CRUISING THE MIGHTY BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER
In the words of writer and friend Dianne Sharma Winter :-
"There is a saying that goes ‘If you cross the Brahmaputra one time you are destined to return’. There are a lot of legends and prophesies floating with the current of the mighty Brahmaputra River as it tracks it's course from Tibet onto Bangladesh, roaring down through narrow chasms and gobbling up land in its hunger to reach the sea. A river as wide as an ocean, blood red with stories of sacrifice and patricide, unusually for a river it is male in its aspect and unusually for India, it is not a holy river but often referred to as the Old Man River.
Apart from one day a year when the qualities of the water become divine enough to wash away the sins of a devotee, Brahmaputra spends his life washing away the efforts of man whether sinful or not. There still remains a divine union between the Brahmaputra and Mother Nature, the fruits of their union visible in the verdant jungles and fields so green that they could only have been painted by the co-ordinate efforts of man in harmony with nature. Brahmaputra is not a river that will be easily tamed; it is a river that demands respect and submission.
Rare it is to find a reference to this river without the word “mighty’ attached to it. A river of sorrow and munificence, the river is the blending and balance of our human lives measured against the flow of time. Every year hundreds of people are taken by the swift flow of flood as the river swells with monsoon rain and thousands more are nourished by the rich silt deposits left in its wake. If a river is the highway of life, cultures and commerce - then the Brahmaputra is beyond par in this respect."
This 10-night cruise over the mighty Brahmaputra River will make time stop and immerse you in the magical landscapes that surround the Brahmaputra River. You will cover most of the highlights of Assam, with elephant and jeep safaris, searching for the majestic Rhinos at Kaziranga National Park, visits to the ruins of the Ahom kingdom and to the Neo-Vaisnavite monasteries of Majuli Island, walks in the lush greens of huge tea estates and through tribal and rural villages of Assam.
- Experience an unforgettable cruise over the majestic Brahmaputra River.
- Witness historical ruins of the Ahom Dynasty.
- Visit to Satras of Majuli. (Assamese Monasteries)
- Interact with tribal people.
- Visit to Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site booming with wildlife.
- Visit important historical temples of Hinduism.
- Camp in isolated river islands in places of extraordinary beauty.
10th to 20th March
7th to 17th April
17th to 27th November
15th to 25th December
Minimum persons required - 2
Arrive at Dibrugarh, a typical colonial town and major American base during WWII. Then drive 2.5 hrs to Dikhou Mukh and embark on our ship. Alternatively arrive at Jorhat airport and drive 1.5 hrs to Dikhou Mukh. (Dependent on river conditions it may be necessary to board at Neamati, closer to Jorhat).
Excursion by road to Sibsagar, the one-time capital of the Ahom kings of Assam. Shan by origin (Assam and Siam share the same derivation) but converted to Hinduism, the Ahoms ruled Assam for some 700 years until the 1820s, and their culture and architecture is a strange and delightful amalgam of Indian and S.E. Asian. See temples with stupa-like profiles, and palaces of distinctive form – note the crocodiles and rather sexy caryatids that adorn the roof of the Rang Mahal. For the record book, the temple tank here is claimed to be the world’s largest hand-excavated reservoir. Lunch is taken at Horu Charai, a typical tea estate. Return to the ship and cruise for 3 hours down river to Majuli Island, supposedly the world’s largest river island.
Majuli Island possesses unique Hindu monasteries famous for their dance drama performances – the whole island is now shortlisted for future UNESCO World Heritage status. You will visit Auniati monastery with an eclectic museum and in the afternoon will attend a dance performance at Kamalabari monastery. Returning to the ship we cruise downstream for an hour or two.
A day spent mostly on the river, though we shall stop and make a short visit to a tribal village by the river. By afternoon, Kaziranga National Park will be on our left - wild elephants are sometimes visible from the boat, and once, memorably, a tiger.
This morning you will arrive at the little temple town of Vishnath, with a fine Ahom-period temple. Take a walk ashore before continuing the voyage down to a delightful mooring at Silghat, with butterflies abounding in the surrounding jungle. Make a safari through Kaziranga National Park, taking a jeep ride through its Western Range, with good woodland as well as grassland and wetlands which can be viewed from look-out towers.
Disembark pre-dawn and drive to Kaziranga’s Central Range for an early morning elephant ride, the best way to get really close to the rhino. Kaziranga is a World Heritage site, and with a population of over 1000 rhinoceros is the best place in the world to see these beasts. There are also good populations of tiger, wild elephant, sambar, swamp deer, hog deer, wild pig and many other species. After breakfast, walk through terraced tea gardens and visit a village of the Mising tribe. In the afternoon drive to Kaziranga’s little-visited Eastern Range or the newly-opened Burapahar Range for a further jeep safari before returning to the boat.
Cruise downstream under the seemingly endless new bridge to dock at Tezpur. After lunch on board, we visit the remains of the 6th century Da Parbatia temple, with exquisite carved portal, then board cycle rickshaws to take us through the bazaars to Cole Park with its collection of medieval stone carving. Re-boarding our ship we cruise down to moor for the night near the isolated Singri Hill.
The day is spent on the river, traversing a lunar landscape of sand islands then closing on the range of hills beyond which lies Guwahati. We should stop for the night not far from Ganesh Pahar.
This morning’s voyage is particularly pretty, with jungle-covered hills on the south bank. Reaching Guwahati at midday, we moor opposite the city and climb up to the pretty Aswaklanta temple on the hill above before driving out to the beautifully sited temple ruins of Madan Kamdev, their erotic carving an indicator of the strong tantric traditions in the area. Returning to the ship we cruise down to Sualkuchi either this evening or the following morning.
Walk through Sualkuchi to visit weaving workshops and see the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon to spinning to dyeing and finally to hand-weaving into exquisite saris and dress lengths. We then sail up to dock close to the great Saraighat Bridge and take a tour of Guwahati, driving up Nilachal Hill to the Kamakhya temple. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifices, the more squeamish may prefer to content themselves with the exterior. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves, the museum and the bazaars.
Disembark during the morning and transfer to the airport for final departure.
River cruise subject to river conditions, elephant safaris subject to availability. Both Kaziranga and Orang National Park contain low-lying grassland which may not be visited when the river is at or near flood level.
Price & Booking
Price & Booking Information
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