Blocks of ice on Breiðamerkursandur beach Erg Chebbi, Ziz Valley, Sahara Snæfellsjökull frozen peaks Icebergs floating in the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

Assam and Nagaland – Festivals, Tribes and Tea Gardens with George Jardine

Highlights include…

  • Remote tribes of Nagaland
  • Naga Hornbill Festival
  • Majuli, world’s largest river island
  • Kaziranga Nature Reserve
  • Jeep and elephant safaris in Kaziranga
  • Great indian one-horned rhino
  • A night in Myanmar at Naga Longwa village
  • Tea Plantations of Assam
  • Tranquil Mancotta Chang Bungalow
  • Monks and monasteries
  • The Konyak Tribal village
  • Diverse birdlife

We are especially happy to have Lightroom guru George Jardine along with us on this tour!

General Summary

We are excited to announce a new and improved itinerary for our photographic tour of some of the remote and little-known areas of North East India. Our adventures take us to Assam and to the tribal villages of Nagaland. Assam is better known than its neighbouring Indian states through its reputation as one of the country’s major tea-growing areas. During our time in Assam we will visit the Kaziranga National Park, famous for its conservation of the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. From there we move on to Nagaland, a little-known state that borders Myanmar. It comprises sixteen regions and numerous ethnically-different hill tribes. We will have opportunities to visit some of the villages and tribes. We will also spend a night in the Konyak King’s village, from where we will be able to wander freely into Myanmar. We will spend three days at the annual Hornbill Festival where many of the tribes come together for an extravaganza of colourful celebrations.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Calcutta

Transfer to group Hotel

Day 2 Kaziranga National Park

After breakfast we will take the morning flight to Jorhat in Assam. From there we will journey for two hours to the famous Kaziranga National Park. We will be accommodated in stylish, stilted bamboo houses that are equipped with all modern conveniences. The park is a paradise for bird watchers, with a variety of migratory and resident birds. There are a number of water bodies inside the park that are home to pelicans, storks and darters. Apart from the rhino, other species found are hog deer, swamp deer, wild buffalo and elephants. If you are very, very lucky, you may spot a tiger! Accommodation Diphlu River Lodge

Day 3 Kaziranga National Park

We begin with a sunrise elephant safari through the park. Since the wildlife is relatively unconcerned by the presence of elephants, we will be able see more wildlife at a closer range than when we travel by jeep. During the day we can wander at leisure in the surrounding area. The sunset over the river is particularly lovely. Accommodation Diphlu River Lodge

Day 4: Kaziranga to Tezpur

We will take a second sunrise elephant safari through the park, followed by breakfast and relaxation. After lunch we will have a photographic tutorial before heading for the town of Tezpur. There we will be nicely placed for our journey to Majuli Island the following day. Accommodation hotel

Day 5 & 6 Majuli Island

Today our destination is Majuli, the largest inhabited river island in the world. On the way there we will take time to photograph the women working in tea plantations. It takes two ferry trips over arms of the river before we land on the island itself. We time our journey to coincide with the late afternoon and sunset hours.Our accommodation for the next two nights will be simple bamboo huts on stilts, fashioned in the same style that the indigenous Mishing people use. The local people will cook and look after us very well. We will be staying with them for two nights. Majuli Island’s drumming monks practice a monotheistic form of Hinduism called Vaishnavism, focusing on Krishna. It was created in the 16th century by social reformer and saint, Sankaradeva. The gentle and caring communities in these satras reflect his teachings and emphasise tolerance between castes and religions. We will attend one of their world-famous performances at the monastery. Accommodation: Mishing Resort Huts

Day 7 & 8: Tuophema, Nagaland

After breakfast a drive takes us to the ferry point for a crossing of the Brahmaputra to Jorhat. Our ultimate destination is the scenic village inhabited by the Rengma tribe, who are considered to be the best Naga blacksmiths. Head-taking and human sacrifice are amongst the customs that have brought the most attention and notoriety to the Naga people! Nagaland is probably one of the least-known-about and little-visited areas of India, is an exciting prospect for photographers. In Tuophema we stay in simple but very traditionally-built village houses, constructed in the style that the locals themselves use. Accommodation: Village Resort

