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Kolkotta , Assam , Arunachal Pradesh

Eastern Himalaya – World Heritage Sites Trip: Sunderbans, Kaziranga, Manas, Brahmaputra & Bodos.

Sunderbans & Calcutta Experience - Itinerary at a glance:
Day 1 Arrive Calcutta – Heritage Tram Tour or Sunset Cruise on the Hoogly river.(D)

Day 2 Heritage Walking Tour, Museum & monuments Tour, Flower Market visit.(B,L,D)

Day 3 Transfer to Bali Island and Sunderbans Camp
Bird and Game cruise .(B,L,D)

Day 4 Full day Bird and Game cruise.(B,L,D)

Day 5 Village walk and adventure cruise.(B,L,D)

Day 6 Trip ends, transfer to airport.(B).Arrive at Guwahati and transfer to
Kaziranga National Park(D)

Day 7: Elephant safari & Game drive in Kaziranga National Park(B,L,D)

Day 8: Elephant safari & Game drive in Kaziranga National Park(B,L,D)

Day 9: Game drive, Tea garden trek, Village experience – Kaziranga National Park(B,L,D)

Day 10: Guwahati transit stopover(B,L,D)

Day 11: Transfer to Manas Tiger Reserve.Village experience(B,L,D)

Day 12: Foot & Jeep patrolling in the Park –Manas Tiger Reserve(B,L,D)

Day 13: Foot & Jeep patrolling,Birding,Grassland trek – Manas Tiger Reserve(B,L,D)

Day 14: Bullock Cart ride, Banana Rafting,Craft tour,Cultural experience(B,L,D)

Day 15: Drive to Guwahati.Afternoon Sunset cruise on Brahmaputra.Overnight at Guwahati(B,L,D)

Day 16: Temple tour & visit to Sualkuchi Silk weavers’ village.Overnight at Guwahati(B,L,D).

Day 17: Transfer to airport and fly out for Calcutta/Delhi(B)

Trip Highlights:
Calcutta city & heritage tour, Tram tour, Hoogly cruise
Game cruises and birding tours within the unique Sunderbans eco-system, potential viewing of tigers in the water
Visiting land based tiger viewing watchtowers
Staying in Eco Lodge on Bali Island – ‘Sunderbans Jungle Camp’
Evening experience at the local Rural theatre (Bonobibi Yatra) performed by the villagers

Trip Description:
Sunderbans is mysterious, unpredictable, vast, untamable and perhaps, the last true wild frontier in the Indian sub-continent. We take you to the world’s largest estuarine forest, a landscape dominated by great tidal creeks and waterways and home to some of the most sought after birds and animals, including the famous ‘swimming tigers’.

Your first two days will be spent exploring the vibrant city of Calcutta with an informative local guide. You will visit many museums and monuments and immerse yourself into this city’s vibrant history. Soak up the ambience of Calcutta on the popular Heritage Walk and tram tour.
Commencing from Calcutta you will be driven through the beautiful countryside before boarding your boat for a cruise to Bali Island, home of the Sunderbans Jungle Camp.
Sunderbans are a part of the world's largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna, here you will experience game cruises and birding tours through this amazing piece of the world. Your cruises will be aboard motorized boats, taking you into the home of the man eating tigers, estuarine crocodiles, sharks and snakes. The dark and foreboding attractiveness of the mangroves offer the chance to encounter myriad birds ~ and of course the unforgettable sight of the most secretive great cat in the world. We will also stop on land at various watchtowers for a closer look. Safety is always paramount and the watchtowers are housed within wire cages so no strolling in tiger-land!
Your experience in Sunderbans does not end with the wildlife, you will have the opportunity to visit the village and interact with the local community. Enjoy a taste of their lifestyle, local crafts,
cuisine and even be entertained in their local rural theatre. The people of Bali Village are your hosts. They are the transformed conservationists and are gainfully involved in the camp. They will take you around the forest or on a cruise through the creeks telling you the story of tigers, birds and flora. They are the people who intimately know each and every turn of the river and every creek.
Your visit contributes to a great extent in supporting the sustainable development of the local community and the conservation of the forest and the great cats.

