The Great Himalayan Road Traverse

The Great Himalayan Road Traverse

(67 nights 68 days)

Not for the faint hearted and certainly only for true Himalayas enthusiasts, this road trip covers the Himalayas from its Western end in India to eastern end via Nepalese and Bhutanese Himalayas offering a range of sights, sounds and smells.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Delhi- Srinagar- Sonamarg (2804m) - 1 hr 20 min flight & 84 km/2 ½ hrs drive
  • On arrival at Srinagar airport, drive on to Sonamarg. Later visit Thajawas Glacier.
  • Day 2: Sonamarg- Kargil- Beema (2850 M)- 180 km / 8 ½ - 9 hrs
  • Today’s is a stunning drive from lush greenery into cold harsh desert. Cross mighty Zojila and reach Drass, the second coldest place on the planet. See the war memorial. Cross Kargil and reach Hamboting La and carry on through the Darchik - Batalik sector: very undisturbed & pristine mountain terrain with incredible views.
  • Day 3: Kargil- Beema- 83/ 3 hrs
  • Visit Chulichan – A border village near Batalik, walk up to visit the quaint villages of Dha & Hanu to see the unique culture, traditions & lifestyles of these people & of course the flamboyant & bizarre floral headgear of the women. Stay at Beema.
  • Day 4: Beema- Chitkan – Lamayuru – Leh (3505 M)- 228km / 8hrs
  • Drive on via Sanjak valley & Chitkan. Cross Fotu La (4107 M) & Namika La (3780 M) to reach the moonscapes of Lamayuru. This is probably one of the best drives of the trip. Later reach Khalsar and carry on along the Indus all the way to Leh – stop en route at Nimmu (confluence point of the Indus & Zanskar).
  • Day 5: Leh –Turtuk (avg. alt. of Nubra Valley is 3048 M)- 225 km / 8 hrs
  • Drive over the mighty Khardung La (5602 M) into the verdant Nubra Valley. Reach the base of the valley at Khalsar. Here the road forks & the broad valley get divided into two distinct parts by the Shyok & Nubra Rivers. Drive via Deskit & Hunder to reach Turtuk area at the north western end of the valley bordering the Balti province.
  • Day 6: Turtuk
  • Walk in & around the villages interacting with the warm & hospitable locals, enjoy a traditional Balti meal and go for a hike.
  • Day 7: Turtuk- – Sumoor & Panamik -Nubra Valley at Deskit- 200 kms / 5-6 hrs
  • Leave Turtuk and drive back to Hunder & Deskit and on the Siachen side of Nubra Valley to reach Sumoor Village. Visit the ancient Samstanling Gompa. Drive back and enjoy a ride on the Double Humped Camels in the deserts of Hundar. Enjoy a great sunset from a vantage point near the outdoor statue of the Sakhyamuni Buddha near Deskit Gompa.
  • Day 8: Diskit – Wari La (5050 M) - Pangong Tso (4250 m)- 230 km / 9 hrs
  • Drive to one of the most fantastically located, beautiful and biggest lakes of Ladakh. 3/4th of the lake is in China and 1/4th is in India. Enjoy the evening & sunset time by the lake.
  • Day 9: Pangong Tso- Hemis – Leh (3505m) 170 km / 5 hrs
  • In the morning go for a ½ hr drive along the lake till the villages of Man & Merak. Drive back to Leh via Tangse & over Chang La. Take a short detour of about 15 mins each way to see the grand Hemis Gompa.
  • Day 10: Leh
  • Visit Shey & Thiksey Gompas, Stok Palace & Museum in Stok Village, enjoy a traditional Ladakhi meal and see the Leh Palace and the bazaar. Evening at leisure.
  • Day 11: Leh- Jispa (3505 M)- 339 Kms / 12 hrs
  • Drive over Baralacha La via Serchu, Gata Loops. Cross Naki La (4740 M) & Lachalung La (5060 M); drive through the vast, amazingly stark Moray Plains. Cross Tanglang La (5328 M) and reach Jispa by evening.
  • Day 12: Jispa- Kaza (3800m)- 230 kms/ 7 hrs
  • Drive to Kaza via Chandratal, a lovely high altitude lake and Kunzum la, one of the highest passes in Himachal Pradesh. Reach Kaza in the evening.