Days 9,10, The Hornbill Festival Nagaland

We spend two days at at Kisama village photographing and enjoying the Hornbill Festival. This is an annual cultural extravaganza celebrated by all the tribal people in the state of Nagaland. It is named after the Hornbill, a globally respected bird that shows up in the folklore of most of the state’s tribes. This Festival sustains, revives and protects the richness of the Naga culture and heritage. This is a giant colour-splashed hodge-podge of dances, folk songs, parades, games, sports, ethnic food fairs and religious ceremonies; we are right in there mingling and photographing all that is happening. Accommodation Hotel

Day 11: Kohima – Jorhat

Today we journey to Jorhat where we will stay in a beautiful bungalow in the midst of pretty tea gardens. Accommodation Heritage Bungalow

Day 12: Jorhat – Mon

We leave early in the morning to travel through wild, forested hills to the town of Mon. This is a district inhabited by the Konyak Tribe. They are recognised among other Nagas by the tattoos they have on their faces and hands. The town here has a vibrant market.
Accommodation: Simple guesthouse

Day 13: Longwa Naga Village

We will be driving to Longwa, one of the bigger Konyak villages on the border ridge that lies between India and Myanmar (Burma). The Naga King (Angh), head of about fifty villages on both the sides of the border lives here and governs through tribal laws and customs. We have chosen to stay in very simple village accommodation to allow us time to get to know the local people and observe their daily life. We will be able to meet, mingle and eat with the tribals. This will be a unique opportunity to photograph their unique cultural traditions. Accommodation: Village long house

Day 14: Mon

We will spend a full day in the Longwa village before returning to Mon after sunset.
Accommodation guesthouse

Day 15: Mon – Dibrugarh

Today we drive from Nagaland to Assam. Our journey to Dibrugarh takes us through the lush green valleys of Assam. Assamese tea estates account for approximately fifty percent of India’s tea crop. En-route we explore Sibsagar the old capital of the Ahoms who ruled Assam for 600 years before the British arrived in the 1820s. Our last night in Assam is spent at the Mancotta Chang Bungalow, a beautifully restored British Raj-era plantation manager’s bungalow in the middle of tea gardens, an idyllic and tranquil end to our colourful adventures. Accommodation Heritage Bungalow

Day 16: Dibrugarh to Kolkata flight

After breakfast WPH services end with a transfer to Dibrugarh Airport where you will take a flight to Kolkata.

Tawang Monastery Extension

We are offering an exciting four-day extension to Tawang Buddhist Monastery. This is beautifully located in the restricted border area of mountainous Arunachal Pradesh. The borders here are with Bhutan to the north and Myanmar to the south. Travelling by helicopter allows us speedy access the remote area of Tawang. The inhabitants of the districts are all of the Monpa tribe except for Shyo village, which is dominated by people of Tibetan origin. The Monpas are Mongoloid people, well built and fair in complexion. Their houses are built with stones and timbers. Tawang Monastery is one of the most important elements in the social and religious life of the Monpas. This monastery is known as ‘Galden Namgyel Lhatse’. It is one of the largest monasteries of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism to be found in Asia. There are tranquil lakes around Tawang, which is set against a backdrop of snowy mountains.

What’s Included

  • All meals
  • 14 nights accommodation on tour
  • 1 night accommodation Calcutta
  • Spacious 4×4 vehicles for transport
  • 2 Photographic tutors (one Assamese)
  • UK tour guide/co-ordinator
  • Naga guide
  • All entrance fees
  • Camera fees except for any video equipment
  • Jeep and elephant Safaris
  • Transfers to and from the international airports and domestic airports
  • Two internal flights

What’s not Included

  • International flights
  • Travel & medical Insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, snacks between meals
  • Tips for local staff
  • Indian Visa

Complete Itinerary and Full Details

This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and full details can be found in our PDF dossier. This is currently being updated with the new 2014 itinerary as shown above. It is important that you read the full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.