(5 nights 6 days)
Tucked away in the Far Eastern corner of the state of Assam, on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra is a region that tea aficionados, the world over, affectionately refer to as Camellia Country or Tea Capital of the World: most Indians know this place as Dibrugarh. Its easternmost location has in a way cut it off from Indian mainland and hence industrial activity is minimal, the only major industry being tea, which is in itself connected to nature. It is an undisturbed haven where billions of tea leaves in miles & miles of tea estates release oxygen in the air and regulate the carbon-dioxide. This results in crystal clear blue skies and an unusually clean air to breathe and a breathtaking landscape of lush greenery as far as the eye can see. Come dusk and Mother Nature displays an even grander, jaw drooping sunset spectacle: looking eastward from the riverside the sky comes alive in brilliant shades of rainbow colours as the rays of the setting sun get refracted & reflected by the Himalayan ranges – it is simply unforgettable.
This region is also the gateway to the Hidden Land of Eastern Arunachal – the Lohit River valley in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. Inhabited by the warm & friendly Mishmi Tribes in scattered small villages like Wakro, Singpho…this spectacular area is a boon for those who are keen to experience offbeat Arunachal without doing arduous road drives.
Dibrugarh has always had a swank airport, but passenger flights were too few & far between, and access by road/ rail is quite strenuous. All this kept tourism at bay. However, now there are regular daily flights from Mumbai & Delhi via Kolkata / Guwahati and offbeat travel aficionados can now taste this heady Assam – Arunachal travel cocktail without much ado.
- Day 1: Delhi - Dibrugarh 4 hr 15 min flight / Kolkata – Dibrugarh 1 hr 15 min flight
Board a morning flight from Delhi (DEL) or a noon flight from Kolkata (CCU) and reach Dibrugarh Airport (DIB) in the afternoon. You’d be received at the airport and transferred (15- 20 min drive) to a heritage Tea Bungalow in a serene tea estate. Freshen up and relax. Later take a stroll in the estate and enjoy sundowners in a tree house. In the evening enjoy a Bihu dance performance on the bungalow lawns. Overnight at Mancotta / Chowkidinghee Heritage Chang Bungalow.
BIHU: this 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.
CHANG BUNGALOW: when the British established their tea plantations in mid-19th century they quickly built comfortable bungalows designed to make life for the Saab & Memsaab. A remarkable design feature of these lavish structures is that they are raised on stilts, so as to keep the house cool by allowing the breeze to blow underneath and to keep both water and animals out! Chang in the local language means “raised on stilts” and hence the name.
- Day 2: Dibrugarh - Tea Tour & Boat Cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra
Start your day with a glorious early morning walk in the mist draped tea estate taking in the aroma of the freshest & finest teas of the world– we assure you nothing can be more invigorating & energizing. Post breakfast; take a tea tour in the tea estate & also visit the factory known for producing highest quality CTC teas. Later we drive to the river front and do a cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra River in a country boat; going up to a beached island - en route there is a possibility of sighting flocks of migratory water birds and the elusive Gangetic River Dolphin. Enjoy stunning views of the Eastern Himalayas; take a nature walk in the vast expanse of grasslands surrounding the island and enjoy a delightful picnic lunch. You also have the option to go for Kayaking. Return to the mainland and go for a visit to the local market. Sunset is reserved for the riverside, to see a spectacular multi-colored sunset. Overnight at the Chang Bungalow.
- Day 3: Dibrugarh – Wakro (max valley alt. 2000 M) 190 km / 5 hrs
After breakfast we set off for Wakro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. It is a great drive through the pristine natural beauty of the Eastern Himalayan foothills. The visual experience is embellished by numerous Orange plantations with the fruits being of a particularly vibrant & striking hue of Orange. En route we stop at Empong Village to see the Khampti tribals and also visit a gloriously gilded Thai style Buddhist Temple. By afternoon we reach Wakro and check into comfortably furnished Huts built in Traditional Mishmi Style at an eco-tourism campsite run in partnership with the local Mishmi community. The retreat is set amidst pristine, verdant and enchanting natural beauty. It has four huts, each with two rooms that share a shower bath located conveniently behind the hut. It also has a gazebo which provides for the common seating and dining area. In short it is an ideal getaway for the nature lover.
- Day 4: Explore Wakro Valley
Today we visit the local Mishmi tribal villages like Kanjan, Pukhuri and Thomba, to interact with local tribals and get a peek into their rich culture and traditions. We also visit Parasuramkund – a spot where the Lohit River flows around a stone formation believed to be the axe of Parasurama. It is a spectacular & idyllic picnic spot for any nature lover, apart from being a scared spot for Hindu pilgrims during a couple of days each year around Makarsankranti.
- Day 5: Wakro – Digboi – Dibrugarh
After breakfast drive back towards Dibrugarh. En route we visit Digboi, the first oil town of South Asia. See the Oil Museum and the 2nd World War Allied Forces Cemetery where 200 graves are permanently maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Later take a detour of about 45 minutes each way to Margherita and visit the Singpho village. Once at Dibrugarh check in at the Heritage Chang Bungalow. You might also like to catch another riverside sunset.
- Day 6: Dibrugarh - Fly back
Post breakfast transfer to Dibrugarh Airport, in time to board flight for onward destination. Time permitting, en route the airport, we will visit a local weaving centre.
Visit to tea factory is subject to being operational on the day of the visit. There is no tea plucking between December till mid March and hence the actual manufacturing process of tea cannot be demonstrated when one visits the factory during this period. Also, the factory remains closed on Monday, and so is the case with the Digboi Oil Museum.