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Cultural Tours

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Covering the Northeast India and Darjeeling

The Northeastern region in India can be physio-graphically categorized into the Eastern Himalaya, the Patkai and the Brahmaputra plains. The Seven Sister States is a popular term for the contiguous states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura prior to inclusion of the state of Sikkim into the North Eastern Region of India.

Nestled in the beautiful Himalayas, Sikkim and Darjeeling rests on the Eastern Himalaya in India which is spread below the Mount Khanchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world and has been the loved tourist destinations since ages.

Further East, Assam stretching along the length of the Brahmaputra River is the central state in the North-East Region of India and serves as the gateway to the rest of the Seven Sister States.

Each area being distinctive in character with different ethnic culture, topography and vegetation, the North East is a land of geographical diversity offering a great variety of plant and wildlife besides a diverse ethnic mix of people with rich cultural tradition. The region offers an opportunity to indulge yourself in culture, local cuisines, landscapes and interacting with the local people and to explore the diverse cultural heritage of the entire North Eastern Himalayas.

SIKKIM AND DARJEELING

Dazzling snow peaks of Kanchenjunga overlooking the hill towns, beautiful tea gardens on the hill slopes, the Orchids, Pines and Rhododendrons combined with food, shopping and other exciting activities make a great tour of the Himalayan Foothills.
In fact, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and various other parts of Sikkim have been a loved tourist destination since ages and several of them can be combined on a single trip.

Covering the remote places of Darjeeling and Sikkim, tour focusing on day hikes over a period of 10 to 15 days. 2 to 3 hours of  easy walk each day.

  • Tumling - Located in the buffer zone of the Singhalila National Park at an elevation of 3000m is a small hamlet, Tumling. It offers a panoramic view of the Mt. Kanchenjunga. The habitat varies from bamboos, oaks, to hundred year old huge Rhododendron and Magnolia trees. It is a spectacular birding, botanizing and hiking area.

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  • Rinchenpong - and Kaluk are two small villages just 3 kms apart. It is known for its view of the Kanchenjunga and the beauty of its surroundings and the place is also historically significant. 
    Day hikes through the Lepcha and Gurung village, forests and agricultural farm land. Interaction with the villagers. Enjoy a traditional lunch. Visit the Rinchenpong monastery to witness and be a part  of the evening prayers performed by the monks. Learn to prepare the delicious Sikkimese cuisines at the kitchen of the Farmhouse or at the Village Resort.

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  • Pelling -  Situated at an altitude of 1900m amidst dense forest, it is famous for its magnificent views of the Khangchendzonga and surrounding ranges. It provides easy access to tourist spots in the area, like the Rabdantse Palace ruins and the Pemayangtse monastery which is within a kilometer from Pelling, while a 40 minute walk on the hill opposite the monastery takes you to Sanga Choling monastery built in 1697. Pelling’s serene environment and picturesque setting is perfect for nice nature walks and small treks.

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  • Yuksom - Situated on the fringe of Kanchandzongha National Park, Yuksom is the first capital of the erstwhile Royal kingdom of Sikkim. Yuksom is also the gateway to the Dzongri and Goecha La trek and it literally means “Three lamas”. In the year 1642 AD, the first king of Sikkim, Phuntsok Namgyal, was blessed here in the very place where the majestic Norbhughang Stupa stands today. Sacred Khachopelri Lake can be visited on way to Yuksom. Day hike into the Kanchandzongha National Park and wildlife sanctuary. Explore the village as you visit Sikkim's oldest Dubdi monastery and the Norbhughang throne.

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  • Ravangla - It is a small tourist town situated at an elevation of 2150m in South Sikkim and is merging as a new tourist destination because of its view of the snow clad peaks and tranquility. Surrounded by high-forested hills, Ravangla is an ideal place for short treks and bird watching. Surrounding Lepcha and Bhutia villages of Yangang, Tinkitam, Kewzing and Barfung are ideal for short village tours. Here in Ravangla, you can see the only Bon monastery in Sikkim, trek to the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary and visit the Buddha Park or the Tathagata Tsal. The 130ft tall statue of the Buddha with beautiful paintings on the inside walls depicting the life of  Gautam Buddha.

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  • Neora Valley - A good place to end the tour would be to experience the untouched and pristine ecosystems of the Neora Valley National Park with its amazing Bio-diversity, home to many rare and endangered plants, animals and birds. The Park with its dense forests is located on the tri-junction of Bhutan, Sikkim and West-Bengal. The Jungle Camp offering a great view of the Kanchandzonga range is located on the fringe the Park. Short and long treks are possible into the forest and across the Kolakham Village. The trek to the Chaggey falls is also a good way to see and understand the deep-rooted culture and community life of the people of this beautiful Himalayan village.

NAGALAND AND THE HORNBILL FESTIVAL

Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar. Inhabited by 16 major tribes, each is distinct in character in terms of custom, language and costume. Though diverse in identity, their cultural similarities are strong.

Discovering  Nagaland - Its unique cultural heritage over a period of 10 to 15 days.

