Experience the Natural History of India!

15 Days / 14 Nights

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrive Delhi
Our representative will meet you at the receiving area and escort you to your hotel.

Overnight at the hotel Taj Palace

Day 2 (Monday): Delhi – Agra (Approx. 205 Kms / 4 hour drives)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Agra.    Visit the Agra Fort. The resplendent fortress has witnessed the rule of various Mughal rulers during the course of history.  

Return to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel Trident (B)

Day 3 (Tuesday): Agra – Delhi (Approx. 205 Kms / 4 hour drive)
Today morning visit Taj Mahal, surely the greatest monument to love and one of the wonders of the modern world.

Drive to Delhi and after lunch, proceed to visit capital’s most striking monument; the 70 meter high Qutab Minar.

Overnight at the hotel Taj Palace (B, L)

Day 4 (Wednesday): Delhi – Jabalpur flight & drive to Kanha (Approx. 190 Kms / 5 hour drive)
Check out from the hotel and transfer to the airport to board the flight to Jabalpur.

(Delhi – Jabalpur Flight operates Mon/ Wed/ Fri)

Alternate flight option for Raipur (Delhi – Raipur Daily flight)

Arrive Jabalpur and drive to Kanha National Park (approx. 5 hours drive).

Arrive Kanha and check-in to the hotel.
(National Park remains closed for afternoon safari on every Wednesday).

Overnight at the Kanha Earth Lodge (B, D)

Day 5 (Thursday): Kanha National Park
We have two full days to explore the Kanha National Park enjoying morning & afternoon game drives.

Kanha Tiger Reserve is spread over an area of 1,949 sq. km (940 sq. km of core area and 1,009 sq. km of buffer zone), making it one of the best habitats for tigers in India. The park is situated in the Central Indian Highlands, which are part of the extensive tableland that forms India’s main peninsula. Kanha’s undulating landscape is dotted with dense groves of vegetation, hillocks and meadows.

Of all these habitats, it is Kanha’s meadows that are its lifeline, as they sustain large numbers of Chital, Sambar, Barasingha and Gaur, which in turn support populations of predators and co-predators (Tigers, Leopards, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cats and Foxes).

It is home to over 1,000 species of flowering plants and about 300 species of birds.

Kanha’s lush sal and bamboo forests provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous narrative, “The Jungle Book”.
Its greatest achievement, however, has been the preservation of Hard Ground Swamp Deer or Barasingha from near extinction (they numbered just 66 in 1970). Today, they number more than 400 and are the only surviving population of Barasingha in the wild.

Overnight at the Kanha Earth Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 6 (Friday): Kanha National Park
Enjoy morning & afternoon game drives in the Kanha National Park.

Kanha is a birder’s delight with 300 + species of birds. Few commonly seen beautiful birds are Scarlet Minivet, Black Hooded Oriole, Indian Roller, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Green Bee Eater…… Enjoy the bird trail!!!

In the evening today, the Naturalist gives a presentation on the varied birdlife of the National Park!

Overnight at the Kanha Earth Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 7 (Saturday): Kanha – Raipur (Approx. 250 Kms / 6 hour drives) & Fly Kolkata
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel with packed lunch and drive to Raipur to board the flight to Kolkata.

 On arrival at Kolkata, our representative will meet you at the receiving area and escort you to your hotel.

Arrive and check into the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel The Oberoi Grand (B,L)

Day 8 (Sunday):  Kolkata to Jorhat / Neamati Ghat / on-board MV Mahabaahu
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and transfer to the airport to board the flight to Jorhat.

On arrival at the Jorhat airport, we are met at the receiving area and drive to Neamati Ghat to board the MV Mahabaahu. We check into our cabins and immediately gather in the restaurant for the essential safety briefing and to experience the first sail.

We proceed into the evening with a talk on Majuli, the seat of Vaishnavism in Assam.  Soon MV Mahabaahu drops anchor and the evening follows into welcome dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (L, D)

Day 9 (Monday) A visit to the seat of the Ahom Civilization at Sibsagar followed by a home hosted lunch at a Tea Estate
(Carry binoculars as the fields alongside the road will showcase purple swamp hens, adjutant storks, egrets, kingfishers, Indian rollers, bulbuls and open billed storks.)

