11 Incredible Places To Visit in East India This Year!
If verdant sloping hills, acres of tea plantations, cultural and intellectual stimulation, historic sites, and a vibrant wildlife is your idea of a holiday, you needn’t think twice about heading straight to Eastern India! With this list of amazing places to visit in east India, you are bound to fall in love with nature, all over again!
The Eastern part of India consists of some of the most scenic, natural beauty, as well as ancient temples and Buddhist monasteries. Flanked on the South by the Bay of Bengal, and on the North by the staggering Himalayas, these states enjoy some of the most thriving biodiversity. East India tourism offers a wide range of experiences, and one can easily spend a good number of days getting acquainted with these charming states.
11 Places To Visit In East India In 2019
Here are 11 places to visit in East India, which you should be adding to your bucket list this year!
Kolkata, once known as Calcutta, was the capital city for a large part of British Raj. The older parts of the city are still seeped in the colonial architecture, and there is so much texture and character in the city that you’re left gaping. Kolkata is in many ways the cultural and intellectual hub of India. A number of writers, poets, artists started their journeys from here, and still live on in the spirit of the city. While there is no dearth of things to do in Kolkata, a walking tour of the old colonial neighbourhoods and buildings including the Victoria Memorial is a must.
A Kolkata tour will take you around the famous landmarks like Howrah Bridge, Dakshineshwar Temple, Kalighat, Marble Palace, and more. If you’re a cricket fan, you must stop by the 66,000 capacity cricket ground Eden Gardens or if you’d like to enjoy a lively evening, head to Park Street. There is just so much culture, heritage and history to soak in Kolkata, that you will never run out of options of what to do in the city. If not for anything else, do visit the place for its delicious food – puchkas, a rossogulla or sandesh will satisfy the foodie in you!
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If you look at old pictures of Darjeeling, you will be charmed by the quaint town on the foothills of the beautiful Himalayan ranges cutting through the border of West Bengal. The town has since then become a popular tourist spot, and attracts visitors for its colonial architecture, breath-taking views of Mount Kanchenjunga (one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas), and the cute and cosy eateries that line the main streets. When in Darjeeling, do take a ride of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), also known at the Toy Train, which is a World Heritage Site and perhaps the most popular attraction for Darjeeling tourism.
This steam engine train will take you around the hilly terrain of Darjeeling, navigating through tunnels and passing by some spectacular views. It is so slow however, that you can actually get off, and run along for a while in some parts. Do also visit Observatory Hill for delightful views of Mount Kanchenjunga, explore a verdant tea garden and learn to pick a couple of tea leaves, and enjoy the serene locales of the surrounding hills. If you are looking for serenity, Darjeeling is one of the best places to visit in east India.
Head to Kalimpong for the delightful horticulture, stunning Buddhist Monasteries and spectacular views of the Himalayan mountains. Known as one of the best places to visit in east India for its cultural charm, Kalimpong was once an important trade route between Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal, and crucial to the British Empire. Today, colonial buildings like the MacFarlene Memorial Church juxtapose beautifully with the ancient Buddhist monasteries like the Durpin Monastery. For a spiritual getaway to the hills, Kalimpong is the place to be.
The Kaziranga National Park, a protected area in the north-east Indian state of Assam, is a wildlife reserve that holds one of the most bio-diverse natural environments and number of rare animal species. If you are looking for some wildlife adventure, Kaziranga is one of the best places to visit in east India. It is famous for the one-horned Rhinoceros, the Bengal Tiger, wild buffaloes, elephants and the barasingha. With such a vibrant wildlife, Kaziranga attracts nature lovers, adventure seekers and photography enthusiasts by the hordes ( pun not intended!). One can also observe a number of bird species, thick tropical forest with rich biodiversity and so much more! Take an elephant ride or an open top 4 wheel drive around the reserve and immerse yourself in the natural habitat of majestic wild animals!
Hidden away in the tiny state of Sikkim, this North-Eastern town is one of the best places to visit in east India for the most stunning views of Mount Kanchenjunga. Visit the Pemayangtse Monastery, which is the Buddhist Monastery in Sikkim. Beautiful Buddhist art and architecture against the mind blowing backdrop of the majestic Kanchenjunga ensure that you are simply left speechless. Also visit the remains of Rabdentse, which was the royal capital of Sikkim through the 17th and 18th Centuries. Overall, Pelling offers you a spiritually uplifting experience!
