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Assam

Assam is the gateway of North East India. It lies astride the mighty Brahmaputra Valley. Assam is famous for its well kept Wildlife Parks, their Culture and Textiles. ‘Suwalkuchi’ in Assam is called the Manchester of the East for its Silk weaving practice for generations.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

March to May/Oct to Dec

Overview

The state lies astride the mighty Brahmaputra River, whose lush 700 Kms valley is sandwiched between the Himalayan foothills of Arunachal Pradesh, in the North, and the hills and plateau of Meghalaya, in the south. Assam was known as ‘Kamarupa’ or ‘Pragjyotish’ in the period of the Epics. Human inhabitation of this area dates backs to about 2000 BC. The population of Assam comprises a fusion of Mongol-Aryan culture.
The Varman dynasty. Dates back from 400 AD to 13th century. The visit of Huien Tsang is said to have taken place during the 7th century at the time of Kumar Bhaskar Varman. The Ahoms ventured into Assam in about 1228 AD. By the 15th century the kingdoms of Ahom and Koch were established. The Ahom civilization flourished for more than six centuries. In the later part of the 18th century the Burmese invasion, invoked British intervention. Peace was restored by the treaty of Yandaboo in 1826.
The British then set out to organize the administration, transport and communication, constructed roads and Railways. The territories of Assam comprised the entire North East Region. The British aim was to exploit the natural resources. Extensive tea gardens with imported labour were set up and Forests and oil were exploited. The vast region now called Arunachal Pradesh was also controlled by the assam Government.
The Japanese invasion of India via Burma in the Second World War witnessed the development of Assam as a logistic base, for military operations, for the recapture of Burma by the British–Indian army.
After the Independence of India, Assam was subjected to several territorial adjustments. In 1948, The North East Frontier Agency was separated from Assam. In 1963 Nagaland was carved out. Followed by Meghalaya in 1972 and Mizoram in 1987.
Assam is the heart of North Eastern India. It has vast forests, miles of tea gardens, great rivers, wildlife, temples, flora, and a gentle and cultured people full of dance and music, who are adept at silk weaving and other crafts. 

Places to visit in Assam

Guwahaty is he Assamese Capital City is the gateway to the Northeast. It sprawls on the Southern bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River, whose northern shore is invisible due to the vastness of the channel. It features an interesting bazaar, which is the main market of the North East States.

Main sights are the Kamakaya temple. A great view point, known for its power and enrichment.

Saulkuchi is a silk weaving centre famous for its golden coloured Muga silk.  “Sualkuchi is endearingly referred to as the Manchester of the East. Situated on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra, it is famous for its centuries-old heritage of weaving.” Outlook Traveller.

Sualkuchi, village in Assam, where the entire population weaves magic with silk? “Silk-haven”, “Manchester of the East”, “Manchester of Assam”. Situated some 30 km from Guwahati in Assam, on the bank of the mighty river Brahmaputra, this picturesque village is a haven for silk fabrics ranging from the golden Muga to the ivory white ‘Pat’ and the light beige ‘Eri’ or ‘Endi’ silks. Out of which, Muga & Eri, also known as Ahimsa Silk are native only to Assam.

 

Originally, Sualkuchi was a ‘craft village, home to several cottage industries like handloom weaving, oil processing, pottery, gold making etc. But all of these, other than weaving have almost become extinct. The weaving industry of Sualkuchi remained confined to the Tanti community till the 1930s. Later on, people from other communities also took up silk weaving. Even some fishermen and Brahmin communities took to weaving as their main source of income as handloom was emerging as the most profitable source of income. The weaving industry of Sualkuchi received a major boost during the 2nd World War. Slowly, almost the entire village took up weaving.

Naokhel(Boat Race/rowing) of Sualkuchi at Brahmaputra River.The rowing competition has been held every year regularly as a popular festival on the day of the death anniversary of Sri Sri Sankardev.

Hajo is a unique pilgrimage centre, which is revered by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhist.

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Assam:

The state of Assam drained by mighty Brahmaputra, with an abundance wilderness has five National Parks & eight Wildlife sanctuaries and is home to two-third of the population of unique one horned Rhinos.  

The World heritage Kaziranga National Park :

Kaziranga NP comprises 340 square Kilometer is located on the South bank of the Brahmaputra, 233 kms from Guwahati.

The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park is a fabulous mosaic of grasslands, forests, and pools backed by misty hills. The Park has more than 70% of the world’s one-horned rhino population, 70% of the world population of the Eastern Swamp Deer and 75% of the world’s wild Asiatic water buffalo. It has a significant population of the Asian Elephant. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, and wild Indian Elephants Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured. There are plenty of Tigers around in Kaziranga NP– but there is only a 25 percent chance of spotting one.
 
