The Sangai Festival – offers the best of art and culture, handlooms, handicrafts, ethnic sports, cuisines, music, as well as the scenic natural beauty of Manipur. Witness the traditional boat race, Hiyang-HirenTanaba, dance forms of Manipur – Ras-Leela dance, Pung Cholom and the ethnic Manipuri dance form that creates magic on visitors with elegant steps and poignant music. Witness Nata Sankirtana, cultural performances by people of hilly districts. The festival also hosts performances by artists from 7 sister states of North East India.
Nagaland is a cultural mosaic of diverse multi-ethnicity sprung up by the several tribes that inhabit the State. Each community celebrates its myriad festivals revolving around the agrarian calendar that makes Nagaland by default, a land of festivals. Twelve years on, this intangible heritage asset has been aptly tagged lined in the changed moniker – “NAGALAND HORNBILL FESTIVAL – FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS” to encompass through collective celebration the color and vibrant elements of all the tribal festivities and give a glimpse of Naga life to titillate cultural sensibilities. What has emerged from a local heritage event, metaphor to a national and international festival has now become a must visit and notable attraction in the travel itinerary of both domestic and international travelers.
KOLKATA (West Bengal): Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India’s West Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India’s capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. It’s also home to Mother House, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, whose tomb is on site.
NAGALAND : Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar. It’s home to diverse indigenous tribes, with festivals and markets celebrating the different tribes’ culture. Its capital city of Kohima suffered heavy fighting in World War II, commemorated by memorials at the Kohima War Cemetery. The Nagaland State Museum exhibits ancient weaponry, a ceremonial drum and other traditional Naga cultural artifacts. The Naga people belong to the Indo-Mongoloid group of people living in the contiguous areas of the North Eastern hills of India and the upper portion of Western Myanmar. The major-recognized tribes of Nagaland are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru and Zeliang. The Naga languages differ from tribe to tribe, and sometimes even from one village to another.
MANIPUR: literally means ‘jeweled land’, is a lush green state, located in Northeast India. If you are a nature lover seeking for breathtaking beauties, or you just want to soak in unique culture and traditions, the hilly Indian state has much to offer you. A land of vibrant festivals characterized by traditional dances, handcrafted clothes, and delicious and healthy food. 20% of the Manipuri population is constituted by tribes — such as Thadou, Mao, Tangkhul, Gangte, and many others — which contribute to the incredible cultural heritage of this state.
Ima Keithel Women’s Market — ‘The mothers’ market’: This is a historical landmark of the Manipuri capital, Imphal. Hundreds of stalls run entirely by women where you can buy fashionable clothing, colorful fabrics, handmade jewelry, fruits, vegetables, spices, and plenty more. In Manipuri, the word ima means “mother” and keithel means “market”.
ASSAM: Termed as the land of “Blue Hills and Red River” Assam is the gateway to the north eastern states and has been aptly described as the sentinel of Northeast India. Surrounded by hills, major rivers such as Brahmaputra & Barak and its tributaries, thick forest, tea gardens which enhances the scenic beauty of Assam. Dotted with monuments of 600 years old Ahom dynasty; the longest ruling single dynasty in Indian history. It was one among the very few dynasties that could not be conquered by the Mughals. Assam is the home to various ethnic tribes and groups, each having its own cultural heritage and unique features in its socio-cultural life including customs, religious belief, language, culture, way-of-life, food, songs & festivals. The state is endowed with more than 600 tea gardens which gives soothing view to the eyes as one travels down to upper Assam. Around 20 tea gardens in Assam have developed and maintained golf courses within the garden area and a few have polo fields. The Jorhat Gymkhana Club is the oldest golf course in Asia and the third oldest in the World. Assam is blessed with the world’s largest inhabited river island Majuli, which has several satras vaishnavite monasteries, some dating back to the 16th centuries; as well as the world’s smallest riverine island in the world namely Umananda Temple which was built in the 17th Century dedicated to Lord Shiva.
KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK: Assam is a home to Five National Parks and 18 Wildlife sanctuaries, the highest concentration in India, are host to 25 percent of India’s floristic wealth and enormous faunal diversity. Kaziranga National Park is home to largest population of world’s one horned rhino species, Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo and Eastern Swamp Deer, wild elephants as well as Migratory birds. This National Park has also the highest density of tigers.
