Shillong – Sacred groves, waterfalls and dinner with a local family.
Guwahati – River cruise & dinner with a local family, a tea tasting
Kaziranga – Wildlife Safaris in this world-renowned National Park, orchids, rice and dinner at a local Assamese restaurant
This trip can be done anytime between mid-September and mid-May but please note the Kaziranga sanctuary is open only from the 1st of November to 30th of April.
The seven sisters of the North East and Sikkim showcase a veritable melting pot of diverse races, ethnicities, cultures, lifestyles and cuisines. It can be said that there is more diversity in the North East than in the rest of the mainland India.
The Ahom dynasty which ruled Assam for 600 years up to 1826 has left a unique and indelible mark on the history and cultural milieu of Assam. The Ahoms had come to Assam across the Patkai mountains from Mongmao (region of Burma and eastern Thailand)
The Khasis of Meghalaya come from Austroasiatic stock. The majority have embraced Christianity but many continue to practice their old indigenous religions. The Khasis are a matriarchal society and inhabit the beautiful state which is called the “The abode of the clouds.”
Let your taste buds experience the huge range of flavours of the unique local cuisines of the places you visit. Bask in the scenic beauty with its breathtaking greenery and enjoy a class or a demonstration on traditional methods of cooking. Explore local farms, small fresh produce markets,a sacred grove and a national park. Catch a glimpse of endangered flora and fauna. Enjoy bonfires and conversations with locals. Simply put, come taste a slice of the North East.
Land in Guwahati on an early morning flight. Your guide will greet you at the airport and you will drive straight to Shillong. Stop for lunch at a boutique property overlooking the scenic Umiam lake, locally known as Barapani. An idyllic setting among pine trees and rolling hills to stretch your legs and let the holiday feeling sink in. After checking in at the hotel, you can relax until dinner. A sit-down dinner will be planned for you in a regional cuisine.
An easy morning drive will take you to a small town/village called Mawphlang. En route, stop to take in the views of Elephant Falls. The sacred forests/groves are central to the Khasi culture and still play an important role among the followers of the indigenous Ka Niam Khasi religion. Our local partner there will take you for a short walk inside the grove and explain its importance and also point out plants like the black cobra lily and a few varieties of mushrooms – including how to differentiate between the edible and poisonous ones. According to legend, the forest belongs to a local deity and nothing can be taken out of the forest. After the walk, explore the village and have lunch at a local home there. An early evening visit to the market or to the museum can be included. Dinner will be at a private residence along with a musical performance by a popular, local, indigenous band using traditional instruments. The menu is best described as a modern twist to the Khasi cuisine using local produce.
En route to Guwahati there are places to stop for a cup of tea or a break, visit a local road side market that sells homemade pickles, jams and other edible products. After you check into the hotel in Guwahati, you can choose from a list of options for a relaxed afternoon. Options include a river cruise (which must be booked in advance) & which starts at 4 pm or a tea tasting session. Dinner that evening will be hosted at a private residence. The hostess will chat with you about life in the region. The menu will be based on what we Assamese call, “Bilaiti Khana”- a take on European cuisine influenced by the local cooks that were hired by the British tea planters.
In the morning, after a light bite, you will check out of the hotel. Visit a local market by the riverside in the oldest part of town where produce to sell is brought by boats from the south bank. We Assamese pride ourselves on our breakfast spread and you must try one. We will be arranging a Jalpaan (brunch) for you along with a tea tasting, after which you’ll proceed towards Kaziranga. There are a few restaurants on the way if you want to stop for a cup of tea or snack. You will pass a few nice roadside stores selling cane and bamboo products. Keep binoculars handy for your first glimpse of the one-horned rhino from the viewpoint on the highway. In Kaziranga, dinner will be booked at an Assamese restaurant that specializes in grilling meat and vegetables in bamboo stems. Driving time: 4 hours (195 km)
An early morning jeep safari at 7.30 am is optional and must be booked in advance. Visit the Orchid Center where you will see about 200 varieties of orchids along with the different types of rice grown in the region. The weaving center and cultural performances staged here are an added bonus. A basic local lunch will be arranged. At 2.30 pm, you can take a jeep safari ride in the national park along with a naturalist. On the way back to the hotel, stop by the organic tea shops to see the different varieties available. We recommend the hand-rolled green tea from the Karbi small growers retail store and the CTC tea from the Hatikuli tea store. Dinner has been planned at a local restaurant known for its local Assamese fare. We have asked them to prepare dishes which we feel you should taste as it will be your last traditional meal. There will be dishes like duck with black sesame paste, the bori tenga and the fiddle-head fern stir fry.
Check out after breakfast and proceed to the airport. Please book the late afternoon Jet Airways flight to Kolkata. Driving time: 2.5 hours (109 km)