North East Exotica & Hornbill Festival
North East Exotica & Hornbill Festival
Duration 11 nights 12 days

The Seven Sister States are a region in northeastern India, comprising the contiguous states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. The sisters lie deep in the lap of easternmost Himalayan hills in north-eastern part of India. Connected to rest of India by merely a 20 km wide strip of land (at Siliguri, West Bengal), this region shares an over 2,000 km border with Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

We discover a lesser known trail covering Scotland like features of Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya to remote monasteries and virgin forests of Arunachal to endangered species of one horned Rhino of Kaziranga in Assam and finally the fierce people of Naga tribe in Nagaland and gentle tea gardens of Jorhat.

The people of this region are a mixture of Aryan and Mongoloid origin, most of the tribal group’s racial origins being visibly those of the peoples of Tibet, Burma, Thailand and Laos. They consequently have little in common with the rest of India. The region is known for its unique culture, handicrafts, martial arts, and scenic beauty. It is home to some 166 tribes & tribal groups, and each has its distinct & unique cultural identity. The states are heavily forested and have plentiful rainfall.

    Day 1: Guwahati- Cherrapunjee 5-6 hrs drive

    Fly into Guwahati around mid- morning and drive to Cherrapunjee. Reach Cherrapunjee resort in the evening. Check-in and rest. Bonfire in the evening. Night stay in Cherrapunjee.

    Day 2: Cherrapunjee – full day Caving

    Meghalaya has more than 5000 caves out of which only 600 have been mapped till date. The Krem Mawmluh cave we take you to is a labyrinth of routes totaling about 7 kms. We reach Cherrapunjee, put on overalls and boots and with carbide lamps firmly put on head, we are all set for our adventure. We get into the cave through a small opening. Once inside, it is a different world altogether. We walk on sand and rocks, squeeze ourselves though narrow openings, sometimes on all fours. You will be able to see the impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations and water pools. Open your lunch hamper in one of the sandy chambers in the cave or finish caving and open the hamper outside on the rocks under the sun.
    Those not keen on caving, go for a sightseeing trip of Cherrapunjee.

    Day 3: Cherrapunjee - Shillong 3 hrs

    Double Decker Living Roots bridge walk- 10 kms drive and 5-6 kms walk one way- 6-7 hrs round trip.
    This is one of the most beautiful walk. Beyond the Double Decker Root Bridge you walk on level ground another 2 km (say 20 minutes) to reach Mawsaw Steel Rope Bridge. From here you access natural swimming pools. The larger pool is deep and we recommend only good swimmers to attempt it. The smaller pool can be used by others. After a refreshing swim, it is time for lunch. Leave the pool side by 2:30 p.m. to reach the top before it is dark.
    Drive back to Shillong and stay the night in Shillong. Shillong is the Pop-music capital of India.

    Day 4: Shillong- Nameri National Park 7 hrs

    Nameri is a haven for many rare animals. The rich wildlife includes Tiger, Asiatic Black bear, Clouded Leopard, Leopard, Indian wild dog, Asian elephant, Gaur or Indian Bison, Chinese Pangolin, deer (Sambar, Muntjak and Hog deer), Capped Langur, Jackal, etc. Various species of birds such as the endangered white-winged wood duck, four species of Hornbill, butterflies and reptiles are also found here. Nameri is famous for its golden Mahaseer and it was an angler's paradise prior to declaration as a national park.

    Day 5: Nameri

    Rafting on the river and walk in the forest.

    Day 6: Nameri – Kaziranga- 5-6 hrs

    Leave for Kaziranga around mid- Morning. Reach Kaziranga towards early in the evening close to sunset time. Check into the resort. Night stay in a resort. Lady Curzon, wife of the British Viceroy to India, visited Kaziranga in the winter of 1904. Unfortunately, contrary to her expectations of seeing the great Rhino itself, she could only find a few of its hoof marks. Struck by its perilous state she impressed upon her husband Lord Curzon, the need to save the Rhino. Today 100 years later, in what can be called this Century’s Greatest Conservation Success Story, the Rhino population at 1600 is the single largest in the world!

    Day 7: Kaziranga

    A full day safari in the park. Night stay in resort.

    Day 8: Kaziranga

    A half day safari in the park. Night stay in resort.

    Day 9: Kaziranga - Kohima 5- 6 hrs

    After breakfast at leisure, drive to Kohima where we stay for the night.

    Day 10: Kohima - Hornbill Festival

    To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima from 01-07 Dec. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions. The Festival is named after the hornbill, the globally respected bird and which is displayed in folklore in most of the state’s tribes.

    The weeklong festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colorful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and religious ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display. Festival highlights include Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts, Food Stalls, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Cultural Medley-songs and dances, Fashion shows, Beauty Contest, Traditional Archery, Naga wrestling, Indigenous Games, and Musical Concert.

    Day 11: Kohima - Jorhat 5- 6 hrs

    Drive to Jorhat. Check into hotel on arrival. Rest of day free for sightseeing. Night stay in hotel.

    Day 12: Jorhat – Dibrugarh Fly out 3-4 hrs

    Leave early in the morning from Jorhat and reach Dibrugarh to board flight for your onward destination.

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