Wild Assam - Cruise

Assam boasts two out of India’s five UNESCO environmental World Heritage sites, and we have devised this 7-night package to provide visits to both these sites, Manas and Kaziranga National Parks, together with a short cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra River and an exploration of with visits to villages and to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Manas enjoys stunning scenery, backed by the  jungle-covered hills  of Bhutan, while Kaziranga boasts a wide range of easily seen wildlife, the many rhinoceros being the outstanding feature. On the river and the sand islands which dot it one can often see great flocks of migrating waterfowl, and there is also a good chance of seeing the rare Gangetic Dolphin.

View
View

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Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance

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Wildlife
Wildlife

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View
View

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Varanasi
Varanasi

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City of Lights
City of Lights

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Garlands
Garlands

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Varanasi
Varanasi

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Program

Day 01 - Guwahati

Met at Guwahati airport or at Samdrup Jonghkar (Bhutan border) and driven for 4 hours/3 hours to Manas National Park, on the border with Bhutan, checking in to the simple ABN Bansbari Lodge or Similar Lodge at Manas. This Project Tiger reserve is now recovering well from earlier unrest – the tiger count is now estimated at around 30, and wild elephant number some 500. At extra cost we can arrange transport from the Bhutan border crossing further east at Samdrup Jongkhar.

Day 02 – Samdrup Jongkhar

We take an early morning elephant ride through grassland, hopefully seeing several different species of deer and monkeys, as well as some of the park’s 380 different species  of  birds, perhaps  including the  rare  Bengal Florican or the Great Hornbill. After breakfast, we walk through a local village, visit the nearby tea garden and see Bodo tribal handweaving. If time permits, we will see working elephants bathing in the nearby Beki River before carrying on by jeep to Mothanguri Lodge to see the sun set over the Manas River. Returning in the dusk, we  should see some wild  life,  perhaps  including wild  buffalo,  wild  elephant, and,  if  we  are exceptionally lucky, a tiger. After supper we watch a tribal dance around the camp fire.

Day 03 – Vijaynagar

After a leisurely breakfast we drive 4 hrs to Guwahati to embark on ABN Charaidew mid-afternoon close to the great Saraighat Bridge. Cruise downstream to an overnight stop close to the south bank village of Vijaynagar.

Day 04 – Sualkuchi

After breakfast, disembark and explore a riverside village on foot. Cruise upstream to the little town of Sualkuchi, loud with the clatter of looms, and visit on foot its silk weaving workshops. We shall see the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon to spinning to dyeing and finally to handweaving into exquisite saris and dress lengths. We then drive on to Hajo, a place sacred to Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. We visit a hilltop Muslim shrine with far-reaching views over the surrounding rural landscape, as well as the simple Hindu temple with its frieze of elephants and its sacred tank full of great carp, catfish and turtles. Later we reboard and cruise to an overnight mooring near the Saraighat War Memorial.

Day 05 – Pandu

Cruising upstream, we disembark at Pandu docks and are taken on a short sightseeing tour of the city of Guwahati. Drive up Nilachal Hill to see the holy Kamakhya temple. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifice, the more squeamish may prefer to content themselves with the exterior. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves cemetery as well as a high-class shop selling local crafts. Cross by country boat to the mid-stream Peacock Island with its population of Golden Langur monkeys before re-embarking and cruising for about an hour and a half upstream to Kurua on the north bank

Day 06 – Kaziranga

Cruise upstream past jungle-covered hills, and turn into the Mayong River. We cruise up in our country boat for a kilometre or two to the roadhead from where we drive to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. This small park has a dense population of the Asian One-Horned Rhinoceros, and we shall be unlucky if we do not spot some of these amazing armoured beasts on a jeep safari around the park. Guests are driven c.4 ½ hrs to Kaziranga National Park, where we stay at the superbly situated and very comfortable ABN Diphlu River Lodge, looking across into the park. Kaziranga is a World Heritage site and with a population of well over 1500 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.

Day 07 – Karbi Tribal Village

We rise at dawn and drive for a few minutes to Kaziranga’s Central Range to get really close to the rhino and other animals. After breakfast back at the lodge, we walk through terraced tea gardens and past a Karbi tribal village, then drive to a Mising tribal village, with their distinctive houses raised on piles. After lunch we take a jeep safari in the Western Range, and scan the wilderness from an observation tower.

Day 08 – Guwahati

An early start for the 4 1/2 hour drive back to Guwahati airport, or 2 ½ hr transfer to Jorhat airport. Alternatively prolong your stay at Kaziranga, subject to availability.

  • Itinerary subject to river conditions. 

