11 Days from$2007 p/p in USD
DeparturesJan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Nov, Dec
The north east corner of India is packed with incredible culture and wildlife. This trip gives you a fascinating insight into cultural aspects such as traditional silk weaving and tea plantations while the wilderness areas are rich in birds and wildlife. On an elephant safari in Kaziranga National Park look out for the great one-horned rhinoceros and the Bengal florican bustard species as well as an abundance of other wildlife while on a boat ride in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park you might see the gangetic dolphin.
Safari types:Birding Safari, Cultural Safari, Jungle Safari, Wildlife Safari
You will visit:Kaziranga National Park
Getting around:Transfer Vehicle
Start/end:Start in Guwahati Airport, end in Dibrugarh Airport
- Visit Famous Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati
- Explore the Silk Village of Assam “Sualkuchi”
- Visit Nameri National Park – Home to the Great Hornbill
- Walk through the Jungles of Nameri
- Visit Kaziranga National Park – Home to the One Horned Rhinoceros
- Enjoy the Elephant Safari at Kaziranga
- Drive through the dense forests of Kaziranga in a Jeep
- Explore the world largest inhabited river island ie Majuli Island
- Visit the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary
- Visit the Dibru Saikhowa National Park
- Stay at a Heritage Bungalow and Relieve the Colonial Era
RATES – RUPEE
1 paying pax – Rs 244,000 (in 1 x single room)
2 paying pax – Rs 281,000 for two people (in 1 x double/twin room)
Rates valid until 30 April 2019 – contact us for other rates
No. of vehicles that will be used: 1-2 paying pax + 1 Purvi escort = 1 vehicle (Innova/Scorpio/Similar)
Night 1: Guwahati – Kiranshree Grand (AC Club Room)
Nights 2 & 3: Tezpur – Wild Mahseer Tea Planters Bungalow either at Silver Tips, Ambrosia, Golden Tips or Second Flush (AC Room)
Nights 4 & 5: Kaziranga National Park – Iora, The Retreat (Luxury AC Room)
Nights 6 & 7: Jorhat – Puroni Bheti Lodge (AC Room)
Night 8: Dibrugarh – Mancotta or Chowkidinghee Heritage Chang Bungalow (AC Room)
Nights 9 & 10: Tinsukia – Wathai Heritage Bungalow (AC Room)
Accommodation at hotels listed below (based on twin sharing)
All meals starting from lunch on the day of arrival and ending with breakfast on day of departure
- Entry fees, monuments fees, parking fee, road taxes, village visits and local sightseeing as per itinerary
All land transfers (driver will be non English speaking)
- Park entry fees, jungle walk at Nameri National Park
Park entry fees, jungle walk at Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary
Park entry fees, 1 x elephant safari (subject to availability), 4 x jeep safaris at Kaziranga National Park
- Visit to Umananda Temple at Guwahati by Country Boat
- Tea Tour at Dibrugarh
- Public ferry charges to and from Majuli Island. Visit to Majuli Island by Non AC Tata Sumo / Similar
- Visit to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park by country boat
Services of accompanying English speaking escort from arrival until departure and local guide where required
All applicable taxes
- Air or train fares
- Meals other than those mentioned in the Inclusions above
Any camera/video camera fees
Expenditure of personal nature (e.g. tipping, telephone/fax calls, laundry, portage, alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages, medical expenses, room service orders, snacks or refreshment etc)
Other expenses incurred due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances
Any changes/new tax imposed by the Government
Supplement charges if charged by a hotel during Christmas, New Year period, festival time
Any other services not mentioned in the Inclusions above
Day by Day Overview
Arrive at Guwahati airport and transfer to the hotel for 1 night.
Guwahati: situated on the southern bank of the River Brahmaputra in the Kamrup District of Assam, Guwahati is a fast growing premier city. It is the gateway to the north eastern states of India and a principal center of socio-cultural, political, industrial, trade and commerce of the entire region. Dispur, the capital of Assam, is a part of Guwahati. In earlier years, this city was full of areca nut trees rappled by pan creepers. Hence this city subsequently got the name Guwahat – the word ‘Guwa’ in Assamese means areca nut and ‘Hat’ means market.
Today we explore Guwahati including a visit to Kamakhya Temple and Umananda Temple. Later we visit Sualkuchi and drive to Balipara, Tezpur (215 kms/5 hrs). On arrival check in at Wild Mahseer Tea Planters Bungalow either at Silver Tips, Ambrosia, Golden Tips or Second Flush for 2 nights.
