Arunachal with 7 Nights Cruise

14 NIGHTS | 15 DAYS

Region, State : ARUNACHAL and ASSAM

Difficulty Level   : Easy (Jeep Safari and expedition Style River Cruise)

Name of the program : The Mystical, Tribal East: Arunachal Pradesh and Brahmaputra River Cruise (Expedition Style) in the footsteps of Verier Elvin and Dr. Heimen Droff

Itinerary at a Glance:

Day Activities
Day 1 Arrive Kolkata
Day 2 Kolkata / Guwahati  / Tezpur
Day 3 Tezpur / Bomdila
Day 4 Bomdila / Tawang
Day 5 Tawang
Day 6 Tawang / Bomdila
Day 7 Bomdila / Tezpur
Day 8 Tezpur / Guwahati or Nimati
M. V. Mahabaahu * Upstream and Downstream cruise can be changed based on the schedule.
Day 9 M. V. Mahabaahu
Day 10 M. V. Mahabaahu
Day 11 M. V. Mahabaahu
Day 12 M. V. Mahabaahu
Day 13 M. V. Mahabaahu
Day 14 M. V. Mahabaahu
Day 15 M. V. Mahabaahu / Dibrugarh or Guwahati Kolkata & departure

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: (Sunday): Arrive Kolkata
After clearing immigration and customs, we step into the receiving area where we will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Arrive and check-in to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel

Day 2: (Monday): Kolkata / Guwahati or Jorhat by Flight & drive to Tezpur (Approx. 104 miles / 166 km / 4 hours)
This morning, we drive to the Kolkata airport to take the flight to Guwahati.

Assam was once known as "Pragjyotishpura" meaning The Light of the East. Situated on both the banks of the expansive Brahmaputra River (the widest river in Asia), Guwahati is Assam’s largest city and the gateway to the entire Northeast easily accessed from almost all parts of the country.

Arrive Guwahati and drive to Tezpur. On arrival at Tezpur check-in to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel (B, D)

Day 3: (Tuesday): Tezpur / Bomdila (Approx. 105 miles / 168 km / 5 hours)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Bomdila.

On arrival at Bomdila, check-in to the hotel.

Bomdila is a beautiful small town situated at a height of about 8000 ft. above the sea level from where one can see the brilliant landscape and snow-clad mountains of the Himalayan Range. The Buddhist monastery of Bomdila is the repository of culture and is among primary attractions of the area. Bomdila is the headquarters of West Kameng district located at the height of 8500 ft above the sea level.

After check-in at the hotel enjoy the sightseeing tour of Bomdila.

Bomdila Monastery – Visit Bomdila Monastery, constructed by 12th reincarnate of Tsona Gontse Rinpoche is one of the most famous attractions of Bomdila. Inaugurated in 1965, this monastery is abode to Buddhist Monks and Lamas. In addition, this monastery is believed to be exact replica of Tsona Gontse Monastery, which is located at Tsona in South Tibet. Popularly known as the Gentse Gaden Rabgyel Ling monastery, this monastery belongs to Mahayana Buddhism.

A huge prayer hall was added later to this monastery, which was built by the 13th reincarnate of Tsona Gontse Rinpoche. This payer hall was blessed by the guardian spirit of 14th Dalai Lama in the month of October during 1997. In addition, the monastery also houses a beautiful Buddha temple, which is another main attraction.

Craft Centre - Craft Centre & Ethnographic Museum, located opposite to Lower Gompa, is one of the major attractions in Bomdila. Tourists visiting this centre can see wide variety of carpets, Buddhist Thangkas (wall hangings) and handicrafts along with masks crafted by locals. In addition, the centre is famous among tourists for its dragon design carpets as well.

Return to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

Day 4: (Wednesday): Bomdila / Tawang (Approx. 118 miles / 188 km / 7 ½ hours)
After early breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Tawang.

On arrival at Tawang check-in to the hotel.

Evening at leisure to relax or explore on own.

Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

Day 5: (Thursday): Tawang
After breakfast set-off for sightseeing tour of Tawang city.

Tawang Monastery - Tawang Monastery, also known as the Golden Namgyal Lhatse, is one of the largest lamaseries of Mahayana sects. This is the second oldest Monastery in the entire world after Lhasa. With a control over 17 Gompas in the region, this monastery is believed to be 400 years old.

This largest monastery in Asia stands erect at the base of a hill at a height of 3,000 metre above sea level. Dating back to 17th century, the monastery was constructed by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in accordance with the desires of the 5th Dalai Lama. It was believed by Monpas that Merek Lama was born at Kipti. He became a Lama at a very young age and commenced his career of meditation and praying.

