The Untamed & Wild North East of India
– Guwahati - Shillong - Umngot River – Pobitora – 4-night Brahmaputra
1 to 15 March, 2020
India is known for her spirituality and wildlife. We will experience unparalelled spirituality and wildlife, not available elsehwere. The one-horned rhino. The Royal Bengal Tiger. Variety of river fish and mammels. We will spend time in the comfort of our ship, and venutre out during the day to wildlife, tantric temples and experience way of life in remote villages. Absence of factories and masses of people presents clear, clean and pure environment, where boating on the famed crystal clear Umngot River feels as if we are floating on a clear slab of glass. An unimginable experience.
This tour is ideal for those who have been to India on earlier opportunities. We will be going to parts of India which are least travelled, with a minimum amount of tourists and thus tourism infrastructure.
This tour will be led by Adrianna Castelazo. Adrianna loves India and starting in the mid 1990s, has been all over the country more than 50 times. Deepak Singh will accompany her.
MARCH DEPART THE AMERICAS
Kolkata (previously Calcutta), the bustling capital city of West Bengal, is the hub of Bengali culture and indeed, the cultural capital of whole India and the commercial capital of Eastern India, was earlier known as Calcutta, but changed to Kolkata in 2001. It has derived the name from Kalikata, which is a village name in the area before the British arrival, means the land of Goddess “Kali”. Kolkata boasts of a rich cultural heritage, evident in its distinct cuisine, clothing, lifestyle, its literature and even architecture.
Important sites include the BBD Bagh area. Once the very seat of British Power, fondly remembered as Dalhousie Square, it was later renamed after the three original writers (Binoy, Badal and Dinesh) who toiled in building. Established in the year 1880 the BBD Bagh building and the surrounding area is still remembered by the old timers as a British landmark. The Memorial House of Mother Teresa was opened in Mother Teresa's hometown of Skopje, present-day Republic of Macedonia. The museum has a significant selection of objects from Mother Teresa's life in Skopje and relics from her later life. In the memorial room there is a model of her family home, made by Vojo Georgievski. Next to the memorial room, there is an area with the image of Mother Teresa as well as a memorial park and fountain.
The Botanical Garden played an important role in cultivating tea long before it became a household commodity. Today there’s a cactus house, palm collection, river-overlook and a boating-lake with splendid Giant Amazon Lily pads but the biggest draw is a 250-year-old banyan tree, 140m across. It’s reputedly the world’s largest but the central trunk rotted away in the 1920s leaving a curious ‘forest’ of cross-branches and linked aerial roots that have become virtual trees of their own. Kalighat is regarded as 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. Dakshineswar Temple is renowned for its famous Kali Temple, located at the extreme north of Kolkata. This temple is associated with Shri Ramakrishna Paramhans Dev who had been an exponent of integration among different religions
Pick up early from hotel and transfer to Godkhali jetty through beautiful countryside and rural bazaar with stopovers at a local tea shop and fishermen’s villages. Arrive at Godkhali. Transfer to our motorized boat. Briefing and interpretation by our local guide cum naturalist followed by 2 hours spectacular cruise through river Hogol, Gomor, Durgaduani and Gumdi. Optional stopover at Gosaba - one of the earliest human settlements of Sunderban to visit the house of Sir Danniel Hamilton, a Scottish banker who introduced agriculture and initiated the first co-operative movement of India here. Arrive at Bali Island and check in into Sunderban Jungle Camp. Lunch followed by 3 hours birding and game cruise to Sudhanyakhali watch tower through creeks and canals.
Depart early, followed by a full day game cruise and birding tour to Netidhopani and Dobanki watch towers. Lunch will be served on board.
Guided village Walk in which participants are encouraged to have a close interaction with the local villagers and their livelihood, Local craft and cuisines, Indigenous farming and household equipments used by the villagers. Guided adventures cruise by manually oared country boat. Arrive at Godkhali and transfer to Kolkata by car.
