Tour NE/54: 17 days Crafts & Culture of the North East

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TOUR DETAILS

Many of our clients have been asking for compact regional tours for North East India. We have designed four exotic regional tours spanning all the North East States.

Each tour covers 3-4 states as per geographical convenience in less than 3 weeks. A memorable experience is assured.

ITENERIES

Day 01-02: Guwahati- Temples, Muga Silk weavers, bazaars and the mighty Brahmaputra River

The Assamese Capital City is the gateway to the Northeast. It sprawls on the Southern bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River, whose northern shore is invisible due to the vastness of the channel.

It features an interesting bazaar, which is the main market of the North East States. We will visit ; the Kamakaya temple: a fine example of Assamese architecture, the temple is known for its power and enrichment. It is also a wonderful viewpoint.

Saulkuchi is a silk weaving centre famous for its golden coloured Muga silk, and Hajo with is a unique pilgrimage centre, which is revered by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhist.The Haigrive Madhev temple is said to be 6000 years old.

Day 03- 04 : Jorhat Tea gardens and Colonial bungalows

Drive 335 kms to Jorhat ,along the wide Brahmaputra Valley, which provides an insight to life styles in rural Assam. Jorhat is famous for its tea gardens. We will stay 02 nights at one of the Heritage bungalows in a tea garden to relive the days of the British “Raj” tea planter.
Explore a tea garden and factory and the local villages

Day 05-07 Majuli: The unique river Island, with Hindu monasteries, tribal culture and crafts

Majauli is famous as the world’s largest river Island. But it is really more interesting for its 22 satras – Hindu Vaishnava monastries that are also centres for the arts. At the satras in Majauli, Lord Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the Mahabharata, with music and poetry. Our fascinating 2 days tour to Majauli begins with a ferry crossing through the Brahmaputra river. At Majuli we will see Mhishing, Deori, Chutias and Sonoalkachari tribals,. We will Explore the island , spend time at a Satra (Hindu Vaishnava monastery), and visit tribal villages.

See locals engaged in wet-land agriculture, fishing, weaving and pottery making Explore the shoreline in a country boat for water birds, and watch the breathtaking sunset on the great river. Overnight stays will be at a Mishing tribal abode hosted by the local community.

Day 08- 13: Nagaland: Tribal culture and crafts

On Day 8 we will cross the river by ferry and drive to Dimapur the commercial hub and gateway to Nagaland.

Nagaland is a land of picture post card landscapes, lush and verdant flora, peopled by 15 major tribes, who have hundreds of years of tradition as warriors and head hunters. Originally Animists, they have been converted to good Christians. The Nagas are a fun loving, hospitable and deeply religious people, having a tradition of handicrafts, folklore, dances and music. Here traditional folk songs, eulogizing ancestors, and brave deeds, poetic love songs, gospel songs and modern pop tunes go hand in hand.

For 5 days you will explore Nagaland’s culture and crafts around Dimapur and Kohima.

At Dimapur: staying two nights at a country resort, we will visit a craft clusters at Dimapur, Diezephe and Thahekhu, to see artisans at work doing wood carving, bamboo craft , weaving, and hand embroidery.

From Dimapur we will drive to Kohima – the state capital, located at an altitude of 1444 m. It has an amazing diversity in dress, customs, language and traditions of 15 major tribes. The state museum provides an over view of tribal lifestyles, The handloom and handicraft emporium has a fine collection of saleable tribal shawls, hand bags, wood carvings, sarongs, cane and bamboo handicrafts, and ready wear garments of traditional weaves The rare Blyth’s Trogopan, and other fauna., are on view at the Zoological Park.

We will take a tour visiting local market where many insects and variety of food products that the Nagas call ‘delicacies’ are sold, take a look at the state museum , Zoological park and the handloom emporium. Later visit the Second World War Cemetery and memorial where the famous ‘Tennis Court’ battle took place, which many historians have called the ‘ bloodiest battle’. It was here that the Japanese invasion of India was halted.

