Manas National Park
Manas National Park has been designated a National Park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve in Assam, India. It is Located in the Himalayan foothills, with a part extending to Bhutan. The park has become well know for its rare and endangered wildlife, found nowhere else in the world, like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.
Wangala Festival, Tura
A hundred drums resonate to celebrate this lesser known harvest festival of the Garo tribe while they offer their gratitude to Misi Saljong, the sun god. Dresses in their traditional finery, the men and women give a spectacular performance that’s worth the visit itself. A 100 drummers along with young girls all dressed in their vibrant tribal costumes take the stage for 3 days. About 10 – 12 clans in rotation participate every year to win the prize money.
Selbalgre Gibbon Reserve
The tiny village of Selbalgre, 32km from Tura, is home to the unique Gibbon Reserve. Protected by the village community, this wildlife reserve is the ideal habitat for the hoolock gibbon, the ape species found in India. Locals consider Hoolock Gibbons sacred and the forest reserve lies deep within the recesses of the Selbalgre village, which stretches along the scenic banks of the Selbal stream.
Sarthebari is well known for its bell-metal and brass-metal industry. Take a stroll around the village and hear the sound of hammering the metal at the furnace from every passing household.
A small Garo Village which has retained a traditional feel and is a delight to visit. A chance to experience Garo hospitality and an authentic Garo meal.
Guwahati is the gateway to the Northeast and is the major cultural, political, educational, transportation and commercial hub of Northeast India. It’s located on the south bank of the Bhramaputra,
Temperatures in Guwahati in November is about 10C at night and 24C during the day. Manas National Park will be about 2-4C cooler, so dress warm for morning jeep safaris. Average temperatures in the Garo Hills in November is between 12C degrees at night and 18-20C during the day.
Join us for an immersive road trip in Assam and the western region and the Garo hills of Meghalaya. Discover food trails, wildlife sanctuaries, markets and the most important festival of the region. Enjoy simple cuisines, pick up tips on alternate methods of grilling and adding a smoky flavour to food. Enjoy shopping for local produce and join the Garo tribe in celebrating their harvest festival – the colourful Wangala Festival
Watch heirloom bell metal objects being created by hand, quintessential to the Assamese identity, as are the bamboo baskets and dry gourd vessels deftly created by the Garo folks who have picked up the technique by watching their parents do so. Vibrant colours on looms woven for the use of the maker’s family. Easy treks in the countryside, wildlife safari inside the famed Manas sanctuary, visit a Hoolock gibbons rescue centre and pick up some tribal rhythms.
Through all of this enjoy the drive past tracts of scenic virgin forests, paddy fields, orchards and rustic villages with their thatch roofs.
At Guwahati airport you’ll meet your driver and guide and transfer to Manas National Par. En route visit Sarthebari Village, famous for its bell metal artisan.
Later proceed towards Manas. Check into the hotel late evening. Enjoy some downtime before dinner
This morning enjoy a walk to the riverfront of the beautiful Beki river or an optional jeep safari.
Mid morning visit a nearby tea garden and tea factory, and take a walk around the estate.
Visit a nearby Bodo community, who are the original inhabitants of the region and their homesteads are interesting to visit. A traditional lunch will be arranged here.
Late afternoon head our on a jeep safari inside Manas, which is known for the One Horned Rhino, Asiatic elephants, wild buffaloes and an array of eastern Himalayan birds.
Enjoy a bonfire in the evening and dinner at the property.
Check out by 8 am after breakfast and drive to Tura. Spend the afternoon at the festival grounds of the Wangala Festival, on today, there are many stalls set up offering various delicacies and beverages. Many stalls are set up selling local products, artisanal souveniers and handmade crafts. Check into the hotel by late evening.
After breakfast head to Selbalgre Village and the Hoolock Gibbon Sanctuary, the only ape species found in India. The forest is very scenic with a pristine stream flowing through.
Spend the afternoon at the Wangala Festival. The festival is great for photography and seeing the drummers at play is quite a feast for ears and eyes. Evening visit a campsite where huts have been set up in the traditional style of the Garo youth dormitories, enjoy some live music, sample local rice beer and have a meal with local elders.
This morning visit Babadam Village, on the way visit a local market and pick up ingredients and local produce for this afternoon’s lunch. It is a 90 minute walk to the village. This village has retained its old traditional feel and is a delight to visit. Meet your hosts who will prepare lunch for us in their kitchen using all the ingredients we purchased. You can help them prepare the meal and see how they use herbs, wild lemons, bamboo and ferns to flavour the food instead of the regular spices that we normally use. There will be local beer served and it’s a great way to interact and learn more about their traditional methods of cooking and local beliefs.
Late afternoon/early evening return to Tura.
Dinner will be arranged at a local home where you will get to interact with your hosts and enjoy a wide spread of local delicacies.
Check out of the hotel and drive to Guwahati – en route visit the largest Banana Mandi (wholesale market) in Asia, if it’s market day. The drive is mostly through the countryside and takes about 5hrs 30 mins. Reach by early evening and grab a cup of coffee at the Heritage Centre and watch the sunset over the Brahmaputra River.
Dinner will be in a popular restaurant.
Check out after breakfast and proceed to the airport.