayed in folklore in most of the state’s tribes. The week long festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display. Festival highlights include Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts, Food Stalls, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Cultural Medley – songs and dances, Fashion shows, Beauty Contest, Traditional Archery, Naga wrestling, Indigenous Games and Musical concerts. Additional attractions include Konyak Fire Eating demonstration, Pork Fat eating competitions, Literature fest, Hornbill Global Film Fest, Hornbill Ball, Choral Panorama, North East India Drum Ensemble, Naga King Chilly eating competition, Hornbill

LANGUAGES

 

Each tribe of Nagaland have its own unique language. Nagas speak 60 different dialects belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The traditional languages do not have any script of their own. The Christian missionaries used Roman script for these languages.

 

In 1967, the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language of Nagaland and is the medium for education in Nagaland.

 

Nagamese, a creole language form of Indo-Aryan Assamese and local dialects is the most widely spoken market language. Every tribe has its own mother tongue but communicates with other tribes in Nagamese. As such Nagamese is not a mother tongue of any of the tribes; nor is it written.

     MIZORAM

Mizoram (“Mi = People, Zo = Hill, Ram = Country, Land of the Hill People / Mizo people”) is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India, sharing borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Burma. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its capital is Aizawl.

CLIMATE

Mizoram has a mild climate, comfortable in summer 20 °C to 29 °C (68 °F to 84 °F) and never freezing during winter, with temperatures from 7 °C to 21 °C (44 °F to 70 °F). The region is influenced by monsoons, raining heavily from May to September with little rain in the dry (cold) season. The average state rainfall is 254 cm (100 in.), per annum. In the capital, Aizawl rainfall is about 208 centimetres (82 in.) and in Lunglei, another major center, about 350 centimetres (138 in.)

GEOGRAPHY

HILLS

Mizoram is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. As many as 21 major hills ranges or peaks of different heights run through the length and breadth of the state, with plains scattered here and there. The average height of the hills to the west of the state are about 1,000 metres (3,281 feet). These gradually rise up to 1,300 metres (4,265 feet) to the east. Some areas, however, have higher ranges which go up to a height of over 2,000 metres (6,562 feet). Phawngpui Tlang also known as the Blue Mountain, situated in the south-eastern part of the state, is the highest peak in Mizoram at 2,210 metres (7,251 feet).

RIVERS

The biggest river in Mizoram is Chhimtuipui, also known as Kaladan. It originates in Chin State in Burma and passes through Saiha and Lawngtlai districts in the Southern tip of Mizoram, goes back to Burma’s Rakhine state, and finally enters the Bay of Bengal at Akyab, which is a very popular port in Sittwe, Burma.Although many more rivers and streams drain the hill ranges, the most important and useful rivers are the Tlawng, Tut, Tuirial and Tuivawl which flow through the northern territory and eventually join the Barak River in Cachar District. The Chhimtuipui which originates in Burma, is an important river in the south of Mizoram. It has four tributaries and the river is in patches. The western part is drained by (Khawthlang tuipui) and its tributaries.

LAKES

THE PALAK LAKE, the biggest in Mizoram is situated in Saiha District which is part of southern Mizoram covering 30 hectares (74 acres). It is believed that the lake was created as a result of an earthquake or a flood. The local people believe that a village which was submerged still remains intact deep under the waters. THE TAMDIL LAKE is a natural lake situated 85 km (53 mi) from Aizawl. Legend has it that a huge mustard plant once stood in this place. When the plant was cut down, jets of water sprayed from the plant and created a pool of water, thus the lake was named Ţamdil which means of ‘Lake of Mustard Plant’. Today the lake is an important tourist attraction and a holiday resort. The most significant lake in Mizo history Rih Dil is ironically located in Burma, a few kilometres from the India-Burma border. It was believed that the departed souls pass through this lake before making their way to Pialral or heaven.

THE PEOPLE

The Mizos are a part of the great wave of the Mongolian race spilling over the eastern and southern India centuries ago. Their sojourn in western Myanmar, into which they eventually drifted around the 7th century, is estimated to last about 10 centuries.Mizo comprises of 5 major tribes and 11 minor tribes known under the common name Awzia. The 5 major tribes are-  Lushei, Ralte, Hmar, Paihte, Pawi (or Poi). While major tribes maintained their respective dialects, the 11 minor tribes either lost their distinctive dialects as a result of association with largertribes.        

