Know your location
» North East India
The best way to see the seven sisters is by road but one
needs to plan properly. Unlike other places a fair amount of homework on
road connections, bridges and ferries is essential. Survey of India maps
are dependable and accurate and they must be carried without fail.
Guwahati could be a good starting point, and one can get there by train or
by air or drive in. it is possible to opt for travel via the rivers if a
lot of time is available - the experience would be unforgettable.
Every season holds its own splendour in the eastern states. In fact, even within them each of the seven sisters has a different face to show. However, for the time bound traveller, it is best to avoid the months between June and September when the monsoons turn large areas in this region into vast stretches of water.
October to March are the best months though winter rains do visit the area in December and January. If you plan a visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, then mid-September to November and March-April are good periods because in peak winter you may get held up at Sela Pass or at least have difficulty crossing the pass.
WHAT TO CARRY
Diverse encounters are to be expected. Temperatures will vary. Shillong or Ziro or Tawang or Aizawl can be cool at any time of the year therefore woollens are necessary. It can also rain anywhere, any time so an umbrella is a must. A fair amount of walking has to be done so comfortable walking shoes are needed and one needs to be generous with socks. Forests or heavy vegetation reminds you to carry mosquito repellents and salt to get rid of leeches. Clear days can be quite relentless so a straw hat is a good idea. Carry a few plastic bags for wet clothes. A rucksack and a sleeping bag gives you the option to take off on treks. For camera equipment and film rolls, carry plastic bags and silica gel. If your camera uses batteries it is better to carry some spares.
Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland would require inner line permits. They are available at Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati tourist offices though the local administration also has the authority to give it to you.
Most of the areas are not connected by rail. One has to
travel by road most of the time. While roads are generally good, there are
steep climbs, sharp bends and the occasional rough tracks. One can see
much more by road and stop where one likes to frequently. If you plan to
travel in your own car, test your engine, brakes and carry enough spares
like fan belts, fuses, wires, etc.
You can choose Guwahati as the entry point. Trains, airlines and buses connect Guwahati to virtually every place in India. For Arunachal Pradesh, you can move up to Tezpur in Assam and then start exploring. Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary is close by. For Meghalaya, drive up to Shillong, to the Khasi-Jaintia hills and to Tura for the Garo hills. For other areas like Agartala in Tripura, Imphal in Manipur or Dimapur in Nagaland, there are airline flights. There are forest rest houses everywhere. You need to contact Divisional Forest officers for reservations. For PWD rest houses, contact the Superintendent Engineer or Divisional Engineer PWD. There are also circuit houses and reservations can be made in Delhi at the tourist offices co-located in emporia on Baba Kharak Singh Marg or in Chandralok Building on Janpath, New Delhi. In Kolkata, most of the offices are located around Russell Street in Chowringhee area.