Tour: Meghalaya, Assam & Nagaland

Date: 1 - 14 Dec 2020

Duration: 14 Days

Incl: Hornbill Festival & Kaziranga Rhino Safari

Tue 1 Dec - Day 1 - Guwahati - Arrival Day

Day 1 is arrival day in Guwahati. The majority of international flights will fly into Delhi Airport first (code: DEL), with a connecting domestic flight into Guwahati Airport (code: GAU). Once you have booked your flight, email us the details and we will arrange for your airport to hotel transfer. To allow for different arrival times and for you to recharge following your trip, the first meet is at 19:00 for an introduction to your tour leader and the rest of the group at dinner.

Photograph: Brahmaputra River

Wed 2 Dec - Day 2 - Guwahati to Cherrapunji‎

On day 2 we will begin the day with an early morning capture at the waters edge of Brahmaputra River, before driving 2 hours to Umiam lake, for a quick look at the view before continuing our drive to Cherrapunjee. On route we will also stop at the small 3 step Elephant Falls, which are a culmination of 3 rivers coming together and are so named by a former English officer, due to a local rock resembling an elephant (since disintegrated). On arrival in Cherrapunjee, we will have lunch and check in to our accommodation, before heading out on a short forest walk in the latter pat of the afternoon.

Photograph: Elephant Falls

Thu 3 Dec - Day 3 - Cherrapunji - Shillong

We will begin day 3 with an early morning trek to Jingkieng Nongriat or the Double Decker Living Root Bridge, The bridge was built by locals using an ancient tradition of shaping the aerial roots of rubber trees, to grow through betel tree trunks until they form a suspended bridge across a river. The practice began, as a way of making river crossings possible during the monsoon season. The process of creating root bridges can take up to 15 years, but it is thought they can last up to 100 years, as a self-renewing living structure, if the trees involved remain healthy. Following on from the living root bridge we will return for lunch before driving to Shillong

Photograph: Double Decker Root Bridge 

Fri 4 Dec - Day 4 - Krang Shuri Falls - Shnongpdeng Fishing Village (day trip)

On day 4 we will leave early to drive approximately 2 h 30 mins to Krang Shuri Falls, to capture the falls before the majority of tourists arrive. They are considered one of the most beautiful falls in the region and although their flow isn't as powerful as near to monsoon, they are still worth a visit. On completion, we will continue our drive for a further hour to Shnongpdeng, which is a small fishing settlement that sits on the clear green Umgot river. This is a beautiful location, where we will take a relaxing canoe ride to take in the scenery, while capturing locals fishing, as well as practising the art of holding your camera steady, whilst taking aerial photographs from a narrow steel suspension bridge. Following our visit to Shnongpdeng, we will return to our hotel in Shillong, where we will freshen up before dinner.

Sat 5 Dec - Day 5 - Shillong to Kaziranga National Park

On day 5 following check out and breakfast we will leave Shillong to drive to Kaziranga National Park stopping on route for lunch and refreshment breaks. It is a relatively long drive so we have allocated this as a drive day.

Sun 6 Dec - Day 6 - Kaziranga - Safari Day

Day 6 is safari day at Kaziranga National Park, which is home to two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceros. According to a census conducted by Assam’s Forestry Department and local NGOs, the park’s rhino population currently stands at 2,401. Outside of rhinos, the park also has a large herd of elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. We will book 2 safaris one first thing in the morning and the other in the late afternoon as these are the best times to spot wildlife.

Kaziranga: Sunrise 05:54; Sunset: 16:30; Daylight: 10h 36 mins; Temp: low 14° to high 26°

Mon 7 Dec - Day 7 - Kaziranga to Dimapur (drive day)

Following breakfast on day 7, we will drive south towards the Hornbill Festival and stopover at Dimapur, which is the largest city in Nagaland and often confused as being part of Assam. It was the ancient capital of the once ruling nation in the area, the Dimasa and it is thought the name of the city translates as 'big city by the water' (Di - water; ma - big and pur - city).  The journey without traffic takes approximately 5 hours, however we will stop on route for lunch and refreshment breaks.

