Travel in style on board an expedition luxury cruise ship MV Mahabaahu on the River Brahmaputra in Assam. You will see remnants of a lesser-known civilization, tribal life & the spiritual life along the largest river Island in the world. Visit a tea-estate & enjoy lunch with the estate family. See the animal & bird life of the Kaziranga National Park as your ship cruises through the wilderness. Cultural performances, enlightening lectures & bonfire on a deserted Island are all part of the adventure.
Day 1 (Saturday): Arrive Kolkata
Arrival in Kolkata by international flight. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Optional afternoon city tour of Kolkata. Arrive a night early and add time in cultural Kolkata!
Day 2 (Sunday): Kolkata – Jorhat / Board MV Mahabaahu (B,L,D)
After breakfast we are transferred to airport for our flight to Jorhat. On arrival at the Jorhat airport, you will be met at the receiving area and with packed lunch. Drive the scenic roads of Assam to Neamati Ghat (about 40 minutes) to board the MV Mahabaahu. We check into our cabins and immediately gather in the restaurant for the essential safety briefing and to experience the first sail.All gather on the open deck to enjoy the first sail and scan the river for a fleeting sight of the Gangetic Dolphins. We proceed into theevening with a talk on ‘Sibsagar and the Ahom civilization’. Soon we drop anchor and the evening follows into welcome dinner. 5 nights onboard MV Mahabaahu.
Day 3 (Monday): Sibsagar and home-hosted lunch (B,L,D)
After an early breakfast, we start our day-excursion to Sibsagar, the ancient city and capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin. Sibsagar town literally means ‘the ocean of Lord Shiva’ as it is built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom Queen. The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India. We visit The Talatal or Kareng Ghar, the palace of the Ahom Kings and the Rang Ghar, an amphitheater, a place of entertainment or important meetings for the Royals and their guests. Thereafter we drive to a Tea Estate for a relaxed afternoon where we enjoy a traditional Assamese lunch with the Tea-estate family who have been involved in the tea business over a period of a century. Here we sip our beverages as we explore the lawns and proceed to indulge in traditional Assamese cuisine. We return to MV Mahabaahu by sunset and enjoy a relaxed evening in the Soma lounge before proceeding for dinner.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Majuli Island / Mishing Village (B,L,D)
Start the day with a walk along the swamps to catch a sight of owls, orioles, changeable eagles, adjutant storks, sea gulls, kingfishers, swallows and many more. As we have our breakfast, we sail towards Majuli, a cosmos of Assamese culture where various philosophies co-exist and thrive. After breakfast, we enjoy a talk on ‘Majuli’ the seat of Vaishnav culture and proceed in our tenders to the mainland where a drive takes us to a scenic corner of a Satra for an interesting cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. Next, we drive to Kamlabari Satra to witness the Vaishnavite priests dancing to the rhythm of cymbals, drums and chanting in the temple premise.We enjoy hot lunch on MV Mahabaahu and sail towards the closest Mishing Village. The Mishings live on the bank of river in ‘Chang ghars’, houses with raised platform. All Mishing women are expert weavers. The indoor life of a Mishing person revolves around the kitchen area where the family can get together. After the Mishing Village MV Mahabaahu heads towards Dhansiri Mukh where the waters of Bhramaputra and Dhansiri meet, while we enjoy a talk on ‘Assam, its geographical location & importance’. We then enjoy the evening under the stars on a deserted island and proceed for dinner.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Kaziranga Park Boat Safari (B,L,D)
After yoga or an early morning walk on a deserted island MV Mahabaahu sails towards the Eastern Range of Kaziranga for boat Safari. We enjoy breakfast and a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside’. We proceed for the safari in our tenders for about two hours. The shores are high but one can see roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles and many more. The sightings are always determined by the weather conditions. We return for lunch. This evening we enjoy the Chef’s Cooking Demonstration followed by a talk on ‘Tea, Silk and Jute in Assam.’ The evening on a deserted island with bonfire is always unusual. We enjoy dinner on MV Mahabaahu.