Umananda Temple: the Shiva temple of Umananda stands on an island in the middle of the River Brahmaputra. Its location, at the top of a steep flight of steps up from the beach on the Bhasmachala hill, is more dramatic than the temple itself. This hill is associated with the legend of Shiva burning Kaama or the God of Lust to ashes.
Kamakhya Temple: situated atop the Nilachal Hills, the foremost shrine of Assam, Kamakhya Temple dominates the life of Guwahati, as much as the great Brahmaputra River. Kamakhya is an ancient seat of tantric and shakti cults of Hinduism. A rush of devotees throng the Temple during the Ambubachi Puja (June).
Sualkuchi: Located on the banks of the Brahmaputra, 35 kms north of Guwahati, Sualkuchi is a weaving village that produces some of the best silk in the state. This sleepy little village exudes a charm like no other. Almost every house has an adjacent shed (karkhana) that houses the traditional bamboo loom – the gentle click-clacking of which can be heard from the streets. You can walk into any of the numerous karkhanas and observe the talented weavers weaving intricate patterns on the golden Muga silk. In the early years of the 20th century, Sualkuchi was developed as a ‘crafts village’. Most of the funds for this development work came from eminent Gandhians across the country who responded to the ‘back to the villages’ slogan of Gandhiji’s swadeshi drive. Although the weaving industry of Sualkuchi remained almost confined to the tanti community until the 1930s, with encouragement from the government, people from other communities also took up silk weaving. There are about 17,000 silk looms in Sualkuchi producing an eclectic range of silk products. Most of Sualkuchi’s silk is woven into mekhela-chadars and gamosas. Owing to the increasing demand, the weavers of Sualkuchi have diversified to saris, shawls and dress material. The silk weaving of Sualkuchi provides direct and indirect employment to more than 25,000 people throughout the year.
Wild Mahseer Tea Planter Bungalows: located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River, the Bungalows are on the Adabari Tea Estate, which originally belonged to the British Assam Tea Company and dates back to the year 1900. The property is an historic one characterised by its Victorian architecture. It has spacious rooms across four individual bungalows. The accommodation is located on 22 acres of tropical land surrounded by tea gardens and a wide variety of trees, plants, flowers, insects and birds. The property has been renamed Wild Mahseer (after a popular fish found in the Brahmaputra and Jia Bhorelli river). During your stay at Wild Mahseer Planters’ Bungalow you can visit the nearby Garo tribal villages. Garos are reviving the ancient art of weaving & take pride in their skill. Enjoy a rich collection of vibrant scarves, stoles and other handicrafts, local cuisine and have a go at trying the outfit of the Garo tribe.
This morning we drive to Nameri National Park (30 mins) and later go for a jungle walk inside the park. Also option to go for rafting at Jia Bhorali river. Later in the afternoon drive back to the Bungalow. Dinner and overnight at the Bungalow.
Nameri National Park: located on the banks of the river Jia Bhorali on the northern side of the Brahmaputra, Nameri is situated in the foothills of the great Himalayas – tiger and bison country. Its charm is the beautiful deciduous forest and the river Jia Bhorali flowing alongside. Nameri is famous for its sizeable population of the very rare white-winged wood duck. Other interesting birds to be found here includes the white-cheeked partridge, great-, wreathed- and rufous-necked hornbills, oriental hobby, amur falcon, Jerdon’s and black bazas, Pallas’s, grey-headed and lesser fish eagles, silver-backed needletail, long tailed broadbill, long-billed plover and the ibisbill. As well as these a number of forest birds like pygmy woodpeckers, woodpeckers, orioles, barbets, thrushes etc, can also be sighted here while 6-7 species of bulbuls can be easily seen in a day.
Birding is done while trekking inside the park or while rafting down the Jia Bhorali River.
Note: No elephant or jeep safari facility is available at Nameri National Park.
Nameri National Park is open from 1st Nov to 30th April only.
After breakfast drive to Kaziranga (115 kms/3 hrs). On arrival check in at the hotel for 2 nights. Later in the afternoon enjoy a jeep safari in Kaziranga National Park. Overnight at the hotel.
Kaziranga National Park: a World Heritage Site, Kaziranga is home to more than 75% of the world’s total population of the great Indian one horned rhinoceros can be found. It lies on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River and is one of the oldest parks of Assam. Other mammals include the Asiatic water buffalo, elephant, tiger, swamp deer, barking deer and hog deer. About 400 species of birds are found in the Kaziranga National Park, amongst which are the swamp francolin, great hornbill, Pallas’s fish eagle, pied falconets, greater adjutant stork and long billed vulture. There is no telling what one might find in Kaziranga but it is always a great experience. The specialty here is the blue naped pitta amongst a host of raptors and waterfowl. The adjoining buffer areas are worth a try too, as numerous rare sightings are reported regularly.