Tue 8 Dec - Day 8 - Dimapur to Hornbill Festival

Following breakfast on day 8 we will drive for approximately 2 h 30 mins to Kohima, which is the capital of Nagaland and the largest city in the state, as well as the closest city to the location of the Hornbill Festival. We will check in and have lunch, before heading out for an afternoon at the Hornbill Festival. The festival is held in Kisama Heritage Village, which has been constructed using traditional building methods, to promote and preserve the wealth of cultural heritage within the various Naga tribes from the region.

Wed 9 Dec - Day 9 - Hornbill Festival

On day 9 we will head back for a full day at Kisama Village, which consists of 16 Morungs (wooden community halls), built with enough of an area to exhibit and demonstrate the culture of each tribe. At each Morung, visitors have an opportunity to meet locals dressed in traditional attire, distinguished by different colours and weave patterns, taste classic Naga cuisine along with fermented rice beer, listen to traditional folk music and observe comedic dramas and dance. We will take our time to explore the site before returning to our accommodation in the evening.

Thu 10 Dec - Day 10 - Hornbill Festival to Dimapur

On day 10 we will head back to the Hornbill Festival and spend the majority of the day experiencing the sights and sounds of the festival whilst seeking photographic opportunities in and around the Morungs, as well as including some time for shopping in the wonderful market selling a cornucopia of Naga made goods, from feather earrings, to dark earthern mugs, scarves and clothing. 

Fri 11 Dec - Day 11 - Dimapur to Jorhat (drive day)

On day 11 we will check out following breakfast to drive to Jorhat in Assam, which will take approximately 5 hours with stops for lunch and refreshments on route.

 

Sat 12 Dec - Day 12 - Jorhat - Majuli Island (day trip)

Following breakfast on day 12, we will take day trip on the local ferry to Majuli Island, which is an experience in its self, due to the high demand for the service. The scenery from the ferry is unlike other areas of the region, with silvery grey sandbanks, that lend themselves to muted landscapes. The island is roughly the size of the Isle of Wight and is said to be the largest river island in the world. However, due to its flatness, the Brahmaputra River devours large portions of land each monsoon, which, at its current rate, will mean it will disappear within 20 years. Whilst on the island we will visit a Vaishnavite monastery, where a branch of Hinduism is practised through the re-enactment of spiritual text, in honour of the Hindu deity Vishnu.

Sun 13 Dec - Day 13 - Jorhat to Dibrugarh

On day 13 we will drive approximately 50 minutes to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, which covers around 13 sq miles of forest. It was originally designated as a protected area in 1881 and categorised as a gibbon sanctuary in 1997. It is home to the only native ape in India, the Hoolock Gibbon, of which there are just over 100 at the sanctuary. Males and females are roughly the same size (between 60 - 90 cm), however they are easily identifiable by the colour of their fur, which in males is a dark grey-black, with distinctive white eye brows, whilst females have a taupe fur with white fur encircling their eyes and mouths.  Apart from Hoolock Gibbons, the sanctuary is also home to other primates, such as Stump Tailed (223), Pigtailed (75) and Rhesus Macaques (75), Capped Langurs (162) and Slow Lorises. Due to the small size of the sanctuary, tours take the form of a walk around the reserve of approximately 2 hours accompanied by a guide and guard. Following our morning visit to the gibbon sanctuary, we will drive  for approximately 4 hours to Dibrugarh. 

Mon 14 Dec - Day 14 - Departure day - Dibrugarh Airport

Day 14 is departure day and a transfer to Dibrugarh airport is included in your tour. We advise booking your flight in line with an 11 am check out. As we are staying in Dibrugarh itself we should be within an hour from the airport in terms of planning. 

The ethical bit...

For each tour a charity or not for profit that works in the area we visit is selected to donate £25 per person to. For this tour, it's the Kohima Educational Trust, which was founded by a war veteran named Gordon Graham, along with fellow war veterans from both the Naga and UK garrison that defeated the Japanese armies invasion into N E India in 1944. Gordon wanted to find a way to thank the Naga battalion who fought alongside the British, for he strongly believed they would not have survived in the numbers they did without the support of the Naga tribes. KET was subsequently set up on the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Kohima, as a positive way to give back to the community. They do this by providing direct scholarships to 14 - 16 year olds to continue their education, including teacher and medical training , as well as providing the funds to build  a children's hostel. If you are interested in finding out more about this charity please do not hesitate to view their website: www.kohimaeducationaltrust.net

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