  • Khonoma – It is inhabited by the Angami tribe known for their rich heritage and unique traditional and sustainable terraced farming. In a remarkable move, the community council imposed a total ban on hunting here to conserve the biodiversity and the state bird, Blyth's Tragopan. During your stay in Khonoma, day hikes across farmlands, community forest and a village walk will give you an insight on the Naga countryside, Angami ways of Mithun rearing, Jhum cultivation, systems of natural resource management along with their tradition and culture which has been passed on for generations.

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  • Kohima - The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland represents the cultural extravaganza of the northeast Indian state. Even the name of the festival is symbolic; named after the Hornbill bird, which has a strong impact in the culture and the folklore of most of the tribal communities of the state. The troupes from various tribes of Nagaland come to the festival and participate in the week long festivity. This festival plays a vital role in uniting the diverse culture of Nagaland. While you are at the state capital, you can visit the Anthropological Museum, WWII Cemetery, the colorful local market and Craft emporium.

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  • Mokokchung - It is the land of the Ao Nagas. Visit to the historic village of Ungma, the oldest and largest of all Ao villages, which will give you an opportunity to discover the cultural and tradition of the Ao people. It is considered to be the birthplace of the Ao Nagas, a living museum of the traditions of the tribe. Another great trip can be to the Chuchuyimlang village. It is the village of festivals for the Ao Nagas. The Moatsu festival, based on community bonding, takes place from the first of May till the third. The highest village in this area, it offers great views.

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  • Mon - It is the land of the Konyak Nagas, famous for their tattooed face, unique houses and crafts. The local tribe, Konyaks, had been the headhunters and collectors of enemy skulls until the rise of Christianity in the region during 1960s. While you are at Mon, a visit to Longowa village is a must to see the traditional life of the Konyaks in their own backyard.  Longwa village is the best example of the diversity and uniqueness of Nagaland’s Mon district. The inhabitants of the village have dual citizenship - one of India and the other of Myanmar, as the Indo-Myanmar border passes from this village dividing the chief’s house into two.

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  • Jorhat - It was the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom and home to many historical monuments of Assamese culture. Majuli Island is a freshwater island located about 20 kms from Jorhat in the Brahmaputra River. The island preserves a lot of its heritage through Satras, which are home to traditional religious practices, art, literature, dancing and theater founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture.  Jorhat is also known for the large number of tea plantations in the area, giving you an option to stay at one of the tea bungalows. Early morning Primate (Hoolock gibbons) watching and birding tour to the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary would be a good option before you proceed to Kaziranga.

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  • Kaziranga - It is a good way to end the tour by visiting Kaziranga National Park, which is one of the best places in the world to see the very rare Great Indian One-horned Rhino. Indian Elephants are plentiful, as are herds of wild Water Buffalo, Grazing Sambar, Hog Deer and Swamp Deer which all live here.
    Kaziranga boasts a tremendously varied bird list which includes many rare and local species. Elephant-back safari, game drive in a different section of the Park for more bird and wildlife spotting and village walks to the Mishing village are some of the activities you can take part in while you are at Kaziranga.

ASSAM, MEGHALAYA, AND ARUNACHAL PRADESH

North East India is indeed a paradise unexplored - well known for its distinct culture and traditional lifestyle. One of the best destination for nature lovers, trekkers, wildlife and culture related enthusiasts. You can only know better if you visit there once.

A diverse mixture of cultural and wildlife tour meeting the Khasi's of Meghalaya and the Monpa's of Tawang travelling over a period of 10 to 15 days.

  • Dirang - After arriving at Guwahati and driving through the border town of Bhalukpong, you will be entering Arunachal Pradesh. Our next destination Dirang, situated between Bomdila and Tawang, is a tiny charming little valley town surrounded by apple and kiwi orchards making it picturesque. Sangti valley, which is 9kms away, is famous for the Siberian Black Necked Storks that visit the place during winters. Only a few kms away from Dirang town lies Old Dirang, which has the only one of its kind in the entire area, Dirang Dzong or locally known as “ JONG” – the fort. It is an important historical monument for the Monpas of Dirang circle. 

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  • Tawang - Getting to Tawang involves crossing the world’s second highest motor-able mountain pass, Sela Pass, at nearly 4200m. Tawang was historically part of Tibet inhabited by the Monpa people situated at an elevation of 3048m. Tawang Monastery, was constructed in 1681. It is the second-largest Buddhist monastery in the world of which the town gradually took the same name. The town is also associated with the 6th Dalai Lama as his birth place. Anni Gompa, a Buddhist monastery managed by nuns is also a unique attraction.

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  • Nameri - After breaking the journey in Bomdila, a town  perched amongst the panoramic settings of the lofty ranges of the eastern Himalayas, we proceed to Nameri. It is situated on the left bank of Jia-Bhoraeli River in Assam bordering with Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve of Arunachal Pradesh. It is a natural home to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered species like White Winged Duck and the Assam reef turtle, believed to have been extinct, but was found in Nameri in 1992. Enjoy elephant safari, bird watching, trekking and river rafting.

