5 Night Cruise sailing from Silghat to Neamati aboard Mahabaahu.
Day 1: (Tuesday): ARRIVE GUWAHATI/ SILGHAT/ MV MAHABAAHU/ VISIT TEA ESTATE AND/OR JUTE MILL
On arrival at the airport’, we are met at the receiving area with packed lunch. The drive to Silghat takes us about 5 hours. On arrival at Silghat, we are welcomed on board the M.V. Mahabaahu.
We take a short drive to Kaliabore Tea Estate which is a vast expanse of undulating estate with tea bushes. We take a short walk through this striking tea-garden watching the tribal women pick tea leaves. We proceed to the tea factory to see the process of finally producing Assam Tea and coming to terms with ‘all that goes into preparing a cup-of-tea. (The tea factory is not operational from mid- December to mid -February as the tea is at its dormant stage during this time of the year).
We return to where the ship is anchored. Close by a co-operative Jute Mill is an interesting place to understand how the Jute fibre takes the form of very eco friendly gunny bags.
By sunset, we enjoy a cultural evening on the ship. We have an early dinner and retire for the evening.
Day 2: (Wednesday): KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK/ WEAVER’S VILLAGE AT BISHWANATH GHAT
We rise very early today and after a warm cup of tea and some snacks, drive out towards the Kaziranga National Park. The most prized inhabitant of Kaziranga is the Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros, but the Park is home to as many as 180 different mammals including wild elephants, tiger, deer, Asiatic wild buffalo and a rich variety of birds.
We reach the Kohora Mihimukh range of the National Park and are ready to start our morning adventure; once-in-a-lifetime elephant-backed safari where we search for the elusive rhinoceros, tigers, swamp deer and hog deer and more and a large number of very interesting birds. The park never ceases to surprise us.
After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, we drive on to Bagori, the Western Range of Kaziranga and get into the open jeeps for some more wild life adventure and an extensive coverage of this magnificent park.
We return to MV Mahabaahu for a leisurely lunch and a relaxed afternoon.
(In October and May when Kaziranga National Park is closed we do a short Jeep Safari in the outer area of the Kaziranga National Park. Elephant safari is not possible but one can opt for elephant joy ride on the outskirts of the park. During these two months we have an additional Boat Safari in a very picturesque area at the confluence of Diphlu and Brahmaputra River.)
After the leisurely pace of the day and having recovered the lost sleep, we once again get together for A talk on ‘silk in Assam’. We get into the tenders to reach the shores of Bishwanath Ghat. We visit the Shiva Dol in reverence of Lord Shiva and there is no way that we can avoid the women with their weaves. We enjoy a walk through the village and see how this suburban village thrives.
We return to the ship to enjoy an evening on a deserted island and then proceed to a scrumptious dinner.
Day 3: DHANSIRI BOAT SAFARI
This morning MV Mahabaahu sails early towards the Eastern Range of Kaziranga for boat Safari. We enjoy breakfast and a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside’.
We proceed for the safari in our tenders for about two hours. The shores are high but one can see roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles and many more. The sightings are always determined by the weather conditions.
We return for lunch. This evening we enjoy the Chef’s Cooking Demonstration followed by a talk on 'Majuli', the seat of Vaishnav culture
The evening on a deserted island with bonfire is always unusual. We enjoy dinner on MV Mahabaahu.
(Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions)
Day 4: Friday: MISHING VILLAGE VISIT/ MAJULI VISIT
After Yoga, as we have our breakfast, we sail towards the Mishing Village and further on to Majuli, a cosmos of Assamese culture where various philosophies co-exist and thrive.
After breakfast, we enjoy a talk on 'Majuli' the seat of Vaishnav culture’. Thereafter we set off in our tenders to a Mishing Village.
The Mishings live on the bank of river in 'Chang ghars', houses with raised platform. All Mishing women are expert weavers. The indoor life of a Mishing person revolves around the kitchen area where the family can get together.
MV Mahabaahu leaves behind the Mishing village and after lunch, we enjoy a talk on ‘Sibsagar and the Ahom civilization’ followed by a visit to Majuli Island.
We get on the tenders and arrive on the mainland where a drive takes us to a scenic corner of a Satra for an interesting cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. Next, we drive to Kamlabari Satra to witness the Vaishnavite priests dancing to the rhythm of cymbals, drums and chanting in the temple premise.
We return to the ship and we prepare for a Traditional Assamese evening.
Day 5: Saturday: SAIL TO NEAMATI GHAT/ SIBSAGAR/ HOME HOSTED LUNCH
After an early breakfast, we start our day-excursion to Sibsagar, the ancient city and capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin. Sibsagar town literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva’ as it is built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom Queen.
The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India. We visit The Talatal or Kareng Ghar, the palace of the Ahom Kings and the Rang Ghar, an amphitheater, a place of entertainment or important meetings for the Royals and their guests. Thereafter we drive to a Tea Estate for a relaxed afternoon where we enjoy a traditional Assamese lunch with the Tea-estate family who have been involved in the tea business over a period of a century. Here we sip our beverages as we explore the lawns and proceed to indulge in traditional Assamese cuisine.
We return to MV Mahabaahu by sunset and enjoy a relaxed evening in the Soma lounge before proceeding for our farewell dinner or Alvida Bhoj.
Day 6: Sunday:NEAMATI GHAT/ JORHAT/ DEPARTURE
We start the day with Yoga and/or go for a walk along the swamps to catch a sight of owls, orioles, yellow footed green pigeons, changeable hawk eagles, adjutant storks, quails, sea gulls hunting with the dolphins and pied kingfishers, swallows and martins diving to fish.
We have a relaxed breakfast. The luggage is brought out of the cabins according to the flight schedule.
The crew on board organises our transport
We arrive at the Rowriah Airport in Jorhat a couple of hours before the flight schedule and bid adieu to the land of Ahoms.
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