    Spiti, locally pronounced "Piti", it is bounded on its south and west by the valleys of Kulu and Lahaul; the region of Ladakh lies to the north and the Kalpa valley lies to the south-east. Geologically and archaeologically, Spiti is a living museum. The mountains are devoid of any vegetation and erosion by wind, sun and snow over thousands of years has laid bare the rocks. The rugged and rocky mountain slopes sweep down to the riverbeds giving the landscape a moon-like appearance. Kaza is the capital of Spiti Valley. Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti in "Kim" in these words: "At last they entered a world within a world - a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains... Surely the Gods live here. The topographical similarity with Tibet and widespread prevalence of Tibetan Buddhism, has led this region to be referred to as Little Tibet.

    Spiti, locally pronounced "Piti", it is bounded on its south and west by the valleys of Kulu and Lahaul; the region of Ladakh lies to the north and the Kalpa valley lies to the south-east. Geologically and archaeologically, Spiti is a living museum. The mountains are devoid of any vegetation and erosion by wind, sun and snow over thousands of years has laid bare the rocks. The rugged and rocky mountain slopes sweep down to the riverbeds giving the landscape a moon-like appearance. Kaza is the capital of Spiti Valley. Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti in "Kim" in these words: "At last they entered a world within a world - a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains... Surely the Gods live here. The topographical similarity with Tibet and widespread prevalence of Tibetan Buddhism, has led this region to be referred to as Little Tibet.

  • Day 13: Kaza- Ki Gompa – Kibber – Gete – Kaza 
  • Visit Ki monastery and Kibber village. The greatest wealth of Ki Gompa lies in its collection of ‘Thangkas’ salvaged with difficulty from the devastating raids of the Dogars and the Sikhs in the 19th century. The pastures of Kibber village are spread over hundreds of square kilometers. Gete is one of the highest villages in Asia connected by road.
  • Day 14: Kaza- Nako (3662m)- 128 kms/ 5 hr
  • Leave for Nako visiting Dhankar and Tabo Gompas. Tabo Gompa reputed to be the oldest (an inscription on a wall here indicates, it was founded in AD 996) continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in India and the Himalayas, with its original decoration and iconographic program intact. We also visit Dhankar Monastery. The fort here overlooks the Spiti valley and it was used as a jail in olden days. Today, more than 160 lamas reside here.
  • Day 15: Nako- Sangla (2700m)- 148 kms/ 5 hrs
  • Leave for Sangla around mid-morning. We drive down to Karcham along the Sutlej River from where once again, we start climbing up the mountains to reach Sangla. Camp overnight along Baspa River.

    Sangla is surrounded by towering mountains on all sides and is set on the banks of the Baspa River that surges through the valley. For a long time, it was cut off from the rest of the state until it was opened to Tourism. Very pristine, it offers long walks to discover the amazing fauna and flora of the valley, treks to view snow covered Himalayan peaks, angling for trout, experiences of local culture and traditions. The valley is also full of apple orchards.

    Sangla is surrounded by towering mountains on all sides and is set on the banks of the Baspa River that surges through the valley. For a long time, it was cut off from the rest of the state until it was opened to Tourism. Very pristine, it offers long walks to discover the amazing fauna and flora of the valley, treks to view snow covered Himalayan peaks, angling for trout, experiences of local culture and traditions. The valley is also full of apple orchards.

  • Day 16: Sangla- Visit Chitkul village (3,450M) - 40kms drive and 5 kms hike- 5-6 hrs
  • Chitkul is the last village on the old Indo-Tibetan trade route. It is a remote little hamlet with a lovely temple built in typically Kinnauri architecture. From here, we hike up to Nagasthi, the last border outpost that civilians are allowed to. Rest of the day at leisure back at camp. You could also try your hand adventure sports.
  • Day 17: Sangla- Thanedar (2200m)- 165 kms/ 6 hrs
  • We drive down again to Karcham and continue driving along the Sutlej River. In the last part of the journey, we gain altitude once again and Reach Thanedar by late afternoon. Stay in a retreat in the midst of apple orchards.

