This is a very special tour which takes you through the beauty of Nature in Bhutan and the feel of the magnificent and vast river Bhramaputra which flows from China to North East India and to Bangladesh. We bring you a pre-tour of Green Bhutan and then to Assam for the Upstream Cruise...
Day 1 (Sunday): Departure
Day 2 (Monday): Arrive Kolkata
Our representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. Overnight at the hotel
Day 3 (Tuesday): Kolkata / Paro by Flight & Paro / Thimphu (Approx. 41 miles / 65 kms / 2 hour drive)
Fly to Paro. The flight over the Himalayas reveals breathtaking views of the world's highest peaks, taking you right into the Dragon kingdom's cloud scraping airstrip at the lush green Paro valley. (alt. 7000 ft). Upon arrival in Paro, meet your Bhutanese tour director and then drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. In the afternoon, visit Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery which houses most of the government offices and the King's Throne room. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)
Day 4 (Wednesday): Thimphu
Get an insider's view of the Bhutanese culture. Explore the traditional arts at the famed School of Arts & Crafts in Thimphu. Visit the Tango Gompa and the National Library which houses an extensive collection of ancient Buddhist literature. Visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School). In the evening visit the colorful market of Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)
Day 5 (Thursday): Thimphu / Punakha (Approx. 44 miles / 70 kms / 4 ½ hour drive)
After an early breakfast, drive to Punakha. In the afternoon visit Khamsum Yulley, Namgyal Chorten (the newly built stupa) and Wangduephodrang Dzong. Stretched along the hilltop, above the confluence of the Punakha Chu and Tang Chu rivers, the imposing Wangduephodrang Dzong is the town's most visible feature. This district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate, mined in a valley, a few kilometres out of the town. Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)
Day 6 (Friday): Punakha / Paro (Approx. 110 miles / 176 kms / 5 hour drive)
Spend the morning at leisure. Later drive to Paro and check-in to your hotel. Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)
Day 7 (Saturday): Paro
The first stop of the day is Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong ('fortress of the heap of jewels'). Drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. Along the way, see the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King. Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)
Day 8 (Sunday): Paro / Guwahati / Onboard M.V Mahabaahu
After breakfast, drive to the airport to board your flight to Guwahati. Our representative will meet you at the Guwahati airport. Time permitting, we will visit the temple of Kamakhya on the way to the ship (Please note that the temple is closed from 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm). This Temple is devoted to the eternal feminine, the goddess of desire – Kama Khya – the granter of desires. Animal sacrifices take place here almost daily.
At 14:00 hours, the M.V. Mahabaahu sets sail for Kiriakara. Guests will be given a safety briefing, followed by a special Captain's welcome dinner. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 9 (Monday): Kiriakara / Tezpur
Spend the day sailing to Tezpur – the upstream cruise offers a perfect vantage point from where to view life on the mighty Brahmaputra. Enjoy a massage in our spa, soak in the jacuzzi or swim laps in the pool. You may prefer to scan the river for a fleeting sight of the Gangetic Dolphins or do some bird watching from the decks. There's lots to do onboard. The book lovers are sure to enjoy our well stocked library. In the late afternoon, enjoy a presentation on 'TheWildlife of Kaziranga' or you could watch a DVD on the tribes of Assam. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 10 (Tuesday): Tezpur / Kaziranga
Wander through the manicured tea gardens of the Wild Mahseer Tea Plantation, watch tea pickers at work and taste the perfect cup of Assam tea. The Wild Mahseer Tea Plantation is a top-class resort, in the Planter bungalow tradition, which takes you back to the colonial days. Later, our ship sails towards Silghat.
After lunch, depart for a jeep safari to the Kaziranga National park. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Kaziranga National Park is located in the flood plains on both sides of the Brahmaputra. The most prized inhabitant of Kaziranga is the Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros, but the Park is home to as many as 180 different mammals including wild elephants, deer, bison, and a rich variety of birds. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 11 (Wednesday): Kaziranga / Bishwanath
Rise before dawn and set off for the Kaziranga National Park for a once-in-a-lifetime elephant safari to look for the elusive rhinoceros and tiger. After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, return to the jungle for a jeep safari. Lunch is back on the ship as it sails to Bishwanath. Here, we take smaller boats to visit this charming village. Watch the village women weave cotton and silk. In the evening, enjoy a dance performance onboard followed by a demonstration of the technique of wearing an Assamese sari. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 12 (Thursday):Bishwanath Ghat / Towards Majuli
While the ship sails to Majuli, spend a lazy day pampering yourself onboard the ship. Relax, swim, go for a massage to the spa or simply sit on the deck and unwind. Arrive at an isolated island for drinks and dinner. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 13 (Friday): Majuli Island
Arrive at Majuli in the afternoon and after lunch onboard, visit the Satra's. Majuli is a treasure house of Assamese culture. Ancient monasteries, dedicated to the preservation of the arts, have existed here since the 15th century. Written records are found of the visit of Shankardeva, a social reformer, during the 16th century. He promulgated a form of Hinduism that was also called Vaishnavism. He established monasteries or hermitages that were called Satras. These Satras became the hub of culture, art, religion and lifestyle. Even today, Satras preserve antiques like weapons, utensils, jewelry and other articles of cultural importance. In Majuli, we visit Samagudi Satra and enjoy the masked dance. We also meet the Mishing people in their village.
Return to the M.V. Mahabaahu and enjoy a talk on 'Vaishnavism in Assam'. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 14 (Saturday): Majuli / Nimati / Sibsagar
The morning starts with a visit to the Auniati Satra. Visit the prayer halls and get a rare peep into the living quarters of monks and see the art of fan-making. A drum dance is the perfect way to end this cultural experience.
Sail to Nimati. Disembark and travel overland to Sibsagar, the ancient capital city of the Ahom Kings. Sibasagar, which literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva', is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire – the Ahom. The Thai-speaking Ahoms came to the area from Yunnan, China, in the 13th century AD. The town is built around the Sibsagar Lake, dug over 200 years ago. On its banks are located some of the famous temples of Sibsagar. The Shiva Temple, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Hindu temple in India.
Back onboard the M.V. Mahabaahu, there is time to relax and pack before the farewell dinner. Overnight onboard (B, L, D)
Day 15 (Sunday): Disembarkation
Disembarking at Nimati, guests departing from Dibrugarh airport will have an early morning departure. Travel time is four hours through the rich agricultural fields and paddies of Assam.