Note: the national park in this sector remains open from 01 November to 30 April every year. However, it’s hoped that it will stay open during some of October, but this can only be confirmed nearer the time, taking the weather and other factors into consideration. If the park is opened in October there will be limited access to areas due to weather and road conditions.
We spend a full day exploring the beautiful forests and grasslands of the national park with one morning elephant safari followed by one jeep safari post breakfast. After lunch enjoy another jeep safari. Overnight at the hotel.
Elephant Safari: approximately 45 mins duration (05:00 to 06:00 and 06:00 to 07:30) elephant safaris for visitors are held only on Kaziranga Range, Kohora (Central Range). Allocation of elephant riding seats and timings are regulated by the forest department, Kaziranga National Park and the Government of Assam. The tickets for the same are issued only on the previous evening of the ride after 19:30, subject to availability. The best way to explore the wide variety of wildlife in Kaziranga National Park, the elephant safari starts very early in the morning. The park is covered by elephant grass which is very high and so the view from an elephant’s back is perfect! During the course of the safari one can hopefully see herds of Indian elephants and the one-horned rhinoceros at a very close distance while traversing through the terrain of swamps and tall grass. This proximity to wild animals in Kaziranga National Park makes the trip memorable and thrilling and is also great for early morning photography of rhinos in the mist. There are also good chances of seeing the Bengal florican from elephant back.
Jeep Safari: morning entry time is between 07:00 and 09:30, visiting time until 12:00 noon. Afternoon entry time is between 13:30 and 15:00, visiting time is until sunset. Jeep safaris are permitted on pre-defined tourist circuits within Kaziranga National Park- currently at the following points:
1. Mihimukh in Central Range at Kohora
2. Bagori in Western Range at Bagori
3. Agaratoli in Eastern Range at Agaratoli
4. Burapahar Range
The Central Range passes through the entire habitat spectrum from ox-bow lakes, savannah woodland to swamp forests. It is very good for mammal sightings as well as for birds (blue-bearded bee-eater, great hornbill, rufous woodpecker). While driving along the trail, one can see rows of Indian roofed and tent turtles (Kachuga tecta and Kachuga tentoria). Water monitors (Varanus salvator) are sometimes spotted in the beels.
The Eastern Range abounds in water birds such as bar-headed geese, falcated duck, grey-headed lapwing and spot-billed pelican (a colony of 200 pairs of this globally threatened species nesting on the Bombax trees can be found here).
The Western Range has the highest density of rhinos as this part of the park is swampier. It has grassland birds and raptors (swamp francolin, pallas’s fish eagle etc) while smooth Indian otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) can sometimes be seen fishing in it’s ox-bow lakes.
After breakfast head out on anothoer jeep safari before later in the afternoon driving to Jorhat (80 kms/2 hrs) where you check in at the hotel for the night.
Today we drive to Neematighat (30 mins) for a ferry crossing (1 hr downstream boat cruise – the time depends upon the water level of the river) to Majuli. This is the largest inhabited river island in the world and famous for the Vaishnavite Satras or monasteries (Kamalabari Satra, Auniati Satra, Benganti satra, among others) and culture. It is nestled between the confluence of the Subansiri and the Brahmaputra rivers. Visit the monasteries and interface with the tribes on the island. Later in the afternoon ferry back to mainland and overnight at hotel in Jorhat.
Majuli Island: a World Heritage Site, the island is located in the Brahmaputra River and is the largest inhabited riverine island in the world (1250 sq km). The island has long served as a monastic retreat to the Vaishnavite community and is known for its beautiful rural setting and traditional Assamese and Mishing architecture. It is located 20 km from the city of Jorhat, Assam. Since water bodies cover most of the island, it attracts a number of local and migratory birds. About twenty six Satras or cultural houses of power are located in Majuli, of which the Kamalabari, Auniati and Garmur are worth a mention. These Satras propogate the religious ideology of medeival Assam’s Vaisnavite saints like Sankardev and Madhavdev.