    Situated on the old Hindustan - Tibet road, Thanedar unfolds as a magnificent panorama of mountains. The farthest of them are cloaked in snow, others are deodar clad or draped in a soft blue haze. In a gorge, some 6,000 feet below and clearly visible to the naked eye, flows the River Sutlej. Thanedar enjoys a special place in Himachal history. In 1916 Samuel Stokes, a social worker from Philadelphia brought the first apple saplings to this place he had adopted as his home. One can still see the 'Starking Delicious' apples in the orchard that he planted there.

    Situated on the old Hindustan - Tibet road, Thanedar unfolds as a magnificent panorama of mountains. The farthest of them are cloaked in snow, others are deodar clad or draped in a soft blue haze. In a gorge, some 6,000 feet below and clearly visible to the naked eye, flows the River Sutlej.  Thanedar enjoys a special place in Himachal history. In 1916 Samuel Stokes, a social worker from Philadelphia brought the first apple saplings to this place he had adopted as his home. One can still see the 'Starking Delicious' apples in the orchard that he planted there.

  • Day 18: Thanedar
  • Relax at Thanedar for the day and enjoy the vistas. You could also hike to the Hatu Peak which, at 3352m offers a panoramic view of the snowline of Shrikhand Mahadev mountains.
  • Day 19: Thanedhar- Mussoorie (2000m)- 240 kms/ 7-8 hrs
  • Drive through some of the most pristine backroads of Himachal and Uttarakhand to reach Mussoorie by evening.
  • Day 20: Mussoorie
  • Rest day in Mussoorie to explore the summer hill settled by the British. You could visit the Christ church. You could also go for a hike.
  • Day 21: Mussoorie- Karnaprayag (1451m)- 213 kms/ 6-7 hrs
  • An interesting drive via Tehri dam in the state of Uttarakhand. Karnaprayag is where two major rivers namely, Pindar Nandakini meet.
  • Day 22: Karnaprayag- Kausani (1890m)- 141 kms/ 5-6 hrs
  • This is another drive through some of the lesser known roads of Uttarakhand. You get a fantastic view of high Himalayan peaks from Kausani. Several snow- capped peaks such as Bunder Poonch, Chaukamba, Neel Kant, Badrinath, Kedarnath, triple peaks of Trishul, pyramid shaped peak of Nanda Devi, the pole shaped Nanda Kot and five peaks of Panchachuli, all stand in a stately row.
  • Day 23: Kausani- Sonapani (2000m)- 91 kms/ 3-4 hrs
  • Sonapani is a tiny Hamlet close to Mukteshwar. It has an interesting history. There used to be an old natural spring perceived to have medicinal properties and hence the village was named, Sonapani. Some British officers happened to drink water from here and took to it immediately. Thereafter, water from the spring was supplied to the officers of nearest army garrison. One of these officers was the decorated Captain Kushal Singh Burathoki. On his retirement, he was given a piece of land of his choice. He chose this land and named it Sonapani Estate. The estate is flanked by Pine, Oak and Rhododendrons forest. And of course not to miss is the fantastic view of the Himalayan peaks. There are also orchards of apricot, apple, plum and peach.
  • Day 24: Sonapani
  • Today, we drive to Mukteshwar; the starting point of a trek back to the estate through pine forest. Mukteshwar is a quaint little town. Sonapani is also a good area for bird watching. Enjoy a packed lunch in the forest. Back to the retreat early evening.
  • Day 25: Sonapani- Mt. Abbott (2134m)- 115 kms/ 4-5 hrs
  • The historic hamlet of Abbott Mount was founded by and named after Mr. John Harold Abbott. An English businessman who wanted to start a hill station for the European community at the turn of the 20th century. Unlike many Indian hill stations Abbott Mount has changed little since its inception. There are only thirteen secluded cottages spread over this private hill. There is a picturesque church set amidst the forest and an old cricket pitch with an unsurpassed view of the mountains.
