When I came back from India, the house looked like that:
Soon enough summer took over, pushing spring away and barging in with punching colors and thick layers of green:
But I still owe the last leg of our India trip. The North-East.
North-East India is widely neglected by the travelling crowed, since only early 2011 all kinds of restrictions have been lifted. Previously, you needed to struggle with Indian bureaucracy, apply in advance, go there in groups equipped with ridiculously expensive permits. Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland: Now, you just go there. No stamps, no permits, no applications.
You’ll find untouched nature, hospitality beyond belief, tribal culture in the villages and vibrant subculture run by the young in the cities. Cities a lot less overpopulated than in other parts of India. Cities in which you find a soothing cooler climate (Shillong) and dustbins the citizens actually do use (Kohima), cities with small markets free of garbage around the market stalls (Guwahati) and plenty of well-kept parks (all over).
You’ll find a mix of cultures and religions and the majority being Hindi, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist will change from village to village, from city to city. You’ll find meet (if you fancy that in your diet and have been missing it in India) and plenty of fish and egg dishes as well as the usual vegetarian food.
You’ll find the stunning images you remember from travel catalogues you skipped through before you left for your Indian adventure: endless tea estates, colorful dresses with a thick green layer of nature as a backdrop, bamboo huts, flower-covered gardens, villages clinging on steep hillsides, stairs to steep for donkeys in deep gorges, endless rice fields, velvet valleys, deep jungles, living root bridges, rolling hills – ah! You name it.
What we most loved whilst travelling India, and the North-East, was the people we were lucky enough to encounter. Let’s start tomorrow going in to the North-East…I’ll take you to Assam. And you’ll find a bunch of phone numbers and contacts of those, happy to pass their details on, at the bottom of each post. Promised.
Before interrupting with this snippet-of Western-European life, I wrote about half Indian doors and cooking classes in Rishikesh here. Next, I’ll take you back to India. Meantime we arrived in the North-East and you can read about it here.