Tucked away in the far north-east of India, wedged between the borders of Bhutan, Burma and Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh is India’s lesser known state. Before the region was elevated to statehood in 1986, Arunachal Pradesh, along with Assam, Nagaland and 4 other states was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Except for occasional forays by administrators and anthropologists during the time of the British, nothing much was known about this area for most of the 20th century. The isolation of the North East Frontier Agency was legally safeguarded by India's own government; before laws permitting limited tourism were passed in 1995, even Indian citizens were not allowed to visit.
The North East Frontier Agency lands never belonged to ancient India. They were, and still are, peopled by Mongoloid and Mon-Khmer austere stock, far removed from Aryan-Dravidian blood of the mainstream. The people here are animists (except the area of Tawang where they accepted Buddhism); in the Highlands, wild Burmese tribes enthusiastically practiced indiscriminate headhunting until as late as the fifties. To the north, Mongoloid tribals, bare-bodied in breech-clouts, are today still encountering “civilization".
Nagaland is almost entirely inhabited by 16 groups of Tibeto-Burmese tribes. Among them are Angamis, Aos, Konyaks, Kukis, Lothas, Semas and Wanchus.
The Nagas, who were once head hunters, have been known for their fierceness and the regular raids they made on Assam and Burma.
The hilltop villages are protected by stone walls. The morung, a meeting house, acts as a boy’s dormitory, and is used for storing weapons and once displayed the prizes of war i.e. the enemy heads. The huge sacred drum, which stands by each morung is hallowed out tree trunk carved to resemble a buffalo head.
Day 1: Arrive Kolkata
Arrive in Kolkata by QR 540 at 0150 Hrs. On arrival, you will be welcomed by our representative at International Airport and transferred to hotel in Kolkata.
Kolkata is a city of glaring contrasts, a curious blend of the old and the new, partly feudal, partly born out of growing urbanization. It represents a mix of East and West; a graft of a European city imposed on an Asian landscape that gives Calcutta its bewildering charm, confusion and excitement. Founded 300 years ago by the East India Company, this was the British capital until 1911. It is still the creative capital of India, promoting art, music and drama and drawing the best from performers and their fans. Overnight in the Hotel
Day 2: Kolkata
An early morning pre-breakfast trip takes us to flower market of Kolkata. Situated on the banks of Hoogly River near the famous Howrah Bridge. Every morning, the place comes alive with vibrant colors as pilgrims and traders come here to buy their supply of temple flowers.
After breakfast visit to Victoria Memorial, Built during the British Raj in 1920s, Victoria Memorial offers tree-lined walks in splendid parks, 'lakes' and houses a number of statues and busts of eminent people including that of Queen Victoria in whose memory it was built.
Later visit College Street Book Market and Coffee House.
The College Street is most famous for its small and big bookstores, which gives it the nickname Boi Para (Colony of Books). It is the largest second-hand book market in the world. One can buy rare books at throw-away prices and extensive bargaining take place. In 2007, College Street featured among the famous landmarks of India which have made it to Time Magazine’s “Best of Asia” list.
In the afternoon visit Kumartuli [Potter’s Colony] and walk around
Durga Puja is integral to the very identity of West Bengal. These are days of devotion, revelry, and vital cultural and economic activity. Kumartulli is known for its internationally renowned artisans who craft the most beautiful idols from straw and clay. How these images are crafted, the conditions in which the artisans live and work, where their material is sourced from, and which industries depend on these creations for their very survival will be observed in life-affirming action.
If time permits, we will also visit Jain temple and Mother Teresa House.
Overnight in the Hotel
Day 3: Kolkata-Guwahati-Tezpur (By flight + By surface approx. 190 Kms/04 Hrs)
After breakfast transfer to the airport in order to board the flight to Guwahati.
On arrival, visit Kamakhya temple The Kamakhya Temple is a Shakti temple situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India It is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to different forms of the mother goddess that include Bhubaneshwari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tara, etc It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and Tantric worshipers.