FESTIVALS

The Mizos have three main festivals-  Mim Kut, Chapchar Kut and Pawl. These festivals or Kuts as they call them are in one way or another associated with their agricultural activities. 

MIM KUT

The Mim Kut festival is usually celebrated during the months of August and September, after the harvest of maize. Mim Kut is celebrated with great fanfare by (illegally) drinking rice-beer, singing, dancing, and feasting. Samples of the year’s harvests are consecrated to the departed souls of the community.

CHAPCHAR KUT

Chapchar Kut is another festival celebrated during March after completion of their most arduous task of Jhum operation i.e., jungle-clearing (clearing of the remnants of burning). This is a spring festival celebrated with great fervour and gaiety.

PAWL KUT

Pawl means “Straw” hence pawl kut means a straw harvest festival. It is typically celebrated in December and is another important festival.

DANCES

CHERAW

The most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizo is called Cheraw. Long bamboo staves are a feature of this dance and it is known to many as the Bamboo Dance. Originally, the dance was performed to wish a safe passage and victorious entry into the abode of the dead (Pialral) for the soul of a mother who had died in childbirth. To dance Cheraw takes great skill and alertness

KHUALLAM

Khuallam was originally a dance performed by honoured guests while entering into the village arena where a community feast was held. To attain a position of distinction, a Mizo traditionally underwent a series of ceremonies and performed the dance before the guests. Khuallam is a group dance performed in colourful dress to the tune of gongs and drums.

CHHEIH LAM

Chheih Lam is the dance done over a round of rice-beer in the cool of the evening. The lyrics in triplets are usually spontaneous compositions, recounting their heroic deeds and escapades and also praising the honoured guests present in their midst.

CHAI

Chai is a festival dance. It is community dance with men and women standing one after another in a cirlce, holding each other on the shoulder and the nape. The dancers sway to and fro and swing their feet to the tune of the song sung in chorus by all of them, while a drummer and gongmen beat their instruments. Horns of the Mithuns are other important instruments used in the dance. Chai presents a grand show, but it is not exactly suitable for performing on the stage. In olden days the Chai dancers used to consume rice beer continously while dancing, they did not know when to stop.

RALLU-LAM

Strictly speaking, Rallu-lam is not a dance as such. It is rather a celebration or a rite in honour of a victorious warrior. When a warrior comes back after a successful campaign, he is given a warm and colourful reception by the village chief. The celebration consists of a re-enactment of the warrior`s heroic exploits. The mode of the celebration, however, varies from village to village.

SOLAKIA

Originally, the dance was to be performed mainly by the people of the Maras and Pawi communities of Mizoram. They remain the best exponents of the dance to date. Like Rallu-Lam, Solakia was also performed in earlier time to celebrate a victory in war. Marked with five principal movements, the dance seeks to recapture the actions of hero at war. Men and women stand in profile, while the hero, brandishing a sword and a shield, dances in the middle to the accompaniment of the gong beats.

SARLAMKAI

One of the most impressive Mizo community dances, Sarlamkai is a variation of Solakia. The two dances are almost identical. The only difference lies in the dress and tempo. No song is sung; only gongs or cymbols or drums are used to beat time. Sarlamkai has been taken up by most schools in Mizoram for cultural activities these days.        

PAR-LAM

The land of enchanting hills has yet another dance to its credit-Par-lam. Girls attired in colourful dresses, with flower tucked in their hair, dance to the tune of the songs sung by themselves. The principal movement in the dance involves the waving of hands. A couple of boy lend musical accompaniment by playing guitars. This is a comparitively a new dance. Nevertheless, it has become part of the Mizo culture. The most popular song sung for the dance is :Far from the mountain the gay little stream, rippling along, rippling along…

SAKEI LU LAM

According to an ancient Mizo belief, the tiger was regarded as a sacred animal and it was taboo to kill it. It was supposed to be a friend of the slaves and could guide them to freedom. At times, the hunters had to kill a tiger in self-defence. The spirit of the tiger thus killed had to be appeased by performing the ceremonial dance called the `Sakei lu lam`. The warriors and hunters were also expected to say that it was the thunderbolt, which had killed the tiger, and not their gun. He would put on the dress of a women and arm himself with a loaded gun. Then publicly eat a hard -boiled egg. The killed animal`s head used to be brought to a spot decorated with bamboo posts with, buntings on them which were supposed to be the symbol of the tiger`s spirit.

