Hornbill Festival, Tigers & Head-Hunters

India

Cultural Immersion

Discover one-horned rhinos, elephants and other wildlife in Kaziranga National Park. Take a boat on the Brahmaputra River to Majuli, one of the largest river islands in the world, before finally entering Nagaland. Bordering onto Myanmar, Nagaland is steeped in history and tribal tradition. Wander through tribal villages and soak up the atmosphere at the Hornbill Festival, where Naga culture is brought to life in colourful song and dance. Visit the solemn WWII cemetery in Kohima then cross into Manipur and wander around India's only women-run market in Imphal and experience the tranquility of Loktak lake, known for its rich birdlife and rural culture.

Itinerary

Jorhat → Kaziranga → Jorhat → Majuli → Jorhat → Mon → Sibsagar → Dimapur → Kohima → Imphal → Loktak Lake → Imphal

Day 1: Jorhat - Kaziranga

On arrival in Jorhat, your guide and driver will escort you to Kaziranga National Park. Check into the lodge and rest of the day free to relax. Overnight in Kaziranga.

Day 2: Kaziranga

Early morning game drive in Kaziranga. Return to the lodge for breakfast. Free time to rest or visit the nearby Orchid Sanctuary. After lunch, proceed for afternoon game drive. Return to the lodge for dinner. An evening to relax. The evening is free to relax. Overnight in Kaziranga.

Day 3: Kaziranga - Jorhat

Early wake up with a hot cup of chai and biscuits. A jeep will take you to the Central Sector for your elephant safari [optional]. Return to the jungle lodge for breakfast. The rest of the morning is free at your leisure. In the afternoon, leave for a jeep safari in the eastern sector. Afterwards, leave for Jorhat. On arrival check into your accommodation. Evening free to rest. Overnight in Jorhat.

Day 4: Jorhat - Majuli - Jorhat

Get an early morning private boat and spend the day exploring one of the largest river islands in the world. Visit the island's ancient satras (rare Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries worshipping Lord Vishnu) and pop into the local mask and pottery workshops to watch master craftsmen at work. In the afternoon, take the boat back to Jorhat. The evening is free at your leisure. Overnight in Jorhat.

Day 5: Jorhat - Mon

After breakfast, drive to Mon District, home to the Konyak Naga tribe. Once one of the most elaborate and fierce head-hunting tribes of Nagaland, the tribal elders still exhibit signs of their ancient customs including tattooed faces, elaborate headdresses, and many of their homes still display animal skulls. Overnight in Mon.

Day 6: Mon

Full day exploring more of Mon, including a visit to the village of Longwa which straddles both India and Myanmar. Take a look inside a typical tribal bamboo hut and learn about their way of life. The evening is free at your leisure. Overnight in Mon.

Day 7: Mon - Sibsagar

After breakfast, leave for Sibsagar, the former capital of the Ahom Dynasty. The road will be bumpy so the rest of the day will be free to rest. Overnight in Sibsagar.

Day 8: Sibsagar

Spend the day visiting the ruins of the Ahom dynasty in Sibsagar. Later also visit the nearby Mising tribal village to get an insight into rural village life in Assam. Overnight in Sibsagar.

Day 9: Sibsagar - Dimapur

Leave for Dimapur, the second largest town in Nagaland which borders Assam. Check in to your accommodation and enjoy lunch. Afterwards, visit the Dimasa Kachari ruins and the Kali Temple. The evening is free to relax. Overnight in Dimapur.

Day 10: Dimapur - Kohima

Drive to Kohima and visit the famous World War II cemetery in Kohima, commemorating the British and Nagas who fought side-by-side to defeat the Japanese. Check-in at the hotel and later in the evening, visit the local street food carnival where numerous food stalls serve local snacks. Overnight in Kohima.

Day 11: Kohima

After breakfast, set off for the village of Kisama on the outskirts of Kohima. Stop at the viewpoint en-route for excellent views of the valley. On arrival in Kisama, take your seat in the amphitheatre where the main tribal performances will take place. This day of the 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. After the festival finishes, return to the hotel. The evening is free at your leisure. Overnight in Kohima.

Day 12: Kohima

Arrive around 9 am at the festival ground. This gives ample time to wander around the morungs again and take photos of the various tribes. This day usually sees each of the Naga tribes performing dances or enacting scenes relating to war and their way of life. The Nagas are the most elaborately dressed of the tribes in North East India, so this is perhaps the most important day of the festival. There are various food stalls serving Naga specialities, which includes smoked pork - the aroma can be smelt all around the venue! Visit the handicraft and textile shops where you can pick up some Naga souvenirs. Return to the hotel, where the evening is free to rest. Overnight in Kohima.

Day 13: Kohima - Imphal

Set off for Imphal, the capital of Manipur. On arrival, check-in at the hotel and after refreshing have lunch then proceed to Khwairamband Bazaar (also known as Ima Keithel market), which is predominantly run by women and the largest of its kind in India. Evening free and overnight in Imphal.

Day 14: Imphal - Loktak Lake - Imphal

Day trip to Loktak Lake, the largest 'floating national park' in the world, and one of the most picturesque lakes in India. Stop at the viewpoint for tea/coffee and take in panoramic vistas of the lake before driving to the shore where you will board traditional wooden boats for a tranquil ride on the lake against the stunning backdrop of the Sendra Hills. Watch your boatsman navigate the moving phumdis and how fishermen catch their haul. Afterwards, take a short village walk to get an insight into local life. Enjoy a traditional Manipuri lunch and cultural show depicting local dance forms. Late afternoon return to Imphal. Evening free. Overnight in Imphal.

Day 15: Departure

Morning free at leisure. Optional visit to Kangla Fort (closed on Wed, opens at 10 am) before transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Note: extensions to other parts of the region or India can be organised. Contact us for more information.

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Highlights

Watch one-horned rhino & wildlife in Kaziranga

Enjoy song and dance at the Hornbill Festival

Discover Satras and village life on Majuli island

Explore ruins of Ahom Dynasty in Sibsagar

Learn tribal culture of Nagaland

Observe the unique floating 'phumdis' at Loktak Lake

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World of Discoveries went above and beyond on the World Cup tour, aside from the tour in Qatar they helped us and manage the logistics to get small 2-3 day tours to Egypt and Jordan in a marathon but memorable 16 days trip. We got to be in 2 of the 5 wonders of the world (Egyptian Pyramids & Petra; among other places) Everything they promised they delivered and always check on each and everyone on our group of 7. Helen from Spain did all the paper work and signed us up and the the land crew that greeted us in Doha were just perfect! Very well recommended and for the next World Cup and the Olympics they will be our go to people for the planning for a great experience such as Qatar 2022. Well done Wofdi!! Kudos to everyone of you!!! (Helen, Michael, Anna, Lina, Varya, among others) don’t meant to leave anyone out intentionally!!

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