DAY 1- NOV. 26: ARRIVE KOLKATA – INDIA
Fly today to Kolkata, founded by the English in the late 1600s. Dominique Lapierre’s ‘City of Joy’, the city of Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta is more than 300 years old. Kolkata is the current capital of the state of West Bengal, and was also the first capital of the British in India. Meeting assistance and transfer to Hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Evening meet your fellow tour members for tour briefing followed by welcome dinner. KENILWORTH HOTEL D
DAY 2- NOV. 27: KOLKATA- HERITAGE WALK & CITY TOUR
Tour Sovabazar, the ever-vital hub of traditional Bengali culture. ‘Sovabazar area contains a fascinatingly cosmopolitan blend of the seemingly incongruous architectural forms (from Islamic to Baroque, from Victorian to Bengali) which made up the old world dwellings of the city’s wealthier Bengalis. Tour is designed to give you authentic flavor of Bengali culture. This afternoon visit the Secretariat, High Court, Legislative Assembly building, Victoria Memorial, and Jain Temple. Tour the Mother Teresa ashram to see her work and meet with her followers. Mother Teresa’s work demonstrates true conviction is accompanied by action and love in action is service. KENILWORTH HOTEL. BL
DAY 3- NOV. 28: KOLKATA / IMPHAL (MANIPUR)- Sangai Festival
Fly this morning to Imphal, capital of state of Manipur, a state least touched and least discovered too. After settling in at our hotel & lunch, we will visit the Tribal women market. At the centre of Imphal is the fascinating market of Khwairamband run by more than 3000 tribal women. Divided in two sections, one sells shawls, textiles and fabrics including the traditional dress of the “Meitei” tribe of Manipur called “phanek” and the other sells basic household provisions. On the outskirts of the market are smaller shops that sell cane and wicker products. CLASSIC GRAND HOTEL. BLD
DAY 4- NOV. 29: LOKTAK LAKE & KEIBUL LAMJAO NATIONAL PARK
Imagine standing on a piece of land that floats on water. No, not for some fictitious narration or a movie scene, but in real life – this is something that’s actually possible in Manipur. Travel this morning to Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. This iconic lake, is known for its circular floating swamps, called phumdis in the local language. The term phumdis refers to a collection of heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matter at various stages of decomposition. Resembling miniature islands, these phumdis are found in various forms, floating on the lake. The thickness of phumdi varies from few centimeters to two meters. The phumdi floats with 4/5 part under water. Our first stop is at the world’s only ‘floating’ sanctuary that comprises 40 sq. km. of wetland, the Lamjao National Park. Ride the dugout canoe boats through narrow water channels to see the brow-antlered deer, rare wild cats like the marbled cat and the Asian golden cat. Other animals like the Himalayan black bear and the Malayan bear are also seen here. Next take a boat ride on Loktak lake to photograph & to see the floating islands. Enjoy picnic lunch at one of the floating Hotels before returning back to Kohima. In the evening enjoy the Sangai festival dance performances. CLASSIC GRAND HOTEL. BLD
DAY 5- NOV. 30: CITY TOUR
After Breakfast, tour Imphal starting with Kangla Fort, also known as the Palace of Kangla, this place situated on the banks of the Imphal River, served as the royal palace of King Pakhangba. Situated close to the banks of the Imphal River, the Kangla Fort is a symbol of Manipur’s glory.The existence of this fort dates back to 33 AD, when the mythical God-King of Manipur, Nongda Lairen Pakhangba first ascended the throne. It was gradually renovated and developed by successive kings who ruled the place. The fort is witness to the history of Manipur and it has withstood several attacks and invasions too. It was encircled by large boundary walls which the British forces destroyed. There are temples and burials grounds inside the compound. Three Mothers Art Gallery cum Museum envisages and epitomizes the rich culture and heritage, tradition and history of the state. It was established in 1978, and the ‘Three Mothers’ signifies the mother who gives us birth, the motherland & the mother tongue. Next visit RKCS Art Gallery a unique place to witness the history and the culture of Manipur through the paintings of one of the most well-known RK Chandrajitsana Singh. The artist has more than ten thousand works to his credit that beautifully capture the heritage, myths and legends of this state and its
people. From the paintings depicting Phunga Waris, Maibi Jagoi and Ras Leela to those of Kabui Girls, Ema Keithel and Khamba Thoibi, the gallery is a treasure-house of visual delights. The gallery also features paintings on the history of the state. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city or revisit the Sangai Festival grounds on own. CLASSIC GRAND HOTEL. BLD
DAY 6- Dec. 1: IMPHAL/ KOHIMA-
Travel overland to Kohima stopping enroute at Dimapur and other villages to photograph the village life. Nagaland’s capital, Kohima, sits atop ridges and hilltops among forests. There are 16 tribes in Nagaland, each having their own dialect, customs and traditional costumes, but all love music, dance and pageantry. The social position of a Naga is defined by the number of bone necklaces he wears. The Nagas are said to belong to the Indo-Mongoloid stock, a race whose presence was first noted ten centuries before Christ, are mostly Christians and are fluent in English. After settling in we will visit the Hornbill festival. In the evening take a walk in the colorful local market. HOTEL DE ORIENTAL GRAND. BLD
DAY 7 & 8- DEC. 2 & 3: HORNBIL FESTIVAL
The Hornbill Festival takes place in the small village of Kisama where various Naga groups come for a cultural, dancing and sporting week dressed in warrior costumes. As most of the region is dependent on agriculture, all their festivals are based around this aspect. We will be witnessing the first three days of the festival believed to be the best days. Experience the sights and sounds of Naga culture on its opening day. Watch tribes in colorful and distinct costumes perform traditional Naga dances and ceremonies. Have a drink of the local rice beer and be part of this unique festival.
