THE ASSAM – MEGHALAYA TOUR
07 DAYS/ 06 NIGHTS
DAY 01: GUWAHATI – SHILLONG, MEGHALAYA
Received at Guwahati airport and drive to Shillong (130 kms/ 3 ½ hrs). On arrival we check in at the hotel for 02 nights in Shillong. Evening option to visit Police Bazar.
Meghalaya, swaddled amidst wraith-like mists is aptly called “the abode of clouds”. It is one of India’s prettiest states inhabited by the Khasis, the Jaintias and the Garos. It is known for its matrilineal society, which governs lineage and ancestral inheritance through the female line. It stands out for its traditional and natural beauty among the other states. Its historical strengths have been irreversibly linked with its superlative natural setting.
Best Hotels in Shillong
Ri Kynjai , Royal Heritage-Tripura Castle , Hotel Centre Point , Blueberry Inn , Polo Towers .
Best Restaurants in Shillong
Cafe Shillong , City Hut Family Dhaba , Cafe Shillong Heritage , Dejavu , Royal Heritage Tripura Castle Restaurant. Lamee.
DAY 02: SHILLONG – CHERRAPUNJEE – SHILLONG
Today we take a day excursion to Cherrapunjee (55 kms / 01 ½ hrs), 1300mt – once the heaviest rainfall area in the world. The drive will give us a spectacular view of deep gorges and the rolling hills luxurious with tropical vegetation that boast an innumerable variety of ferns, moss and orchids. At Cherrapunjee, we explore the Arwah Lumshynna cave, Nohkalikai Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls etc. En-route we also visit the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, for a nature walk. We then return to the hotel for the night.
Sohra is 56 kms from Shillong and is literally the high point of any visit to Meghalaya. One of those ultimate eco-friendly destinations, a place renowned all over the world for having the privilege of receiving the highest rainfall in the world. Set against the backdrop of breath-taking landscape, it is a place to discover the Indian summer monsoons. A unique annual meteorological phenomena directly influenced by the south west monsoon and the north east winds. The heavy monsoon rains over these mountains undoubtedly creates in Sohra one of the rarest bio-diverse vegetations in the world. Truly a beautiful corner in north-east India, waiting to be discovered and explored.
The old Cherra or Sohrarim was the original Cherra village but with the coming of the British who set up their headquarters further south, the village came to be known as ‘Sohra’ or present day Cherrapunjee. It was here that the British realised the enormity and intensity of the rainfall and set up a meteorological office for measuring the rain.
Sohra was declared by the British to be the capital of Assam in 1832, which was later shifted to Shillong in 1866 due to the inclement weather.
The Nohkalikai Falls : A hauntingly beautiful waterfall, cascading down from the top of the gorge to the mystic deep green pool below, reminding one of the tragic legend associated with it, of a grief stricken mother who plunged to her death, unable to overcome her sorrow over the murder of her daughter by her husband.
The Nohsngithiang Falls: It also known as Mawsmai falls, is 1 km south of Mawsmai village and derives its name due to the fact that the waterfalls are situated in a south westerly position and get illuminated by the sun from dawn to sunset. The vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful to behold.
The Mawphlang Sacred Forest – Just 28 kms away from Shillong is Mawphlang Sacred Forest, one of Meghalaya’s most celebrated sacred forests, as the world over, are steeped in spiritual belief and held in great veneration. They also represent some of the earliest representations of preserving the ancient ecosystems. This is a dense forest where the Lyngdoh (chief) used to offer sacrifices and prayers. Not a branch should be broken or else a curse may befall on that person. This grove is surrounded by a lush green valley and a great variety of plants like orchids, include the carnivorous varieties and ferns grow here.
Best Hotels in Cherrapunji
Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort , Serene Homestay . Kutmadan Resort , Polo Orchid , Coniferous Resort .
Best Restaurants in Cherrapunji
Orange roots , Cafe Cherrapunji , Avron restaurant , 7 Trep Food Stop .
