The Hornbill Festival: A Journey Through Tribes of Northeast India

10 days

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Kolkata formerly known as Calcutta in English, is the capital of the Indian State of West Bengal, located in Eastern India on the east bank of the River Hoogly. The city was a colonial city developed by the British East India and then by the British Empire. Travel around the vibrant city touring the gardens, marvel at the architecture of the Howrah bridge, explore the markets, the life of traditional artisans, the people and above all experience the Bengali hospitality.

Then continue your journey to the famed Kaziranga National park spread across the floodplains of the Brahmaputra river, it’s forests, wetlands, and grasslands are home to Bengal tigers, one horned rhinos, elephants and rare migratory birds. The spirit of The Diphlu River Lodge completes the experience of this unique safari.

End your adventure in Khomia, Nagaland, with a stay at the TUTC camp. Tucked away in North east India, Nagaland is truly a treasure trove of culture. Your stay at camp during the Hornbill Festival allows you to experience the traditions of the tribal past aptly monikered ‘’The festival of festivals’. The festival is a cultural extravaganza like no other.

Highlights

  • Private walking tour of Kolkata
  • Sample the street food of Kolkata
  • Browse the markets of Kolkata
  • Wildlife viewing in Kaziranga National Park
  • Photographic, cultural, and culinary opportunities to explore with the tribes in Kohima during the Hornbill Festival

Itinerary

DAY 1 – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2019

Arrival in Kolkata – The Oberoi Grand

Kolkata is aptly known as the City of Joy. As one of the important seats of government during British rule, visitors can view several British monuments. It is also the home of The Missionaries of Charity, established by Mother Teresa in 1946. In this city of culture and tradition pay homage at temples dedicated to goddess Kali and delve into the lifestyle of the locals by strolling through the old markets of the city, which are known for colorful cotton and silk saris.

Arrive and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Then depart for a walking tour. Trace history back to the colonial era and visit some prominent landmarks that define Kolkata’s heritage. Learn about Job Charnock, the founder of British Kolkata, who bought the villages of Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata from Bengal subedar Azim Usman in 1690. That action laid the foundation for Kolkata to become the capital of the East India Company.

DAY 2 – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2019

Full day city tour of Kolkata

Experience this vibrant city, with its mix of British and Indian heritage. On your tour, the blend of historic, modern, European, and Asian influences is evident throughout the city. Visit the beautiful Victoria Memorial, a building and gardens dedicated to the former Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India. Stroll the manicured gardens and visit the museum documenting the history of the city. Stare in wonder at the stars in Birla Planetarium, where you feel like you are outside on a clear, bright night. Imagine how imposing the troops were stationed at the British Fort William. In contrast, be welcomed at Mother Teresa’s ashram for a moment of compassion for those in need.

For a look at modern Kolkata, spend time learning about the national obsession with the sport of cricket while touring the Eden Gardens stadium, one of only two 100,000-seat cricket stadiums in the world. Take in the awesome Howrah Bridge, an engineering marvel which connects Kolkata with its sister city, Howrah. Have a short walk on the busiest cantilever bridge in the world. The bridge does not have nuts and bolts and was built by riveting the whole structure.  Return to the Oberoi Grand for the evening.

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2019

Explore the Markets of Kolkata

Allow you senses to be overwhelmed at the Flower Market. The bursts of color and fragrance in the biggest flower market in Asia are on display for nearly 24-hours a day. Walking through the market you will have views of the famous Howrah Bridge once again. Your next destination will be the Parasnath Jain Temple, renowned for its exquisite glass work and artistic beauty. In the sanctum of this temple a lamp has been burning since the inception of this temple in 1867. Next, meander to the potter’s paradise, Kumortuli, where artists craft clay idols that are exported around the globe. Walking through the small lanes observe the life of traditional artisans of Kolkata. Book lovers will be fascinated by the College Street Book Market, which bubbles over with intellectual conversation and energy. Pass by Calcutta University (India’s first University) Hindu School & Hare School and take a coffee break in the famous Indian Coffee House. Return to The Oberoi Grand for an overnight.

DAY 4 – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2019

Kolkata to Kaziranga – Diphlu River Lodge

Board a flight to Guwahati and then transfer by road to Kaziranga National Park, habitat famous for Indian one-horned rhinos. Kaziranga National Park has tall, dense grasslands interspersed with evergreen forests, interconnecting streams and numerous small lakes against a backdrop of the majestic Himalayas. Stay overnight in the Diphlu River Lodge.

DAY 5 – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019

Kaziranga National Park

Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the park to observe the wildlife including rhino, elephant, buffalo, and tigers. Leopards, sloth bear, gibbons, and swamp deer can also be found in the area. Your morning game drive will be followed by a tour of a local tea estate. Overnight at the Diphlu River Lodge.

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2019

Kaziranga to Kohima – Kohima Camp Nagaland

This morning after breakfast take a scenic drive to Kohima – the capital of Nagaland, where the Hornbill Festival takes place.

Nagaland is a cultural mosaic of diverse ethnicities which inhabit the state. Each community celebrates a myriad of festivals revolving around the agrarian calendar which makes Nagaland a land of festivals. This intangible heritage encompasses through collective celebration, the vibrant elements of all the tribal festivities and gives a glimpse of Naga life to titillate cultural sensibilities. What has emerged from a local heritage event has grown to an international festival evolving into a notable attraction for both domestic and international travelers. Overnight at your luxury tented camp, Kohima Camp Nagaland.

DAYS 7-9 – SUNDAY- TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1-3, 2019

Kohima – The Hornbill Festival

Over the next three days immerse yourself in this beautiful festival, spending your days hearing the stories, eating the food and having meaningful connections with the tribes.

For a total of ten days, the annual Hornbill Festival will feature cultural performances, indigenous games, a craft bazaar, music events, fashion, cycling, motor sporting, a carnival, floral galleria, food courts, film festival and a series of competitions in various activities. Participate in the parts that interest you most. There are plenty of opportunities for you to capture the essence of the festival with your observations, interactions, and photography. Overnights at Kohima Camp Nagaland.

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2019

Depart Kolkata

Today you will be transferred by road to the Dimapur airport for your flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, connect on your own to your homeward bound flight.

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