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Kolkata or Calcutta as it used to be known was once the capital of British India. This vibrant city still exudes a distinct imperial flavor that adds to its multi – layered character where the old grandeur co - exists with the new chic hotels, restaurants and modern buildings. Kolkata is also known as the “Intellectual Capital’ of India, with it playing host to innumerable writers, poets, craftsmen, painters and social thinkers over the generations, truly a place where the Indian renaissance was born.
Once the summer capital and favorite retreat of the British Empire, Darjeeling, is a picturesque hill town in the Eastern Himalayas region of West Bengal. The splendor of the hill station is self-evident in the British legacy that goes hand-in-hand with its local Tibetan and Nepali character. Darjeeling is famous globally for its tea cultivation and the resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea produced here is recognized and ranks among the finest of the black teas. One can actually watch the fascinating process of tea making here! The town also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and its wonderful toy trains & steam locomotives.
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is famous for its monasteries, picturesque views of the Himalayas with its alpine environs and reflects the immense ethnic diversity of the state. The town rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840 and later became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa and cities such as Kolkata in British India.
Shillong is a mist-shrouded city surrounded with pine forests, lakes and waterfalls and is often called “Scotland of the East”. The town was once the headquarters of the British administration in North East India and still retains its distinct colonial character and ambience. Shillong is also home to the unique matrilineal Khasi tribe and is the perfect base to explore the idyllic & beautiful hills of Meghalaya. The world's wettest place, Mawsynram, is just 55 kms from here.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park is home to two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. The park, boasting the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world, is ideally situated on the banks of the massive Brahmaputra River with its expansive landscape consisting of vast grasslands and swamps dotted with evergreen forests. The rich variety of wildlife also includes the Asiatic wild buffalo, elephants, gibbons, swamp deers, leopards, pythons, and many species of rare birds.
The biggest of the Seven Sister States, Arunachal Pradesh - Land of the dawn-lit mountains, is mostly covered by the Himalayan range. Arunachal provides much scope for angling, boating, rafting, trekking and hiking. Some of the must visit places here are Tawang, which has the largest Buddhist monastery in the world, Ziro – known for its cultural festivals, Namdapha National Park – the only reserve in the world that has all the four big cats - leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards and tigers. Menchukha, is the newest addition to the state’s tourist trail. It is popularly known as “Switzerland of the East” and is a mesmerizing green valley with grassy meadows, snow-capped mountains and a 400 year old monastery.
Bhubaneshwar, once the ancient capital of the Kalinga Empire and with a history of more than 3000 years, is a walking tour of centuries of temple architecture. Indeed temples are to this ancient city as forts were to Rajasthan and it is often referred to as the ‘Temple City of India’ with more than one thousand of them around!
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