Arunachal And Assam, Tribal Land In The North East Himalaya.
Home to almost every climatic zone on earth. Only deserts are not found here. It is one of the wettest regions of the world where two monsoons spill their content each year. 500 orchid species are recorded in Arunachal Pradesh. Culturally unique, majority of its population is tribal, practicing animism, shamanism or polytheism. Unusual forms of society such as matrilineal descent have survived here, as well as long houses, ritual tattooing, animal sacrifices and cults surrounding the custom of head hunting.
Day 1:Arrival in Kolkata.
Kolkata was once the capital city of British India and also the Gateway to India till 1912. It is a major commercial city consisting of big industrial plants and corporate houses. It the artistic and cultural headquarter of India. Meet and greet on arrival and transfer to Hotel Oberoi Grand.
Day 2: Kolkata
Morning visit Flower Market and onward to Dakhineshwar Temple, Kumartuli (potters village) south of the temple & one of Mother Theresa’s many homes for the underprivileged.Dakhineshwar Temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni (1793-1861). This temple is associated with one of India’s greatest religious philosophers – Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886). The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It has 12 smaller temples in the courtyard dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna their consorts Shakti and Radha.
The village ‘Kumartuli’ is the home of the kumars or potters who all year round make the life size deities that are worshipped throughout the year during various festivals. Kali, the patron goddess of Calcutta, is usually seen here in her blood thirsty form, garlanded with skulls.
Afternoon visit Victoria Memorial another landmark in the city, which marks the British reign in India. A combination of Italian renaissance and Mughal architecture, the white marble architecture was the British attempt to replicate the Taj Mahal and is a monument to Queen Victoria and a museum dedicated to the Raj. Thereafter we go to Kalighat temple, the main Kali temple (Durga) in Calcutta.
Kalighat: Kali temple is located in the city of Calcutta on the banks of the river Hooghly (Bhagirathi). The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. Kolkata was anglicized into Calcutta. Today the city has reverted to its original name. The temple was built in 1809 on the site of a much older temple.
Kali is regarded as one of the principal deities of Bengal. There are other temples to Kali – Sahasrabhuja Kali, Sarvamangala, Tarasundari and Simhavaahini. Kali is regarded as the destroyer or liberator and is depicted in a fearful form. Despite the terrifying form, she is considered to deliver bliss to worshippers. The Kalighat temple is considered one of the 52 Shakti Peethams of India, where the various parts of Sati’s body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva’s Rudra Tandava.. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Shakti or Sati fell. The temple attracts thousands of devotees throughout the year. The Kalighat temple in its present form is only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in Mansar Bhasan in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century.
Day 3: Kolkata- Dibrugarh – Disangmukha (pronounced Dihingmuk)
Fly to Dibrugarh S2 365 dep. 0700 hrs / arr. 0830 hrs or IC205 dep 0945 hrs / arr 1115 hrs. Transfer to Heritage Chang Bungalow. Dibrugarh is a famous tea estate in Assam and we spend a day inside one of its tea gardens. After lunch we take a tour of the tea garden. The majority of people here work in the tea estates or in the tea factories. Usually the women pick the tea. We will have an opportunity to interact with the tea tribe and visit a tea factory.
Day 4: Ferry to Bogibille and Drive to Along (160 Kms / 8-9 hrs)
Today we enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh. We cross the mighty Brahmaputra River by ferry from Dibrugarah to Swaringhat (1½ -2 hrs). Our jeeps will accompany us on the ferry. An hour thereafter on dirt road where we can see the Mishings the fising tribe of Assam who inhabit the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra. We will be climbing up the lower Himalayan ranges through thick tropical forest during the rest of our drive. Overnight at Hotel Holiday Cottage.
Day 5: Allong
Visit the Bokar, Ramo and Gallong tribal villages and its famous hanging bridge. Along is the headquarters of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh located at an altitude of 300m. The Adis by nature are democratic and have an organised village council called Kebang. Their traditional dance called Ponung is famous all over Arunachal Pradesh. Adi villages are situated generally on the spurs of hills. Polyandry is practiced here. Adi women are very good weavers and weave cloth with highly artistic designs. Overnight at Hotel Holiday Cottage.
Day 6: Allong – Daporizo (1100 Ft / 161 Kms / 8 hrs)
Interface with Tagins and Hill Miris and the Tamens who have their dwellings in villages between Daporizo and Damporizo. Overnight at Govt. Inspection Bungalow (Basic) at Daporizo.
The Tagins are the main inhabitants of Upper Subansiri district. Their primary occupation is agriculture. Polygamy is customary among them. Their dress is very simple consisting of only one piece of cloth.
The Nishi and Tamens are among the main Hill Miri tribes who form the largest groups of people inhabiting the major part of Lower Subansiri district. Their men folk wear their hair long and tie it in a knot just above the forehead. They wear cane bands around the waist. They believe that after death the spirit of a dead travels to the ‘village of the ancestors’. The Sulungs or Puroik are considered to be one of the oldest of the tribes in the area. Their dress and costumes are simple, and their religion is a form of the primitive ‘ spirit culture’.
Day 7: Drive Daporizo – Ziro. (5018 Ft / 166 Kms / 9 hrs). Hotel Blue Pine.
Home to the Apatani people who grow rice on terraces on the Apatani Plateau. Enroute enjoy the beauty of Kamala river. The Apatanis are settled agriculturists inhabiting the valley around Ziro-the headquarters of Lower Subansiri district. The older men-folk tie their hair in top-knots and tattoo their faces. Wearing of circular nose plugs and tattooing of faces is the most characteristic aspect of ornamentation of the now older Apatani women. New generation of Apatani men and women have stopped this practice of tying hair knots, nose plugs and face tattooing since early 1970s. The Apatani are good cultivators and practice both wet and terrace cultivation. Paddy cum fish culture is very popular among them. Unlike other tribes of Arunachal their economy is stable.