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When visiting the North Eastern states, one must remember that they have the most unique culture and outlook towards everyday living. The culture in Meghalaya for instance, is really worth observing, and is so different from the rest of India. Shillong, the capital city, is flanked by beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and natural beauty, and is known at the “Scotland of the East”, but it also has a rich, unconventional culture, which makes it stand apart from the rest of the country. While in Shillong, visit the historical churches, the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures, and visit the majestic Elephant Falls. Do also visit the nearby Cherrapunjee for the living root bridges maintained by the Khasi tribes, where roots of rubber trees form bridges across the streams.
As soon as you step into Bhubaneswar, you can feel the depth of heritage that the city has been protecting for centuries. If you are looking to go back in time, Bhubaneswar is one of the best places to visit in east India. This ancient city is the capital of Odisha, and is known for its stone carved temples, the mystic natural caves, and for historic sites from the Kalinga dynasty. It is known as the Temple Town of India, given the large number of temples peppered across the city. From what used to be around 7000 temples, now remain only around 500, but each has a rich history and stunning architecture. Also visit Dhauli Giri, a Buddhist stupa depicting significant historical events of the place.
8. Puri and Konark
If Bhubaneswar is the Temple Town of India, Puri is home to one of the most sacred temples in India – the Jagannatha Puri Temple. One of the four most important pilgrimage spots for Hindus, the Jagannatha Puri Temple is a definite stopover for the char dham yatra. Puri is majorly visited for the sacred pilgrimage to the Jagannatha Temple, but one can also visit other beautiful temples like Gundicha or Ramchandi Temple, or visit Konark, which lies in the district of Puri. Konark is known primarily for the historic 7th century Sun Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also in the district of Puri, lies Chilika Lake, which is the largest coastal lagoon in India, and the second largest in the world. This magnificent water body starts at the mouth of Daya River, and goes right till the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of 1,100 square kilometres. A truly mesmerising destination!
The capital of tiny Sikkim, Gangtok is a key Buddhist pilgrimage site and is today a Tibetan Buddhist Centre. With beautiful monasteries, a spiritual calmness in the air and Buddhist architecture decorating the landscape, Gangtok is pure and inviting. Visit the significant Enchey Monastery, learn about Tibetan Scriptures at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and walk through the town to take in the culture of the aborigines of Sikkim, Lepchas. If you are looking for an ultimate escape, Gangtok is one of the best places to visit in east India.
Finally, we cannot leave out the mesmerising beauty of Assam. Visit Jorhat, which was the last capital of the Ahom Dynasty, and is one of the best places to visit in east India for tea estates. Stop by the Toklai Tea Research Station, where you can learn about the process from tea plantations to the cup. Also visit the 3rd oldest golf course in the world at the Gymkhana Club, and be amazed at the breath-taking natural beauty the place has to offer. Jorhat also forms the gateway to the largest inhabited riverine island in the world, Majuli. Resplendent in natural and cultural wonders, it is one of the places one must explore in this part of the country.
The capital town of the North Eastern state of Nagaland, Kohima is a real picturesque wonder, hidden away in the tiny state. Visit this place for the mysterious Naga Tribes, with their unique ancient culture that they carry forward through modern India. Do stop by the Kohima War Cemetery, built to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives during WWII. Or visit the Nagaland State Museum, for an insight into the culture and history of this untouched state. With heavy British influence in architecture and town planning, Kohima is a charming jewel tucked away for you to discover. The natural, hilly surroundings are a bonus, and you’d be surprised by how much you learn in this delightful little wonderland.
East India is perhaps the more unconventional choice for travellers to India, but once you visit, you’d discover such pristine, untouched gems that you’d never want to leave!
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Neha Mathur loves to explore the stories behind places and people. She believes travel is the best form of education, and loses no opportunity to visit a new place. Neha writes to express stories that touch her heart or entice her mind. She’s a foodie and nothing gives her more happiness than delicious local food! She has a deep love for poetry and music, and swears by the artistic genius of Mirza Ghalib and R.D. Burman.