  • Prices are available on request

The City of Lights - Bengal Cruise

One of the best culturally rich route for Ganges Cruise by ABN. Supplemented by the luxury of its Rajmahal Vessel, this tour offers some great visits in this region. The time you spent in Varanasi will itself worth the entire tour. Buxar, Ghasipur and Chunar Fort are some unforgettable monuments in this circuit. Visit to the tomb of Cornwallis is something unique for this region.

Varanasi
Varanasi

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City of Lights
City of Lights

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Garlands
Garlands

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Varanasi
Varanasi

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Responsible Tourism
Responsible Tourism
Responsible Tourism

Program

Day 01 - Patna

Arrive Patna by road, rail or air (transfer from airport or railway station to ship is included in the cruise cost). Embark on your cruise ship from afternoon onwards, and enjoy dinner on board while sailing upstream.

Day 02 – Doriganj

This morning cruise upstream during breakfast before landing to visit a spectacular small Moghul tomb at Maner. Reboard and continue past the confluence with the River Sone to the busy river port of Doriganj. Cruise on to an overnight stop near the confluence with the River Goghra.

Day 03 – Buxar

Continue up past Ballia to Buxar, famous for the battle fought here in 1764, which, together with Plassey, laid the foundations of the British raj. Visit the memorial on the battlefield and the old East India Company cemetery in town. Later take a short cycle rickshaw ride up to the ghats of Buxar.

Day 04 – Ghazipur

Sail upstream today past Chausa to Ghazipur, still a centre for (official) opium production. Visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the general responsible for the British defeat at Yorktown. We might also be able to spend a little time walking on the busy Ghazipur bazaar, a quintessential Indian experience. 

Day 05 – Varanasi

AM sail to Varanasi. After lunch visit the Buddhist site at Sarnath and the Deer Park where the Buddha preached his first sermon. Visit also the nearby archeological museum.

Day 06 – Ramnagar

AM drive to visit Chunar to visit the great Moghul Fort, the old British cemetery and the Moghul tombs nearby. Carpet weaving and Chunar pottery are other attractions here. On the way back visit Ramnagar to see the Maharaja’s Palace and museum.

Day 07 – Rajghat

Take rowing boats at dawn past the busy and colourful bathing ghats of Varanasi. After breakfast onboard Rajmahal, disembark again to take a walk in the busy alleys of Varanasi to experience the beating heart of the city. PM take rowing boats to join the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony. Retrun to MV Rajmahal moored at Rajghat. 

Day 08 – Varanasi

After breakfast disembark and transfer to Varanasi airport or railway station

  • Itinerary subject to river conditions. 

  • Prices are available on request

  • Special Group prices

Bengal Dispatch - The Historical Hugli

A cruise more into a great life of an interesting region of India. Otherwise,not easily explored, this cruise tour gives you a great opportunity to watch the amazing life and lifestyles of this region.A visit to Serampore, an old Danish Colony, Chandernagore a French possession until 1950,Matiari ,the village of Iconoclasts, Baranagar famous for Terracota temples etc. are the highlights of this tour. The luxury of ABN Vessel will add color to the tour.

Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance

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Imambara Hooghly
Imambara Hooghly

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Lifestyle Ghazipur
Lifestyle Ghazipur

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Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance

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Program

Day 01 - Farakka

Midday 4 hr (approx.) train journey from Calcutta to Farakka, and short road transfer to the ship. Customers joining independently at Farakka can board from midday onwards.

Day 02 – Jangipur

This morning’s cruise is along a straight canal section to Jangipur, where the afternoon is free to explore this small country town on foot. Alternatively, for those taking BD5 only, enjoy a full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are plentiful remains of mosques, palaces and gateways and you visit a number of the most interesting historical sites before rejoining the ship in the evening near Jangipur.

Day 03 – Hooghly

AM set sail down the Hooghly proper, a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar with three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples to which you walk through the fields. This is rural India at its most idyllic.

Day 04 – Khushbagh

Sail downstream a short distance then walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. Returning to the ship continue downstream past the old British cantonment of Berhampur to a rural mooring close to the battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Clive’s defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah changed the course of Indian history - you can walk through the fields to the commemorative obelisk. Cruise on to a mooring near Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars.

Day 05 – Matiari

AM visit the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Later we reach Mayapur, its skyline dominated by the vast new ISKCON temple which we are able to visit.

Day 06 – Kalna

Continue on down to the country town of Kalna. Here we take cycle rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets. Sail on, leaving fields behind and arrive at the outskirts of Calcutta. Land near Bandel to visit the imposing Imambara.