Craft Centre - Visit the unique craft center where craftsmen weave cloth and artists make Monpas masks in the traditional way. A government project to uplift and encourage the traditional artists and craftsmen to use the traditional styles and techniques.

We visit typical Tawang Monpa tribal village to experience the Buddhist Monpa tribals.

Return to hotel.

Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

Day 6: (Friday): Tawang / Bomdila (Approx. 118 miles / 188 km / 7 ½ hours)
After early breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Bomdila.

On arrival at Bomdila check-in to the hotel.

Evening at leisure to relax or explore on own.

Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

Day 7: (Saturday): Bomdila / Tezpur (Approx. 105 miles / 168 km / 5 hours)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Tezpur.

On arrival, check-in to the hotel.

Evening at leisure to relax or explore on own.

Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

Day 8: (Sunday):  Tezpur / Guwahati / Kiriakara (Approx. 104 miles / 166 km / 4 hours)
Assam......a rich, green land of rolling plains and dense forests is the gateway to the northeastern part of India. The mighty Brahmaputra River that has its origins in Tibet, charts its majestic course through Assam. This mystic land of eternal blue hills and beautiful rivers is renowned for its tea, rich flora and fauna, the world famous one-horned rhinoceros and other rare species of wildlife on the verge of extinction. Except for Africa, there is perhaps no part of the world where such a variety of wildlife exists.

The one-horned Indian rhinoceros has been successfully saved from near extinction in the Kaziranga National Park. Assam also provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant. It is increasingly becoming a popular destination for wildlife tourism. Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Situated between 90-96 degrees East Longitude and 24-28 degrees North Latitude, Assam is bordered on the North and East by the Kingdom of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Along the south lies Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Meghalaya lies to the Southwest, Bengal and Bangladesh to the West.

Arrive Guwahati and embark the vessel and check–in to your pre-allocated rooms. The M.V. Mahabaahu sets sail at 1600 hrs to Kiriakara.

Guests will be given safety briefing followed by a welcome dinner.

Overnight onboard (B, L, D)

Day 9: (Monday): Kiriakara – Silghat
We enjoy the breakfast as we cruise. The upstream cruise offers a perfect vantage point for life on the mighty Brahmaputra River while we spend the day sailing to Silghat.

Enjoy a massage in our spa, soak in the jacuzzi or swim laps in the pool.  One may prefer to scan the river for a fleeting sight of the Gangetic Dolphin or do some bird watching from the decks.

Watch a DVD on the tribes of Assam. The book lovers are sure to enjoy our well stocked library.

We enjoy a presentation on ‘Wildlife of Kaziranga’ late afternoon.

At sunset, we drop anchor mid-stream.

Overnight onboard (B, L, D)

Day 10: (Tuesday): Silghat
We start sailing to Silghat enjoying our breakfast as we cruise.

Lunch onboard and on arrival at Silghat, we drop anchor.

In the afternoon disembark at Silghat and drive to a Tea Estate. The Tea estate is set in perfect ambiance and encompasses tasteful hospitality in all its hues. Experience a walk through the manicured tea gardens and watch tea pickers at work followed by a talk on the art of making that perfect cup of tea! We also enjoy a cultural evening and then return to the ship for dinner.

Overnight onboard (B, L, D)

Day 11: (Wednesday): Kaziranga – Bishwanath
Rise before the sun to set off for the Kaziranga National Park’s Kohora Gate and a once-in-a-lifetime elephant-backed safari where we search for the elusive rhinoceros and tiger. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Kaziranga National Park is located in the flood plains on both sides of the Brahmaputra. The most prized inhabitant of Kaziranga is the Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros, but the Park is home to as many as 180 different mammals including wild elephants, tiger, deer, bison, and a rich variety of birds.

After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, we return to Kohora Gate to once again explore the wildlife experience in a Jeep Safari and to ensure we have had complete coverage of this magnificent park.

We return to the ship for lunch and continue sailing to Bishwanath. We take the smaller boats to visit this charming village. We watch the women weaving cotton and silk in almost all the households here.

In the evening, enjoy a traditional dance performance on board followed by a demonstration of the technique of wearing an Assamese sari.

Overnight onboard (B, L, D)

Day 12: (Thursday): Bishwanath Ghat – Towards Majuli
While the ship sails to Majuli, we enjoy a DVD on ‘Tribes of the North East’.

After lunch, we enjoy a boat safari. Return to the vessel and steam further onto Majuli

Late in the evening, we enjoy a cooking demonstration on board followed by a bonfire at an isolated island. We then return to the vessel for dinner.

