Assam and Nagaland – Festivals, Tribes and Tea Gardens
- Remote tribes of Nagaland
- Naga Hornbill Festival
- Majuli, world’s largest river island
- Kaziranga Nature Reserve
- Jeep and elephant safari in Kaziranga
- Great indian one-horned rhino
- The Atapani tribal village Arunachal Pradesh
- Longwa, a Naga Myanmar village
- Tea Plantations of Assam
- Tranquil Mancotta Chang Bungalow
- Monks and monasteries
- The Konyak Tribe villages
- Diverse birdlife
We are excited to announce a long and fascinating tour photographing some of the least known and remote areas of north east India. Our adventures take us to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Assam is better know than its neighbours as one of India’s major tea growing areas. While here we visit the Kaziranga National Park famous for its conservation of the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros. We venture into Nagaland, a mystical, little known area bordering Myanmar. It is made up of sixteen states and numerous different hill tribes. We get an opportunity to visit some of the villages and tribes. We spend three days at the Hornbill Festival where many of the tribes come together for an extravaganza of colourful celebration. Arunachal Pradesh borders with Bhutan to the north and Myanmar to the south. It is a lush mountain area with rich wild wildlife. Perhaps the highest diversity of mammals in the whole of India is found here.
Day 1 (26 Nov): Arrive in Calcutta
Transfer to group Hotel
Day 2–3: Majuli Island
This morning we fly to Jorhat in Assam. We take a short drive of around one half hours to Nemati Ghat boarding a ferry that crosses the Brahmaputra River. Our destination, Majuli the largest inhabited river island in the world. Vibrantly green, Majuli is gradually being reclaimed by the mighty Brahmaputra river. It has been shortlisted for future UNESCO World Heritage status.
We spend two days here exploring the area and culture.
Accommodation Mishing Resort Huts
Day 4–5: Majuli Island – Lakhimpur – Ziro (6 hrs)
After breakfast a drive takes us to the ferry point for a crossing of the Brahmaputra to Lakhimpur. Our destination today is Ziro home to the Apatani tribes. Ziro is in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is part of what are called the Seven Sister States of the Northeast of India. Arunachal Pradesh borders the state of Assam to the south and Nagaland to the south east. Myanmar lies to the east of the state, Bhutan to the west, Unique to these tribes is the practice of simultaneously rearing fish and rice in the paddy field The whole colourful area is rich in biological diversity having varied flora and fauna from sub tropical to alpine forest. The tribes themselves are Ziro’s greatest attraction. They worship a nature God and are incredibly friendly and hospitable. During our time in Ziro we mix with and photograph the Apatanis in their environment.
Day 6: To Ziro – Tezpur (8 hrs)
After an early breakfast we spend the day driving to Tezpur in Assam. Our drives are always punctuated by stops for photography. Tezpur is probably Assam’s most attractive city thanks to beautifully kept parks, attractive lakes and the enchanting views of the mighty Brahmaputra. Historical ruins from the 8th and 9th centuries dot the surrounding areas of the city.
Day 7: Tezpur – Kaziranga (2 hrs)
After breakfast we leave for the famous Kaziranga National Park. It is remarkable for the conservation of the One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros. Today this survivor from the prehistoric times is found only in pockets of the north eastern state of Assam and in Nepal. In Assam, their habitat is limited to just two national parks, Kaziranga and Manas on the Bhutan border. After lunch we will take a jeep safari. The park is a paradise for bird watchers, with a variety of migratory and resident birds. It is also home to pelicans, storks and darters as there are a number of water bodies inside the Park. Apart from the rhino, other species found are hog deer, swamp deer, wild buffalo and elephants. If you are very, very lucky there is a chance of spotting a tiger!
Accommodation River Lodge
Day 8: Kaziranga – Kohima (5 hrs)
Before we leave for Kohima we go for an early morning elephant safari inside the Park. After a late breakfast we drive to Kohima in Nagaland.
Days 8–10: Nagaland
Naga is a vaguely defined umbrella term for several tribes of the hospitable and warm Nagas who are a race of the Mongoloid stock speaking the Tibeto-Burman language. With their diverse tribal culture and festivals, they still preserve the remnants of their early animalist culture and ancient traditions. The customs that have brought most attention, and notoriety, to the Naga are head-taking and human sacrifice! Located in the corner of India’s north-east bordering Myanmar, it is probably one of the least known about and little visited areas of India; a most exciting prospect for photographers.
Hornbill Festival Nagaland
We spend two and a half 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.
Day 11: Kohima – Mokokchung (6 hrs)
Today we visit the Ao Nagas who are one of the primitive tribes of Nagaland. Their settlements are spread across the Mokokchung district. The Ao tribe have a rich tradition of colourful shawls which distinguish the warriors from the commoner class; it is exclusively worn by the men folk.
We also visit the village of Tuophema inhabited by the Rengma tribe who are considered to be the best Naga blacksmiths and are noted for their energetic dances and melodious folk songs. We walk freely in the village observing and interacting with the local people.
Accommodation Tourist Lodge
Day 12: Mokokchung – Mon (7 hrs)
Before our drive to Mon, we visit Mopinchuket an Ao tribe village famous for its crafts and woodwork. We continue our journey to Mon a district inhabited by the Konyak Tribe. They recognised among other Naga by their tattoos, which they have all over their face and hands. Anghs, the Konyak chiefs, still hold a king-like position in society and are entitled to numerous wives.
Day 13: Visit Longwa Village (2 hrs)
With Mon as our base, we spend two days visiting some of the most interesting Naga villages in the area. Today we drive to Longwa one of the bigger Konyak villages on the border ridge between India and Myanmar (Burma). The Angh here commands about fifty villages from both the sides of the border. We will be able to meet the villagers and photograph their unique cultural traditions Later in the day we return to Mon to visit their vibrant local market.
Day 14: Langmeang Village
Today we visit Langmeang another village of Konyak Nagas. Although this village belongs to a Konyak tribe the architecture is different from other villages. The tribal huts are festooned with animal skulls. Distinctive pottery and crops lie drying outside the huts. Inside the impressive high roofed community house called a Morung, there are more carved figures and skulls linked to their ancient animalistic culture.
Day 15: Mon – Dibrugarh (6 hrs)
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. The culture and architecture is a delightful amalgam of indian and south-east asian. The town name literally means ’the ocean of Lord Shiva’. It is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire. The most remarkable landmark is the two hundred year old Sibsagar tank. 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.
Day 16 (11 Dec 2013): Dibrugarh Fly Out
WPH services end with transfer to Dibrugarh airport for flight to Calcutta.
Assistant: Geraldine Westrupp
Guest tutor: Dev Gogoi, Assamese photographer
- All meals
- 14 nights accommodation on tour
- 1 night accommodation Calcutta
- Local guide English speaking
- Spacious AC private vehicle for transport
- 2 Photographic tutors (one Assamese)
- UK tour guide/co-ordinator
- Various location guides
- All entrance fees
- Camera fees except for any video equipment
- Jeep and elephant Safari
- 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. It is important that you read the full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.