Day 07 – Chandernagore

Sailing on downstream past fine waterfront buildings and the old Dutch settlement at Chinsura you land at Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950, and visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House containing a small museum. Continue down to Barrackpore, land and take a walk through the cantonment past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame, and Flagstaff House, its garden housing many of the British statues removed from central Calcutta. Sail on up to Bali Bridge.

Day 08 – Kolkata

Early morning cruise under the Howrah Bridge to central Calcutta to disembark. Transfer to central Calcutta or airport.

  • Itinerary subject to river conditions. 

  • Prices are available on request

Bengal Dispatch - The Holy Ganges

Bengal Dispatch - The Holy Ganges Downstream (Patna To Farakka). This cruise is more of a pure village theme but with the riches during the British Colonisation. Especially Patna where the English East India Company has a big settlement to control its business in India. Akbarnagar, Buddhist Monastery at Vikramshila, Bhagalpur, the Mughal Fort at Monghyr are some highlights of this cruise.

Villagers
Villagers

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The Holy Ganges
The Holy Ganges

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Villagers
Villagers

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Program

Day 01 - Patna

Arrive Patna by road, rail or air (transfer from airport or railway station to ship is included in the cruise cost). Embark on your cruise ship from 4pm onwards, and enjoy dinner on board.

Day 02 – Barh

This morning we take a tour of Patna, visiting the extraordinary 18th century Gola Ghar granary, the great Sikh temple and the rich collections of the State Museum. Returning to our ship, we pass near the old East India Company opium warehouses and cruise down to moor for the evening at Barh.

Day 03 – Nalanda

Today there is an excursion to Nalanda, recently included as a UNESCO world heritage site where visits would include the excavated great Buddhist monastery and stupa along with the adjoining museum, then on to the picturesque Pawapuri Jain temple in the middle of a lake. We return in the evening to our ship which will have sailed down to the great bridge at Mokameh, where earlier the naturalist Jim Corbett spent his working life overseeing the ferry crossing.

Day 04 – Monghyr

Today we sail down to Monghyr. Monghyr possesses a fine Mughal fort, as well as an East India Company Cemetery, now with villagers living amongst the tombs. We shall also visit the Pirpahar Hill, crowned by a fine old mansion as well as the Sitakund hot springs, before continuing our cruise downstream to anchor near Jahangira Island at Sultanganj, a place of pilgrimage with early Hindu carvings in the rock. On shore, another picturesque rock is topped with a mosque.

Day 05 – Bhagalpur

We sail this morning along a stretch of the river where Gangetic Dolphin may be seen, to Bhagalpur, a centre of silk production. Here we shall visit the elegant 18th century mansion built by Augustus Cleveland as well as a silk-weaving village (on BD4 itinerary, Bhagalpur visit omitted from Sep 2016 onwards). We sail on passing close to the island shrine at Colganj, with both Buddhist and Hindu cave temples, and once a centre of the murderous Thug sect. Close to here we visit idyllic Bateshwar with 6th century Hindu carvings and the nearby ruins of an 8th century Buddhist stupa and monastery at Vikramshila. We anchor for the night near the confluence with the Kosi, coming down from Nepal.

Day 06 – Rajmahal Hills

We sail downstream this morning to Rajmahal, beneath the Rajmahal Hills. Rajmahal is one of those places, so common in India, which feature in no guidebook and yet offer both interest and atmosphere; once known as Akbarnagar, the town was founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar as his eastern capital. Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal, spent much of his youth here. There are remains of palaces, forts and mosques submerged in vegetation which we shall explore before continuing on down to the great Farakka Barrage.

Day 07 – Kolkata

For those taking just Bengal Despatch 4, the Holy Ganges 6-night cruise, dawn transfer is arranged to Farakka station for morning 4 hr (approx.) train journey to Kolkata. Alternatively it is possible to travel on by road or rail to Siliguri and Darjeeling (transfer not included in cruise price). Those taking BD5 remain on board for excursion to Gaur and Pandua.

  • Itinerary subject to river conditions. 

  • Prices are available on request

Brahmaputra Taster Cruise - Assam

This 4-night cruise provides a fascinating taster of Assam, with visits to villages and to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, where you will drive out on safari in search of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros. It is also available as a 3-night one-way cruise up to Pobitora with road transfer onwards to Kaziranga.

Rhino with Baby
Rhino with Baby

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Villagers
Villagers

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Brahmaputra Taster Cruise
Brahmaputra Taster Cruise

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Rhino with Baby
Rhino with Baby

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Program

Day 01 - Guwahati

Met at Guwahati airport and embark on ABN Charaidew mid-afternoon close to the great Saraighat Bridge. Cruise downstream to an overnight stop close to the south bank village of Viajynagar.

