Kolkata & The Northeast Tours & Holidays
Kolkata & The Northeast Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays
Unlike much of India, large swaths of the north and northeast are still to make their way onto the mainstream tourist trail. At Wild Frontiers that's a red rag to a bull. Northeast India is waiting to be discovered, and we intend to explore it. Whilst the Ganges River plain, with such iconic destinations as Rishikesh, Lucknow, Varanasi and Khajuraho, are well-known to Western travellers, far away in the northeast corner of the Indian subcontinent, is a world removed from the main tourist trails. ...
Unlike much of India, large swaths of the north and northeast are still to make their way onto the mainstream tourist trail. At Wild Frontiers that's a red rag to a bull. Northeast India is waiting to be discovered, and we intend to explore it. Whilst the Ganges River plain, with such iconic destinations as Rishikesh, Lucknow, Varanasi and Khajuraho, are well-known to Western travellers, far away in the northeast corner of the Indian subcontinent, is a world removed from the main tourist trails. Here the lush Himalayan foothills teem with wildlife and flora that adapt and change with the geography and climate as they progress to the plains. Among the meandering bends of the mighty Brahmaputra, the forests and grasslands of the Kaziranga National Park break up the distant horizons of this enormous river valley where wild elephant and Asian rhino abound as nowhere else in the world. The traditional bamboo houses of the tribes of Arunachal are a stark contrast to beautifully restored colonial bungalows in the verdant and immaculate tea gardens of Assam. At Sibsagar the Ahom Dynasty made their ancient capital that now lies in peaceful ruins. More recently Allied forces were based at Dibrugarh and drove the Stilwell Road across Burma to Kunming. Many of their graves can be seen at Kohima. In this interesting part of the subcontinent also lie Sikkim and Darjeeling, where spectacular terraced paddy fields and rolling tea plantations cling to the undulating hillsides in the lee of the mighty Katchanjunga... the world’s third highest peak. Here the colonial past still lingers in the architecture much of which has been converted into fine heritage hotels. The gentle easy pace of the hills contrast starkly to the buzz and hubbub of the great Indian metropolis of Calcutta. And of course there is also the ubiquitous, wonderful mayhem and colour that are part of all India.
Embrace ‘girl power’ Hindu StyleCelebrate the female power of Shakti at the Kamakhya Temple. Visit this pilgrimage site perched on Nilachal Hill, see the domed roof and old shikhara style architecture in a location providing spectacular views of the Brahmaputra River and valley.
Set Sail for Peacock IslandHop over to Peacock Island, the smallest inhabited riverine island in the world. Climb steps to the Umananda Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and enter the main shrine flanked by rock cut figures of the principal Hindu Gods, created by local Assamese craftsmen.
Barter for goods at Fancy MarketThrow yourself into an authentic shopping experience in the Fancy Bazaar where you can shop for almost anything! If you want a break from the assault of market activity retreat to the spiritual haven of a church, a gurudwara and two mosques all close by.
Encounter wildlife on a jeep safariEnjoy a safari through a wilderness of grasslands, flood plain, forests and wetlands. Spotting the one horned rhinoceros is a treat, other species that you may encounter are elephants, bison, tigers, wild boar, Hoolock gibbons and wild Asian buffalo.
Discover a birder's paradiseHead out on a birdwatching trip, getting to enjoy the grasslands and pools backed by misty hills, home to a plethora of 400 species birds. The forests habitats and numerous water bodies are rich sources of food to over 100 species of migratory birds.
Encounter the Gangetic dolphinsBoard a traditionally carved wooden river boat and take to the calm waters of the Brahmaputra River in search of the endangered Ganges dolphin. Catch a glimpse of these acrobatic water mammals as they dance and play.
Follow in the footsteps of the RajStroll around Dalhousie Square and immerse yourself in colonial British architecture. An historical quarter of the city showcasing the buildings of a bygone era, this area of town is now frequented by city dwellers, office workers, and street food sellers.
Visit Kolkata's colourful flower marketRise with the sun and visit the colourful flower market at Mullik Ghat, before observing life along the Hooghly River, considered the life blood of the city.
Sample some tasty street foodKolkata is known for its delectable dishes and so it is a must for any visitor to delve into the culinary delights that are on offer. Eat like the locals and sample an array of tasty offerings, including Aloo Puri, Papdi Chaat, and Dalpuri, as you explore some of the city's best foodie hotspots.
Learn from master weaversVenture into the lanes of the textile markets of Dal-Mandi and Hadahaa Sarai and meet the Ansari weavers and sari makers. Learn about the life of the weavers and the process of hand weaving on traditional looms in private homes and courtyards.
Contemplate the spiritual GangesObserve the early morning religious rituals of the faithful converging on the banks of the holy river, and explore the labyrinth of narrow streets of Old Varanasi, dotted with temples, markets and dwellings.
Witness the sacred aarti ceremonyVaranasi is one of the oldest Hindu pilgrimage sites on earth and here you can witness the mesmerising aarti ceremony, performed by a group of young priests as they chant holy prayers and perform sacred rituals in order to provide offerings to the holy river.
Discover the hidden VaranasiHeading north explore the colourful streets and alleyways off the regular tourist trail. Discover historic buildings offering breath-taking views across the city and river, and explore hidden temples, colourful markets and above all the local way of life.
Champion local craft communitiesDiscover the artistry and process of Pattachitra, using dried palm leaves in place of paper, freely available from nature. The painting and modelling transform these leaves into works of art and provide income for the local villagers living close to Puri.
Worship the Sun GodStand in awe at the poetry of stone carving at the Konark Sun Temple. Ingeniously constructed in the shape of the Sun God’s chariot, the sheer size of this grand architectural gem is inspirational - a UNESCO World Heritage must see.
Visit the Temple Town of BhubaneswarSet amongst a forest of mango trees wander through the heart of Bhubaneswar's old town, taking in the Orissan temples. Observe a slice of local life with the activity surrounding the sacred tanks for prayers, the street vendors, flower sellers and the temple kitchens.
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY
TOURS FEATURING Kolkata & The Northeast
Travel to India with like-minded people on one of our small group tours (usually max size 12), featuring knowledgeable local guides and an expert tour leader.