Itinerary 02
Bamboo, Brahmaputra & the Mystery Mountains (An Exploratory Adventure in the unknown Eastern Arunachal): Ex-Dibrugarh airport 12 nights and 13 days.
The eastern-most state of India is the first to be kissed by the morning Sun, therefore Arunachal Pradesh is also known as the 'Land of the rising Sun’. Bordered by China to the North, Myanmar to the East, Bhutan to the West and states of Nagaland and Assam to the South, this is one of the most verdant and richest biodiversities amongst the Seven Sisters of Northeast India. With 75% of the state under forest cover, outstanding wildlife and intricate network of some of the greatest river systems, colourful tribal communities living in isolation and still practicing a way of life which has not changed much with the passage of time, and the local craft tradition, Arunachal possesses an unmatched combination of great beauties.
If you ever wondered about a place that has yet been left to explore, come to Eastern Arunachal where there is untouched wilderness and where you can be the first to make a fascinating expedition in the most bio-diverse part of the Indian sub-continent.
Namdapha Tiger Reserve spans almost 2000 sq km of mainly pristine, undisturbed, uninhabited tropical forest and contains habitats from riverbanks(200m)to the snow-covered peaks of Daphabhum(over 4,500m).Because of this range in altitudes, Namdapha is said to be home to all the four species of large cats – the Bengal Tiger, the Leopard, the Clouded Leopard and the Snow Leopard! Other than the large cats, at least 90 mammal species including Wild Dog, Hoolock Gibbon, Macaque, are found in the park. A Mammal new to India was recently discovered from Namdapha – the Leaf Deer that is otherwise found only in Myanmar. At least 400 bird species, including the White-Winged Wood Duck, Blyth's Kingfisher, Austen's Spotted Babbler, Wedge-Billed Wren, Rusty-Bellied Shortwing are found here while the park is also famed for snakes and amphibians (over 72 species), some seen in India for the first time, with previous records made in Myanmar.
Brahmaputra is one of the largest and greatest rivers of the world, and its North and South banks are dotted with many historical and cultural heritage sites and some of the outstanding natural landscapes such as Majuli Island, Manas Tiger Reserve, Kaziranga National Park.
From its headsprings in southwestern Tibet as the Yarlung (Imperial blood) River, it flows across southern Tibet where it is known as Dihang to break through the Himalayas in great gorges. It flows southwest through the Assam Valley and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna. There it merges with the Ganges (Ganga) to form a vast delta. About 1,800 mi (2,900 km) long, the river is an important source for irrigation and transportation. Its upper course was long unknown, and its identity with the Zangbo was only established by exploration in 1884-86.
While most Indian and Bangladeshi rivers bear female names, this river has a rare male name, as it means "son of Brahma" in Sanskrit.

The Mishmi Hills:
The Mishmi Hills is a southward extension of the Great Himalayan Mountain Range - its northern and eastern reaches touching China. This is breath catching terrain thrown up by the sharp twisting of the Himalayan ranges as they turn from a south-easterly to a southerly direction and descend rapidly to the tropical forests of China and Myanmar.

Geomorphically, the Mishmi Hills area can be divided into two broad sections: the flood plains of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra River, and the Arunachal Himalayas consisting of snow-capped mountains, lower Himalayan ranges and the Shivalik hills. Steeply sloping landform, sub-tropical evergreen forest vegetation, and high rainfall characterize the area. Nowhere else in the Himalayas can one find so much pristine forest and intact mega-biodiversity.

Much of the Mishmi Hills falls under the Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh. The Dibang Valley district is named after the Dibang River - one of the key tributaries of the Brahmaputra River. The Dibang originates in China and flows through the length of the valley in a north-south direction. Other river systems that flow through the area include the Ithun, Ason, Chipu, Aba, Iphi, Sisiri, Datung, and the Deopani River.
The Dibang Valley district is divided into Lower and Upper Dibang Valley. The headquarters of the two districts are Roing and Anini respectively. Roing is in the plains close to the Lohit River. Anini is at an elevation in the mountains and is close to the China border. The Valley is bounded on the north by China, on the East by the Lohit district and McMohan Line, on the west by the Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh and on the south by the Tinsukia district of Assam. The district rises from the Himalayan foothills to the middle ranges with the highest point of Mayodia Pass at a height of 2655 meters. Snow-capped peaks, turbulent rivers, deep valleys, and abundance of rich flora & fauna are the main features of the district. The district is well known for its large cover of thick green forest, which clothes about 82% of the area.