DAY 03: SHILLONG – KAZIRANGA, ASSAM
Post breakfast we drive to Kaziranga (270 kms / 07 hrs). Enroute visit DBCIC Museum. On arrival we check in at the hotel for 02 nights in Kaziranga.
The Kaziranga National Park – is a World Heritage Site, where more than 75% of the world’s total population of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros can be found. It lies on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River and is one of the oldest parks of Assam. Besides rhinos, the Asiatic Water Buffalo numbering over 1200, elephants over 1000, tigers more than 81, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer can be seen. About 400 species of birds are found in Kaziranga National Park. Swamp Francolin, Kalij Pheasant, Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveller, Northern Pintail, Streak Throated Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Osprey, Palas’s Fish Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Pied Falconets, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Greater Adjutant Stork, Black necked Stork, Grey-headed Lapwing, Indian White Backed Vulture, Long Billed Vulture, along with a large number of Spotted Billed Pelican can be found here. Sighting is excellent and is always a great experience. The specialties here is the blue napped pitta among a host of eagles and waterfowl.
Note: The Park remains open from 1st Nov to 30th April only.
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.
Note: The DBCIC Museum : The Museum has the following holidays – All Sundays, January 1, January 26, January 31, August 15, November 2, Second last Monday in November, December 22-25 (both days inclusive), December 31, Thursday before Easter to Easter Monday (both days inclusive).
Best Hotels in Kaziranga
IORA – The Retreat,Kaziranga , Infinity Resort Kaziranga , Resort Borgos , United 21 Grassland Resorts .
DAY 04: AT KAZIRANGA, ASSAM
We spend the full day exploring the beautiful forests and grasslands of the National Park, with morning and afternoon jeep safari. Evening option to visit Orchid Park cum and Biodiversity Reservation Centre at Kaziranga. Overnight at the hotel.
Forenoon: Entry time between 07:00 to 09:30 Hours. Visiting time till 12:00 Noon
Afternoon: Entry time between 13:30 to 15:00 Hours. Visiting time till sunset.
Best Restaurants in Kaziranga
Hornbill Restaurant , Maihang , Scarlet Flame Iora – The retreat .
DAY 05: AT KAZIRANGA- MAJULI-JORHAT, ASSAM
After breakfast we drive to Neematighat (80 kms / 02 hrs) for ferry crossing (1 hr downstream boat cruise- the time depends upon the water level of the river) to Majuli – the largest inhabited river island in the world and famous for the Vaishnavite Satras or monasteries (Kamalabari Satra, Auniati Satra, Benganti satra, and many more) and culture. It is nestled between the confluence of the Subansiri and the Brahmaputra River. Visit the monasteries and interface with the tribes on the island. Later in the afternoon ferry back to the mainland and overnight at Jorhat.
Majuli Island-A World Heritage Site, is located in the Brahmaputra River and is the largest inhabited riverine island in the world. The island has long served as a monastic retreat to the Vaishnavite community and is noted for its beautiful rural setting and the traditional Assamese and Mishing tribal architecture.
On arrival, we drive to a monastery and en-route pass through both Assamese and Mishing Villages – the Mishing houses are typified by being built on stilts and their ‘long house’ style of design. At the monastery you will be given an orientation tour by one of the monks of the monastic cell and temple. (Please note that you will be expected to remove your shoes when entering the Vaishnavite monasteries). These Satras/ monasteries were set up by Srimanta Shankardev, the leader of Vaishnavite revival in the 16th Century. These are active cultural hubs and nurture the traditional dance form ‘Satriya’ (which is the 5th nationally recognized dance form other than Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali and Manipuri), music and crafts (mask- making), besides religious teachings.
The Mishings belong to the Tibeto-Burman clan of the Mongoloid race. It’s not known exactly where they migrated from, but it is believed that they were dwellers of the hills of present day Arunachal Pradesh. This explains the cultural and linguistic similarities they have with the people of the Adi (erstwhile Abor) tribe, and to some extent of the Hill Miri and Dafla tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Somewhere around the 13th century, they started migrating towards the plains of Assam, most probably in search of fertile land. This exodus continued for at least 2-3 centuries.
