Trails Of The Torchbearer – A Protestant Church And Missionary Tour Of North East India
Protestant missionaries were the first to introduce Christianity to the people of the Brahmaputra valley and the tribal peoples of the hills of Northeast India. Their missionary work can be traced back to the establishment of translation centers and schools established as early as 1829. But the real missionary breakthrough came with the arrival of the American Baptist missionaries in 1836 and the Welsh Presbyterian missionaries in 1841. Large-scale conversion to Christianity, however, took place only toward the end of the nineteenth century and in the twentieth century which are especially in the states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Manipur.
Travel through some of the major place which have been transformed by the early missionaries, the sacrifices and hardship they undertook in their dedication for a group of people whom they know not. With an addition of the beauty of what this part of the world have to offer, the landscape, the flora and fauna of world heritage sites, the tribes, culture and their tradition which is bound to give any traveler a memorable trip.
Day 01: 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 02: 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 04: Arrive Dimapur – Kohima
Transfer to airport for flight 9W2883 dep. 1010 / arr. 1205 to Dimapur. Transfer to Kohima – home of the Angami Nagas. Kohima is the District administrative center of Nagaland, also the nerve center of the Christian. Being the capital, you will find all the sixteen major tribes along with people of other places all mixed here in Kohima as a result many different churches, based on tribes with different languages and other denominations. Afternoon sightseeing of the town which will include the famous war cemetery, a symbolic memorial raised as citation for the supreme sacrifice made by the officers and men of the Allied forces during World War II and the state museum (closed on Mondays and govt. holidays). Overnight.
Hotel: Razhu Pru
Day 05: Kohima
After breakfast visits the local market, then we will visit the NBCC (Nagaland Baptist Church Council) office – http://www.nbcc.in/ meet some of the leaders representing the different tribes from all over Nagaland working in the field of evangelism. Here you will be introduced into a thorough history of Christianity in Nagaland and north east in general, the different fields that the church has branched out into – mission schools, mission hospitals, theological colleges, worldwide missionaries from Nagaland, etc.
Afternoon drive to Khonoma village (20 kms/1 hr), a place renowned for its valour and courage. The Khonoma village which has produced some of the first intellectual among the Nagas gate tells the story of British infiltration into Naga Hills. Explore and interact with the villagers. Drive back to Kohima for lunch and visit
Hotel: Razhu Pru
Day 06: Kohima – Mokokchung (175 kms/5 hrs)
Morning after breakfast, we will start for Mokokchung – home of the Ao Nagas, who were the first to embrace Christianity from Nagaland. We will drive through villages of the Rengma, the lotha, the Sumi and then to Mokokchung. PM time permitting, visit Ungma village – the oldest Ao village.
Day 07: Mokokchung (175 kms/5 hrs)
Today we will visit Impur Mission center, the first mission centre that was established by the American Baptist Missionaries in 19th Century. Meet and interact with the people here at the mission center and the Clark Theological College. We will drive a few distances more to Mopunchuket which is revered by the local people in myth and traditional beliefs before the pre Christian era – now a flourishing village rooted in the new faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_W._Clark
Day 08: Mokokchung – Kaziranga (240 kms/6 hrs)
Morning after breakfast, we will drive down to Assam to Kaziranga national Park where the rhino roams alongside the tiger. On arrival check into a lodge. Afternoon go for a jeep safari. Return by dusk. Overnight.
Hotel: Diphlu River Lodge
Day 09: Kaziranga
Whole day in Kaziranga worth jungle activities. Am go for an elephant safari. Mid morning visit a Mishing tribal village. Afternoon go for a jeep safari.
Hotel: Diphlu River Lodge
Day 10: Kaziranga – Guwahati (230 kms/5 hrs)
Early morning go for an elephant safari. Return to lodge for breakfast, mid morning, we will drive down to Guwahati – the commercial hub and the gateway to North east India. On arrival check into hotel. Afternoon visit Satribari Christian Hospital http://schcare.org/and then the Guwahati Baptist church which is the first Christian church in the north east part of India established in 1845. Overnight. PM visit local market. Overnight.
Hotel: Kironshree Portico
Day 11: Guwahati – Tura (175 kms/6 hrs)
Morning after breakfast transfer to Tura in Garo hills of Meghalaya. On arrival check into hotel. Afternoon we will visit and meet some of the local church leaders. Pm sightseeing of the local market. Overnight.
Day 12: Tura
Today we will visit the orphanage at Tura Christian Hospital which was started in 1921 by Miss Anne Vema Blakely who was a nurse herself. The orphanage looked after motherless babies and orphans after till they are old enough to be looked after by their relatives. The orphanage was started in 1921 by Miss Anne Vema Blakely who was a nurse herself. Afternoon we will visit a small village of nokrek where the locales believes that the citrus originates. Spend the day interacting with the local. Overnight.
Day 13: Tura – Shillong.
Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong and also the District Headquarters of East Khasi Hills District is situated at an altitude of 1,496 metres above sea level. Its Scotland of the East.
Day 14: Shillong – Guwahati – Kolkata.
Morning after breakfast transfer to Guwahati airport for outbound flight.