LANGUAGES

Mizo is the official language but English, being important for education, administration, formalities and governance is widely used. The Mizo community is an amalgam of several indigenous tribes who have unique identities and distinctive dialects. The Duhlian dialect, also known as the Lusei was the first language of Mizoram and has come to be known as the Mizo language. The language is mixed with other dialects like the Mara, Lai and Hmar. Christian missionaries developed the Mizo script. Writing is a combination of the Roman script and Hunterian transliteration methodology with prominent traces of a phonetics based spelling system.Mizo is an official language of the Republic of India.

Tourism

Mizoram is considered by many as a beautiful place due to its dramatic landscape and pleasant climate. There have been many attempts to increase revenue through tourism but many potential tourists find the lack of amenities to be a hurdle. However the State continues to promote itself and many projects have been initiated. The tourism ministry continues to maintain or upgrade its tourist lodges throughout the state. Foreign tourists are required to obtain an ‘inner line permit’ under the special permit before visiting. The permit can be obtained from Indian missions abroad for a limited number of days or direct from Mizoram Government authorities within India. The state is rich in bird diversity, which has the potentiality to make it a major birding destination.[9] For Mrs Hume’s Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae, Mizoram is a stronghold.[10] There is also a rare record of the Wild Water Buffalo from the state.[11] There are several past records of the Sumatran rhinoceros from Mizoram, then Lushai Hills.[12]The small population of wild elephants can be seen in Ngengpui and Dampa Sanctuaries.[13] For tourists who are interested in Cultural Heritage, the eastern part of Mizoram is more attractive. Most interesting sites are Mizo Poets’ Square [also knawn as Mizo Hlakungpui Mual in Mizo]], the Great Megaliths locally known as ‘Kawtchhuah Ropui’, Lamsial Cave and so forth.

Tripura

THE LAND

Tripura (Bengali: ত্রিপুরা Tripura) is a state in North-East India, with an area of 4,051 sq mi (10,490 km2). It is the third smallest state of India, based on total area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are Bengali and Kokborok. It was formerly an independent Tripuri kingdom[2] and was merged with independent India on 15 October 1949 by the Tripura Merger Agreement. It was also known as “Hill Tippera” (anglicized version of Tipra) during the British Raj period and has a history of over 2500 years and 186 kings.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Tripura is a landlocked state in northeastern India. With an area of 10,491.69 km2 (4,050.86 sq mi), Tripura is the third smallest state of the country. The state extends between 22°56’N and 24°32’N and 91°10’E and 92°21’E. Its maximum stretch measures about 184 km (114 mi) from north to south and 113 km (70 mi) from east to west. Tripura is bounded by the country of Bangladesh in the west, south and north; The Indian states of Assam lies to the north-east while Mizoram forms the eastern boundary.

HILLS

The physiography is characterized by hill ranges, valleys and plains. The state has several hill ranges running from north to south. From east to west, these ranges are—Boromura, Atharamura, Longtharai, Shakhan and Jampui. Valleys such as Khowai, Dhalai, Manu, Deo run almost parallel to and in between these hill ranges in a north to south pattern.Betling Shib in the Jampui hill range with an altitude of 939 m (3,081 ft) is the highest point of the state. The small isolated hillocks interspersed in the state are known as tilla, whereas narrow fertile alluvial valleys mostly present in the western part of the state are called lunga.

According to data from 1977–2008, the average annual rainfall of the state is 2,196.4 mm (86.47 in). The maximum and minimum temperatures during Winter (December–January) are 27 °C (81 °F) and 13 °C (55 °F), and during Summer (March–April) are 36 °C (97 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F) respectively.

RIVERS

A number of rivers flows through the hilly regions carving valleys, and passes through the plains to enter Bangladesh. The rivers Khowai, Dhalai, Manu River, Juri and Langai flow towards north; Gomoti, Muhuri and Feni are the westward rivers.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Forests form 57.73% of the area of the state.Tripura hosts different types of ecosystems including mountain, forest and freshwater ecosystems.Hill slopes and sandy river banks have evergreen forest with species such as Dipterocarpus, Artocarpus, Amoora, Elaeocarpus, Syzygium and Eugenia dominating the canopy.

