India’s Exotic North East: Amazing places to Stay

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ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY pick the best homestays, tea plantation bungalows, wildlife lodges, heritage hotels, bamboo huts & farm stays across Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal and Nagaland

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Assam
In the land of the mighty Brahmaputra, the one-horned rhino and the fabled Assam tea, there are hidden pleasures waiting to be discovered. At Majuli, the world’s largest river island with several centuries-old satras (Vaishnava monasteries), stay in French-designed huts of bamboo and thatch as you savour the rustic riverine culture of the Mishing community. Lush countryside, tea plantations and colonial comforts greet you at the heritage tea bungalows around Jorhat. Choose from the majestic Thengal Manor at Jalukonibari, the sprawling Burra Sahib’s Bungalow with a lake and a golf course, or the tranquil environs of the Banyan Grove, named after its ancient arboreal wonder. Live in chang bungalows (traditional houses on stilts) at Mancotta or Chowkidinghee near Dibrugarh and go horse riding or tea picking in the morning. After wildlife safaris and nature trails, relax in the warm ambience of jungle camps at Kaziranga, Nameri and Manas. Wildgrass Lodge at Kaziranga even arranges cultural evenings of Bihu and other local art forms. Spot Gangetic dolphins on boat cruises along the Brahmaputra river while staying in riverside bamboo huts.

Jet Airways flies to Guwahati, Jorhat and Dibrugarh

Hacienda, Guwahati
Thengal Manor, Jalukonibari
Banyan Grove & Burra Sahib’s Bungalow, Jorhat
Ph 0376-2304267/673, 9954451548 
heritagenortheast@gmail.com 
Web www.heritagetourismindia.com  
Tariff Rs.6,500-16,000

Chang Bungalows, Dibrugarh
Purvi Discovery 
Contact Rishi Saraf
Ph 0373 2301120, 2300035
purvidiscovery@gmail.com    
Web www.assamteatourism.comwww.specialinteresttours.in
Tariff Rs.5,200

Diphlu River Lodge, Kaziranga
Bansbari Lodge, Manas
Ph 0361-2602223, 2602186, 2540995
assambengal@rediffmail.com
Web www.assambengalnavigation.com
Tariff Rs.3,000-6,000

Wild Mahseer Lodge, Balipara
McLeod Russel India Ltd 
Contact Mr. Durgadas Sarcar
Ph 03714-234354/79, 9435197650
wildmahseer@yahoo.comwildmahseer@gmail.com
Tariff Rs.6,600

Wild Grass Lodge, Kaziranga
Contact Manju Barua/Deepak
Ph 0361-2630465, 03776-262085, 9954416945
wildgrasskaziranga@gmail.com
Tariff Rs.2,300

Prabhakar Homestay, Guwahati
Ph 0361-2650053, 9435033221/2 
bookings@prabhakar-homestay.com 
Tariff Rs.4,500-6,000

Eco Camp, Nameri
Assam Bhoroli Angling & Conservation Association
Contact Ranesh Roy
Ph 9435145563, 9435250025, 9854019932
ecocampnameri@gmail.com
Tariff Rs.1,100

La Maison D’Ananda, Garamur, Majuli
Contact Manjeet 
Ph 9957186356
danny002in@yahoo.com
Tariff Rs.600-800

Me:Po Okum, Majuli
Contact Haren Narah
Ph 9435203165
Tariff Rs.500

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Meghalaya
Be it rock music, rainfall or nature’s best-kept secrets, Meghalaya has it all. Enjoy the unique hilly region kissed by clouds and swathed in dense green forests with waterfalls thundering down deep gorges. Walk down gnarled root bridges of the Ficus elastica tree, bathe in waterfalls and savour home-cooked meals in a tree-house in the spotlessly clean village of Mawlynnong! Indulge in the colonial charms of heritage bungalows in Shillong. At Rosaville, sip Assam tea with English elegance and browse through vintage sepia photographs or put your feet up like royalty at Tripura Castle. The summer retreat of the Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty of Tripura has a collection of antique Chinese furniture, Victorian objet d’art and a bed graced by Rabindranath Tagore! Soak in true-blue khasi hospitality and cuisine in the swanky resort by the lakefront – Ri Kynjai, a luxurious Eden overlooking the serene expanse of Umiam Lake (Barapani). Its impeccable décor and architecture blends in aspects of khasi culture, textiles and art. Near Cherrapunjee, the old British headquarters of the North East, stay at a lodge that meticulously documents the region’s prodigious rainfall while offering adventure activities like caving, river canyoning and nature trails to Meghalaya’s legendary living root bridges. 

Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort, Laitkynsew
Contact Denis & Carmela Rayen
Ph 03637-244218/9
M 9436115925, 9615338500, 9863079856
cherrapunjee@hotmail.com 
www.cherrapunjee.com 
Tariff Rs.1,800-2,250

Ri Kynjai, Umiam Lake
Ph 0364-2570 45
rikynjai@yahoo.co.in
Web www.rikynjai.com
Tariff Rs.7,000-10,000        

Royal Heritage Tripura Castle, Shillong
Ph 0364-2501111/49
rh_tripuracastle@rediffmail.com
Web www.tripuracastle.com 
Tariff Rs.3,600-6,000

Rosaville, Shillong 
Contact Mrs. Topoti Bauri
Ph 0364-2231248, 9612170858 ‎
Tariff Rs.2,000-3,500

Aerodene Cottage, Shillong
Contact Sharlene
Ph 0364-2224958, 97740 65366
aerodene.cottage@gmail.com
Web www.aerodene.in
Tariff Rs.2,500-3,000

Bo-Ville Homestay, Shillong
M 9863062909, 9436335322
enid@bovillehomestay.com
www.bovillehomestay.com
Tariff Rs.2,300

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Arunachal Pradesh
In high mountainous tracts where yaks roam free, prayer flags rustle in the breeze and hardy Monpas bearing heavy loads strapped across their foreheads trudge uphill, Arunachal’s stunning beauty reveals itself at every turn. From the entry point at Bhalukpong, the road rises past Sessa Orchid Sanctuary and Eagle Nest Camp to the quaint hamlets of Bomdila and Dirang and the quiet pastures of Sangti Valley, visited by black-necked cranes. Spartan accommodation is often compensated by what you wake up to – hot tea and momos, unparalleled views of the snow-clad Himalayas and chants ringing out from nearby monasteries. Beyond the Zen-like calm of the high-altitude lake at Sela Pass, lies Tawang. Looming over town is the 400-year-old monastery with an 8ft high Buddha statue, striking wall frescos and old thangkas adorning the prayer hall. Budget hotels around Old Market, Nehru Market and Old Bazar Line are a good base to explore Singsar Ani Gompa (a nunnery), the 700-year-old Gorsham Gompa, monasteries, craft centres and rows of shops selling Tibetan and local handicrafts, jewelry and textiles. A drive beyond Tawang takes you past several high-altitude lakes like the hauntingly beautiful Sangetsar, created by an earthquake in 1973 and renamed ‘Madhuri Lake’ after the movie Koyla was shot here.

Eaglenest Camp, Tenga
Kaati Tours/Bugun Welfare Society
Contact Ramana Athreya, Mr. Indi Glow
Ph 91-3782-273359, 02132-245770 
kaati_tours@vsnl.net

Hotel Tsepal Yangjom, Bomdila
Contact Rinchen Trashi
Ph 03782-223473, 223674, 9436241432
info@hoteltsepalyangjom.co.in
Tariff Rs 1,600-3,600

Elysium Lodge, Bomdila
Ph 03782-223156, 9402071827, 9436069051
Tariff Rs.1,110-1,600

WelcomHeritage Pemaling, Dirang
Ph 03780-242615
Tariff Rs.2,200-5,000
holidays@welcomeheritagehotels.com

Gakyi Khang Zhang Farmhouse, Tawang
Ph 03794-224647/48/49
info@gkztawang.com 
Web www.gkztawang.com
Tariff Rs 1,300-2,600

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Nagaland
The native land of warriors, log drums, elaborate costumes, vibrant dances and hand-woven shawls, Nagaland is a dream destination for many. Heritage stays in the heart of Kohima like Razhu Pru and Old DC’s Bungalow (now called The Heritage) are ideal to explore the town’s various khels (old quarters). For an authentic Naga experience, try the hospitality of an Angami home in the historic village of Khonoma. Stay in typical Naga huts designed by various clans of Touphema as you get insights into their unusual culture and cuisine. Locals act as guides to nearby sites and you can share a hot brew in a morung (boys dormitory) as they regale you with folklore, stories of ancestral exploits and lavish village feasts. In Mon district, stay at Shiyong, in the home of a Konyak family and understand how their tribe evolved from being headhunters with elaborate facial tattoos to modern day farmers and tea planters. Participate in farm work and tea-picking or trek through the tribal villages.

