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North East India - The Seven Sisters

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The Northeast India is a true frontier region. It shares its border with China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh and is connected to the rest of India by a 20 km wide 'chicken neck' corridor of land. This Northeast area of rolling forested hills and lush green lowlands also nestles the snow-capped peaks of eastern Himalayas, with its feet washed by the waters of the Bay of Bengal.

The Northeast is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse regions in India. The Northeast is known as The Land of Seven Sisters that form its own culture and tradition. Whereas Assam occupies the lush lowlands of the Brahmaputra Valley, Arunachal Pradesh occupies the densely forested and sparsely populated foothills of the Himalayas, and is one of the major tourist attractions because of its Buddhist influence. Meghalaya, with its pine clad hills and lakes, is famous as the wettest region of the world. Nagaland is a historic city of warriors that attracts the tourists. The other three states -Manipur, known as the 'land of jewels', Mizoram and Tripura make up a fascinating area consisting of green valleys, lush hills with variety of flora and fauna. Darjeeling is also equally important tourist destination belonging to the Northeast.

Darjeeling - The Queen of Hills

Location: Situated close to Siliguri and Jalpaiguri; Darjeeling owes' its grandeur to its natural beauty, clean fresh mountain air and above all, the smiling resilient people. The snow capped Everest, Kabru, Kanchenjunga, Jannu and other peaks slowly emerge from slumber to start a new day. The best time to visit Darjeeling is from March-May or September-November.

Tourist Destinations: A visit to Darjeeling is incomplete without a visit to Ghoom, 6 kms away from the main town. The hillock is dominated by the famous Yiga Choeling Monastery housing 15 images of the Maitreya Buddha. A steep ride, five kilometers from Ghoom leads sun worshippers to Tiger Hills. The Museum of Natural History is where one can see a fine collection of Himalayan animals, reptiles, birds and insects. For the flora lovers Llyod Botanic Garden is an interesting place known for a marvelous collection of alpine flora and orchids. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling is the only center in India for the breeding of the rare snow leopard. A kilometer from the zoo is the Darjeeling-Rangit Valley ropeway considered the longest in Asia. The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center which produces excellent Tibetan crafts like carpets, wood and leather work offers you memorable souvenirs.

Journey By Toy Train: The narrow gauge railway line fondly called the 'toy train' extends to over 4,500 kilometers mostly in the hilly regions of India. Among these, one of the best known is the 83 kilometers long, 610 mm gauge 'toy' railway spanning the gorgeous terrain between Siliguri and Darjeeling. Nestled in the serene Himalayas, the zigzag railway track passing through a variety of foliage, linking Siliguri in north Bengal with Darjeeling, is a marvel of miniature rail engineering.

How To Reach Northeast

The major airports like Kolkata, Guwahati and other capital cities well connect the Northeast region with other parts of India. The road network is also well made but is used less due to hilly areas. The trains also are available at every major junction. Specifically for Darjeeling, there are flights from Kolkata to Bagdogra which is 90 kilometers from the town. The nearest railhead is Siliguri. The Toy train runs from New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri. There are taxis available from Bagdogra, Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. One can also go for mini train from New Jalpaiguri transporting you to the old Gurkha station of Darjeeling.

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