  • Day 26: Mt. Abbott- Bardia National Park (1400m)- 265 kms/ 7-8 hrs
  • Today we enter Nepal after a short stopover at the border for passport, visa check. Located in the lowlands of Nepal, most of the park of Bardia is forested with a mix of grasslands, savannah and riverine forest. There are 839 recorded species of flora, 642 species of fauna and 125 species of fishes and 23 of reptiles in Karnali- Babai rivers and their tributaries. The Park is also known for one- horned Rhino, Bengal tiger, wild elephants, Gangetic dolphin and is a part of Tiger project.
  • Day 27: Bardia National Park
  • Spend the day in the park to explore and discover local Fauna and Flora.
  • Day 28: Bardia- Tansen (1315m)- 315 kms- 7-8 hrs
  • A long day on the road leads us to Tansen which serves as a stopover on way to Pokhara. Tansen is an interesting little Newari town with a rich history. Newars are a community in Nepal known for their metal work and for producing Dhaka cloth. It was once the capital of Magar kings.
  • Day 29: Tansen- Pokhara (784m)- 128 kms/ 4 hrs
  • Today, we get the first really good view of High Himalayas including Machapuchare peak (Fishtail mountain peak) in Nepal. On arrival in Pokhara, check into rooms at a resort alongside the lovely Phewa Tal. The place itself is lovely and in the afternoon, we could go for a short hike or bird watching.
  • Day 30: Pokhara
  • Early morning, drive to Sarangkot for sunrise views. Sarangkot offers an excellent view of a range of mountain peak and the sight of first morning rays falling on them is simply mesmerizing. Enjoy incredible sunrise views of the Annapurna Peaks glowing in hues of orange & gold in the rays of the morning sun. We go for a Pokhara valley tour later including Davids falls, Seti River Gorge and peace Pagoda walk.
  • Day 31: Pokhara- Bandipur (1030m)- 77 kms/ 2.5 hrs
  • Bandipur is a quaint little Newar town. Reach Bandipur around mid- morning. It is a lovely Newar town to walk around on cobbled stoned pathways – free from vehicular traffic. See the stunning Newari architecture and the traditional lifestyle exemplified by the people, buildings & temples in this place. After lunch, you could also go for a walk to see the Siddha Cave – Nepal’s largest one. It has amazing stalactite formations. You could also visit Patale Dwar –a nearby cave considered by experts to be a geological wonder.
  • Day 32: Pokhara- Dhulikhel (1531m)- 164 kms/ 5 hrs
  • Drive to Dhulikhel via Kathmandu. Dhulikhel is situated on main highway to Tibet and serves as a main trading hub between Nepal and Tibet. Aside from the breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalaya stretching from Langtang to Everest and beyond, there are plenty of interesting places to see in the town. You could walk around the town and loose yourself to time in the tangle of cobbled laneways, discover ancient houses with sagging wooden frame works, intricate carvings, hidden temples and thriving market squares. To the east of the town, you can climb the “Hazar Sindhi” (one thousand steps) to the Kali Temple, where you can be inspired by the snow capped peaks rearing above the steeply terraced foothills. Enjoy great sunset and evening Himalayan panorama view.
  • Day 33: Dhulikhel- Koshi Tappu Reserve (80m)- 310 kms/ 8-9 hrs
  • This is a long day on the road. Reach Koshi Tappu wildlife reserve in the evening. Koshi Tappu is another park in lowland plains and is a birder’s paradise.
  • Day 34: Koshi Tappu Reserve
  • Day spent in the reserve to explore and discover.
  • Day 35: Koshi Tappu- Kakarbhita- Siliguri (398m)- 142 kms/ 5 hrs
  • Reach Siliguri in the evening after a stopover at the Indo- Nepal border. Rest of the day at leisure.
  • Day 36: Siliguri- Darjeeling (2046m) - 64 kms/ 2 hrs
  • Drive to Darjeeling through the tea gardens with magnificent views of the Rangit valley and the Kanchendzonga range. Stay the night in a lovely tea estate.