The Park also has more than 450 species of birds, 18 of them are globally threatened species. Amongst the birds, the Crested Serpent Eagle is common, also the Pallas Fishing eagle, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Crane, Great Adjutant Stork, Bengal Florican, Bar Headed Goose, Whistling Teal and Pelican can be seen in the wild. 
Other attractions include hog deer, wild boar, Hoolak gibbon, Capped Langur, and Badger.
Because of the varied habitat types that the Park comprises of, as also of the strict protection accorded to them, birding in Kaziranga is very special. The varied terrain provides habitat for wetland, grassland, and woodland species The Bengal Florican is the main attraction.Jeep and Elephant Safari, is the mode of exploration.
 
Manas National Park and tiger reserve
 
The Manas Reserve, located in the foothills of the Bhutan hills, far from human habitation, is a world in itself. This park is one of the most fascinating National Parks in India. It is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage (in danger) site, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve – a unique distinction.
This semi-evergreen forest Terrestrial Eco-region is also the richest in species of all Indian wildlife areas and is home to the rare and endangered Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.
The focus point of Manas National Park is the enchanting Manas River, where Ganjatic dolphins can be seen.
 
Consisting of grassland, dry and moist deciduous & also rain forests, Manas has an area of 520 sq km & with the Bhutanese government protecting the Bhutanese side of the jungle there is a stretch of about 3500 sq km of protected area on both sides of the border.
A total of 543 plants species have been recorded from the core zone.
Manas houses 19 of India’s most endangered animal populations, home to the rare golden langur and a sizeable tiger population.
 
Its wetlands are essential for the survival of the fast-vanishing hispid hare and pygmy hog. The fauna to be found here include the Tiger, Asiatic elephant, Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Gaur, Asiatic water buffalo, sambar, hog deer, barking deer, Chital, Swamp deer, spotted deer, wild boar, swamp deer, capped langur and clouded leopard. Assamese macaque, Rhesus macaque, common langur, Slow loris, Tiger, Black panther, Leopard cat, Clouded leopard, Wild cat, Golden cat, Fishing cat, large Indian civet, small Indian civet, common Palm civet, Himalayan palm civet, common mongoose, small Indian mongoose, Dhole, Jackal, Indian fox, Red fox, Himalayan black bear, Sloth bear, smooth Indian otter, yellow throated Marten, Chinese Badger, yellow bellied Weasel, common Otter, Indian pangolin. Three striped palm squirrel, five striped palm squirrel, Malayan giant squirrel, bay bamboo rat, little Indian field mouse, Indian porcupine.
The diverse habitat of Manas is ideal home for a variety of specialized birds. Manas boasts the largest population of the endangered Bengal Florican in the world and is also a great place to see the Great Hornbill. The National Park lists around 380 species. You are likely to spot the Greater Adjutant, Black-tailed Crake, Red-headed Trogon, Swamp Francolin, Wreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Marsh and Jerdon’s Babblers, Pied Harrier, Rufous-rumped and Bristled Grassbirds, Hodgson’s Bushchat, Rufous-vented Laughingthrush, Finn’s Weaver, Ibisbill and a variety of foothills species.
 
The Nameri National Park, is a birding destination. It is the best place to see the very rare & elusive White-winged Wood Duck. Nameri is also a project tiger site.
 
The sparkling river Jia Bharali, which is ideal for rafting and angling, flows down by the National Park adding a unique charm to it. The habitat of the park consists of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen, moist deciduous forests with cane and bamboo brakes and narrow strips of open grassland along rivers. Nameri along with the adjacent Pakke & neighbouring Eaglenest Wild Life Sanctuaries of Western Arunachal protects about 1300 sq.km of great bio-diversity.
 
Interesting bird Species to be spotted are: Black-breasted Thrush, Collared Falconet, Ibisbill, Long-billed Plover, Giant, Rufous-necked & Wreathed Hornbills, Ruddy Kingfisher, White-winged Wood Duck, Wallcreeper, Kalij Pheasant, Green Cochoa, King Vulture, Pallas’s Fish Eagle etc.
 
 
The Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary in India to be named after a non-human primate, Hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock).the only ape found in the Indian sub continent. The Gibbons, require prime evergreen forest for survival.
The main attraction of Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is because Six different types of monkeys are found on the same platform. These are- Hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock),. Capped langur (Presbytis entellus), Slow loris (Nycticebus cocang), Stump-tailed macaque (macca speciosa), Pig-tailed macaque (macaca nemestrina) Rhesus monkeys.
 