2nd day, you can take your seat in the amphitheatre where the main tribal performances will take place. Festival typically sees tribes from all over North East India’s ‘Seven Sister’ states perform traditional dances depicting war cries or customs relating to their interaction with nature and agriculture. During the day visit the many ‘morungs’ (communal tribal hut) set up around the venue. Each tribe has its own unique Morung.
We will arrive early at the festival site each day, which gives us ample time to wander around the Morungs take photos of the various tribes. There are various food stalls serving Naga specialties, which includes smoked pork, the aroma can be smelt all around the venue! Visit the handicraft and textile shops and pick up some Naga souvenirs. Return to the hotel each evening and time free for independent activities. HOTEL DE ORIENTAL GRAND. BLD
DAY 9- DEC. 4: KOHIMA/ JORHAT- Assam
Travel today to Jorhat in Assam, gateway to northeast of India. We will make several stops on the way to visit and photograph villages enroute. Our stay in Jorhat is at a tea bungalow. HOTAL BANYAN GROVE/ THENGAL MANOR. BLD
DAY 10- DEC. 5: JORHAT- EXCURSION TO SIVASAGAR & SIVA TEMPLES
After breakfast we drive to Sivasagar to visit the monuments of medieval Assam. Explore the tallest Siva temple in the world. Sivasagar was once the capital of the Ahom Kings, known as Shans who came from Thailand through Northern Myanmar to this area in early 13th century, and ruled for 600 years. 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. Tour the remaining well preserved relics, palaces, tanks, forts & places of worship. After lunch, visit one of the largest and the oldest amphitheaters of Asia (Rang Ghar), a remarkable landmark in the history of Sivasagar. On return to Jorhat, we visit a local market and back at our Tea Bungalow enjoy a Mishing tribal dance performed by the village youth. HOTAL BANYAN GROVE/ THENGAL MANOR. BLD
DAY 11- DEC. 6: MAJULI & ASSAM TEA ESTATES
After Breakfast travel by ferry to Majuli. Spend the morning exploring one of the largest river islands in the world. Visit the island’s ancient satras (rare Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries worshipping Lord Vishnu). Pop into the local mask shops, pottery workshops and watch master craftsmen at work. Majuli Island is located in the Brahmaputra River, has a population of 150,000 in 243 villages. A natural and cultural heritage site with water bodies covering most of the areas, Majuli attracts a wide range of birds. Aside from the rice field landscapes, fish traps and water meadows, the local Mishing people and Satras make the island a fascinating place. In the evening enjoy a cup of fresh Assam tea before taking a walk through one of the most beautiful tea gardens situated near the frontier of Nagaland and discover the secrets of Assam tea and why it is strongest tea in the world. HOTAL BANYAN GROVE/ THENGAL MANOR. BLD
DAY 12- DEC. 7: JORHAT/ KAZIRANGA
Continue to Kaziranga National Park. The park is the host for two third of world’s population of one horned rhinos and also holds the highest density of Tigers among all the protected areas in the world. This park also is a domicile for large breeding inhabitants of Elephant, wild water buffaloes and swamp deer. Declared as Important Bird Area by Birdlife International, this national park is a home for great variety of inhabitant and migrating birds. Located on the banks of river Brahmaputra, the sanctuary enjoys tropical vegetation and is marked by elephant grass, marshy lowlands and tropical moist broadleaf forests. After settling in at our Lodge, we will take a jeep ride through the park to view the wildlife. DIPHLU RESORT HOTEL (Cottage). BLD
DAY 13- Dec. 8: KAZIRANGA
This morning we will take an early elephant safari in the national park. In the afternoon embark on another jeep safari in different section of the park. DIPHLU RESORT HOTEL (Cottage). BLD
DAY 14- Dec. 9: KAZIRANGA /TEZPUR OR GUWHATI/ KOLKATA
Travel overland to Tezpur or Guwahati. Depending on flight schedule a short tour may be added before transfer to airport where we will board flight to Kolkata. Stay at Hotel near airport before continuing on our journey homewards. B
LAND TOUR PRICE: TBA- $ per person sharing
Single room- TBA– $