  • Day 37: Darjeeling- Pelling (1900m) - 73 kms/ 2.5 hrs
  • Pelling offers best views of Mr. Kanchendzonga. We visit Kecheopalri Lake and a waterfall at Rimbi. Later around sunset time, visit the Rabdentse ruins. The scenic view from the top of the ruins scanning across the deep valley, to the mystic heights of the Kanchenjunga range is quite unforgettable.
  • Day 38: Pelling
  • Visit the Pemayangtse Gompa in the morning. Rest of the day, visit stunning valleys of Uttarey & Dentam – towards the border with Nepal.
  • Day 39: Pelling- Rumtek (1500m) - 119 kms/ 3-4 hrs
  • Drive via Ravangla to the exotic Temi Tea Garden, spend some time here enjoying this stunning locale and later drive through typical Sikkimese mountainside dotted alluringly with terraced land & orchards to finally reach Rumtek by late afternoon. Later visit Rumtek Monastery – Sikkim’s largest and 2nd largest in Asia after Lhasa.
  • Day 40: Rumtek – Dzongu (2439m)- 74 kms/ 3 hrs drive
  • Dzongu is an official reserve for the Lepcha community in North Sikkim. Kilometers of stunning beautiful wilderness greet you as you enter Dzongu. Numerous waterfalls cascade down every hill, visible here and there amongst the lush green trees. Mighty rivers flow in steep and narrow valleys nurturing all the life here and ultimately adding to the Teesta. Snowy mountain ranges form the backdrop and bird calls add to the pretty painting that the landscape here is. Everything here exudes a deep sense of solitude and calm. This pristine natural beauty is aptly complimented by the warm hospitality during your home stay in a Lepcha household.
  • Day 41: Dzongu
  • A full day to enjoy the beauty of this region on short hikes & drives to monasteries, waterfalls and other villages. You could also try crossing the river on cane bridges that the tribals have made at various points – this is very thrilling and certainly not for the faint hearted. Angling in the crystal clear waters of the Ryong Chu or Teesta and later having it cooked Lepcha style is yet another option
  • Day 42: Dzongu- Gangtok (1650m)- 52 kms/ 2 hrs
  • Drive back and stay the night at Gangtok, capital of Sikkim. Day is free to do as you please. You could visit the zoo, handloom emporium, bazaars or just walk around the town.
  • Day 43: Gangtok- Siliguri- 126 kms/ 4 hrs
  • Morning at leisure. In the afternoon, drive to Siliguri, closest town to Bagdogra airport from where we take a flight next day.
  • Day 44: Siliguri- Bagdogra- Paro- 2200m- 14 kms/ 0.5 hrs drive and 1 hr flight
  • Land at Paro airport. After freshening up at your hotel, leave to see the National Museum- the first of its kind it has a collection that covers everything from natural history to religious paintings. Also drive up to the Paro Dzong and walk on the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Evening stroll in town to take a peek into local handicrafts stores.
  • Day 45: Paro
  • Hike up to awe- inspiring Tiger’s nest monastery perched gingerly on a cliff hundreds of feet high.
  • Day 46: Paro- Thimphu (2350 M)- Punakha Valley (1260 M) – 142 kms / 4 hrs
  • Drive to Punakha valley- Bhutan’s winter capital- via Dochu la. Stop here to see the exquisite 108 chortens and stunning views of snow clad Himalayan ranges. Later, visit the scenically located Punakha Dzong situated at intersection of the Po Chu & Mo Chu Rivers. Later hike up to Chimi Lhakhang – The Fertility Temple.
  • Day 47: Punakha Valley- Phobjikha Valley at Gangtey (3000 M) - 60 kms / 2 hrs
  • Today, we drive towards central Bhutan and into the hidden & pristine Phobjika Valley – winter home to the rare & endangered Black Necked Cranes. Visit the imposing Gangtey Gompa, located atop a hilltop this is the largest and only monastery of the Nyingmapa sect in western Bhutan.
  • Day 48: Phobjikha Valley at Gangtey
