Manipur, Nagaland, and Kaziranga

Overview

Join veteran Trip Leader and Asia explorer Devendra Basnet for a fascinating cultural and wildlife adventure in India’s remote and undiscovered northeast. One of the least visited parts of the country, this region is diverse and intriguing, full of unique tribal peoples, exotic wildlife, and magnificent scenery. In Assam, we stay at a colonial-era tea estate, walk through lush tea gardens, and boat on the Brahmaputra River to Majuli Island, home to famous Hindu monasteries. Heading to Nagaland, a narrow strip of mountain country along the Burmese border, we immerse ourselves in a little-known culture that has survived from the turn of the 13th century when the Ahom kings from Thailand migrated through Burma and settled in these lush sub-Himalayan foothills. These Tibeto-Burmese tribal groups, collectively known as the Nagas, each have their own languages and traditions. One of our journey’s highlights is the joyful Hornbill Festival, a celebration of the Nagas’ cultural diversity, where we witness their traditional music, songs, elaborate costumes—complete with jewelry and body tattoos—and even ceremonial head-hunting dances! Our adventure ends with thrilling gameviewing in the great Kaziranga game sanctuary, which shelters India’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceros.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-5
Kolkata / Imphal, Manipur

After exploring Kolkata, we fly to Imphal, set on India’s northeast border with Burma. We’ll take a boat ride on vast Loktok Lake, with its floating islands, some large enough to support villages and schools, and roam the lanes of fascinating Ima Keithel, the only women-run bazaar in Asia, in continuous operation for 500 years. We also enjoy the Sangai Festival, an annual cultural event that celebrates the ethnic diversity of Manipur and the art and culture of the people.

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Days 6-9
Kohima / Hornbill Festival

We head to Kohima, capital of mountainous Nagaland. At the annual Hornbill Festival, we'll witness a lively celebration of the 16 distinct Naga tribes who live among the lush green forests and mountains of this remote part of India. We’ll see traditional Naga arts, watch the festival’s dances and games, and get a glimpse into a fascinating ancient culture.

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Days 10-14
Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary / Kaziranga National Park

In India’s Assam region, we walk through the dense subtropical jungle of the Hollongpar Gibbon Sanctuary to look for the Hoolock gibbon, the only ape species in the Indian subcontinent. In Kaziranga National Park, we enjoy exciting game viewing in this forested reserve, home to one-horned rhino, rare swamp deer, wild elephant, and exceptionally rich birdlife. Depart via Kolkata on Day 14.

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Highlights

Highlights

Attend the Sangai Festival in Manipur, a cultural event celebrating ethnic diversity
Witness the Hornbill Festival, a cultural celebration of the traditional tribes of Nagaland
Search for rare Hoolok gibbons and other primates in the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
Look for one-horned rhinos in the jungles of Kaziranga National Park

Details

Length: 14 days
Cost From: $6895  
Arrive: Kolkata, India
Depart: Kolkata, India
Lodging: 13 nights hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Cultural visits and walking tours, rugged road travel