A survey in 1989–90 concluded that Tripura hosts 90 land mammal species from 65 genera and 10 orders.] The main extant land mammal species include: elephant (Elephas maximus), bear (Melursus ursinus), binturong (Arctitis binturong), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), porcupine (Artherurus assamensis), barking deer (Muntiacus muntajak), sambar (Cervus unicolor), wild boar (Sus scrofa), gaur (Bos gaurus), leopard (Panthera pardus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and many species of small cats and primates. Out of 15 free ranging primate s India, 7 are found in Tripura; this is the highest number of primate spec found in any Indian state. There are nearly 300 species of birds in the state.

                                             

Wildlife sanctuaries of the state include Sipahijola Wildlife Sanctuary, Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary, Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary, and Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary. National parks of the state include Clouded Leopard National Park and Rajbari National Park. These protected areas cover a total of 566.93 km2 (218.89 sq mi). Gumti is also an Important Bird Area. In winter, thousands of migratory waterfowl throng Gumti and Rudrasagar lakes.

THE PEOPLE

According to the 2001 census, the total human population of the state of Tripura is 3,191,168. The highlands are areas of sparse population and the lowlands are densly populated.  In Tripura , there are not only people hailing from different regions but also people constituting different ethnic groups. Each ethnic tribe has its own language and distinctive forms of cultural expressions, such as music,dance and festivals. Tripura, for instance, have the  Garia dance, Reangs have the  Howzagiri and the Chakmas have the  Bijhu dance.    

FESTIVALS:

GARIA PUJACelebrated on the 7th day of the month of Vaishak(April)by the tribal people who believe that the celebration will bring prosperity and enjoyment for the whole year. Sacrifice of cocks is one of the features of the celebration. It culminates with devotees, both men and women dancing.

 

KHARCHI PUJA(JULY)-Originally another tribal festival, it now attracts people from all walks of life who come to the Chaturdas Deutas Temple in Old Agartala to worship the fourteen deities of head image.

 

KER PUJAa traditional tribal festival held within a specified boundry specially marked with prior notification in the state government gazetteer. during the puja period no person is allowed to enter or come out of this specified boundary.

 Durga Puja(Oct-Nov)

 This festival of the mother Goddess Durga in her benign and protective form has possibly come in from Bengal. InTripura too, it is celebrated for four days with great enthusiasm in September-October and the celebrations come to an end when idols of the goddess are taken out in procession and immersed in river.

 

TIRTHAMUKH-A POPULAR PILGRIM CENTRE FOR THE TRIBAL PEOPLE OF TRIPURA. DURING THE UTTARAYAN SANKRANTI(JAN-FEB), THOUSANDS OF PIOUS PEOPLE , IRRESPECTIVE OF CASTE,CREED OR RELIGION ASSEMBLE AND TAKE HOLY BATH. BESIDES THESE FESTIVALS , HOWZAGIRI,BIJHU,MANSAMANGAL,SARAD,HOLI, DIWALI, ETC ARE CELEBRATED.

PLACES  OF INTEREST: 

 

 

 UJJAYANTA PALACE – It was built by the Radhakishore Manikya Bahadur in1901 in the heart of the city.

 

 Sepahijala Wild life Sanctuary – Endangered species like spectacle monkey, or Chasma Badar the state boasts of is only found in this sanctuary. Other attractions are zoo, recreation-ground, botanical garden, etc.

 

 Neer Mahal – A palace in water, Neer Mahal is 53km away from Agartala looks like a fantasy castle.       

 

 

DEATAMURA – A panel of crude images engraved on the face of hills facing the river Gumati, in Deatamura, a hill range 75km from Agartala.

 

 JAMPUI HILLS – An orange producing zone, besides the enthralling landscapes, ones eyes and mind will be glued to the lifestyle of aborginals mainly at Lushai with their traditional customs,dance,song and hospitality.

 

UNAKOTI – There is a profusion of the rock cut images, belonging to the 11-12th centuries A.D. This is as such an open-air gallery. It is also a Shaiva Tirtha. Thousands of people from all over the region visit it particulary, on Ashokasthami Mela in March-April.

 

Matabari, Pillak,  Dumboorlake ,etc. are other interesting places for sight-seeing.