  • An early morning walk into the valley is an immensely pleasurable experience. Visit the Norsen carpet factory in Tibiting. In winters do a walk on the Gangtey Nature Trail to spot the Black Necked Cranes.
  • Day 49: Gangtey - Bumthang Valley at Jakar (2800 M) 150 km / 5- 6 hrs
  • From Gangtey, we head back to the main highway, carry on over Pele La (3390 M) and enter central Bhutan. At Trongsa, we stop to take a look at the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Moving onwards to Bumthang Valley we cross another high pass Yotong La (3425 M) and we also stop to see local weavers of Zugney & Chumey.
  • Day 50: Jakar
  • Bumthang valley is the spiritual & cultural heart of the country. Today, we visit Jakar Dzong – the largest in the country, Wangdichholing Palace, and the over 1500 yr old Jambey Lakhang. We also visit a Swiss Cheese Factory.
  • Day 51: Bumthang Valley- Mongar (1600 M) 198 kms / 7 hrs
  • The journey from Bumthang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas, crossing two high passes Sheylang La (3596M) & Thrumshing La (3780M). Mongar marks the beginning of eastern Bhutan. Mongar is situated on the side of a hill in contrast to other towns of western Bhutan which are built on the valley floor.
  • Day 52: Mongar - Trashigang (1150 M) 90 kms / 4 hrs
  • Today we cross over Kori La (2298 m) to reach Trashigang on the bank of Gamri Chu River. This is the country's largest district and was once the center of a busy trade with Tibet. This town is also the market place for the hill people from Merak and Sakteng who are remarkable for their exceptional features and costumes.
  • Day 53: Trashigang- Samdrup Jongkhar 180 kms / 6 hrs
  • Drive to the border town; Samdrup Jongkhar. The scenery and vegetation changes drastically as you drive through light mountain jungle.
  • Day 54: Samdrup Jongkhar - Guwahati Airport- Shillong- 210 kms/ 6 hrs
  • Cross the border and once again enter India and travel to shilling; the pop music capital of India. We stay in a retreat overlooking the beautiful Lake Umiam.
  • Day 55: Shillong- Mawmylong- Shillong
  • In the morning, drive through some absolutely stunning scenery to reach Mawlynong close to the Bangladesh border. This picturesque hamlet has earned its reputation as the cleanest village in Asia; besides the picturesque village offers many interesting sights such as hike to a living roots bridge, a huge boulder naturally balancing on a small rock, a sky view point which offers panoramic views. After spending a couple of hours here head back to Shillong.
  • Day 56: Shillong- Kaziranga- 5 hrs
  • Kaziranga 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, Elephants, Tigers, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer can be seen. About 400 species of birds are found in Kaziranga National Park. Swamp Francolin, Great Hornbill, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Pied Falconets, Greater Adjutant Stork, Long Billed Vulture. There is no telling what one might find in Kaziranga but it is always a great experience. The specialty here is the Blue-Naped Pitta among a host of Raptors and Waterfowl. The adjoining buffer areas are worth a try too, as numerous rare sightings are reported regularly. The park remains open from 1st Nov to 30th April only.
  • Day 57: At Kaziranga
  • Early morning go for an elephant safari. In the afternoon, go for another jeep safari.
  • Day 58: Kaziranga –Majuli- 80 kms/ 2 hrs + 1 hr cruise
  • Drive to Neematighat for ferry crossing to Majuli - the largest inhabited river island in the world and famous for the Vaishnavite Satras or monasteries 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. 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, you will be transferred by road to a monastery, 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. These Satras were set up by Srimanta Shankerdev, the leader of Vaishnavite revival in the 16th Century. These are active 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.

