India’s cultural diversity is one of its finest qualities. While everyone is quick to celebrate the uniqueness of different parts of India, the north-east is often overlooked. There’s not enough written about the ‘Seven Sisters’ of India that make up the north-eastern region of the country. The ‘Seven Sisters’ of India which include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura are home to breathtaking terrains, exotic flora and fauna, and a rich cultural heritage. These ‘Seven Sister’ states are connected to mainland India through the Siliguri Corridor.
People from the north-east often feel excluded in their own country because of years of marginalisation. Perhaps delving a little deeper into understanding these ‘Seven Sisters’ of India will help the rest of the country be more receptive to individuals from the north-east. We’ve gathered some interesting facts about these seven states that will give you a glimpse of all they have to offer.
Here Are Some Surprising Facts About The ‘Seven Sisters’ Of India
1. Arunachal Pradesh—The State Of The Rising Sun
Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state in north-east India and home to 26 major tribes and 100 sub-tribes. The state is covered by nearly 61 per cent of forest, which adds to its natural beauty. Tawang, a town in Arunachal Pradesh is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso. Gyatso was extremely unconventional and was known for his love of wine and poetry. A lot of his poetry is still widely read among Tibetans even today. A little away from Tawang is Bum La Pass which is where the current Dalai Lama, 14th in succession, entered India, when escaping from Tibet.
2. Assam—Home To The Largest River Island
Assam is home to Majuli, the largest river island in the world. Located on the Brahmaputra river near Jorhat, Majuli has stunning views all around and is pollution free. The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is a World Heritage Site and home to two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. Digboi, the world’s oldest operating oil refinery is also located in Assam. It has been in operation since 1901. If the legend is to be believed, the British first noticed the oil on the feet of elephants returning from the forest after hauling logs in Assam. While the labourers dug for oil, the Britishers were known to chant ‘Dig Boy, Dig,’ and that’s how the name Digboi stuck.
Also read: 5 traditional Assamese dishes to try
3. Meghalaya—Where Asia’s Cleanest Village Is Located
Meghalaya is most famous for its living root bridges. Rubber trees have strong, flexible roots that are guided across rivers and streams with bamboo, leading to the construction of these bridges. The Khasi and Jaintia people hand-make the living root bridges from the aerial roots of the rubber fig tree. The state is also famous for being home to Asia’s cleanest village. Mawlynnong, also known as ‘God’s Own Garden’ is a small village in Meghalaya that is exceptionally well-maintained and clean. The residents don’t just keep their houses spick and span, but also manage to sweep the roads, and plant as many trees as they can.
4. Manipur—Where You’ll Find The Only Floating Park In The World
Manipur has the only floating park in the world. The Keibul Lamjao National Park is only 48km from Imphal, the capital of Manipur. This floating park is a swamp. It constitutes biomass vegetation called phumdis, floating on the surface of Loktak Lake. It is incidentally the only home to the near extinct brow-antlered deer. Its ecosystem comprises nearly 17 rare species of mammals. The origin of the sport polo is supposed to be in Manipur. When Manipur was under British rule in the eighteenth century as a princely state, the British observed local people playing a version of polo here. They adopted its rule and formally called it polo.
5. Mizoram—The Leading Producer Of Bamboo In India
Mizoram is the second most literate state in the country after Kerala, and is a spot of geographical significance. Aizawl in Mizoram is the geographical area through which the Tropic of Cancer crosses India. Mizoram is also home to the Pukzing cave which is rumoured to have been carved with a hairpin by a man called Mualzavata.
The state is the leading producer of bamboo in India, which is also the cause for a unique problem in the state called ‘Mautam’. Mautam is the Mizo word for ‘Bamboo Death.’ The synchronous flowering of bamboo sees an abundant supply of seeds which leads to a massive increase in rodent and insect population. The pests attack the crops and have been known to cause famines. The first famine was recorded in 1739 and the last one was between 2006-2007.
6. Nagaland—Where English Is The Official Language
Nagaland and Manipur are the only two states in India where World War II was actually fought. The British National Army Museum selected the Battle of Imphal and Kohima to be ‘Britain’s Greatest Battle’ in 2013. The state is also the first and only state in India that has registered a population decline of 0.47 percent between 2001 and 2011. English is the official language of Nagaland and 90 per cent of the population is Christian. The Hornbill festival is an extremely popular festival celebrated in the state that is a tribute to its diverse culture, heritage, and traditions. It was started by the state government in 2001.
7. Tripura—Unparalleled Architecture To Discover
Tripura is connected to the rest of India by only one major highway, NH44. The state is most famous for its ruling Manika dynasty which had an unbroken chain of 184 kings before independence. 91 per cent of the land under cultivation in Tripura produces rice. The state is home to a 500-year-old temple, the Tripura Sundari temple, among many other ancient structures. It has a huge wildlife sanctuary, the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Charilam, famous for its spectacled monkey. The sanctuary covers an area of 18.63 sq km.
Also Read: 5 Places You Must Absolutely See In Tripura
India’s North-Eastern States Are Waiting To Be Explored
The ‘Seven Sisters’ of India have much to offer to a traveller. It’s time we recognise the wonders of north-east India and set out to explore it. Its rich cultural heritage and wondrous architectural marvels are sure to leave any traveller spellbound. As you explore the north-east, you must be mindful of its cultural diversity and respect the traditions and customs that you may encounter. The seven sister states have an abundance of flora and fauna and ample forest cover which must be preserved.