Day 02 – Saulkuchi

After breakfast, disembark and explore a riverside village on foot. Cruise upstream to the little town of Sualkuchi, loud with the clatter of looms, and visit on foot its silk weaving workshops. We shall see the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon to spinning to dyeing and finally to handweaving into exquisite saris and dress lengths. We then drive on to Hajo, a place sacred to Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. We visit a hilltop Muslim shrine with far-reaching views over the surrounding rural landscape, as well as the simple Hindu temple with its frieze of elephants and its sacred tank full of great carp, catfish and turtles. Later we reboard and cruise to an overnight mooring near the Saraighat War Memorial.

Day 03 – Guwahati City

Cruising upstream, we disembark at Pandu docks and are taken on a short sightseeing tour of the city of Guwahati. Drive up Nilachal Hill to see the holy Kamakhya temple. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifice, the more squeamish may prefer to content themselves with the exterior. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves cemetery as well as a high-class shop selling local crafts. Cross by country boat to the mid-stream Peacock Island with its population of Golden Langur monkeys before re-embarking and cruising for about an hour and a half upstream to Kurua on the north bank.

Day 04 – Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Cruise upstream past jungle-covered hills, and turn into the Mayong River. We cruise up in our country boat for a kilometer or two to the roadhead from where we drive to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. This small park has a dense population of the Asian One-Horned Rhinoceros, and we shall be unlucky if we do not spot some of these amazing armored beasts on a jeep safari around the park. Those departing today are picked up from the park and driven c.4 ½ hrs to Kaziranga National Park. Alternatively, returning to the ship in the afternoon we cruise to a riverside village which we explore on foot before sailing down to spend the last night close to the picturesque Aswaklanta Temple on the North bank opposite Guwahati.

Day 05 – Guwahati

Cruise down to the Saraighat Bridge. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Guwahati airport for final departure.

  • Itinerary subject to river conditions. 

  • Prices are available on request

Brahmaputra Cruise - Assam

This 10-night cruise covers most of the highlights of Assam, with jeep safaris looking for rhino in Kaziranga National Park, visits to the old capital of the Ahom kings and to the Hindu monasteries on Majuli Island, walks in tea gardens and through tribal villages. Though it seems to be a longer cruise, the comfort and luxury of ABN Vessel will give you the best. Also some amazing village visits will be a highlight of the tour.

Elephant
Elephant

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Tiger Spotting in Kaziranga
Tiger Spotting in Kaziranga

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Villager
Villager

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Elephant
Elephant

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Program

Day 01 - Dibrugarh

Arrive Dibrugarh, a typical colonial town and major American base in WWII, then drive 2 ½ hrs to Dikhou Mukh and embark on our ship. Alternatively arrive Jorhat airport and drive 1 ½ hrs to Dikhou Mukh. (Dependent on river conditions it may be necessary to board at Neamati, closer to Jorhat).

Day 02 – Majuli Island

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, they 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.

Day 03 – Majuli 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.

Day 04 – Kaziranga National Park

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.

Day 05 – Kaziranga

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. We disembark, and those taking Assam Despatch 4a are transferred to the Kaziranga lodge of their choice (Cruise 4a terminates). Those remaining on board make a first 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.

Day 06 – Burapahar

Disembark pre-dawn and drive to Kaziranga’s Central Range 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.

Day 07 – Tezpur

Cruise downstream under the seemingly endless new bridge to dock at Tezpur. (Cruise 4b commences) Those taking Cruise 4b are transferred this morning from a Kaziranga lodge to board the ship at Tezpur in time for lunch. After lunch on board, we visit the remains of the 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.

Day 08 – Guwahati

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.

Day 09 – Sualkuchi

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.

Day 10 – Nilachal Hill

Walk through Sualkuchi to visit weaving workshops and see the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon to spinning to dyeing and finally to handweaving 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.

Day 11 – Departure

Disembark during the morning and transfer to the airport for final departure.

  • Itinerary subject to river conditions. 

  • Kaziranga National Park contains low-lying grassland which may not be visitable when the river is at or near flood level. 

  • Prices are available on request

River Island Cruise - Assam

This cruise on the highest reaches of the Brahmaputra still navigable highlights the unique culture of the area, fusing Indian and S.E. Asian influences, with a visit to Sibsagar, the old capital of the Ahom kings, as well as to Majuli Island with its unique Hindu monastic communities famous for their dance drama. Wildlife is not forgotten though, and the cruise visits Kaziranga, where sightings of rhino are virtually guaranteed.

Local Life
Local Life

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Rhinos
Rhinos

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Boka
Boka

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Local Life
Local Life

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Program