The area is sparsely populated and predominantly tribal. The major tribes of this district consist of the Adis and Idu Mishmis of Indo-Mongoloid and Mongoloid lineage.

The population density is estimated to be less than 10 persons/km2. The tribal communities are mainly dependent on natural resources for their sustenance. Due to sparse population density, pressures on the forest and wildlife are minimal despite prevalence of traditional hunting. Most of the land area of the state is under tribal ownership and is managed under their customary practices.
Mishmi Hills is situated in the Eastern Himalayan province (‘Eastern Himalaya - Province 2D; Rodgers and Panwar’s (1988)), the richest bio-geographical province of the Himalayan zone and one of the Mega biodiversity hotspots of the world. The complex hill system of varying elevations receives heavy rainfall, which can be as much as 4,500-5,000mm annually in the foothill areas. The pre-monsoon showers start from March and the monsoon are active till October. The humidity in the rainy season is often over 90%. This diversity of topographical and climatic conditions has favoured the growth of luxuriant forests which are home to myriad plant and animal forms. Over 6,000 plants species, 100 species of mammals, 681 species of birds, 500 species of orchids, 52 species of Rhododendron and a large number of butterflies, and insects can be found in these forests.

Trip Highlights:

A. The Mishmi Hills Experience: 02 nights

Nature Trail/hiking
Riverside activities such as fishing/rafting
Traditional Mishmi food & culture
Jeep expedition to Mayodia Pass

B. Chongkham- The Khampti Trail: 02 nights

Khampti Home-stay
River Experience
Jungle Trail
Buddhist Experience
Khampti Cultural Experience

C. The Namdapha Experience: 05 nights

Birding & Nature trails
Singpho Cultural Experience
Chakma Village visit
Guest House stay/Camping
Second World War Reminiscences

D. Dihing River Camp: 02 nights

Birding in Jokai Reserve Forest
Boat expedition
Assamese village & cultural experience

Trip descriptions & day-to-day itinerary:

Day 1: Dibrugarh(Assam):Dibang Valley Jungle Camp, Mishmi Hills
Our Guide will meet you at Mohonbari Airport near Dibrugarh Town.
From Dibrugarh Town you will drive two hours to the Soikhowaghat from where you will take a fascinating ferry cruise across the headwaters of Brahmaputra. The whole journey is an experience as it reveals the life on the ghats that have been operational since the British period and connects all the important river roots of Northeast India. You will arrive at Sadiya ghat and take a picturesque drive of 2 hours though the beautiful rural Assam and Arunachal to reach Dibang Valley Jungle Camp – located at the 12th mile marker, inside a lush farm house that commands a breathtaking view of the Dibang river basin, contiguous forests and the enigmatic Mishmi hills. Overnight at Dibang Valley Jungle Camp.

Day 2: Mishmi Hills:
You will visit the Mishmi villages and soak into their traditional life, farming, weaving, house building. You can even try Trout fishing and rafting in the nearby river, or opt for a day-hike in the mountain. Evening, Mishmi cooking session to understand, learn, appreciate and savor authentic Mishmi cuisine. Overnight at Dibang Valley Jungle Camp.

Day 3: Mishmi Hills:
Today you will take a jeep expedition to Mayodia Pass – the snow point. Birding and short hikes would be possible during the trip.Return to camp. Evening cultural experience. Overnight at Dibang Valley Jungle Camp.

Day 4:Chongkham(Arunachal Pradesh):
From Mishmi Hills you will drive four hours to the picturesque villages of Chongkham near Lohit River, one of the main tributaries of Brahmaputra. The traditional Khampti families of the village will host you. After a freshly cooked Khampti Lunch our local guide will take you on a village tour to show the Khampti traditions, farming and weaving. Dinner and overnight at Riverside Camp.

