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8 Amazing Festivals To Attend While You’re In The Northeast

Northeast India has long been known for its awe-inspiring scenic beauty and amazing ethnic diversity – but it is only in the recent times that it has also started drawing travelers by the thousands for its awesome festivals. And why not? The cool climes of the region with its beaches, lakes, hills and valleys – offering a memorable time with its music and dance, ethnic food and liquor - can attract anyone. There are dozens of amazing festivals in the eight states of the Northeast – and these are just eight of them to attend if you are travelling there.

1. Ziro Music Festival, Arunachal Pradesh

Ziro Music Festival

What started out as an indie music festival three years ago is now quickly becoming one of the hotspots for music lovers all over India to congregate for a four-day extravaganza of amazing music, ethnic food and liquor and overall a great time – all in the green expanses of the Ziro Valley stretching for kilometers on end. The annual fest occurs in the latter half of September, with artists from all over Northeast and India come to perform.

2. Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

First held in 2000, the annual Hornbill Festival is organized in the first week of December – a gala affair that even attracts foreign tourists for the rich cultural experience of the many different tribes in the state. To be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, this year’s festival will kick off on December 1 to 10 – with an amazing ethnic experience topped off with one of the biggest rock shows of the Northeast.

3. Brahmaputra Beach Festival, Assam

Brahmaputra Beach Festival, Assam

First kicked off in 1998, the Brahmaputra Beach Festival is a three-day fest organized in mid-January during the time of Magh Bihu, the state’s harvest festival. A confluence of the older traditions and modern recreations, the beach festival has revelers enjoying sports like beach volleyball, kayaking and canoeing next to traditional ones like cock fighting and egg breaking. All these – next to the mighty Brahmaputra river.

4. Sangai Festival, Manipur

Sangai Festival, Manipur

Named after the endangered Sangai Deer only found at the Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur, this 10-day-festival from November 21 to 30 is another rich cultural experience of this particular Northeast state. Fashion events and rock shows share the same stage with ethnic performances, surrounded by the beautiful Manipuri landscape. Feast on the mouth-watering local delicacies and enjoy some amazing eco-sports in this northeast festival – the closing ceremony of the 2014 edition of which Narendra Modi himself is attending.

5. Anthurium Festival, Mizoram

Anthurium Festival

A three-day-long event held in September, the Anthurium Festival is organized at the Reiek Hill, 29 kms from Aizawl and overlooking Bangladesh. Mizoram is well-known for the cultivation of the Anthurium flower – and visitors to this festival can enjoy the scenic and floral beauty of Reiek, as well as get a peek into the glorious past of the valiant highlanders – thanks to the Mizo government’s initiative to maintain the distinctive traditional huts. The traditional sports, games and cuisine will enthrall you all throughout your stay during this season.

6. Shillong Autumn Festival, Meghalaya

Shillong Autumn Festival

Meghalaya’s charm as a tourist spot is alive throughout the year; however it is during autumn that the place comes even more alive – thanks to the Autumn Festival! Food and wine festival, fashion shows and rock shows will vie for your attention with golf tournaments and kite-flying and fishing competitions held all over different locations like Sohra, Cherrapunjee, Jowai and Umiam Lake. Like the Hornbill Festival, this is also an attempt to bring together all the different tribes together and celebrating their unique identities.

7. Orange Festival, Tripura

Orange Festival

If you did not know this earlier, Jampui Hills in Tripura grows some of the finest oranges in the country. And the Orange Festival in Tripura – held annually between the months of September to December – is a great time to visit the state. Although the festival has not been celebrated in the past few years due to the decline in production of oranges, Jampui Hills nonetheless provides a great scenic experience for travelers looking to enjoy the beauty of

8. Lampokhari Festival, Sikkim

Lampokhari Festival

The last of the Northeast festivals to attend while you’re there is the Lampokhari Festival in Sikkim. Held annually during the end of March and early April during the time of Ramnawami, this festival’s major attraction is adventure sports. The serene Lampokhari Lake and the nearby hills become a hub of activity during this time – with boating, horse-riding, traditional archery, trekking, rock-climbing and paragliding. With traditionally roasted meat and local beers adding to the festive flavor, this is one festival you should not miss!

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