This is a fascinating tour to one of the lesser known and visited parts of India, the remote north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Visit tea plantations in the far east of Assam, explore tribal villages in northern Nagaland, sail on the mighty Brahmaputra river, look for the rare one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga, and travel through the beautiful hills of Meghalaya.
Day 1 - Kolkata
Arrival day. Kolkata is a chaotic mix of colonial buildings, gardens, enormous memorials and overcrowded squalor! A vibrant and memorable introduction to India.
Day 2 - Dibrugarh
Fly to Dibrugarh on the Brahmaputra river, surrounded by picturesque tea estates.
Day 3 - Dibrugarh
Visit Digboi, site of a British Second World War cemetery, and Nam-Phake, an ethic tribal village of stilt houses whose ancestors migrated from Thailand and who still maintain their age-old culture.
Day 4 - Mon
Drive to Mon in northern Nagaland, a mountainous and narrow strip of land, bordered by Myanmar and home to over fifteen different Tibeto-Burmese tribal groups, known collectively as the Nagas. This area is home to the Konyak tribe, once known for the practice of headhunting, who live in villages of communal longhouses decorated with the skulls of mithun (wild buffalo). The older men have elaborate tattoos and wear feathered headgear and traditional dresses.
Day 5 - Mon
Full day excursion to visit Lungwa, situated right on the Myanmar border, and the hilltop village of Cheanghah Chingyu. Outside the village chief's house is a board which mentions that his father, who died in 2001, was married to 18 wives and had hunted 130 heads in his lifetime. Some of the skulls are still lying in a pit in the garden and will be proudly shown to you.
Day 6 - Mokokchung
Continue to the pretty town of Mokukchung, home to the Ao Nagas.
Day 7 - Mokokchung
Visit the nearby Ao village of Longkhum, located on the highest hill top in Mokokchung district. Not far away is Chuchuyimlang, a village that has won an award for being one of the cleanest villages in India. Streets are indeed amazingly clean with wonderful displays of flowers in the front of the houses. Every house opens onto a well tended garden, and the people are accustomed to visitors and welcome a chat.
Day 8 - Jorhat
Drive to Sivsagar, once the capital of the Ahom Kingdom, to see the Shiva Temple here. Afterwards continue to Jorhat, a major tea centre and conveniently located for visiting the nearby Majuli island.
Day 9 - Majuli
Take the local ferry on the mighty Brahmaputra river to Majuli island, noted for its beautiful rural setting and the traditional Assamese architecture. It is also famous for its monastic retreats where the worship of Lord Vishnu is through dance, music and poetry. Watching one of the performances is a riveting experience.
Day 10 - Majuli
A full day to gently contemplate mesmerising landscapes of rice fields, water meadows and fish traps, meet the local Mishing people and learn about Neo-Vaishnavite philosphy at one of Majuli's ancient satras.Walk around the village or cycle to a nearby monastery. It is easy to forget that Majuli is an island, holding within it hills, vast open paddy fields, rivulets, dry sandy river beds and corpses of thick trees. An extra-ordinary large number of birds can be seen here, even just simply by driving or cycling around.
Day 11 - Kaziranga
Cross the Brahmaputra back to Jorhat and continue to Kaziranga. A World Heritage Site and home to more than 75% of the world's population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros. Water buffalo, elephants and tigers can also be seen as well as four hundred species of birds.
Day 12 - Kaziranga
Explore the park on elephant back and by jeep.
Day 13 - Shillong
Drive to Meghalaya, `the abode of clouds' and one of India's prettiest states. Its capital Shillong, is spread out on hills and known as the `Scotland of the East' because of its temperate climate.
Day 14 - Shillong
Visit nearby Cherrapunjee, a picturesque town built along a ridge with spectacular views of deep gorges, waterfalls and luxuriant rain forests.
Day 15 - Shillong
Half an hour's drive away from the city of Shillong, is a large lake called Burra Pani (Big Water). Here at a grassy promontory is the magical resort, Ri Kynjai. The architecture is inspired and derived from the original Khasi thatch huts, which make a symbolic presence as a cap on the roof of the cottages. Each cottage and room is designed with its orientation to the east, capturing the view of the lake and the rising sun.
Day 16 - Guwahati
Drive to Guwahati, the capital of Assam, strikingly located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra river. Explore its many mysterious temples.
Day 17 - Kolkata
Fly back to Kolkata to connect with your onward travel.