Day 5:Chongkham(Arunachal Pradesh):
After a local breakfast you will leave for daylong activities such as visit to the monastery and Buddhist Pagoda, boat expedition on Lohit River, jungle trails. Overnight you will stay in the Elephant Camp near Jungle. The villagers will perform a Khampti cultural dance in the evening.

Day 6:Namdapha Tiger Reserve(Arunachal Pradesh):
After breakfast you will proceed to Namdapha Tiger Reserve- your onward destination. You will drive four hours to Camp Namdapha, which is the gateway to the Great Namdapha Tiger Reserve, one of the last surviving intact forests of the trans-border ecosystems of Eastern Himalaya. The park harbors an outstanding array of wildlife including four species of Wild Cat and has been crowned with many new species discovered recently by Scientists to its credit. After Lunch our local guide will take you on a village tour to show the Singpho traditions. Dinner and overnight at Camp Namdapha.

Day 7:Namdapha Tiger Reserve(Arunachal Pradesh):
After early breakfast you will leave for an exciting full day birding expedition to Namdapha forest. Our local Naturalist will assist you in identifying the rare birds and other mammals. Overnight you will stay at the rustic and traditional style log huts in Camp Namdapha by the river Noa Dihing.

Day 8:Namdapha Tiger Reserve(Arunachal Pradesh):
Today after breakfast you will take a 5 kms birding trek to Haldibari. Return to Camp Namdapha and overnight.

Day 9:Namdapha Tiger Reserve- Dihing River Camp(Assam):
You will spend few hours birding in the park and proceed to Miao. After lunch at Miao you will depart for your onward destination Dihing River Camp – situated on the bank of Buri Dihing River that originates from Eastern Arunachal and finally meets Brahmaputra. The Camp has two Chang(traditional Bamboo huts on stilts) cottages with attached western bath. Overnight.

Day 10:Dihing River Camp(Assam)
The morning starts with a filling Assamese style local breakfast and you will set out for a boat expedition followed by a birding tour in Jokai Reserve Forest. Afternoon the villagers will perform a Bihu cultural programme for you at the camp or at the village itself. Overnight.

Day 11. Departure
Transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi/Bangalore.

Itinerary 03
Tribal tracks (Tawang, Papumpare & Ziro): Ex-Guwahati/Tezpur/Lilabari airport 13 nights and 14 days.

Tribal cultural experience
Birding trail
Craft tour
Trekking through remote tribal villages

Day 1, 2& 3:The Ziro Programme-Apatani Trail(Arunachal Pradesh):
Apatanis are, perhaps the most well settled of the indigenous tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh who have stayed behind and chosen to practice old tradition and custom as way of life even after the British left their land. Moving from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a more settled agricultural economy, harnessing the murmuring river Subansiri .Apatanis, living in perfect harmony with nature-for every tree they fell, five fresh saplings are planted, are appreciated for their long conservation tradition and their legendary skill and knowledge of weaving.
The Journey you will drive from Lilabari airport to Ziro- the largest Apatani Hong village. You will be hosted by a Apatani family in their Bamboo hut. You will explore the Apatani social customs, culture, food, unique agricultural tradition, weaving tradition and their craft. You will trek into the Bamboo forest and understand their traditionally sustainable method of pine and bamboo forest conservation. You will participate in a Apatani cultural programme in the village.

Day 4: Itanagar: From Ziro you will drive back to Itanagar where you will visit the Anthropological Museum and Forest Research Institute. You will stay overnight in a small and clean hotel.

Day 5:Tezpur-The City of Blood(Assam):From Itanagar you will be transferred to the historic city of Tezpur- the city of blood where you will explore the archaeological, heritage and pilgrimage sites on the bank of mighty Brahmaputra river.You will stay overnight in a old Assamese style tourist lodge

Day 6 to Day 11:The Tawang-Monpa Trail:
Tawang the headquarters of the Tawang district, located on the Western tip of the state on a mountain ridge at 12000 ft above sea level, is the land of the Monpa tribes- originally from Tibet, and a major centre of the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism. On the way to Tawang lies the World's second highest motorable pass, the Sela Pass.

