INCREDIBLE ASSAM, NAGALAND & MEGHALAYA ( 15 DAYS/ 14 NIGHTS)
BIHU is the most popular folk dance of Assam. The people of Assam are very proud of its unique position among all other such dances of India. Except Bhangra (the popular folk dance of Punjab), no other folk dance in India can compete with the rhythmic exuberance of the Bihu dance. ‘Bihu’ performed by young men and women reflects youthful passion and joy rejuvenating life during the spring season, accompanied by songs woven around the theme of love and physical yearning. The dance is performed by all irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
(DIBRUGARH) Fly to Dibrugarh. You will find me waiting for you outside the airport. Drive straight to Heritage Tea Bunglow. If time permits we will have a tea garden walk. Overnight in the Heritage Tea Bunglow
(DIGBOI)–Today after an early breakfast we drive to Digboi (80 kms, roughly 2 hours), the first oil town of South Asia. We Visit the Oil Museum and the 2nd World War Allied Forces Cemetery where 200 graves are permanently maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Lunch enroute in a beautifully located roadside restaurant. Drive to Sivsagar (roughly 4 hours). Check in a luxurious city hotel and overnight. Enjoy chilled beer and relax.
Digboi: Digboi is a small but wonderful town in Tinsukia district in the north-eastern part of the state of Assam, India. Petroleum oil was discovered here in late 19th century and the Digboi oilfield is one of the oldest oil fields. With a significant number of British professionals working for the Assam Oil Company as late as until the decade following the independence of India, Digboi had a well developed infrastructure and a number of bungalows unique to the town. It has a world class golf course with 18 holes as part of the Digboi Club.
Note.- Digboi museum remains closed on Mondays
(SIVSAGAR)-Today after breakfast we drive for ten minutes to visit some of the gorgeous medieval architectural monuments of the historic town of Sivsagar. Shiva Dol, the tallest Shiva temple of Asia, Rang Ghar, the oldest ampi-theatre of Asia, Talatal ghar, the royal palace and the Tai-Ahom Museum. After the visit we drive for an hour to Sarrocharai Tea estate in Jorhat. Located in a magnificent place in the midst of the tea gardens and owned by a lovely bright couple Rajib and Indrani Baruah, we enjoy their hospitality and have a traditional Assamese lunch. After lunch enjoy a traditional dance of the tea tribe people along with a cup of garden fresh Assam Tea. Drive back to Sivsagar and overnight.
(TEZPUR) After breakfast drive roughly for four hours to reach Tezpur, one of the most beautiful towns of Assam with both plains and hills. Check in a nice city hotel. After lunch, we visit 6th c temple ruin of Da-Parbatia, Agni Garh, a nicely located park from where one can have a very good view of the city and the river Brahmaputra and then explore the lovely and lively market of Tezpur known as Chowk Bazaar. Overnight in the hotel.
—(NAGAON) After breakfast drive an hour to reach Nagaon and check in a nice hotel. After some refreshment, drive an hour to Borduwa. Borduwa is the birth place of 15th c saint scholar Sankardeva who started a new religious movement in Assam. There you see the main temple and the life style of the monks. Drive back to Nagaon have lunch. In the evening meet an internationally acclaimed artist and a musician. A special programme will be arranged for you of art and music.
—(NAGAON DURGA PUJA)–Today you spent the whole day enjoying the Durga puja festivity. Durga is the most important mother Goddess in Indian mythology and her festival is celebrated for a week. Pomp and glory everywhere and a colourful crowd. Visit several Puja pandals(temporary stages) where the festivity will be celebrated with the beating special sort of drum along with the chanting of the priests. In the evening cocktail dinner in a village resort Jasingfa under the open sky.
—(NAGALAND)– Today after morning tea we drive for half an hour to Chaparmukh Junction of Nagaon to catch Jana Satabdi Express to Dimapur, the commercial capital of Nagaland. After reaching Dimapur drive two and half hours to reach Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. The drive from Dimapur to Kohima is extremely beautiful with lush green hills and lakes. Check in a nice hotel located in PR Hill in Kohima. Evening explore the local tribal market.
N.B– We will carry our packed breakfast this morning. Jan Satabdi express is an AC chair class train. The journey from Chaparmukh to Kohima is of 4 hours. The road condition from Dimapur to Kohima is not very good in some of the portions.
—(NAGALAND)Today after breakfast we have a city tour of Kohima which includes Commonwealth War Grave cemetery of WW-II, Kisama Naga Heritage village where hornbill festival takes place every year (1st to 7th December). Lunch and evening at ease or if you want a walk in the town. Dinner and overnight.
—(NAGALAND-NAGAON) Today after an early breakfast we drive to see magnificent Khonoma Green village. After lunch or carry lunch packs(depending on time), drive two and half hours to Dimapur to catch the Jana Satabdi Express again to Chaparmukh, Nagaon. Once we reach Nagaon check in a nice city hotel.