The park also has elephants, leopard, wild pigs, sambar deer, hugori deer, pythons, giant squirrel and small palm squirrel etc. This Wildlife Sanctuary is very rich in different types of trees, plants and orchids.
 
Itinerary
 
NE/WL-01 : 14 days Wildlife Sanctuaries of Assam
 
Featuring : Manas NP, Nameri NP, Kaziranga NP, Gibbon Sanctuary and Dibru Saikhowa NP
 
A tour designed for Nature wild life enthusiasts, this is a wildlife tour to remember. Explore the premier wildlife parks of Assam. View wildlife on well organized jeep & elephant safaris, and boat trips, accompanied by knowledgeable and experienced guides. You are sure to encounter, wild elephants, Wild buffalo, many species of deer, the Hoolock Gibbons and the rare Golden Langur. We have even seen a Tiger on three occassions. Bird watchers will have a field day; as each of the parks boasts around 500 different bird species, such as the rare Bengal Florican.
The tour starts at Guwahati and ends at Dibrugarh, visiting the following National Parks:-
 
Day 01 : Guwahati – Manas NP
 
Arrive Guwahati mid morning. Drive to Manas NP. 167 Kms in 4.30 hrs.. Check in at wild life Lodge located on fringes of the park.
 
Day 02 – Day 03: Jeep and Elephant safari at Manas NP
 
Jeep and Elephant safari through forests, woodland. savannah, and grasslands. Overnight at Wild life Lodge.
 
Day 04 : Manas River Boat Safari
 
Safari down Manas River by boat.
 
Day 05 : Manas NP- Nameri NP
 
Drive to Nameri National park via Rangiya- Tezpur 290 Kms in 06 -07 hrs. Overnight at Eco Camp or forest Lodge.
In the evening take a nature walk along banks of the Bhareli River.
 
Day 06 : Nameri NP
 
Cross Bhareli River by boat for Full day walking exploration. Overnight at Eco Camp or forest Lodge.
 
Day 07 : Drive Nameri to Kaziranga
 
Early morning rafting trip down Bhareli River, After breakfast drive 110 Kms to Kaziranga National Park, in 02 hrs . Afternoon explore surrounding of forests , tea gardens and ethnic villages. Overnight at wild life lodge.
 
Day 08-09: Kaziranga
 
Two full full days in Kaziranga exploring the park as best we can, by jeep and on elephant back. There are several watch points scattered throughout Kaziranga, and we are allowed out on foot at these. We will make daily forays, twice a day into various ranges of the park by jeep. One morning we will take an elephant safari.
 
Day 10: Kaziranga- Gibbon Sanctuary – Jorhat
 
After breakfast drive to Gibbomn WLS 175 Kms in 03 hrs. Full day Wildlife excursion In the evening drive to Jorhat 12 Kms. Overnight at a colonial Tea garden bungalow.
 
Day 11: Jorhat- Dibrugarh- Tinsukhia
 
In the morning take a trip round the tea estate. See the simple village people go about their daily chores. Take a ride on a bullock cart, Peep into the homes of metal-working artisans & master weavers , You can even catch a dozen fish within thirty minutes.
After lunch drive to Tisukhia 160 Kms in 03 hrs. overenight at hotel.
 
Day 12-13: Dibru Saikhowa
 
Biosphere Reserve
Two full days of wildlife viewing.. Each day we will drive 10 kms from Tinsukhia to the entry point to Dibru-Saikhowa. for wild life viewing by boat and on foot. We will be exploring grasslands, swamps and forest habitat. Each day return to Tinsukhia for overnight at your hotel.
 
Day 14 Tinsukhia- Dibrugarh for departure
 
Transfer from Tinsukhia to Dibrugarh airport for boarding your departure flight to Delhi, Guwahati or Kolkata.Tour Ends.
 
Itinerary
 

NE/WL-02 : 04 days Wildlife at Kaziranga National Park

Explore the world heritage Kaziranga National Park by jeep and on Elephant back. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, and wild Indian Elephants Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured.

Itinerary

Day 01: Guwahati – Kaziranga NP

Arrive Guwahati airport. Transfer by car from Guwahati to Kaziranga. Drive East through the wide a scenic Brahmaputra Valley ( Also called the Assam Vallkey), for 220 Kms in 4.30 hrs to Kaziranga National Park. Upon arrival, check in at Wild Life Resort.The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park has more than 70% of the world’s one-horned rhino population, 70% of the world population of the Eastern Swamp Deer and 75% of the world’s wild Asiatic water buffalo. It has a significant population of the Asian Elephant. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, and wild Indian Elephants Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured. The Park also has more than 450 species of birds, 18 of them are globally threatened species. The Bengal Florican is the main attraction.