The Mishings: belonging to the Tibeto-Burman clan of the Mongoloid race, it’s not known exactly where the Mishings migrated from, but it is believed that they were dwellers of the hills of present day Arunachal Pradesh. This explains the cultural and linguistic similarities they have with the people of the Adi (erstwhile Abor) tribe, and to some extent of the Hill Miri and Dafla tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Somewhere around the 13th century, they started migrating towards the plains of Assam, most probably in search of fertile land. This exodus continued for at least 2-3 centuries. As fate would have it, they found one of the most fertile river-beds (that of the mighty Brahmaputra) and settled on both banks along the length of the river, starting right from Sadiya in the east, to Jorhat in the west. They continued their practice of living in thatched houses raised on bamboo stilts, known as chang ghars. It was a protection against flood waters during the rainy season, although the original logic behind raised houses was protection from wild beasts. The yearly floods ensured that the Misings lived a life of abject poverty and misery. Agriculture being their main occupation, floods still affect them in more ways than one. Their chief festival is Ali-Aye-Ligang, held in the month of February, which celebrates the agricultural harvest. Most Mishings follow both the Donyi-Polo and Hindu religions, but some Mishings also follow the Catholic or Baptist faith. The language of the Misings is known as Mishing language.
Early in the morning visit the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary (22 kms/40 mins). Later we drive to Dibrugarh (140 kms /3 hrs), en-route visiting Ahom Monuments and Temples at Sivasagar that encompass the 600 year old history of the Ahom Dynasty. On arrival check in at the Mancotta/Chowkidinghee Heritage Chang Bungalow.
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary: famed for its hoolock gibbon population, the sanctuary is an isolated wildlife forest surrounded by tea plantations. With an area of around 20 sq km, it is in the south bank of the Brahmaputra River in Jorhat District, Assam. This sanctuary was established with the aim to protect the hoolock gibbon, an ape species. There are about 40 species of mammals that live in the sanctuary including the capped langur, the stump-tailed macaque, the pigtail macaque, the Assamese macaque, the Rhesus macaque and the slow loris.
Sivasagar: once the capital of the Ahom Kings, the Shans who came from Thailand through Northern Myanmar to this area in the early 13th century, ruled from here for 600 years. Thus the ruins of Ahom palaces and monuments dot the landscape around this historical town. The Siva Temple situated in Sibsagar was built by the Ahoms and is believed to be the tallest of all existing hindu temples. Centuries, before the arrival of the British, this part of the world was controlled by a number of tribal chieftains.
Shiva Dol and Shiva Sagar (tank): a huge 125 acres water tank was built in Sibsagar by Queen Ambika in 1734 AD. On its bank are three temples – Shivdol, the most important of the three, attracts a large number of devotees on Shivaratri. It is probably the loftiest Shiva temple in the country.
Rang Ghar: remains Asia’s largest amphitheatre and was the cultural playground of the Ahom Swargadeos or kings. It was constructed in 1746 during the reign of King Pramatta Singha. The king and his officers would sit in the auditorium and watch indigenous games like wrestling, bird fights, buffalo fights and more. There is a beautiful park near the ancient royal auditorium which enhances it’s picturesque setting.
Talatal Ghar: Ahom architecture over the centuries has resulted in some very defining edifices. The Talatal Ghar at Sivasagar is a seven storied building with four floors below the ground and three floors above the ground – an amazing palace for the Ahom Kings but at the same time an exceptional architectural concept given the period of history in which it was built.
Dibrugarh: is the gateway to the ‘Hidden Land’ of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and Northern Myanmar. The Ahoms from Thailand came through Northern Myanmar to this area in the 13th century to establish their Empire which thrived in the ancient land of Assam. It is the ‘Camellia’ town of Upper Assam, an undisturbed haven, with its rich tea gardens resembling a lush green carpet. Experience and enjoy the richness of these tea gardens while staying at the Heritage Chang Bungalows. These are constructed on stilts and are situated in a serene atmosphere free from pollution.
When the British established their tea plantations in the mid-19th century they quickly built comfortable bungalows designed to make life as pleasant as possible in what was to them, a hostile and strange land. One of the main features of these buildings has given rise to their name – Chang Bungalow. Chang in the local language means ‘raised on stilts’ and the design served multi purposes – to keep the house cool by allowing the breeze to blow underneath and to keep both water and animals out!
Post breakfast, take a tea tour around a tea estate known for producing high quality CTC teas – Ethelwold Tea Estate. Also experience a tea tasting session with one of the knowledgeable people in the field of tea/practicing Estate Manager. Later we drive to Naharkatiya (60 kms) and visit Namphake Village. In the afternoon we continue to Limbuguri Tea Estate, Tinsukia. On arrival check in at Wathai Heritage Bungalow for 02 nights.