A 2 day trip into the countryside will take us to Mezoma and Khonoma, villages with an opportunity to do some short treks, and gain insight into Naga lifestyles, agricultural practices, crafts, song and dance. Staying and interacting with the local community, you will also be able to visit local artisans in their homes and see them at work with Bamboo, cane, and textiles. We will be meeting master craftsmen who have won national awards. A cultural evening will be arranged.

Day 14-17: Manipur Valley – Ancient culture , art and crafts

On Day 14 we will drive From Khonoma, to the Manipur Valley in 5 hrs.

Manipur, is a little Shangarila, endowed by nature’s bounty. The oval shaped valley is surrounded by blue green hills, with its rivers and lakes, exotic blooms, and diverse flora. It is rich in art and culture. The people of Manipur Valley are primarily Meitei, whearas Nagas, Kuki, and Mizos, inhabit the surrounding hills. These are the people whose folklore, myths and legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms and handicrafts will fascinate you.

Our two and a half day tour to Manipur is packed with sights, and experiences to remember. In Imphal, you will visit the atmospheric Khwairamband Bazaar – manned by 3,000 or more “Imas” or mothers. It is a wanderers delight, selling an amazing variety of goods. The Khonghampat Orchidarium covers 200 acres and houses over 110 rare varieties of orchids,. Shree Shree Govindajee Temple is a historic Vaishnavite centre. Twin domes, a paved courtyard, and a large raised congregation hall form a perfect backdrop for priests who descend the steps, to accept offerings from devotees in the courtyard. The serene and well maintained Imperial War Graves World War 2, cemetery commemorates the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the World War II, whilst the Kangla Fort, once the centre of Manipur’s power till 1891, is regarded as the historical embodiment of Manipur rulers and has an emotional place in the heart and mind of the people of Manipur.

We have also woven into the tour visits to several craft clusters in and around Kohima to see craftpersons at work on clay pottery, terracotta, bamboo and cane, metal, waeaving, hand embroidery , grass, reed, leaf, and fibre.

Most visitors are not aware that Manipur was the gateway for the Japanese invasion of India from Burma. The invading force included the Indian National Army (INA), lead by Subhash Chander Bose. We will visit the battlefield sites of World War 2. The INA Museum at Moirang is located, at a historic site where the INA first planted its flag on Indian soil in 1944. Red Hill is the terrain feature, where the British- Indian Army halted the Japanese advance into the Manipur Valley after a fierce battle during World War II. Along with the battle of Kohima this was the decisive turning point of the war in the India- Burma Theatre. War Veterans constructed the India Peace Memorial, also called the Japanese war memorial which honours the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives fighting the battle for Imphal.

Close by is one of the most enchanting attraction of Manipur – the lovely Lotak Lake, occupying an area of 287 sq kms. It is also called the Floating lake, due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition), which are cultivated. 116 species of birds and 425 species of animals have been recorded around the lake.

The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a unique park located on the largest floating phumdi in the lake. This is the natural habitat of the endangered Brow-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi) which was once thought to be extinct.

We will drive 26 Kms into the countryside to visit Andro – the living heritage village. This is an example of the age-old cultures and traditions of Manipur. The community still preserve age old community customs and traditions. For example the traditional rituals and norms relating to the process of pot making. Moreover, the community maintains a pollution free ecosystem. Andro is also home to the Cultural Heritage exhibition. In this Mini Complex, are exhibited all kinds of things that relate to the material cultures of different ethnic groups of Manipur along with their own styles of traditional houses.

On Day 17, we will bid you good bye as you take your departure flight form Imphal to Kolkata.

Throughout the tour you will be accompanied by a English speaking guide, and travel in your own car. You will experience staying in atmospheric hotels, tribal homes, and a wild life resort.- all have been tried and short listed by us for their atmosphere, hospitality and service. You will get varied cuisine both Indian and Local with Western style breakfasts.

For detailed itinerary and prices E-mail us.

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