Tawang Monastery or Gompa also known as the 'Galden Namgyal Lhatse', a 400 year old Buddhist monastery of the Mahayana sect, built in the 17th century is the jewel in the crown of this historic Himalayan town. It is situated on a cliff at a height of 3500 meters or 10,000 feet overlooking the great mountains of two bordering countries – China and Bhutan. The monastery which is considered as second largest outside Lhasa, was founded by a legendary monk, Mera Lama, a contemporary of the fifth Dalai Lama. It is a vast complex of 65 buildings - a treasure house of old scriptures, priceless images, painted tapestries, books and collection of gold lettered Buddhist scriptures. The reading hall and the library of the monastery house the rare hand written and block-printed Thangkas or manuscripts of revered books. The collection includes 108 gold-embossed manuscripts of the 'Teaching of Lord Buddha'.

The Journey: From Tezpur you will take a 6 hours drive to Bomdila following the ancient trade route connecting Tibet to the Brahmaputra plains. The road enters the elephant country along the Nameri Tiger Reserve where a dusk-driving enhances the prospect of having elephant herds blocking your passage! You will stop on the way to visit the largest Orchidarium at Tipi which houses 500 species of rare Orchids. From Bomdila you will hit the serpentine mountain road; stop at Sella for acclimatization and also to visit the War memorial. In Tawang you will visit the Main monastery, craft centre and emporium, local market, war memorial, 6th Dalai Lama's birth place and a traditional Monpa tribal stone village. You will explore Monpa farming, brewing of local beer and their strong social custom and cultural tradition. You will trek to the monastery of the nuns. From Tawang you will come to a beautiful and small village named Dirang where you will be hosted by a small family-run hotel. In Dirang you will visit the monastery, stone village, sheep-breeding farm and you will take a birding tour to Sangti Valley- a sanctuary of the Tibetan Black-necked cranes.

Day 12 & 13:Nameri Tiger Reserve(Assam):
From Dirang your next destination is Nameri, a National Park and Tiger Reserve on the bank of Jia Bhoroli river which is a hot spot for Mahasheer fishing. You will spend 2 days here and explore the park. You will stay in the Eco Camp. You will take birding tour, rafting and angling and a cultural and village experience in the nearby Mishing village.

Day 14:Nameri to Guwahati Airport:
4 hours drive to Guwahati airport to board flight for Delhi or proceed for Kaziranga National Park extension tour.

Bhutan Climate
The climate in Bhutan differs greatly from one region to another because of its topography. Tropical with monsoon....
Travel Guide
The Kingdom of Bhutan requires that all travelers entering on a Tourist Visa be accompanied by English....
Festival dates 2010
Festival (Tshechu) is religious ceremonies held on consecrated ground.The ground where they are held is purified and consecrated by lamas.
Flight Schedule
Druk Air, the national flag carrier of Bhutan is the only airline operating in and out of Bhutan...
Bhutan Climate
The climate in Bhutan differs greatly from one region to another because of its topography. Tropical with monsoon....
Travel Guide
The Kingdom of Bhutan requires that all travelers entering on a Tourist Visa be accompanied by English....
Festival dates 2010
Festival (Tshechu) is religious ceremonies held on consecrated ground.The ground where they are held is purified and consecrated by lamas.
Flight Schedule
Druk Air, the national flag carrier of Bhutan is the only airline operating in and out of Bhutan...
Bhutan Climate
The climate in Bhutan differs greatly from one region to another because of its topography. Tropical with monsoon....
Travel Guide
The Kingdom of Bhutan requires that all travelers entering on a Tourist Visa be accompanied by English....
Festival dates 2010
Festival (Tshechu) is religious ceremonies held on consecrated ground.The ground where they are held is purified and consecrated by lamas.
Flight Schedule
Druk Air, the national flag carrier of Bhutan is the only airline operating in and out of Bhutan...
I am now safely backed home but the memories of your beautiful country will live with me always.My stay in Bhutan was simply wonderful. The trek was little challenging for someone of my age but nevertheless the views were the most beautiful I have seen anywhere in the world and helped to melt the pain.
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