  • Day 59: Majuli- Sivasagar- Dibrugarh- 145 kms/ 45 hrs
  • En route to Dibrugarh, we visit the Ahom monuments and temples at Sivasagar which encompass the 600 year old history of the Ahom Dynasty.

    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 amphitheatre 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.

  • Day 60: Dibrugarh
  • 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 amphitheatre 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.
  • Day 61: Dibrugarh-Wakro- 190 kms/ 4-5 hrs
  • En route to Wakro, visit Empong Village to see the Khampti tribes and also visit a Buddhist Gompa. Khamptis are one of the major tribal inhabitants of the Lohit District. They are deeply influenced by Buddhist ethics and morality. The Khamptis are Buddhists of the Theraveda School. They are the only tribe in Arunachal Pradesh who has their own script for the language. Traditionally, they live on the cultivation of paddy and other crops. The social structure of the Khamptis is well organized on the basis of clan or village determined by kinship or locality.

    Wakro (maximum valley altitude 2000m) is the homeland of the “Mishmis” one of the Mongoliod tribes of Tibeto-Burman origin. They speak their own dialect. The three major Mishmi groups are “Idus” “Tarons” and the ‘Kamans’. Mishmis are very rich in culture and may be termed as a festival loving people. They believe any day of the year is auspicious for a ceremony if provisions exist. On these days animals are sacrificed. Mishmis are nature worshipers. They are the inhabitants of Lohit Districts and the border area of adjoining district. Kabeya, or Pharai in their traditional village council who exercise the judgment of any disputes comes to their society. Their dresses reflect the artistic taste and the cultural thinking of the society. The male dress of Miju and Digaru consist of a sleeveless black or maroon coloured cloth with ornamental boarders and waist cloth with a embroidered flag in the front. They wear a head dress of woven cane. The women wear black skirts with coloured stripes reaching above the ankle and a beautiful embroidered bodice and a shawl. The also wear beautiful ornaments made of silver. The women keep themselves busy in weaving. The men are involved in making cane and bamboo products. These people may be termed as festive tribe.

  • Day 62: Wakro
  • Wakro (maximum valley altitude 2000m) is the homeland of the “Mishmis” one of the Mongoliod tribes of Tibeto-Burman origin. They speak their own dialect. The three major Mishmi groups are “Idus” “Tarons” and the ‘Kamans’. Mishmis are very rich in culture and may be termed as a festival loving people. They believe any day of the year is auspicious for a ceremony if provisions exist. On these days animals are sacrificed. Mishmis are nature worshipers. They are the inhabitants of Lohit Districts and the border area of adjoining district. Kabeya, or Pharai in their traditional village council who exercise the judgment of any disputes comes to their society. Their dresses reflect the artistic taste and the cultural thinking of the society. The male dress of Miju and Digaru consist of a sleeveless black or maroon coloured cloth with ornamental boarders and waist cloth with a embroidered flag in the front. They wear a head dress of woven cane. The women wear black skirts with coloured stripes reaching above the ankle and a beautiful embroidered bodice and a shawl. The also wear beautiful ornaments made of silver. The women keep themselves busy in weaving. The men are involved in making cane and bamboo products. These people may be termed as festive tribe.
  • Day 63: Wakro-Roing- 160 kms/ 5 hrs
  • Drive to Roing in the Debang valley of Arunachal Pradesh crossing the Lohit River at Digaru. En route, visit Parasuramkund- a pilgrimage site where thousands of pilgrims come every year during Makar Sankranti to take a holy dip in the Lohit River. Roing rises from the Himalayan foothills to the middle ranges with the highest point of Mayodia at a height of 2655 meters from mean sea level. Snow-capped peaks, turbulent rivers, mystic valleys and abundance of rich flora & fauna are a few attractions of the district. The district is well known for its largest cover of thick green forest with almost 80% of the area being notified as reserved forest, wild life sanctuaries or unclassified state forests. Idu Mishmi is the major tribe inhabiting this area along with the Adi Padam tribe in the lower plain areas. They build their houses on the slant of hills or in the forest .The roof is thatched with grass bamboo, timber etc. Their clothing is remarkable for the wealth and beauty of its designs. Most of it is made by them with wood, partly from cotton and sometimes of nettle fibre. They also wear thick coats of black with white pattern made of nettle fibre and human hair. The abundance of natural beauty, colorful and charming tribes, ancient archeological sites make the place a perfect destination for nature lovers, adventurous tourists, archeologists and anthropologists.
  • Day 64: Roing
  • Today, we we drive to Mayodia Pass (55kms/1hr30mins) - a unique pass situated at an altitude of 7000 ft amidst lofty hills, lush green forests and breathtaking landscapes. Return to Roing and visit the local villages.
  • Day 65: Roing –Tinsukia (Dibru Saikhowa National Park)- 120 kms/ 4 hrs
  • First, we drive 02 hrs to reach Sadiya Ghat to board a ferry cruise (01 hr) on the headwaters of Brahmaputra River to reach Soikhowaghat. From Soikhowaghat we drive 01 hr to reach Tinsukia. Afternoon at leisure at a heritage bungalow near Tinsukia. Located just 5km from Dibru Saikhowa National Park, it is the ideal retreat for a birding break. It defines serenity and you will most certainly leave revitalized. It s the ideal base whether on a quest for quietude or seeking refuge whilst on an explorative ornithological voyage at the neighboring Dibru Saikhowa National park. Although riverine in nature, this park remains open most of the year with innumerable varieties of birds chirping. Endangered species like Gangetic Dolphin and Feral Horses are common sights in Dibru- Saikhowa.
  • Day 66: Tinsukia
  • Today early morning, we visit Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Magori Bheel for a full day birding programme. We take several boat rides on the Dibru River, go for jungle walk for bird and Gangetic Dolphin sighting.

