Wildlife Sailing On The Brahmaputra River

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 – Jorhat – Neemati Ghat – Brahmaputra Cruise

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Jorhat. Upon arrival in Jorhat, you will be met and commence your cruise by RV Sukapha, at Neamati Ghat on the Brahmaputra River.

Day 3 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Mariani

This morning we will leave our vessel and drive to the Gibbon Sanctuary at Mariani. Here walk through the forest in the company of a local forest guard in search of Hoolock Gibbons, India’s only species of ape, as well as a wealth of birdlife. On our return to the ship we will set off down the river, cruising for about an hour or so across to Majuli Island, supposedly the world’s largest river island. Here there are very few cars and little development and the island offers excellent birdwatching, especially at Sakuli Bheel which gives us a fine introduction to Assam’s wetland birds.

Day 4 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Majuli Island

Today the focus is on the rich cultural heritage of Majuli Island, for it possesses unique Hindu monasteries famous for their dance-drama performances. Indeed the whole island has now been short-listed for future UNESCO World Heritage status. We will visit Auniati Monastery with its eclectic museum, enjoy a typical Mising tribal lunch in a stilted bamboo hut and, in the afternoon, we will attend a dance performance at Kamalabari Monastery. Later return to the ship and spend a couple of hours cruising downstream as the sun sets and lines of waterbirds stream back to their night-time roosts.

Day 5 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Jamuguri Village

Spend much of the day on the river today, watching waterbirds and for otters and Gangetic River Dolphins, not to mention the fascinating activities and techniques of the local fishermen. Our one riverside stop will be at the tribal village of Jamuguri, where you make an interesting visit.

By the afternoon, Kaziranga National Park will be on our left, and wild Asian Elephants and other mammals such as Hog Deer, Nilgai and wild Water Buffalo may sometimes be seen from the boat. Even the magnificent Tiger has once, memorably, been seen in this way! The evening, will be the ideal time to meticulously scan the river banks and islands for mammals and birds.

Day 6 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Kaziranga National Park

This morning arrive at the little temple town of Vishnath, with its fine Ahom-period temple. We will take a walk ashore before continuing our voyage down to a delightful mooring at Silghat, where butterflies abound in the surrounding jungle. Close by, where the Bharali River flows into the Brahmaputra, is a favourite feeding spot for the endangered Gangetic River Dolphins (although these can be seen anywhere on the river, and throughout the length of our river journey). At Silghat we will disembark and enjoy our first safari in Kaziranga National Park. 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.

Day 7 : Kaziranga National Park

Enjoy wildwatching.

Day 8 : Kaziranga National Park – Nameri National Park – Tezpur

Drive to Nameri National Park across the Brahmaputra bridge, which lies in the foothills of the eastern Himalaya an hour’s drive north of Tezpur. Nameri was given ‘wildlife sanctuary’ status in 1985, before becoming a national park in 1998. It spans 212 square kilometres and its north-eastern boundary adjoins Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary in the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh. Together they protect over 1,000 square kilometres of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen, and moist deciduous forests with bamboo and cane brakes, and narrow strips of grassland along the Bharali River (which runs through the park) and its many tributaries. This is excellent elephant country, and the park may hold in excess of 200 Asian Elephants. However, it is Wild Boar, Sambar, Hog and Barking Deer, Rhesus and Assamese Macaques, Capped Langur and Malayan Giant Squirrel that are amongst the common mammals most likely to be seen. Such other mammals as Gaur, Sloth Bear and Himalayan Black Bear, Dhole, Leopard and Tiger require exceptional luck!

The park is a haven for birds, over 315 species having been recorded. A healthy population of the seriously endangered White-winged Wood Duck is perhaps the highlight, along with a large population of four hornbill species – Great, Oriental Pied, Wreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbill. Blue-bearded Bee-eaters and a wide range of babbler species may also be seen, and Long-billed Plover may be encountered along the Bharali River. We will enjoy a forest walk in the park to look for its birds and mammals in the company of a forest guard, then later board inflatable dinghies for a float trip down the Bharali River through the park. At the end of the day we must return by road to Tezpur where our ship will be waiting.

Day 9 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Orang National Park

Spend this morning cruising down river past Singri Hill to moor at midday on a sandbank. From here you will be transferred onto a smaller vessel in order to cruise up a side stream into the heart of Orang National Park where you will disembark and take a jeep or elephant safari (depending on the availability of the Forest Department’s elephants) through the park.

Orang, like Nameri, was given ‘wildlife sanctuary’ status in 1985, before becoming a national park in 1999. It spans 78 square kilometres and lies along the north bank of the Brahmaputra River. Known as ‘Mini Kaziranga’, Tour Itinerary India - A Wildlife Cruise on the Brahmaptura River it is a low-lying reserve that protects similar habitats to Kaziranga, notably seasonally-inundated swamps and river islands interspersed with broad tracts of tall elephant grass, open forest, watercourses (known as bheels) and reedbeds. The park holds a reasonable population of Greater Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, whilst other mammals include Asian Elephants, Sambar, Hog and Barking Deer, and small numbers of Tigers (seen very occasionally by our groups here) and Leopards. Recently the little-known and extremely elusive Pygmy Hog has been discovered here, though our chances of seeing one are perhaps a little slim! The park is an exceptional haven for waterbirds, with winter visitors and migratory species prominent. Such specialities as Spot-billed Pelican, Black-necked Stork, Greater and Lesser Adjutant, and Pallas’s Fishing Eagle may all be seen here and, with luck, you may also see the rare and elusive Bengal Florican of which the park holds 30-40. At dusk board the smaller vessel once again and cruise back through the dark to our ship, the RV Sukapha.

Day 10 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Ganesh Pahar

This morning cruise down towards a range of jungle-covered hills and stop at the idyllic, isolated and roadless, village of Ganesh Pahar, just at their edge. Here spend the day walking and birdwatching in the rice paddies and in the unspoilt forest of the hills.

Day 11 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Peacock Island & Guwahati ( Distanec of 260 kms )

This morning’s voyage is particularly pretty, with jungle-covered hills lining the south bank. Reach Guwahati around midday, in time to visit Peacock Island (with its population of Golden Langur monkeys) and then to land on the main river-front for a visit into town where, for the keen birders in the party, the rubbish dump has its attractions in the form of visiting Greater Adjutant Storks, one of the subcontinent’s most endangered bird species. Return to our ship for the final night aboard.

Day 12 : Brahmaputra Cruise – Guwahati – Kolkata

This morning visit the Nilachal Hill, high above Guwahati, where a good selection of birds may be found in the woodland surrounding the Kamakhya Temple. Later disembark and transfer to Guwahati airport for flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, check into your hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13 : Kolkata – Onward Destination

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

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