After an early breakfast, we start our day-excursion to Sibsagar, the ancient city of the Ahom Kings; a town that literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva’.  Sibsagar was the capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin.  

The Sibsagar town is built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom queen. The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India. 

We visit The Talatal or Kareng Ghar, the palace of the Ahom Kings and the Rang Ghar, an amphitheater, was a place for hosting wrestling bouts and buffalo fights and other entertainment or important meetings of the Royals and their guests.

By noon our transport takes us to a Tea Estate for a relaxed afternoon where we enjoy a traditional Assamese lunch with the Tea-estate family to get a peep into the lifestyle of the families that have been involved in the tea business over a period of a century.  Here we sip our beverages as we explore the lawns and proceed to indulge in traditional Assamese cuisine. 

We return to MV Mahabaahu by sunset and enjoy a relaxed evening in the Soma lounge before proceeding for dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, D)

Day 10 (Tuesday) : A  walk for birding enthusiasts near the breeding swamps  and sail to  Majuli for a Vaishnav Culture Experience and sail  on further to visit a Mishing Village followed by an evening at a deserted island
We start the day with Yoga or go for a walk along the swamps to catch a sight of owls, orioles, yellow footed green pigeons, changeable eagles, adjutant storks, quails, sea gulls hunting with the dolphins and pied kingfishers, swallows and martins diving to fish.

As we have our breakfast, we sail towards Majuli which literally means land between two rivers, the Subansiri and the Brahmaputra.  Majuli is a cosmos of Assamese culture where various philosophies co-exist and thrive; ancient monasteries dedicated to preservation and development of culture and art have existed here from the 15th Century.
After breakfast, we enjoy a talk on 'Majuli' the seat of Vaishnav culture and proceed in our tenders to the mainland where a drive takes us to a scenic corner of a Satra for an interesting cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. 

Next, we drive to Kamlabari Satra to witness the Vaishnavite priests dancing to the rhythm of cymbals, drums and chanting in the temple premise.  The humble dwellings of the monks are a revelation of utmost simplicity.

We enjoy hot lunch on MV Mahabaahu and sail towards the closest Mishing Village.
The Mishings live on the bank of river in 'Chang ghars', houses with raised platform.  All Mishing women are expert weavers.  Carrying some cash would be a good idea.

The indoor life of a Mishing person revolves around the kitchen area where the family can get together. We buy the ethnic colorful cotton weaves, vegetables and move on.  We indulge in a Dhoti Tying and Mekhela Chaadar wearing demonstration.

MV Mahabaahu leaves behind the Mishing village and heads towards Dhansiri Mukh where the waters of Brahmaputra and Dhansiri meet, while we enjoy a talk on ‘Assam, its geographical location & importance’.

We enjoy the evening under the stars on a deserted island and proceed for dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 11( Wednesday) : Sail to Dhansiri for Boat Safari and sail on to a deserted island near Bishwanath Ghat
After Yoga and an early morning walk on a deserted island MV Mahabaahu sails towards the Eastern Range of Kaziranga for boat Safari.  We enjoy breakfast and a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside’

We proceed for the safari in our tenders for about two hours.  The shores are high but one can see roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles and many more.  The sightings are always determined by the weather conditions.

We return for lunch. This evening we enjoy the Chef’s Cooking Demonstration followed by a talk on ‘Tea, Silk and Jute in Assam.  

The evening on a deserted island with bonfire is always unusual.  We enjoy dinner on MV Mahabaahu.

NOTE: (Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions)

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 12 ( Thursday) : Bishwanath Ghat visit for traditional weavers and sail to Silghat to visit the Tea factory and/ or Jute Mill

After Yoga/walk on the deserted island and breakfast, we enjoy an interesting talk on ‘Kaziranga and the wild life in India’.  Then we step into our tenders to go to the shores of Bishwanath Ghat.

