Assam & Arunachal
Trip Code: AITNEE
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The ‘frontier’ North East region of India is connected to the rest of the country by a narrow 20 km wide corridor of land, and has over 2000 km of border with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China (Tibet) and Myanmar (Burma).
Ethnically and linguistically diverse, with a rich and distinct culture, this is one of India’s least explored destinations.
This itinerary offers an adventurous exploration of an untouched corner of India – a region of magnificent natural beauty – and home to a large number of tribal groups, each with their own distinct culture. It includes visits to temples, tea gardens, monasteries, and World Heritage listed national parks containing hundreds of species of flora and fauna.
Day 1 Shillong
Arrive at Guwahati, where you will be met and driven 3 hours to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya – ‘abode of the clouds’. Shillong, at an altitude of 1496m, is situated among pine-clad hills and lakes; it is often referred to as the “Scotland of the East” due to its striking similarity with the Scottish highlands. [Image: Aadri].
Day 2 Shillong
Today take a day trip to Cherrapunjee, stopping en route at the picturesque Elephant Falls and Shillong Peak, with its wonderful views. Cherrapunjee is famous for being one of the wettest places on earth. Here you visit the illuminated Mawsmai Cave, and the spectacular Mawsmai Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Khrem Falls and Thankarang Park, with its panoramic view of Bangladesh. [Image: Rishav999].
Day 3 Kaziranga
Today drive 7 hours to Kaziranga National Park. A World Heritage Site, this 430 sq km park combines elephant grass mixed with thorny rattan cane and areas of semi-evergreen forest and shallow swamps. Declared a sanctuary in 1916, in order to save the Indian Greater One Horned Rhinoceros, it now contains 80% of the world’s population of this docile animal. [Image: Peter Andersen].
Day 4 Kaziranga
A day to explore the park; take an early morning elephant ride and an afternoon jeep safari. Elephant rides enable you to get close to the wildlife, particularly rhinos and buffalo, which can be easily seen in the marshes and grasslands. The park also contains deer, wild pigs, elephants and tigers, as well as an abundance of bird life.
Day 5 Nameri National Park
Today drive 3 hours to Nameri National Park. Covering an area of about 200 sq km, the park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 300 species, including the rare white-winged wood duck. Enroute visit the pretty town of Tezpur and the ruins of Da Parbatia Temple, dating from the 5th – 6th centuries. Over night stay at an Eco-camp.
Day 6 Dirang
Enjoy an early morning, serene river rafting trip on Jia Bhorali River, affording wonderful views of the Himalayan foothills and an opportunity to see the park’s bird life.
After lunch drive 5 hours to Dirang – the land of the Monpa tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Enroute visit Tippi Orchid Centre, with some 500 varieties of orchids, and Sessa Orchid Sanctuary.
Day 7 Tawang
Drive 6 hours to Tawang, passing waterfalls, terraced paddy fields, alpine forests and mountain streams, climbing to the barren landscape of the Sella Pass (4249m) before descending into the valley below. Stop en route at Jaswantgarh, a moving memorial to the soldier, Jaswant Singh, his fiancé and her friend who died trying to halt the advancing Chinese army in 1962.
Day 8 Tawang
Tawang, the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, is famous for its monastery. Set in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape at 3000m, it dates from 1642 and is home to over 500 lamas (Buddhist monks). The second oldest Buddhist monastery in the world – after Lhasa – it contains numerous treasures including thangkas, priceless manuscripts and an 8m high statue of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Day 9 Bomdila
After an early breakfast, depart Tawang and travel 7 hours to Bomdila. This is a spectacular scenic drive; en route visit and enjoy beautiful Jang Falls. Bomdila, a town of marvellous views, has apple and cherry orchards and Buddhist gompas.
Day 10 Tezpur
Drive 6 hours to Tezpur, a lovely town on the bank of the Brahmaputra River. The site of Assam’s first tea plantations, it is also known for its ancient temples and ruins.
In the late afternoon, visit Chitralekha Uddyan with its fine specimens of 9th century sculptural remains, and enjoy the sight of the sun setting over the magnificent river.
Day 11 Guwahati
After breakfast drive to Guwahati airport for onward destination.
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