ABOUT NORTH EAST INDIA
The Region at a glance
This little known corner of the Indian Subcontinent sharing international borders with Bhutan, Tibet, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh is connected to mainland India by a small sliver of land in the state of West Bengal popularly known as the `Chickens neck`. Consisting of Eight states this region is formed like a gigantic basin with the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys taking center stage.
The northern border with Tibet and China is barricaded by the giant east Himalayan landmass, in the east the densely forested Patkai bum and Naga Patkai ranges bordering Burma take over running south all the way to Chaifil Tlang and Uiphum Tlang ranges in Mizoram (which further runs off east to the Chin hills and Arakan Yoma of Burma).In the south the Jaintia, Khasi and Garo Hills of Meghalaya bordering the rich plains of Bangladesh completes the formation.
This region is incidentally the closest that the Himalayan mountain range gets to the coast. This geographical factor added to the fact that this region also receives some of the highest rainfall in the planet has resulted in the one of the greatest diversity in flora and fauna and hence also a diverse mix of people.
Perhaps the same reason that makes this region so rich in its natural diversity also makes it the most Ethnic, Linguistic and Cultural diverse region in the Indian sub-continent. For example, the state of Arunachal Pradesh itself has over 26 major tribes with over 100 sub-tribes and clans speaking some 50 odd dialects. These tribes provide a cultural bridge between India and south East Asia, China, Inner Asia and Burma by ethnic and linguistic angles, as most of these tribes migrated here from the North and the East over the centuries.
These eight states in themselves constitute a single linguistic region with about 220 languages in three different language groups (Indo-Aryan, Sino-Tibetan and Austric).
The earliest recorded history can be traced back only to the Ahom kings (16thAD) who ruled the Brahmaputra valley. Unlike the rest of India, majority here bear Mongoloid features.
Flora and Fauna
This region has a predominantly humid sub-tropical climate with hot, humid summers, severe monsoons and fairly mild winters. Along with the west coast of India, it has some of the Indian sub-continent's last remaining rain forests which support’s diverse flora and fauna and several endemic species. It has been pooled under the Eastern Himalayan and the Indo-Burmese Biodiversity hot spots.
The close proximity of the High Himalayas to the coast has created a compact stretch of land with a multitude of vegetation. If we take a closer look, we see that the Ecology of the region varies from Alpine Tundra in the northern regions to Tropical and Sub tropical Rainforests in the lower areas. The central river valleys support Grasslands and large wetland areas.
This variety in Eco-systems has created a heaven for bio-diversity. This region also boasts of the highest density of protected Wildlife Reserves in the country. Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri and Namdapha National Parks are some of the better known ones. It also has some of the highest densities of Tigers, Elephants and the Great one horned Rhinoceros, the only ape species found in India and the only Wildlife parks to have 5 felines’ species