    Dibru-Saikhowa National Park has the most distinct and vibrant wilderness on earth and is known for its pristine scenic beauty. The forest in this park ranges from semi-evergreen to deciduous to littoral to swampy marshes with patches of wet evergreen jungles. It is a safe haven to many rare and endangered species of over 350 birds and is a must visit site for target-list birders. The big four here are Jerdon's Bushchat, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Marsh babbler and Jerdon’s bushchat. Several other rarely observed species can be found in the extensive grasslands, wetlands, and riverine forests. These include Baer's Pochard, Bengal Florican, Pale-capped Pigeon, Falcated duck, Baikal teal, Chinese spotbilled duck and Rufous vented prinia etc. Dibru-Saikhowa is a haven for an incredible no. of waders, ducks, raptors and its specialty grassland birds.

  • Day 67: Tinsukia-Digboi-Dibrugarh- 133 kms/ 3 hrs
  • Today early morning we visit Barekuri Village to see a small group of Hollock Gibbons. Later, drive to Digboi, the first oil town of South Asia. Visit the Oil Museum and the 2nd World War Allied Forces Cemetery where 200 graves are permanently maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Reach Dibrugarh in the evening.

    Barekuri –The village is famous for the presence of a few number of Hollock Gibbons, an endangered ape species found in India. Here, the Hollock gibbon have been protected and cared for since long by the villagers on account of their age old religious beliefs. Every day, the villagers feed them and they always stay in and around the village. The people of the village never cut the tall trees, because the gibbons live on them, and they believe that it’s a bad sign if anybody sees a gibbon walking on the ground.

  • Day 68: Fly back
  • Transfer in time for flight from Dibrugarh to Kolkata/ Delhi
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DESTINATIONS

Destinations across the length and breadth of Himalayas

Himachal

Himachal is known for of its forests, rivers, v

Himachal

Ladakh

Drives across high mountain passes, great lakes,

Ladakh

Uttrakhand

Uttarakhand is a region of outstanding natural be

Uttrakhand

Bhutan

Opened to tourism only in 1974, Bhutan is today o

Bhutan

Sikkim

Home to India's highest peak; forest, rivers and

Sikkim