Day 6 (Thursday): Weaver’s village at Bishwanath Ghat / Silghat Tea Estate and/or Jute Mill (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we enjoy an interesting talk on ‘Kaziranga and the wild life in India’. Then we step into our tenders to go to the shores of BishwanathGhat. We visit the Shiva Dol in reverence of Lord Shiva and there is no way that we can avoid the women with their weaves. We enjoy a walk through the village and see how this suburban village thrives. We sail on for the next couple of hours and enjoy a relaxed lunch and reach Silghat. Take a short drive to the Kaliabore tea estate, which is a vast expanse of undulating land with tea bushes, watching the tribal women pick tea leaves. We proceed to the tea factory to learn about all that goes into preparing a cup-of-tea. We return to where the ship is anchored. Close by is a co-operative Jute Mill is an interesting place to understand how the Jute fibre takes the form of very eco-friendly gunny bags. By sunset, we enjoy a cultural evening on the ship. We have an early dinner and retire for the evening.
Day 7 (Friday): Kaziranga National Park (B,L,D)
Today wake up much before the dawn and sip away at a strong cup of Assam tea, some coffee and cookies. Some fresh fruit, juice and some dry fruits are on display too. An hour of drive takes you to a resort in Kaziranga for use of facilities before we get ready for an elephant ride.
You ride into the early morning mist and as the sun rays force the mist to thin, we witness wild life up close and personal; swamp and hog deer, Asiatic water buffaloes and Rhinos; all happily grazing within yards of each other. An hour of elephant back saga through tall elephant grass leaves us nonplussed and wanting. Drive to a resort where breakfast will be waiting.
Energize yourself on regular continental breakfast along with a lavish display of Indian cuisine like dosas, idlis, coconut chutney, poori aaloo, paranthas and much more. Soon drive towards the range for a jeep safari to explore more of the wild life. You look for the Asiatic Wild Elephants, the striped cats, the Wild Water Buffalo with enormous horn span, the hog deer and the swamp deer and of course the one horned-rhinoceros that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for. The Jeep Safari ends by 1030 hours, when you head back to the Cruise witnessing the paddy fields fed by the Brahmaputra as our wheels cautiously maneuver around the Karbi Anglong bends. This evening Enjoy an Assamese themed evening; Assamese freshly caught fried fish for snacks, Assami Mekhla Chaadar and Dhoti Kurta with Ahomia music and Ahomia dance moves and to top it all an Assamese Dinner Menu.
Day 8 (Saturday): Bangli Village visit & peacock Island (B,L,D)
This is a very relaxed morning. You can sleep in or be on the top deck to experience a session of Yoga and enjoy a peep into the traditional wisdom of the gurus from ancient times. Relish a laid-back relaxed breakfast from 0800 to 1000 hrs, a talk on Kamakhya temple and an orientation on the Bangla Village and Kamakhya. We also talk of our departure arrangements for the following morning.
You leave for the Bangla village visit. Interact with the village folk and try to understand their simple and satisfied subsistence lifestyles. These folks who live off the Brahmaputra river, both for farming and fishing make a choice of living on fertile unclaimed sand bars. They understand that they can enjoy the privilege of owning large expanse of land only till the river decides to remain benevolent.
The river claims their land during the monsoon and they must return to their haven on mainland or create one. The river starts receding from October to mid-Feb and slowly the snow-melt in the Himalayas starts creating volume and an indication to get ready. Sail on towards the Peacock island and enjoy the hills that surround Guwahati. We get together on the top deck to sail into Guwahati as the sun sets behind the Sarai Ghat road and rail bridge. Sarai Ghat marks the narrowest stretch of the river as 1.3 kms. Dock into Pandu Port and this marks the end of Cruising. You get together in the lounge for a relaxed evening.
This evening enjoy the Chef’s ‘Alvida Bhoj’—A Farewell Dinner
Day 9 (Sunday): Guwahati departure (B)
This morning you are docked at Pandu in Guwahati. Enjoy breakfast on the ship and deboard at 0900 hrs. You get into our cars and drive to the famous Shakti Peeth of Kamakhya Devi, the Goddess of Desire. This temple is located on Nilachal hill. Post the temple visit, drive to the Guwahati Airport with countless memories of Assam and packed lunch to board your flight to Kolkata or Delhi.
Extensions to Sikkim/Darjeeling, Bhutan, or Rajasthan can be added to complement the journey.
Twin pricing is based on Deluxe cabin with balcony $ 4,700 CAD / $ 3600 USD per person
Single pricing is based on Superior cabin without balcony $ 6,670 CAD / 4,890 USD