GUWAHATI: Situated on the southern bank of the River Brahmaputra in the Kamrup District of Assam, is a fast growing premier city. It is the gate way to the North Eastern States of India and a principal center of socio cultural, political, industrial and trade and commerce of the entire region. Dispur, the capital of Assam is a part of Guwahati. In earlier years, this city was full of areca nut trees rappled by pan creepers. Hence this city subsequently got the name Guwahati. The word “Guwa” in Assamese means areca nut and “hat” means market.
Kamakhya Temple: Drive up Nilachal Hill to see the holy Kamakhya temple, the foremost shrine of Assam. Kamakhya Temple dominates Guwahati, as much as the great Brahmaputra river. Kamakhya is an ancient seat of Tantric and shakti cults of Hinduism. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifice, the more squeamish among us may prefer to content themselves with the exteriors.
Sualkuchi : Located on the banks of the Brahmaputra, 1-hr drive north of Guwahati, Sualkuchi is a weaving village that produces some of the best silk textiles in the state. This sleepy little village exudes a charm like no other. Almost every house has an adjacent shed (karkhana) that houses the traditional bamboo looms, the gentle click-clacking of which can be heard from the streets. You can walk into any of the numerous karkhanas and observe the talented weavers giving birth to intricate patterns on the golden Muga silk. In the early years of the 20th century, Sualkuchi was developed as a “crafts village”. Most of the funds for this development work came from eminent Gandhians across the country who responded to the “back to the villages” slogan of Gandhiji’s swadeshi drive. Although the weaving industry of Sualkuchi remained almost confined within the tanti community till the 1930’s with encouragement from the government, people from other communities have taken up silk weaving. There are about 17000 silk looms presently working in Sualkuchi producing an eclectic range of silk products. Most of Sualkuchi’s silk is woven into mekhela-chadar and gamosas. Owing to the increasing demand from other parts of the country, the weavers of Sualkuchi have diversified to saris, shawls and dress material. The silk weaving of Sualkuchi provides direct and indirect employment to more than 25,000 people throughout the year. The large number of looms and the ever increasing output from them has earned Sualkuchi the moniker “Manchester of the East”.
Hajo: The meeting point of Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu faiths on the northern bank of river Brahmaputra, has a number of temples The chief among them being the Hayagrib Madhab Temple – a place of pilgrimage both for the Hindus and the Buddhists. Hajo’s bell-metal work is renowned for the interesting artifacts made by the local craftsmen.
Mawlynnong is a village of 75 households with a population of 400. An idyllic location, this village epitomizes a standard, which all other villages need to aspire to be. Dubbed the cleanest village in India by Discover India Magazine, the primary Village School till class V boasts of no dropout record and the village has a 90 % literacy rate. Paved walkways and beautiful flowerbed all along mark the village, with waterfalls, a living root bridge, hilly rivulets, acacia plantation and an excellent view of the faraway plains of Bangladesh all contribute to the ambience of this village. Farming of betel nut & leaves, broomsticks and pepper along with bee rearing are the primary economic activity of this Village and with the village headman himself taking the responsibility of making visitors comfortable, a day in this village gives an insight into the life of the Khasis, the influence of the Church and its metamorphosis.
DBCIC (Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture) is the largest of its kind in Asia. It is a centre where you can see, learn and experience the diverse culture of all the states of North East India under one roof. Overnight at Shillong. Note: DBCIC Museum remains closed on Sundays.
Smit Village is the seat of Khasi Royalty and tradition located in Mawryngkneng of East Khasi Hills district. It is the traditional seat of power of the Hima Khyrim, a sub-tribe of the Khasis. The Smit plateau has mesmerizing pine trees and charming cottages. Enjoy a village walk to get acquainted to their lifestyle. A traditional wooden house, the Ling Shad, built without any metal nails, exemplifies the traditional Khasi architecture. It belongs to the King of the Khyrim and is believed to be more than 100 years old.
Laitlum Canyon offers a magnificent view of the Khasi Hills.
SHILLONG to GUWAHATI by road and start Bhramaputra River Cruise
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