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  • Kaziranga - It is one the best places in the world to see the very rare Great Indian One-horned Rhino, Indian Elephants are plentiful, as are herds of wild Water Buffalo, Grazing Sambar, Hog Deer and Swamp Deer which all live here. Kaziranga boasts a tremendously varied bird list which includes many rare and local species. Elephant-back safari, game drive in a different section of the Park for more bird and wildlife spotting and village walks to the Mishing village are some of the activities you can take part in while you are at Kaziranga.

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  • Shillong - Home of the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos,  Meghalaya has bounty of nature sprawling all across it. Shillong is the capital city, nestled in the gentle hills of the Meghalaya Plateau, and is one amongst the few most pleasant hill stations in India. It is precisely why more than a century ago - the British made it their garrison during the 1860's and legitimately holds the title 'Scotland of the East’.
    Visit the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong which is a major tourists' spot. Bara Bazar which is a bustling local marketplace in Shillong that earns immense popularity as one of the biggest and oldest trade center.

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  • Cherrapunjee - The town is not only unique in its geographical features but also for the Living Root Bridges which are exclusive only to Meghalaya in the whole world. The stem roots of a species of Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) are trained over 15 to 30 years to form these living bridges. From this town you can get great views of Bangladesh and is famous for its beautiful limestone caves, waterfalls and orange honey. Visit Mawlynnong, a village located in the East Khasi Hills, known for its cleanliness - a collective effort to maintain the ambiance of a clean village and eco-tourism. Visit the double-decker living-root bridge located in the nearby Riwai village.

ASSAM, MEGHALAYA AND NAGALAND

North East India is indeed a paradise unexplored - well known for its distinct culture and traditional lifestyle. One of the best destination for nature lovers, trekkers, wildlife and culture related enthusiasts. You can only know better if you visit there once.

A diverse mixture of cultural and wildlife tour meeting the Khasi's of Meghalaya, the Angami tribes of Khonoma Village in Nagaland and Majuli, the largest river island, which is the cultural capital and the cradle of Assamese civilization period of 10 to 15 days.

  • Shillong - Home of the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos,  Meghalaya has bounty of nature sprawling all across it. Shillong is the capital city, nestled in the gentle hills of the Meghalaya Plateau, and is one amongst the few most pleasant hill stations in India. It is precisely why more than a century ago - the British made it their garrison during the 1860's and legitimately holds the title 'Scotland of the East’.Visit the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong which is a major tourists' spot. Bara Bazar which is a bustling local marketplace in Shillong that earns immense popularity as one of the biggest and oldest trade center.

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  • Cherrapunjee - The town is not only unique in its geographical features but also for the Living Root Bridges which are exclusive only to Meghalaya in the whole world. The stem roots of a species of Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) are trained over 15 to 30 years to form these living bridges. From this town you can get great views of Bangladesh and is famous for its beautiful limestone caves, waterfalls and orange honey. Visit Mawlynnong, a village located in the East Khasi Hills, known for its cleanliness - a collective effort to maintain the ambiance of a clean village and eco-tourism. Visit the double-decker living-root bridge located in the nearby Riwai village.

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  • Kaziranga - It is one the best places in the world to see the very rare Great Indian One-horned Rhino, Indian Elephants are plentiful, as are herds of wild Water Buffalo, Grazing Sambar, Hog Deer and Swamp Deer which all live here. Kaziranga boasts a tremendously varied bird list which includes many rare and local species. Elephant-back safari, game drive in a different section of the Park for more bird and wildlife spotting and village walks to the Mishing village are some of the activities you can take part in while you are at Kaziranga.

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  • Majuli Island - Majuli is the largest river island in the world and is a major tourist destination in Assam. The island preserves a lot of its heritage through Satras, which are home to traditional religious practices, art, literature, dancing and theater. The Institution of Satra is a unique feature of Vaishnavism in Assam, founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture. A cultural mix as the population consists of several different tribes who have sustained their culture over the years which reflects in their traditional handicrafts, pottery, dance, boat-making, water sports and their lifestyle.

  • Khonoma - It is inhabited by the Angami tribe, known for their rich heritage and unique traditional and sustainable terraced farming. In a remarkable move, the community council imposed a total ban on hunting here to conserve the biodiversity and the state bird, Blyth's Tragopan. During your stay in Khonoma, day hikes across farmlands, community forest and a village walk will give you an insight on the Naga countryside, Angami ways of Mithun rearing, Jhum cultivation, systems of natural resource management along with their tradition and culture which has been passed on for generations.

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  • Kohima - Kohima is the capital town of Nagaland, located at an elevation of 1260m, offering great views of the wonderful Naga Hills. The capital city is home to several Naga tribes such as Angami, Rengma, Kuki and Zeliang. This hill station holds sheer historic importance as it is the place where the World War II was fought in April 1944. From striking head gears worn by the locals during traditional dance forms to delicious food, vibrant festivals to unseen traditions along with numerous Naga tribes with their own distinct flavors, add to the diversity and uniqueness of the state.