Ornithological Journey

Day 1 : Arrive Kolkata

Arrive Kolkata. On arrival you will be received by our representative for transfer to hotel.

Afternoon visit Victoria Memorial - sits opposite the Maidan in Central Calcutta. Resembling a cross between the Taj Mahal and St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, it is Calcutta’s most impressive landmark. Shortly after her death, Lord Curzon proposed a memorial be dedicated to Queen Victoria both as a tribute and a triumphant depiction of her reign in India. The monument was called Victoria Memorial Hall. Then visit St. Paul’s Cathedral - One of the most important churches in India, the Cathedral, stands just to the east of the Victoria Memorial. It is notable for its striking murals and frescoes, impressive stained-glass windows, and coloured alter redoes including the great west window by Burne Jones. Also visit the Kali temple - the temple is about 2 kilometers directly south of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Rebuilt in 1809 on the site of a much older temple, it is an important site. Kali is a form of Durga and the image is seen astride a tiger.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2 : Kolkata – Dibrugarh

Morning you will be transferred to the airport for flight to Dibrugarh which situated on the banks of the mighty Brahamaputra River. Upon arrival in Dibrugarh, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Dibrugarh is the gateway to three major tea-producing districts and enjoys a very pleasant and moderate climate. In the afternoon, visit Jakai Reserve Forest – this small reserve will provide us with an excellent introduction and overview to the diversity of bird species in north-east India, and also the area’s flora.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 : Dibrugarh – Namdapha National Park

Morning drive to Namdapha National Park (160 kms). Upon arrival in Namdapha National Park, check into your hotel.

Namdapha is the largest national park in India and is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, close to Miao. We will aim to do a gentle, 1-day trek to the beautiful forest campsite of Hornbill, where we will stay for three nights, following a trail that passes through pristine lowland rainforest. If the sun is out this rates as one of the best birding walks in Asia! Namdapha National Park lies on the Burmese border, in the very easternmost part of Arunachal Pradesh, and offers an extraordinary variety of habitats within one protected area. Its 1,985 square kilometres range in altitude from just 200 metres above sea level right up to the summit of Mount Daphabum at an altitude of 4,500 metres! The snow-covered Himalayan peaks look down upon a great range of habitats from alpine to temperate, to subtropical and tropical rainforests, and the opportunities for pioneering birdwatching here are truly mouthwatering! Both Rufous-necked and Brown Hornbills occur here, together with a fabulous list of pheasants, babblers and laughingthrushes, including an endemic to Arunachal Pradesh – Austen’s Spotted Babbler. This is also the only sanctuary in the world that offers protection to Asia’s four great cats: Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Snow Leopard, not to mention most of the other classic Indian mammals, such as Asiatic Elephant, Gaur (the magnificent Asian bison), Himalayan Black Bear, Sun Bear, Dhole (Indian wild dog), Wolf, Wild Boar, and an excellent variety of deer and smaller mammals. Naturally, many of these forest-dwelling animals are hard to see, but we will hope to see some of them at least. The Park is also home to the Hoolock Gibbon, Asia’s only species of ape.

Namdapha was declared a Tiger Reserve as part of Project Tiger in 1983, and has some outstanding areas of wet tropical forest. The Noa Dihing River flows through the Park, spanning it from east to west is fed by numerous tributaries that tumble from the more mountainous regions of the park and form the catchment area of the great Brahmaputra River. The remote and inaccessible nature of Namdapha has preserved its pristine forests, and much of the area remains unexplored. It is as close to true wilderness as any of the many national parks and sanctuaries in India, though this does of course mean that our access will be restricted, as the developed network of trails and tracks that allow exploration of most national parks and wildlife reserves simply does not exist here. The Park is known for its incredible plant life and over 150 species of tree are found in Namdapha, including such tropical giants as Hollock, Mekai, Hollong, Jutuli, Dhuna, Mechelia champaka – a type of alder – among others. In the temperate and subtropical zones a wide variety of rhododendrons and oaks, birch and magnolias are found. Species of particular note are Pinus merkusi and Abies dalavavi, which are not found elsewhere in India. The Park is also home to one of the rarest and most endangered orchids, the Blue Vanda, together with the Mishmi Teeta, a well-known local medicinal plant used by endemic tribal people to treat a host of illnesses. Namdapha holds at least 300 bird species, among them rare specialities such as Ibisbills, Great White-bellied Heron, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Pied Falconet, Wreathed, Rufous-necked, Brown and Great Hornbills, Paleheaded Woodpecker, Collared Tree-pie, Eye-browed Wren-babbler, Spotted Wren-babbler, Wedge-billed Wrenbabbler, Austen’s Spotted Babbler, both Greater and Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbills, White-crested Laughingthrush, Rufous-vented Laughingthrush, Red-faced Liocichla, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Striated Yuhina, White-naped Yuhina, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Rufous-throated Fulvetta, Long-tailed Sibia, Grey-cheeked Warbler, Broad-billed Warbler, Lesser Shortwing, Rusty-bellied Shortwing, and Beautiful Nuthatch. While such truly rare and elusive species occur, you should treat a sighting of any of them as a real bonus.

Overnight in the Lodge / tented accommodation.

Day 4 - 8 : Namdapha National Park

Wildwatchin / Trekking.

Overnight in the Lodge / tented accommodation.

Day 9 : Namdapha National Park – Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary

Morning drive to Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary (131 kms). Upon arrival in Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, check into your hotel.

Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the least known, but potentially most rewarding of Assam’s national parks, albeit with very basic accommodation, and it protects 640 square kilometres of grasslands, marshes and riverine forest. One of the few remaining protected sites in the Endemic Bird Area of the Assamese Plains, the sanctuary is home to globally threatened species such as White-winged Wood Duck, White-bellied Heron, Lesser Adjutant, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Swamp Partridge, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black-breasted Parrotbill and Striated Grassbird. It is also home to some restricted-range species, such as the Marsh Babbler, Swamp Prinia and Yellow Weaver.

Overnight in the Lodge.

Day 10 : Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary – Kaziranga National Park

Morning drive to Kaziranga National Park (280 kms). Upon arrival in Kaziranga National Park, check into your hotel.

Kaziranga located in north-east India in Assam set on the banks of the mighty Brahamaputra River, is the finest place to view Indian Greater One-horned Rhinoceros in the whole of the subcontinent. With nearly 80% of the world's population resident, the park has been recognised as a World Heritage site. In addition to wonderful rhino-viewing, the park is also home to large herds of Elephant (sometimes up to 200) and Wild Buffalo. Tigers can also be found, however they are rarely seen in the long grass.

The park also shelters other species such as Sloth Bear, Leopard, Swamp, Hog, and Barking Deer, Sambar, Pygmy Hog, Jungle Cat, Hog Badger and Capped Langur. The open country makes wildlife viewing at Kaziranga fairly easy with most major species seen during a day or two's safari. It may also be possible to arrange a visit to the nearby Panabari Forest Reserve to look for the elusive Hoolock Gibbon, India's only ape. Kaziranga is also a birder's paradise with large numbers of resident species boosted considerably by visiting winter migrants. Regularly seen species include Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-Shouldered Kite and Himalayan Griffon. Game-viewing here is conducted both by jeep and on Elephant-back safaris. Wildwatching in Kaziranga National Park.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11 & 12 : Kaziranga National Park

Enjoy wildwatching. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13 : Kaziranga National Park – Guwahati – Kolkata

After morning wildwatching, drive to Guwahati airport for your flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, check into your hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14 : Kolkata – Onward Destination

Transfer to the International airport for your flight to onward destination.

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