NOTE: (Dinner may be on board in-case a suitable sand bank not found/or if weather is not suitable)

Overnight onboard (B, L, D)

Day 13: (Friday): Majuli Island
Start sailing towards Majuli. Disembark for a visit to the Mishing Village. They are very happy to share their experiences while the children look at us with dreamy eyes.

Continue sailing towards Majuli and lunch on board the ship.

We can enjoy a massage in our spa, soak in the jacuzzi or swim laps in the pool.  One may prefer to scan the river for a fleeting sight of the Gangetic Dolphin or do some bird watching from the decks.

Drop anchor at Majuli.

Before dinner enjoy a talk on Vaishnavism in Assam.

Overnight on board (B, L, D)

Day 14: (Saturday): Majuli – Nimati – Sibsagar
Today morning we enjoy a Yoga session on board.

After breakfast, we depart for Majuli Island and visit the Satras (Monastries). Majuli is the treasure house of Assamese culture; ancient monasteries dedicated to preservation of the arts have existed here since the 15th century.

Written records are found of the visit of Shankardeva, a social reformer, during the 16th century. He promulgated a form of Hinduism that was also called Vaishnavism. He established monasteries or hermitages that were called Satra. These Satras became the hub of culture, art, religion and lifestyle. Even today, the Satra preserve antiques like weapons, utensils, jewellery and other articles of cultural importance. 

In Majuli, we visit Samagudi Satra and enjoy the masked dance. We also explore the Kamlabadi satra and experience young monks perform (Matia Khora).

Return to M.V Mahabaahu for lunch and set sail. Arrive at Nimati and drop anchor.
Today, we enjoy our last dinner onboard together and share our experience of India over the Farewell Dinner.

Overnight on board (B, L, D)

Day 15: (Sunday): Drive Nimati – Dibrugarh (Approx. 96 miles / 153 km / 5 hours) Fly to Kolkata & departure
After breakfast, disembark and travel overland to Sibsagar, the ancient city of the Ahom Kings. The town, which literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva', is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire, the Ahom.

Sibsagar was the capital of the Thai-speaking Ahoms who came to the area from Yunnan, China, in the 13th century AD. Their unique architectural style is evident in the well-preserved monuments scattered around the town.

The town is built round the Sibsagar Lake (or tank), dug over 200 years ago. On its banks are located some of the famous temples of Sibsagar. The Shiva Temple, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Hindu temple in India.

From here we drive to the Dibrugarh airport with packed lunch to board our flight to Kolkata & departure to your onwards journey.

(B, L)

 

 

WEATHER AND SEASONAL INFORMATION:

There are four distinct seasons in Assam - summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. The best time to visit Assam is in the autumn and winter seasons, i.e. from October to April, which is also the festive season of Assam.

While winter days are usually sunny, the temperature can fall to 8 degrees Celsius (46 F) at night.

Our cabins are air conditioned and heated for your comfort, but you should include warm clothing, hats and jackets in your packing when visiting during the winter months.

Kaziranga National Park is open from 15th October until the 30th of April. During the first half of October and May, the Park has a “Partially Open” status which means that the Park will be open but that not all roads may be navigable as they work to restore them to pre monsoon standards.

Please note, there are no elephant-backed or jeep safaris between May and the first half of October. Boat safaris will be offered instead during these months.  During the months that the Kaziranga National Park is closed, we are able to explore the shores of the Park with our expedition boats. We will cruise the Park shoreline and many of the riverine islands that are home to a number of animals and a wide variety of birds.

During the peak winter season of mid-December to mid-February, the itinerary will be adjusted according to daylight hours as the M.V. Mahabaahu does not sail during darkness. In order to provide for full coverage of the Kaziranga National Park during these winter months, we will not visit Bishwanath Ghat.

RIVER CONDITIONS AND DISCLAIMER:

River cruising in this part of the world is an adventurous experience. Assam is still in the developing stages of tourism and the developing infrastructure is rushing to keep pace with the rapidly growing interest in this part of India. As such, our voyage is an expedition-style cruise with all creature comforts on-board. Our shore-side staff will make every effort to attend to your comfort during onshore expeditions. However, vehicles and roads may not be of the same standard that you have experienced elsewhere, although we use the best of what is available locally.

Please note, this itinerary is subject to weather and river conditions. The Captain/Cruise Director reserves the right to adjust the itinerary for passenger safety and comfort.

The Brahmaputra River is subject to seasonal fluctuations. Islands and sand bars can appear and disappear between one sailing and the next. Also, being one of the highest precipitation zones in the world, our program is subject to weather and River conditions.

Also, we reserve the right to convert the direction of the cruise from upstream to downstream or vice versa without any compensation.