It used be a place of human sacrifices in the past, but now a day’s only animal sacrifices are conducted
Tezpur has a very old connection with the Tea Gardens and British During British rule it used be a leading point for loading Tea for carrying them in Steamers The graveyard of Alexander Bruce , the father of Indian tea Industry is at Christian Cemetry at Tezpur The Rail station and the existng railway line towards Rangapara was built by British The old stations at Saloni Bari & Tezpur still have the old structures intact The Monabarie Tea estate is once the largest tea estate existing Early morning you can also catch the glimpse of Mt Sela & Mt Kangto in Arunachal Pradesh from here.On arrival, check in to the Hotel.
Day 4: Tezpur-Ziro (By surface approx. 290 Kms/08 Hrs)
Early morning drive to Ziro en-route visit Nishi tribal villages. On arrival, check in to the hotel.
One of the most beautiful hill station of Arunachal Pradesh, located at about 1500 metres above mean sea level in the midst of the pine clad mountains, a Hidden land by Ursula G. Bowler, Ziro is the headquarter of Lower Subansiri District inhabited by more than have 50,000 friendly Apatani’s people. The land of Apatani’s is a valley, uneven and dotted with a number of hillocks beneath the lust paddy field.Overnight in the Hotel
Day 5: Ziro
Using Ziro as a base, the entire day is spent visiting the Hong and other Apatani Villages. Everywhere we go we are warmly welcomed. As E.T. Dalton noted in 1845, “The men do not rejoice in much drapery, they wear a girdle of canework painted red which hangs behind in long bushy tail.” Just as the tail is the distinctive part of the male dress, so is the nose plug peculiar to the Apatani women. It is the ambition of each woman to wear the largest possible nose plugs, which are made of wood. Both sexes extensively tattoo their faces. Each sect has distinctive features. Their hats, clothes, ornaments, language and even physical features are totally different.
Evening witness the cultural dance performance Overnight in the Hotel
After breakfast drive to Majuli Island, En route cross the local tributaries of Brahmaputra River by local made ferry.
On arrival in Majuli, check in to the lodge for overnight stay.
Overnight in the Prasanti Cottage
Day 7: Full day is to explore the Majuli Island
The world’s largest River Island is famous for its twenty-two 15th Century "satras". These are Hindu Vaishnev (followers of Lord Vishnu) monasteries functioning as centers of Assamese arts. The worship of Lord Vishnu is through dance, music and poetry. The satras take in young boys and groom them. The daily routine includes working in the fields, tending cattle, prayer, discussion and study. The satras have also nurtured certain art and craft traditions, which can now be found only here. In Natun Samugri satra for instance, one can still find the craft of mask-making; Kamlabari satra still makes the finest boats.
Day to explore the Majuli Island and its various satras. We will also explore the villages of Miri tribes who live on this island as well as see a Mostic and Mask DanceOvernight in the Prasanti Cottage
Day 8: Majuli island to Mon Via sibasager ferry crossing 2 hrs and drive to Mon [Nagaland ]
Early morning start your drive to Mon for 6 hours. After going through checking formalities at the border of Nagaland, we enter the state.Visit first village at mon village. It has two great Morungs (men’s dormitories). Also visit Angh’s (chief’s) residence. On arrival, check in to the Typical Naga house / or Kalsa Resort
Day 9: Full day to witness the colorful tribal area of Konyak tribes who have been head
Full day to witness the colorful tribal area of Konyak tribes who have been head hunters in the recent past. Visit Longwa Village, One of the biggest villages in Mon district, it is an interesting sight to see. As the village straddles an international boundary line, one half of the Angh's house falls within Indian territory, whereas the other half lies under Myanmarese control. However, the whole village is controlled by the Angh and the village Council Chairman. Another interesting feature of this village is that the Angh of the village has 60 wives and his jurisdiction extends up to Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh.