Day 8: Ziro
Visit Hong,Hari and Ziro Villages the largest tribal villages in Asia. Also the Tribal arts museum and in the evening stroll in the Tribal Market.
Day 9: Ziro – Itanagar (1575 ft/155 kms / 4 hrs)
Drive to the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. There are numerous villages en route and we will make frequent short stops. For the first few hours while we are still in Arunachal Pradesh, the scenery is breathtaking, thick lush green tropical forest, clouds floating over the ridges, singing waterfalls all through, a variety of tropical flowers, the Orchids and the birds. Overnight at Donyi Polo Ashok.
Day 10: ITANAGAR – NAMERI NATIONAL PARK (200 kms / 5-6 hrs).
Overnight at The Eco Camp Morning after breakfast depart for Nameri National Park and check into the Eco camp situated in the core area (Eco camp has comfortable double bedded tents with a thatched roof canopy).
In the late afternoon we walk all the way upto the Bhoreli river. This park came into limelight when the near extinct White Winged Wood Duck was discovered here only a few years back. Other Wildlife found are deer, wild elephant, wild buffaloes and numerous species of birds. We return to our camp in the evening.
Day 11: Nameri – Dirang (160 kms / 6 hrs)
We will be driving up to Dirang (inhabited by the Monpa tribe) today at an altitude of 6500 ft. Check into hotel on arrival. In the evening we’ll visit the centuries old Dirang Village, its traditional houses and inhabitants who are mainly ‘Monpas’. Later we drive up to its monastery the Dirang Dzong. We’ll also get an opportunity to spend sometime in the local market there.
Day 12: Dirang – Tawang (146 kms / 5 hours). Overnight at Tawang Inn.
At 3500 meters above sea level is Tawang-the beautiful land of Monpas. With sobriquets like :The Hidden Paradise or Land of Dawn-lit mountains; this land evokes images of awesome mountain views, remote hamlets, quaint and sleepy villages, magical Gompas, tranquil lakes and al lot more. At Tawang, you have a heavenly trust with nature at its best and the heady mixture of history, religion and legends.
The area of the district is approximately 2,085-sq-kms bordered by Tibet in the North, Bhutan in the Southwest and Sela ranges separate West Kameng district in the East. The name Tawang derives from some bearings on surroundings. But people’s interpretation is that the name Tawang was given by Mera Lama in the 17th century.
The inhabitants of the districts are the Monpa tribes. The Monpas belong to Mongoloid stock, they are well built, and fair in complexion. Their houses are built with stones and timbers. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry are the fundamental means of the Monpas occupation.
Afterwards we will drive to Tawang at 10200 ft. On the way we will be crossing the Sela Pass at 14000 ft, the highest motorable pass in the Northeast. Evening take a walk around Tawang town.
Day 13: Tawang
Today we will visit the famous 400 years old Tawang Monastery. Interact with the lamas (monks). Come back to the lodge for lunch. Afternoon visit a Monpa tribal village and Urgelling Gompa. This Gompa is believed to have been in existence since 14th century. It was one of the first three monasteries built by Urgen Sangpo, the youngest brother of Terton Pempalingpa, the famous Treasure-Revealer. Dating more than 550 years ago, the monastery is the birth place of Tsangyang Tashi, His Holiness the 6th Dalai Lama. He was the son of Lama Tashi Teiizin of Urgelling village a descendent of Terton Pempalingpa. This Gompa is about 5 Kms away from Tawang township. Evening visit market.
Day 14: Tawang – Bomdilla.
We drive back to Bomdila today. On arrival check into Hotel. Evening visit local market and the lower Gompa. Overnight.
Day 15: Bomdila – Kaziranga.(304 Kms / 9 hrs). Overnight at Diphlu River Lodge Kaziranga.
KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK, ASSAM
The National Park covers about 430 sq kms, bordered on the north by the Brahmaputra River and on the south by the Karbi Anglong hills. The largest number of one-horned rhinoceros in the world roam its swamps and grasslands with tall thickets of elephant grass and areas of mixed deciduous and tropical semi-evergreen forest. It is also home to a wide variety of other animals and birds, and the open vistas make it relatively easy to see many species of wildlife in a day. As well as the Indian rhino, the Park contains about 35 major mammals, including wild elephant, tiger, small population of hoolock gibbon, capped langur, bristly hare, hog badger, otter, leopard, wild boar, sambar, swamp deer, hog deer, muntjac, water buffalo and gaur. Among the rich birdlife are the rare greater adjutant stork, Bengal florican, black-necked stork, lesser adjutant stork, Pallas’s fish eagle, swamp partridge, grey peacock-pheasant, great pied hornbill, green imperial pigeon, babblers and thousands of migratory birds, seasonally attracted to the various water areas of the park from as far away as Siberia. Day 16: Kaziranga AM Elephant Safari. PM Jeep Safari. Overnight at Diphlu River Lodge Kaziranga. Day 17: Kaziranga – Guwahati (220 kms / 4 ½> hrs) – Kolkata – Fly Out. AM Jeep Safari. Return for breakfast and thereafter drive to Guwahati airport for flight to Calcutta (Flt IT432 dep. 1600 hrs / arr. 1710 hrs). On arrival transfer to hotel near airport for wash and change; late night transfer to International airport.