Jet Airways flies direct from Guwahati and Kolkata to Dimapur, Nagaland’s only airport, from where Kohima is 74 km away

Razhu Pru, Kohima
Contact Jasmina Zeliang
Ph 0370-229 0291
razhupru@yahoo.co.in 
Tariff Rs.1800

The Heritage, Kohima 
Contact Teja Meru
Ph 0370-2241864, 9856972762
info@theheritage.in 
Web www.theheritage.in  
Tariff Rs.1800-2500

Tourist Village, Touphema 
Contact KV
Ph 9436005002
kvls@yahoo.com 
Tariff Rs.1,200

Jah-poh-long Mountain View Resort, Mon 
Contact Shepha & Phejin Wangnao
Ph 9436606212, 9436424210
shepha3@yahoo.com

Shiyong Homestay, Mon
Contact Phejin Konyak
phejin@gmail.com 
Web www.shiyongvillage.com

Meru’s homestay, Khonoma
Contact Khrieni & Megongui Meru
Ph 0370-234 0061

Baby’s Homestay, Khonoma 
Contact Angulie Meyase 
Ph 94360 71046

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Sikkim
Crowned by the world’s third-highest peak Kanchenjunga and bisected by the legendary Teesta River from north to south, Sikkim is India’s least populous state and perhaps one of the best places to lose yourself. Get pampered at the luxurious Nor-Khill (House of Jewels), the summer palace of the Chogyal kings in Gangtok. Experience village tourism with Himalayan homestays at Dzongu, Kewzing, Pastanga, Yuksam and Naitam. Or choose from a bouquet of farm stays – the Lepcha homestead of Mayal Lyang at Dzongu, the heritage Bhutia farmhouse of Yangsum Farm at Rinchepong or Bon Farmhouse at Kewzing, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Dotted by numerous monasteries at Rumtek, Pemayangtse and Tashiding, Sikkim flourishes under the benevolent gaze of patron saint Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), who introduced Buddhism to the region in 9th century AD. The 120 ft high seated sculpture at Namchi is the world’s tallest statue of Padmasambhava.

Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS)
Ph 03592-232798, 9733088003
ecoss@sikkiminfo.net 
Web www.sikkimhomestay.com

Elgin Nor-Khill, Gangtok
Ph 03592-205637, 200170/1, 220064
norkhill@elginhotels.com
Web www.elginhotels.com 
Tariff Rs.7,200

The Hidden Forest Retreat, Gangtok
Ph 03592-205197, 203196, 9474981367, 9434137409 
kesangforest@yahoo.in
Web www.hiddenforestretreat.org 
Tariff Rs.2,000

Norbu Ghang Resort/House, Pelling
Ph 03595-250173, 258245/72, 9933004491/3/6
norbughangresort@yahoo.co.in  
Web www.norbughangresort.com
Tariff Rs.3,000-10,000

Yangsum Farm, Rinchepong
Contact Thendup Tashi & Pema Chuki Bhutia
Ph 03595-245322, 9434179029 
yangsumfarm@yahoo.com 
Web www.yangsumfarm.com 
Tariff Rs.6,250

Mayal Lyang, Dzongu 
Contact Gyatso & Samsay Lepcha 
Ph 9434446088
gyatso@mayallyang.com   
Tariff Rs.3,800

Bon Farmhouse, Kewzing
Contact Chewang & Sonam R Bonpo
Ph 9735900165, 9547667788
bonfarmhouse@gmail.com
Web www.sikkimbonfarmhouse.com
Tariff Rs.2,150-2,950

Mount Narsing Village Resort, Ravangla
Ph 03592-226822
info@yuksom-tours.com 
Tariff Rs.700-2,100

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. This article appeared in the September, 2011 issue of JetWings magazine.  

 
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6 responses »

  1. It is most attractive place for tourist in India. We can find beauty of nature here very easily. If you are deciding to visit north east part of India then you must visit Bomdila it will make your life comfortable and thanks for providing this types of information. Really it helps a people a lot.

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