Tea Tour: a tour through a 160 year old heritage tea garden will give you an insight into the different activities that vary from season to season. It will teach you all about tea – its origin, how it is grown, tea tasting and its quality. The estates come alive with teams of colourfully dressed tea pluckers, predominantly ladies, who pluck the delicate buds and leaves. The harvest is taken every day to the factory where it undergoes an age old process of being turned into the finished product. All stages of the process are carefully controlled to ensure that the product which leaves the factory is only of the highest quality, a quality that has made Assam tea world famous. CTC (Crush, Tear and Curl) tea is a method of processing tea. In this process the leaves instead of being rolled, are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers with hundreds of small sharp ‘teeth’ that Crush, Tear, and Curl. This style of manufacture has the advantage that the finished product brews quickly, gives a dark infusion rapidly, is well suited for tea bags, and yields more cups per kg. In the Indian domestic market, this product has virtually taken over – over 80% of the tea produced is of the CTC type. It produces a rich red-brown color when the tea leaves are boiled and so is best suited for tea made in the Indian style. This is done by boiling leaves in a mixture of milk, water and sugar and some spices (producing Masala Chai).
Orthodox tea: The manufacturing process of orthodox tea is quite different from CTC. Instead of the tea leaf been crushed, the leaves are rolled in a machine that twist and break the leaves to release the natural chemicals that later react with oxygen in the air and give the tea its characteristic aroma and taste. It is the leafy variety of tea. Mukul Tea Estate has an area of 27 hectares and is about 8 Kms (approx 30mins) away from Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow. The entire garden which is organic, is located within pristine surroundings. The estate has within its boundary a tea plantation, a rich bamboo stand and a wet land which attracts numerous bird species. Visitors can enjoy a first hand experience of plucking tea by hand and preparing roasted green tea themselves.
Note: Visit to a tea factory is subject to it being operational on the day of the visit. There is no tea plucking between December until mid March and hence the actual manufacturing process of tea cannot be demonstrated when one visits the factory during this period. The factory also remains closed on Mondays.
Namphake: a beautiful ‘Tai’ village situated on the banks of theRriver Buridihing in Upper Assam. At Namphake one can see traditional houses built on stilts made of bamboo. Their roofs are made of ‘tokou pata’ (fan palm leaves). The Tai-Phakes are Buddhists, who have maintained their traditions and customs and wear hand woven clothes. They weave beautiful mekhlas and bags of various designs. The people are very hospitable. The Buddhist monastery at Namphake is well maintained and is worth a visit.
Wathai Heritage Bungalow, Limbuguri Tea Estate: this plinth bungalow will allow you to rejuvenate your senses. Located just 5km from the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, it is the ideal retreat for a birding break. This ‘Managers Bungalow’, defines serenity and you will most certainly leave revitalized. It has been recently renovated and is the ideal base whether on a quest for quietude or seeking refuge whilst on an explorative ornithological voyage at the neighboring Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Although reverine in nature, this park remains open most of the year with innumerable varieties of colourful birds chirping at various pitches and hopping from branch to branch. It is indeed an orinthologist’s delight whilre endangered species like gangetic dolphin and feral horses are common sights in Dibru-Saikhowa.
Fresh tea can be enjoyed in the ‘jali room’ to the front of the bungalow in a peaceful atmosphere overlooking the manicured gardens, while meals are served in the spacious dining room complete with an original fireplace. The family room and two large bedrooms complete with ensuite enables eight people to sleep here very comfortably.
Early morning we visit the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and the Maguri Beel. We take several boat rides on the Dibru River, go for a jungle walk, look out for a variety of birds and gangetic dolphin. Overnight at the Bungalow.
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park has some of the most distinct and vibrant wilderness on earth and is known for its pristine scenic beauty. The forest in this park ranges from semi-evergreen to deciduous to littoral to swampy marshes with patches of wet evergreen jungles Dibru-Saikhowa is a safe haven to many rare and endangered species of over 350 birds and is a must visit site for target-list birders. Highlights include Jerdon’s bushchat, black-breasted parrotbill and marsh babbler. Several other rarely observed species can be found in the extensive grasslands, wetlands, and riverine forests including Baer’s pochard, Bengal florican, pale-capped pigeon, falcated duck, baikal teal, Chinese spotbilled duck and rufous vented prinia. Dibru-Saikhowa is also haven for an incredible number of waders, ducks, raptors and its specialty, grassland birds.
You’ll be transferred to Dibrugarh Airport (1 hr) to board your onward flight.