Also visit Sangha to see head hunting trophies and houses constructed in the true Konyak tradition with palm leaves roofing and the main pillars jutting out
Day 10: Mon to -Kaziranga (05 to 6 Hrs enroute visit
The Tai-speaking Ahoms came to the area from Yunnan, China, in the 13th century AD. Sibsagar was the capital of the Ahom kingdom in the 18th century, when it was called Rangpur; several temples remain from that period. The town is now a tea-processing town. The most remarkable landscape of the town is the 200 year old Sibsagar tank.
On its banks are three temples the Shivadol, the Vishnudol and the Devidol--all three built by Queen Madambika, wife of Siva Singha, in the year 1734. The Shivadol is believed to be the highest Siva Temple in India, having a height of 104 feet and the perimeter 195 feet. Also visit some more of the Ahom kingdom monuments like Rang Ghar and KarengGhar Drive to Kaziranga National park
This national park, sprawling over 430 square kilometers in the eastern state of Assam, is one of the last bastions of the endangered great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, whose population was believed to have dropped to just 12 in the 1950s but has since increased to around 1500. Kaziranga’s stunningly beautiful landscape comprises savannah grassland, the green and fertile plains of the Brahmaputra River, as well as evergreen, moist deciduous and swamp forests, and is also a haven for over 300 species of birds, as well as wild elephants, Asiatic wild buffalos, tigers, leopards, sloth bears and many deer species. Afternoon enjoy the Jeep safari in to the National Park for wildlife viewingOvernight in the Hotel Bohavi resort
Day 11: Kaziranga
Early morning enjoy the Elephant safari into the Kaziranga National Park. And afternoon jeepsafari back to hotel
Day 12: Kaziranga to– Dirang(Approx. 250kms / 6 to 7 hours drives).
Enroute visitTIPI Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, waterfalls. The journey is along a very scenic road traversing forested hills and crossing over the Nichephu pass to the Tanga valley. Traversing the Tanga valley,the road climbs through a series of hairpins to the town of Bomdila, located at 2800m height pass of same name.
Here a after the road descend to the picture postcard Dirang valley at 1600m which is our Destination for the day.Arrive Dirang and check-in to the hotel.
Day 13: Dirang
After breakfast drive to Namshu 25 km altitude of an 8800 ft.,visit Namshu village biggest village of Monpa tribe in West Kameng District.
Spend the day exploring the exquisite Buddhist Gompa, Kalkaling gate.Chusker(itstraditional water mill) and drivetoThanmbangVillage,altitude 7200 ft.,10km Thenmbang is located in the top of the hill and the path is steep. Thembang is Heritage village of Dirang Monpa Tribe who are migrate from Tibet. En-routevisitsDirang Zong.
Day 14: Dirang – Tawang(Approx. 140 Kms / 6 hrs.drives)
Our enchanting, journey to Tawangcontinues over the 4150metershigh Sela pass which wasoncethe battle ground betweenthe India and Chinese armies.
Enroute visit anAlpine lake Sela pass temple and opportunities at every turn and visit the mind hogging road. Arrive Tawang and check-in to the hotel.
Day 15: Tawang
Morningvisit 410 years old Tawang Monastery, Bramdungchung AniGompa,KhinmeyMonastay, War Memorial, Craft Center &Local market.After noon visit Tawang Monpa village and drive back to Hotel.
Day 16: Tawang –Bomdila(Approx. 193 Kms / 7 hrs. drives)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Bomdila. Enroute visit Nuranang Falls and Indo–ChinaWar memorial.Thereafter, continue drive to Bomdila. Arrive and check-in to the hotel.
Day 17: Bomdila – Guwahati enroute Vist shilkuchi village its famous for silk village and drive back t
Bomdila – Guwahati enroute Vist shilkuchi village its famous for silk village and drive back to Guwahati over/ night Hotel
Day 18: Departure
Guwahati to airport and fly to Delhi/Kolkata/Delhi by last flight 300km 6 hrs Drive