 We visit the Shiva Dol in reverence of Lord Shiva and there is no way that we can avoid the women with their weaves.  We enjoy a walk through the village and see this suburban village thrives.

We sail on for the next couple of hours and enjoy a relaxed lunch and reach Silghat.  Take a short drive to the Kaliabore tea estate, which is a vast expanse of undulating land with tea bushes.  We take a short walk through this picturesque tea-garden watching the tribal women picking tea leaves. We proceed to the tea factory to see the process of finally producing Assam Tea and coming to terms with ‘all that goes into preparing a cup-of-tea.

(The tea factory is not operational from mid- December to mid -February as the tea  plantation goes into its dormant stage during this time)

We return to where the ship is anchored.  Close by a co-operative Jute Mill is an interesting place to understand how the Jute fibre takes the form of very eco-friendly gunny bags.

By sunset we enjoy a cultural evening on the ship.  We have an early dinner and retire for the evening.
 

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 13 (Friday) : Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park for Elephant and Jeep Safari and sail on to a deserted island for the evening

We rise very early today and after a warm cup of tea and some snacks, drive out towards the Kaziranga National Park.
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, Asiatic wild buffalo and a rich variety of birds.

We reach the Kohora Mihimukh range of the National Park and are ready to start our morning adventure; once-in-a-lifetime elephant-backed safari where we search for the elusive rhinoceros, tigers, swamp deer and hog deer and more and a large number of very interesting birds.  The park never ceases to surprise us.

After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, we drive on to Bagori, the Western Range of Kaziranga and get into the open jeeps for some more wild life adventure and an extensive coverage of this magnificent park dotted with large water bodies called ‘beels’ in the local language.

We return to MV Mahabaahu for a fine leisurely lunch and a relaxed afternoon.

After the leisurely pace of the day and having recovered the lost sleep of the wee hours we once again get together for A talk on ‘Kamakhya and the Occult and Peacock Island and then proceed for the traditional Assamese theme dinner.

*In October and May when Kaziranga National Park is closed we do a short Jeep Safari in the outer area of the Kaziranga National Park.  Elephant safari is not possible but one can opt for elephant joy ride on the outskirts of the park.  During these two months we have an additional Boat Safari in a very picturesque area at the confluence of Diphlu and Brahmaputra River.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (L, D)

Day 14 (Saturday) : Sail to an island inhabited predominantly by the Muslim Community and after the visit sail on to see the golden Langurs on the Peacock Island and anchor for the evening
We catch up on Yoga on an island or on the deck for an hour and move on to breakfast while MV Mahabaahu lifts anchor and heads on towards an island that is occupied predominantly by a bangla speaking Muslim community who are involved in extensive farming.

After a visit to this village we return to the ship for lunch and sail towards the Peacock Island that is home to some Golden Langurs. 

This part of the sail is exceptionally pretty as we sail in the shadow of the Shillong Plateau, Guwahati straddles the valley of the river Bharalu which is a small tributary of the Brahmaputra. The city is surrounded by hills, except where the Bharalu discharges into the Brahmaputra. To its west lies the Nilachal Hill on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra, to the north is the Chitrachal Hill and to the south lies the Narakasur Hill.  Overall, a total of 18 hills exist in and around the city, thus providing a unique landscape. 

After the Peacock island visit, we sail towards Pandu Port and anchor at a jetty.  We get ready for the Farewell Dinner ‘Alvida Bhoj’ and enjoy a relaxed evening.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 15 (Sunday) : Airport departure with packed lunch and enjoy an en route Kamakhya Temple visit (famous as one of the Hindu Shakti Peeths of the Goddess of Desire)
We have a relaxed breakfast.

The crew on-board organises our transport and with packed lunch we drive to the Kamakhya Temple.  This Temple is devoted to the eternal feminine; the goddess of desire whose name is Kama Khya, granter of desires.

 We bid adieu to the land of Natural history and Culture.

 No Hotel (B, packed L)

 

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, MV Mahabaahu reserves the right to convert the direction of the cruise from upstream to downstream or vice versa without any compensation.