As fate would have it, they found one of the most fertile river-beds (that of the mighty Brahmaputra) and settled on both banks along the length of the river, starting right from Sadiya in the east, to Jorhat in the west. They continued their practice of living in thatched houses raised on bamboo stilts, known as Chang ghar. It was a protection against flood waters during the rainy season, although the original logic behind raised houses was protection from wild beasts.
The yearly floods ensured that the Mishings lived a life of abject poverty and misery. Agriculture being their main occupation, floods affect them in more ways than one.
Their chief festival is Ali-Aye-Ligang, in the month of February, which celebrates the agricultural harvest. Most Mishings follow both the Donyi-Polo and Hindu religions, and there are a few Christians who follow the Catholic or Baptist faith. The language of the Mishing people is also known as the Mishing language.
Best Hotels in Majuli
Ygdrasill Bamboo Cottage , La Maison de Anand , Dekasang Resort .
Best Restaurants in Majuli
Saffron , Hotel Jora Palace , Meridian Restaurant .
DAY 06: JORHAT-SIVASAGAR-DIBRUGARH, ASSAM
Post breakfast drive to Dibrugarh (145 kms / 03 ½ hrs). Enroute we visit the Ahom monuments and temples at Sivasagar which encompass the 600 year old history of the Ahom Dynasty.On arrival check in at Mancotta/Chowkidinghee Heritage Chang Bungalow for overnight. Evening enjoy a cultural programme at the Bungalow Lawn.
Sivasagar was once the capital of the Ahom Kings. The Shans who came from Thailand through Northern Myanmar to this area in early 13th century, ruled for 600 years. The Siva Temple, built by the Ahoms, situated here is believed to be the tallest of all existing Hindu temples. The ruins of the Ahom palaces and monuments dot the landscape around this historical town. Centuries, before the arrival of the British, this part of the world was controlled by a number of tribal chieftains.
In the town of Sivasagar, one can still see the remaining well preserved relics. The largest and the oldest ampi-theatre of Asia (Rang Ghar) is also another remarkable landmark in the history of Sivasagar. The Tai- Ahom Museum of Sivsagar contains some of the relics of the Ahom period like – swords, clothes, manuscripts and sundry artifacts
Dibrugarh is the gateway to the “Hidden Land” of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and Northern Myanmar. The Ahoms from Thailand came through Northern Myanmar to this area in the 13th century to establish their Empire which thrived in the ancient land of Assam. It is the “Camellia” town of Upper Assam, an undisturbed haven, with its rich tea gardens resembling a lush green carpet. Experience and enjoy the richness of these tea gardens while staying at the Heritage Chang Bungalows. These are constructed on stilts and are situated in a serene atmosphere free from pollution.
When the British established their tea plantations in the mid-19th century they quickly built comfortable bungalows designed to make life as pleasant as possible in what, was to them, a hostile and strange land. One of the main features of these buildings has given rise to their name – Chang bungalows. Chang in the local language means “raised on stilts” and the design served multi purposes- to keep the house cool by allowing the breeze to blow underneath and to keep both water and animals out!
Bihu is the most popular folk dance of Assam. The people of Assam are very proud of its unique position among all other such dances of India. Except Bhangra (the popular folk dance of Punjab), no other folk dance in India can compete with the rhythmic exuberance of the Bihu dance. ‘Bihu’ performed by young men and women reflects youthful passion and joy rejuvenating life during the spring season, accompanied by songs woven around the theme of love and physical yearning. The dance is performed by all irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
Best Hotels in Dibrugarh
Dibrugarh Club House , Hotel Tea County , Hotel Devika , Monalisa Hotel .
Best Restaurants in Dibrugarh
Eat Repeat , Moung Phi Inn , Mb’s Sweets & Snacks , Laziz Pizza . Moti Mahal Deluxe .
DAY 07: DIBRUGARH FLY OUT, ASSAM
Today morning take a tea walk in the garden. Later in time transfer to Dibrugarh airport to board flight for onward destination.
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