Day 02: Kaziranga

Two wild life safaris by jeep in the outlying ranges of the park. Overnight at hotel / lodge.

Day 03: Kaziranga

Early morning Elephant safari followed by two wildlife safaris by jeep. Overnight at your wild Life Resort.

Day 04: Kaziranga- Guwahati

Transfer Kaziranga to Guwahati in time to board your departure flight. The driving time is 4.30 hrs.

 
 
 
 

Majauli is famous as the world’s largest river Island. But it is really more interesting for its 22 satras – Hindu Vaishnava monasteries, that are also centres for the arts. At the satras on Majauli, Lord Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the Mahabharata, with music and poetry. To visit the monasteries and witness the satriyya dances, and explore the tribal villages, an overnight stay is required. Stay at community run tribal habitat offers a chance to peep into their culture and explore the shoreline of the island. Entry and exit from Majauli is via Jorhat and  by ferry on Brahmaputra – an experience to remember. 

  

Itinerary

NE/02 : 07 days Fascinating Majauli, Tea gardens and Wildlife

Tour Detail:

Featuring : Majauli Island Jhorat heritage tea bungalows, Kaziranga National park and Gibbon WLS
Explore the world heritage Kaziranga National Park by jeep and on Elephant back, Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, and wild Indian Elephants Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured. Visit the Gibbon wild life sanctuary to see six different types of monkeys including the Hoolak Gibbon- the only Ape found in india. At Majauli, the World’s largest river island, experience a fascinating river crossing, See Mhishing, Deori, Chutias and Sonoalkachari tribals, and stay at a Mishing tribal abode hosted by the local community. Visit a Satra (Hindu Vaishnava monastery). Explore the shoreline in a country boat and watch glorious sunsets. At Jorhat, visit a tea garden and stay at a heritage tea bungalow.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Jorhat by air from Kolkata and drive to a Tea Estate

Arrive Jorhat at mid day and drive to heritage tea bungalow for overnight.

Day 02: Jorhat – at a Tea Estate

Spend the day exploring tea garden and factory and nearby village. Overnight at Tea bungalow.

Day 03: Tea Estate- Nimati ghat- Majuli

Drive to Nimati Ghat in 45 minutes. Cross the mighty Brahmaputra River by ferry to Majauli Island (Kamlabari ghat) in 1.30 hrs.
Majauli is famous as the world’s largest river Island. But it is really more interesting, for its 22 satras – Hindu Vaishnava monastries that are also centres for the arts. At the satras, Lord Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the Mahabharata, with music and poetry.
Explore the Island, Visit a Satra and tribal villages. Overnight stay at a community home run by the Mishing tribe – a unique property constructed exactly like a Mishing tribal house out of Bamboo and thatch; with modern toilets.

 

Day 04: Majauli exploration

Explore the island with a local guide. See locals engaged in riverine agriculture, fishing, weaving and pottery making Explore the shoreline in a country boat for water birds, and watch the breathtaking sunset on the great river. Overnight at Community home.

Day 05: Majuli Island– Nimati ghat

Drive to Kamlabari to take the ferry departing at 0830 hrs. Continue drive to your next destination.

Sibsagar is famous for its 18 th Century temples. This was the ancient capital of the Ahom Dynasty which ruled the Assam Valley for over 600 years. The town dedicated to Lord Shiva is strewn with ancient ruins. The artificially created Sibsagar tank, built in 1734, spreds over 257 Acres. It has on its periphery the 33 meters tall Shiv-Adol Temple, The Vishnudol temple, and the Devidol temple. Around the town you can visit Talat Ghar- the 18th century seven storied palace with three underground floors. The nearby oval shaped amphitheatre called the Rang Ghar. 13th century ruins are located at Charaideo.

Dibrugarh, similar to Jorhat, is also a centre of the heritage tea industry. The “Raj “ period tea gardens have some lovely Chang bungalows built on stilts , where you can stay. An added attraction is a visit to the Buddhist Tai-Phake Tribal Village, and Dibru Saikhowa National Park.
Guwahati, Jorhat and Dibrugarh are all connected by rail, road and airways. Several trekking options ranging from 2 to 7 days

Itinerary:

NE/DS-04: Debru Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve:

Day 01-02: Dibru Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve;
Two full days of wildlife viewing. Each day we will drive 10 kms from Tinsukhia to the entry point to Dibru-Saikhowa. for wild life viewing by boat and on foot. We will be exploring grasslands, swamps and forest habitat. Each day return to Tinsukhia for overnight at your hotel.

Day 03: Tinsukhia- Dibrugarh for departure: Transfer from Tinsukhia to Dibrugarh airport for boarding your departure flight to Delhi, Guwahati or Kolkata.

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