ASSAM & NAGALAND: HORNBILL FESTIVAL, MAJULI ISLAND IDYLL & RIVER CRUISE + KAZIRANGA
Discover the unique cultures of the Naga hill tribes at the Hornbill Festival, the "Festival of Festivals"
River cruising on the Brahmaputra river on a comfortable houseboat
Cycling through Majuli, one of the world's largest river islands and a microcosm of Assamese culture
Rhino spotting on safaris into Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Assam
Local encounters through culinary discoveries of Nagaland and Assam
7 nights / 8 days
6 to 13 December 2019
Cycling & light hiking
JTI Adventure boat in Assam
Simple and comfortable guest house in Kohima, Nagaland
Wild Grass Lodge, Kaziranga
DAY 1 | 6 December
Arrive at Dimapur airport and drive to Kohima (70 kms/4 hours) to check into a guest house. Once freshened up, and if time permits, head to Hornbill Festival (12 kms/1 hour) to get a glimpse of the "festival of festivals". The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland promotes inter-tribal interaction and cultural exchange by bringing together all the tribes and sub-tribes of this unique state (more than 60 of them) to display their traditional dances, cuisines, games, customs and more at Kisama Heritage Village, in the capital of the state.
Dinner and overnight stay at the guest house.
DAY 2 | 7 December
Early morning around 6 am, post tea and a light snack, drive for 14 kms/1 hour to a point where you'll begin your cycling trip, covering 27 kms through charming tribal hamlets. Discover the simple village life of the indigenous Angami tribes populating this region, the quiet locales and more. Drive back 15 kms/1 hour to the guest house for breakfast at 10 am.
Post breakfast, we venture into the Hornbill Festival grounds at Kisama Heritage village. Watch the various tribes from Nagaland come together to perform their unique dances, indigenous games and so on. You can even try your hand at tasting the incredible cuisines of each tribe during lunch. Return to the guest house in the evening for dinner.
DAY 3 | 8 December
This morning after breakfast, drive (30 kms/2 hours) to Khonoma green village, inhabited by the agrarian Angami tribes. Hike two hours here through the rural community and view their step cultivations. Thereafter, indulge in a meal of the Angami cuisine in the residence of a local tribesman. Post lunch, drive 27 kms/1.5 hours to Kisama Heritage Village to experience the Hornbill Festival. Drive back (20 kms/2 hour) to the guest house in the evening for dinner and rest.
DAY 4 | 9 December
This morning post breakfast, we check out from the guest house and drive (12 kms/1 hour) to Kohima to explore the Commonwealth War Memorial. From Kohima, we embark on our journey to Kaziranga National Park driving 260 kms/7-8 hours (with lunch en route) and check into your Wild Grass Lodge. Call it an early night post dinner and prepare for tomorrow's adventures.
DAY 5 | 10 December
Check out after breakfast, and head on a 2.5 hour jeep safari inside Kaziranga National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the world’s largest population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros as well as the Indian Wild Water Buffalo, Kaziranga has also earned the distinction of having the highest density of Royal Bengal Tigers (one every five sq. km.) making this park an incredibly rich biodiversity hotspot. With its marshy swamps and thickets of elephant grass, this park supports large populations of Indian elephants, Indian bison, swamp deer, and Capped Langurs.
After the safari, drive 45 kms/1 hour to reach Silghat to hop aboard the JTI Adventure Boat. Post lunch on board, start cruising before docking around sunset. Dinner and overnight stay on JTI Adventure Boat.
DAY 6 | 11 December
This morning, we cruise towards Majuli, one of the world’s largest river islands and a microcosm of Assamese culture. The island is a stronghold of the peaceful religion of neo-Vaishnavism; its elegant island satras (monastery) – some for celibate monks, some for families – showcase a unique way of life where the faithful live simply, offering worship through gayan-bayan (songs and musical instruments) and readings.
After lunch on board, drive (15 kms/15-20 mins) to one of the island's satras and interact with the skilled craftsmen who create unique masks for the community's religious dance-drama. Return to the boat for dinner and overnight onboard JTI Adventure boat.
DAY 7 | 12 December
After breakfast this morning on the boat, embark on a 38 km cycling trip from the ghat to a famous island satra, tiny villages, markets and more. Majuli represents rural idyll in Assam, so there will be plenty of bucolic scenes to capture for avid photographers! Stop along the way to discover the island's culture as well as a crucial cuppa, before heading back to the boat for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure on the boat, or interact with your guide to learn more about the unique arts, crafts and culture of neo-Vaishnavites in Majuli. In the evening, head to a satra again to enjoy a Sattriya dance recital, performed exclusively for you. Return to the boat for dinner and rest.
DAY 8 | 13 December
This morning, cruise for an hour to Neamati Ghat in the mainland to disembark and then drive to Jorhat airport for your onward journey.