In the North East, visit West Bengal. The state’s capital, Kolkata, is known as the ‘cultural capital of India’ and is birthplace to all forms of creative expression from traditional folk music and dance to Asia’s first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.
Travel to Darjeeling, perched on a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by lush tea plantations and backed by snow-capped Himalayan peaks, Darjeeling is picturesquely beautiful. The town is a jewel of West Bengal with its botanical gardens, Tibetan temples, museums, a zoo and even the famous Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Stay at a traditional, colonial tea estate with a view of the Himalayas and rolling tea plantations.
The North East has stunning scenery and a plethora of nature reserves with wildlife including the rare one-horned Indian rhinoceros, Bengal tigers and highly endangered Gangetic dolphin. The World Heritage Site of Kaziranga, with sightings of India’s one-horned rhino, incredible range of fauna and flora, wild Asian elephant and Asiatic wild buffalo, as well the Hoolock gibbon (India’s only ape). To cap it all, the reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with almost 500 species of resident and migratory species.
A rhino-spotting safari on elephant-back | The everyday sounds and sights of one of India’s last great wildernesses | Bengali sweets | Sunrise over the Himalayas on a tea plantation