Khonoma Green village—This village lies 20kms west of Kohima. The beautiful terraces which are curved out of the hill slopes surrounding the village are a sight to behold. These terraces grow over 40 different types of paddies at different elevations. The brave Khonoma people fought a series of battles against the intruders and in the famous battle of Khonoma in 1879, they made peace with the intruders.
-(SHILLONG)– After breakfast we drive to Shillong (196 kms/ roughly 6 hours). I will make sure that we will have several stops in between to stretch your legs, have lunch in a nice roadside resort and refreshing cups of Assam tea. Once we reach, check in to Hotel Pinewood or similar, a heritage property. Dinner and overnight.
Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India. It is also the district headquarters of the East Khasi Hills District and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 ft (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being “lum shyllong” at 1965 m. Shillong has steadily grown in size and significance in its own traditional way from a mere village as it used to be when it was made the new civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1864 by the British. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner’s Province, it was chosen as the headquarters of the new administration because of its convenient location between the Brahmaputra and Surma Valley and more so because the climate of Shillong was much cooler than tropical India. Shillong remained the capital of undivided Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on January 21, 1972 when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and Assam moved its capital to Dispur.
(SHILLONG CITY TOUR)- Today after breakfast we accomplish the city tour of Shillong, once the summer station of the British Raj. Elephant Falls – 12 kms on the outskirts of the city, the mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern-covered rocks, Shillong peak – an ideal picnic spot, 1965 metres above sea level which offers a panoramic view of Shillong, Ward’s Lake which is a century old picturesque lake located in the heart of the city. Evening stroll around Police Bazaar, Shillong’s prime location. Where the wares on sale range from electronics to traditional handicraft, modern clothing to handloom items, visit Burra bazaar and see Khasi (local tribe) ladies selling vegetables and traditional spices etc. Overnight at the hotel.
SHILLONG PEAK–The Shillong peak stands at a whopping 2000mtr above sea level. The peak dedicated to the city is also the highest point in the state. An ideal picnic spot, the Shillong Peak offer breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city and the scattered villages around the Peak. A sanctum offering curtsy U Shulong is located at the peak’s summit. The spiritual pastor of Mylliem State offers prayers at the sanctum during springtime. If the view of the human abode below is breathtaking during daytime, then the view at nighttime in absolutely awe inspiring. The city and other dwelling lights provide the ground below an aura of the night sky. Shillong peak is now under the Indain Army, please carry your passports while visiting.
—(CHERRAPUNJEE)– After breakfast drive to Cherrapunjee (56 kms/ roughly 2 hours), the place with the highest rainfall in the world, even though it is changing in these days because of climate change. The drive from Shillong to Cherrapunjee is awesome and full of natural beauties. We will make some stops in between as well to enjoy the beautiful spots. Check in to hotel Polo Orchid Resort Lodge, Cherrapunjee or similar located in a very scenic location. Post lunch we proceed to visit Mausmai cave – the illuminated cave provide tourist an experience of caving. Myriads of stalagmites and stalactites can be seen all over the caves and gorgeous seven sister falls. Dinner and overnight.
Cherrapunjee—The original name for this town was Sohra, pronounced as “Churra” by the British before morphing into the present one. Despite perennial rain, Cherrapunji faces an acute water shortage and the inhabitants often have to trek for miles to obtain potable water. Irrigation is also hampered due to excessive rain washing away the topsoil as a result of human encroachment into the forests. Now the Meghalaya State government has decided to rename Cherrapunjee to its local name “Sohra”.
—(CHERRAPUNJEE TOUR—GUWAHATI)– Enjoy a relaxing breakfast with a great view in front of you. Then visit Thangkharang park and Nohkalikai falls – one of the most striking waterfalls and undoubtedly the highest in Meghalaya. Lunch and drive back to Guwahati (132 kms/ roughly 4 and half hours) with proper stopovers. . Once you reach Guwahti. Check in to a fantastic home stay. A real home away from home. Dinner and overnight.
Guwahati—Guwahati is a unique gateway- a starting point for the North eastern states. The city of Guwahati once known as Pragjyotishpur in the days of yore, has a chequered history. Kamrup, the former name of Guwahati finds reference in the Indian epics Ramayan and Mahabharat. This state capital is now one of the fast growing cities of India.
—(SUALKUCHI-HAJO)– Enjoy a cosy breakfast with the homestay owners and me and then drive to Sualkuchi ( 35 KMS/ 1 & half hours) – the silk village of Assam which is situated on the bank of the river Brahmaputra. The village presents ample opportunities to experience the rich history and local culture. You can see the whole process of manufacturing of Assamese silk. There are three major silk produced in Assam- The Muga, the best one with the golden amber, Pat and Eri or Endi. We will see the whole process of it. After that, drive to Hajo (15 kms/ 45 mins), a place where three religions meet – Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism and visit Hayagriva Madhava Temple and Powa-Mecca. Return to Guwahati by late afternoon. Dinner and overnight.