ASSAM & NAGALAND: HORNBILL FESTIVAL, MAJULI ISLAND IDYLL & RIVER CRUISE
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
Local encounters also through culinary discoveries of Nagaland and Assam
7 nights / 8 days
28 November to 5 December 2019
Cycling & light hiking
JTI Adventure boat in Assam
Simple and comfortable guest house in Nagaland
DAY 1 | 28 November
On arrival at Jorhat airport, drive (23 kms/1 hour) to hop aboard the JTI Adventure boat at Neamati Ghat. Sail downstream for an hour to anchor on a sandbank facing Majuli.
Majuli is 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.
Enjoy an evening of bonfire dinner and relaxation on a moonlit sandbank.
DAY 2 | 29 November
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.
DAY 3 | 30 November
We spend another day docked at Majuli and cycle 15 kms through the countryside to visit another island satra. Head back to the boat for your meals and leisure, before setting out again in the evening for a Sattriya dance recital by artists performing exclusively for you. Return to the boat for a good night's sleep.
DAY 4 | 1 December
Disembark JTI Adventure boat after breakfast to drive for 221 kms/8 hours past tea gardens, village bazaars, and a wildlife sanctuary to reach Nagaland. Check in to your accommodation at a guest house and rest of the day at leisure.
DAY 5 | 2 December
This morning post breakfast, we drive for 12 kms/1 hour to the Hornbill Festival grounds to experience “the festival of festivals” in all its fervour. 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. Spend the whole day here, before driving back to the guest house for dinner and leisure.
DAY 6 | 3 December
Post breakfast, drive (30 kms/2 hours) to Khonoma green village, inhabited by the agrarian Angami tribes and view their magnificent step cultivations. Thereafter, indulge in a meal of the Angami cuisine in the residence of a local tribesman.
Post lunch, drive to Dzuleke, one of the most picturesque villages of Northeast India. Untouched by modernisation, this village preserves its thriving rural life and pristine locales, offering you an opportunity to enjoy nature in its purest form. Return to the guest house in the evening and visit the Hornbill Festival provided there is enough time. Dinner will be at the guest house.
DAY 7 | 4 December
Post breakfast, there will be a full day of exploration at the Hornbill Festival. 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. Return to the guest house in the evening for dinner.
DAY 8 | 5 December
Post breakfast, drive to Dimapur airport (74 kms/5-6 hours) for your onward journey.