What’s the best thing about winters? A cup of hot coffee as you make yourself cozy beside a bonfire, or the early morning walks down the country roads as you stride through the fog, or reading your favorite book under the blanket in your cozy little bed. For me it’s the festivities here in Assam and entire North-East India which makes my heart and soul warm inspite of the cold chilly weather. Mornings and evenings are foggy with slight rainfall and snow in a few places, but nevertheless winters are all about snow, bonfire, get-togethers, feasts and festivities. Assam and entire North-East India faces extreme cold weather during winter but it’s the holiday season and keeping this in view different events and fests are organized which makes it an ideal winter destination. So plan your travel itinerary keeping in view these events and festivals to make your trips more fun and memorable.
Majuli, Assam during Raas Mahotsav
Majuli Island in Assam is a popular tourist destination mainly because of the Satras and the scenic villages. Many visit to document the Satra life and culture as a part of their higher studies and projects. Majuli attracts tourists throughout the year except for the summers when flood is an issue here, but November is the best time to visit because of the annual Raas Mahotsav celebrated here every year.
Traditional bhaona performances are held in this 3 days long cultural event along with other song and dance form performances of the Neo-Vaishnavite and Satra culture. A food festival displaying and serving traditional and ethnic delicacies of the region can be enjoyed by visitors. Bamboo and handicrafts made by local artisans, which can serve as souvenirs, are displayed in a fair. Religious discussions, seminars and conferences are also organized to enlighten visitors on the importance of the seat of Majuli and Neo-Vaishnavism culture.
Although the festival is held in November but Majuli is a pleasant destination to visit during the New Year too, which is easily accessible nowadays via Dibrugarh Bogibeel bridge. An overnight stay is advised to make your journey less hectic and to include all the popular locations and activities in your travel plan.
Shillong, Meghalaya during the Cherry Blossoms Festival
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is the most dreamy and sought after tourist destination in entire North-East India with attractions like waterfalls, peaks, valleys, lakes, caves and a weather that is perfect all year long. Every year Shillong witnesses an insane amount of tourists throughout the year, especially in winters when the city turns pink because of the cherry blossoms and also the many musical and cultural festivals organized during this time of the year.
The Cherry Blossoms Festival is held in the month of November at Wards Lake which is centrally located in the city. Wards lake is an artificial lake and Botanical Garden which is perfect for morning and evening walks for the locals. The variety of flora, especially the cherry blossoms, are the main attraction in winter when the tree is in its full bloom. Literary festival, food and wine festival along with beauty and other cultural competitions are organized every year during this Cherry Blossoms Festival.
Tourists and locals are of the opinion that Shillong can definitely be the next Cherry Blossoms destination after Japan and the possibility cannot be overlooked. Cherry Blossoms are witnessed not only at Wards Lake but in many locations around the city.
Kohima, Nagaland during Hornbill Festival
Amazing picturesque locations like Dzukou Valley, Khonoma, Dzuleke are some of Nagaland’s pearls with maximum tourist influx, and scenic places like these attract visitors more. Nagaland is perfect for winter trips when you can combine adventure, pleasure and entertainment in your travel plan. You can explore the Dzukou Valley trek, experience the serenity of the green Khonoma village and get entertained in the multi-cultural Hornbill Festival.
The Hornbill Festival is held every year from 1st to 10th of December at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, some 12 kms from Kohima. Visitors and tourists alike visit in large numbers to witness this grand celebration of heritage folk culture of the Naga tribes. Expect some amazing and exotic food, drink and handicrafts along with the display of folk dance and songs of the many tribes that Nagaland boasts of.
Dambuk, Arunachal Pradesh during Orange Festival of Adventure and Music
Dambuk is a small town in Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh and is known to produce some of the best quality oranges in the country. It’s one of the remotest villages with little to no amenities whatsoever, but is host to the thrilling adventure and music festival named Dambuk Orange Festival of Adventure and Music. Dambuk is located around 180 kms from Dibrugarh via Dhola-Sadiya bridge and the journey in itself is an adventure.
If your prefer thrill and adventure sports then Dambuk Orange Festival is definitely your place to go. Off-road car racing, river rafting, zip lining, paramotoring, scuba diving etc are organized every year in this festival. Another attraction is the music festival where local as well as international artists perform. The venue is set amidst the hundreds of acres of orange orchards. This otherwise quiet and remote location comes to life during this festival held in the month of December.
Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh during Mechuka Festival
Mechuka is a small hamlet located in the Shiyomi district of Arunachal Pradesh close to the Indo-China border. It’s a quaint village with snow covered mountain tops, meadows, wooden bridges and the serene Yargyap River. The four major tribes which reside here – the Memba, Ramo (Adi), Bokar and Libo follow Buddhism and a 400 years old monastery, older than the Tawang Monastery, is located here which is often visited by the Dalai Lama.
The Mechuka Festival is a 3 days long festival organized during the month of November to promote Mechuka as an ideal place for adventure sports. Different kinds of adventure sports are organized every year like rafting, trekking, rappelling, rock-climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, aero-modelling, trap shooting, angling etc. Mechuka is gradually attracting a lot of tourists who like to visit to explore the raw natural beauty of this place.
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh during Ziro Music Festival
The Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh is home to the Apatani tribe and famous for its pine hills and terrace rice fields. Arunachal Pradesh has one of the most beautiful locations with great tourism potential which is gradually attracting national and international tourists. And outdoor music festivals like these attract travelers all the more. The Ziro Music Festival is a celebration of independent music, art and culture hosted in the open amidst paddy fields. Both national and international artists from the field of music grace the occasion attracting youngsters and music lovers from around the country.
Camping sites are available and you can enjoy local village tours, fishing and some other activities in your itinerary while attending this coolest music festival. There’s no fixed time for this festival but is generally organized anytime from late September to November.
Guwahati, Assam during Rongali Music Festival
Guwahati, the capital of Assam is a tourist and business hub. There’s a lot to see and experience in Guwahati and during winters the city bears a festive look which makes it all the more attractive. Festivities start as early as September but in mid-January falls the Magh or Bhogali Bihu which is one of the main festivals of Assam. This is one of the best time to visit Assam. But keeping in view the festivities the Rongali Music Festival is organized in the month of January in Guwahati which is a 3 days long cultural event where you can witness different cultural activities and musical events. You can choose to visit Guwahati during this time to make your trip more fun.
Shillong, Meghalaya during NH7 Weekender Music Festival
Plan your travel itinerary to the most happening place in North-East India, which is Shillong, during the happiest music festival in India, the NH7 Weekender and you are sure to have a blast. The venue is usually set in the outskirts and the main city is untouched, but the vibe you will get in this festival is an experience you will never want to forget or miss out. Unlimited food and music with artists across all genre and places perform in this music festival. NH7 Weekender is a 2 days music event with some of the best line-ups of both national and international bands.
You can explore the nearby tourist attractions like Dawki, Cherrapunjee and Shillong city during the daytime and enjoy the shows in the evening.
Winter is here with New Year around the corner, and the travel enthusiast in you is definitely all excited to explore some new and beautiful places. North-East India is, undoubtedly, the happiest place to be during this holiday season, and now that you know about these festivals you can plan your trip accordingly.