Tribes and Wildlife of Northeast India

11 days

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This can be truly described as an off-the-beaten-path discovery of northeastern India’s cities, wildlife and tribes. The capital of West Bengal, the vibrant colonial city of Kolkata contains a multitude of history. Explore the markets, the life of traditional artisans, the people, and above all experience the welcoming Bengali hospitality. Kaziranga National Park is home to Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinos, elephants and rare migratory birds exploring its floodplains, forests, and wetlands. End your journey in remote Nagaland, with the opportunity to witness traditional villages and experience authentic cultural exchange rarely afforded to tourists. This voyage encompasses the soul of northeast Indian culture and wildlife.

Highlights

  • Meander Kolkata’s temples, historical sights, flower and book markets
  • Safari game drives in Kaziranga National Park, to find remarkable rhino and tiger
  • Sample the street food and interact with the artisans of Kolkata
  • Drifting downriver among dolphins and otters
  • Photographic opportunities of traditional villages and people
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Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrive Kolkata –Introduction to Kolkata by Foot

Your introduction to India begins in Kolkata, aptly known as the City of Joy and famously the capital of the East India Company. Stretch your legs today after your flight, embarking on an afternoon walking tour through this thriving city known for its culture, cuisine and historical monuments. 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, known for colorful cotton and silk saris. Check in to the Oberoi Grand for an evening at rest among serene outdoor spaces and colonial style.

DAY 2

Kolkata – Historical City Tour

Savor your morning coffee, then meet your guide for a day of discovery. On your city tour, the blend of historic, modern, European and Asian influences is evident throughout the city. Visit the beautiful Queen Victoria Memorial, 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. Take a short stroll across the busiest cantilever bridge in the world, with no nuts or bolts. Return to the Oberoi Grand for the evening.

DAY 3

Kolkata – Market and Temple Explorations

After breakfast, allow your senses to be stimulated 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. Your next destination will be the Parasnath Jain Temple, renowned for its exquisite glasswork 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

Kaziranga National Park – Village Visit, Sustainability Stroll and Evening Campfire

This morning, board a flight to Guwahati and transfer by road to Kaziranga National Park. A wilderness with dense grasslands, evergreen forests, interconnecting streams and small lakes against a backdrop of the Himalayas provides a visually stunning landscape. Famous for the rare and precious Indian one-horned rhino, it also has the world’s highest density of Bengal tiger, and features the gibbon, sloth bear, water buffalo, Ganges dolphin, otter and a myriad of birdlife. Immerse yourself in nature at the Diphlu River Lodge, created with natural materials such as bamboo, wood, and thatched roofing to blend with its forest surroundings. Take a walk past the vegetable gardens and rice terraces, to gain insight into the lodge’s sustainability efforts. Visit a nearby village. Enjoy a night of contemplation and relaxation by the campfire.

DAY 5

Kaziranga National Park – Safari Game Drive and Tea Estate Visit

Relish an early morning game drive through the verdant forests in search of rhino, tiger, elephant and numerous bird species. Enjoy a delicious lunch at your lodge. In the afternoon, visit a nearby tea estate to meander the plantation, learn about the ancient process of tea growing and processing, and sample the local specialties. Spend the night stargazing in this remote region, before retiring to your cottage for the evening.

DAY 6

Kaziranga National Park – Safari Game Drive and Brahmaputra Boat Cruise

Head into the park early today for more wildlife viewing before returning to the lodge for breakfast. In the late morning, step aboard a traditional wooden boat equipped with a cushioned sun-lounge area, for a relaxing float down the river. Your naturalist guide is on-hand to help you spot birds, otters, or a playful dolphin. Stop at a secluded sandbank for a hot picnic lunch; bare feet and beer are optional! Continue sailing down the river, admiring your surroundings as dusk approaches. Sunset falls as you approach the shore. Disembark and return to Diphlu Lodge for the evening.

DAY 7

Nagaland – Scenic Drive and Tribes of Nagaland

Nagaland is a cultural mosaic of diverse ethnicities that 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. Arrive in the evening to your luxury tented camp, Kohima Camp Nagaland, nestled in a deep forest.

DAYS 8-10

Nagaland – Cultural Immersion and Tribal Observations

Over the next three days immerse yourself in this beautiful region, spending your days visiting villages and towns, hearing the stories of locals, eating traditional food and having meaningful connections with those who make this area so unique. Overnight at Kohima Camp Nagaland.

Nagaland is best visited during the Hornbill Festival: for a total of ten days typically in early December, 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.

DAY 11

Depart Kolkata

You will be transferred by road to the Dimapur airport for your flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, connect to your international flight home. A multitude of enriching experiences, a camera full of incredible pictures, and a smile on your face will leave lasting imprints of a unique and memorable journey.