SIKKIM

The land

With around 600,000 inhabitants, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq mi). Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim’s border with Nepal.Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open border between India and China. Sikkim’s capital and largest city is Gangtok.

Sikkim is the only state in india with an ethnic nepali majority.Sikkim has 11 official languages: nepali (which is its lingua franca), bhutia, lepcha (since 1977), limbu (since 1981), newari, rai, gurung, mangar, sherpa, tamang (since 1995) and sunwar (since 1996). English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are hinduism and vajrayana buddhism. Sikkim’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2011 the state has the fourth-smallest gdp among indian states, although it is also among the fastest-growing.

GEOGRAPHY

Nestling as it does in the Himalayan mountains, the state of Sikkim is characterized by mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft). The summit of Kangchenjunga – the world’s third-highest peak – is the state’s highest point, situated on the border between Sikkim and Nepal.For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the rocky, precipitous slopes. However, some hill slopes have been converted into terrace farms. Numerous snow-fed streams have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the major Teesta River and its tributary, the Rangeet, which flow through the state from north to south.About a third of the state is heavily forested.

 

The Himalayan mountains surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim. The Lower Himalayas, lying in the southern reaches of the state, are the most densely populated. The state has 28 mountain peaks, more than 80 glaciers,227 high-altitude lakes (including the Tsongmo, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lakes), five major hot springs, and more than 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.

 

Sikkim’s hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic values. Among the state’s most notable hot springs are those at Phurchachu, Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. The springs, which have a high sulphur content, are located near river banks; some are known to emit hydrogen.The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122 °F).

CLIMATE

Sikkim’s climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. The tundra-type region in the north is clad by snow for four months every year, and the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost every night.The peaks of north-western Sikkim are perpetually frozen.Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, experience a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter; the mean monthly summer temperature is 15 °C.The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F).

 

Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line ranges from 20,000 feet in the north of the state to 16,000 feet in the south.During the monsoon, heavy rains increase the risk of landslides. The record for the longest period of continuous rain in Sikkim is 11 days. In the northern region, because of the high altitude, temperatures can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter. Fog affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation perilous.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas, one of only three among the ecoregions of India. The forested regions of the state exhibit a diverse range of fauna and flora. Owing to its altitudinal gradation, the state has a wide variety of plants, from tropical species to temperate, alpine and tundra ones, and is perhaps one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity within such a small area. Nearly 81% of the area of Sikkim comes under the administration of its forest department.

 

Sikkim has around 5,000 flowering plants, 515 rare orchids, 60 primula species, 36 rhododendron species, 11 oak varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of ferns and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns, and over 424 medicinal plants. A variant of the Poinsettia, locally known as “Christmas Flower”, can be found in abundance in the mountainous state. The orchid Dendrobium nobile is the official flower of Sikkim, while the rhododendron is the state tree.

 

Orchids, figs, laurel, bananas, sal trees and bamboo grow in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests of the lower altitudes of Sikkim.

The fauna include the snow leopard,the musk deer, the Himalayan Tahr, the red panda, the Himalayan marmot, the serow, the goral, the barking deer, the common langur, the Himalayan Black Bear, the clouded leopard,the Marbled Cat, the leopard cat, the wild dog, the Tibetan wolf, the hog badger, the binturong, the jungle cat and the civet cat.Among the animals more commonly found in the alpine zone are yaks, mainly reared for their milk, meat, and as a beast of burden.

 

The avifauna of Sikkim include of the Impeyan pheasant, the crimson horned pheasant, the snow partridge, the snow cock, the lammergeyer and griffon vultures, as well as golden eagles, quail, plovers, woodcock, sandpipers, pigeons, Old World flycatchers, babblers and robins. Sikkim has more than 550 species of birds, some of which have been declared endangered.

 

Sikkim also has a rich diversity of arthropods, many of which remain unstudied. As with the rest of India, the most studied group is that of the butterflies. Of approximately 1,438 butterfly species found in the Indian subcontinent, 695 have been recorded from Sikkim. These include the endangered Kaiser-i-hind, Yellow Gorgon and the Bhutan Glory.

LANGUAGES

 

Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim, while Bhutia and Lepcha are spoken in certain areas. English and Hindi are also spoken and understood in most of Sikkim. Other languages include Dzongkha, Groma, Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar, Nepal Bhasa, Rai, Sikkimese, Sherpa, Sunuwar, Tamang, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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