This 4 night out-and-back cruise is a fascinating introduction to Assam; the gateway city of Northeast India. With walks through remote villages and jeep safaris through the jungle of the rarely visited Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in search of the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, it offers a snapshot of the culture, wildlife and landscapes of this little-visited region of India. This itinerary is also available as a 3-night, one-way cruise to Pobitora with a road transfer onwards to Kaziranga, offering a tantalising taster of the Brahmaputra River experience.
Meet at Guwahati airport and embark your ship by mid-afternoon close to the great Saraighat Bridge. Cruise downstream to visit the riverside village of Vijaynagar.
Today you’ll cruise upstream to the little town of Sualkuchi, where the clatter of looms gives a clue to the town’s industry. You’ll visit its silk-weaving workshops on foot and observe the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon and spinning to dyeing and hand-weaving into exquisite mekhela chadars (a two-piece sari, the traditional attire of Assamese women). Later, you’ll be driven to Hajo – a place sacred to Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Here you can visit a hilltop Muslim shrine, a simple Hindu temple with its frieze of elephants, and a sacred tank full of great carp, catfish and turtles, not to mention the far-reaching views over the surrounding rural landscape. Reboard the ship and cruise overnight to Saraighat bridge.
This morning you’ll cruise upstream and disembark at Pandu docks for a short sightseeing tour of the city of Guwahati. A drive up Nilachal Hill brings you to the holy Kamakhya temple, though with its tantric rites and animal sacrifice, the more squeamish among may prefer to content themselves with its exteriors. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves cemetery as well as a shop selling local crafts. You’ll then cross by country boat to the mid-stream Peacock Island with its population of Golden Langurs before reboarding and cruising past Kurua on the north bank.
Today you’ll cruise upstream past jungle-covered hills and turn into the Mayong River. Here you’ll take a country boat for a kilometre or two to the roadhead from where you’ll be driven to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
This small park has a dense population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros and it would be unlucky to not spot some of these armoured beasts on a jeep safari around the park. Those departing today are picked up from the park and driven for 4 ½ hrs to Kaziranga National Park.
Those staying aboard will return to the ship in the afternoon and cruise to a riverside village, which you can explore on foot. Later, sail downstream to spend the last night close to the picturesque Aswaklanta Temple on the north bank opposite Guwahati.
Cruise down to Saraighat Bridge. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Guwahati airport for your departure.
This itinerary, including the cruise and approximate driving durations, is subject to river and weather conditions.
ABN CHARAIDEW II