Be it the awe-inspiring natural beauty, rustic lifestyles or its historical and cultural significance, Northeast India is a unique land full of surprises. Though the Northeast has attracted much-deserved attention from global tourists in recent times, it was once the country’s least-visited region. Assam, known as the gateway to the Seven Sisters of India, is rich with flora, fauna and culture. The calm and majestic Brahmaputra River meanders through Tibet before entering India through Arunachal Pradesh and flowing through the heart of Assam. The best way to explore the state is by signing up for a Brahmaputra River cruise that covers most of the Assam travel places. Besides, it’s a chance to experience sailing across the mighty Brahmaputra! So, kick-start your journey to the land of “Blue Hills and Red River” with us. You are in for a treat!
The land here is covered with blankets of tea plantations and forests. This scenic beauty is the first thing that catches your eye when you enter the state of Assam, and it’s a sight to behold. Before embarking on the cruise journey, you can go on a short sightseeing tour of Guwahati on your first day.
Kamakhya Devi Temple
Your first destination will be the Holy Kamakhya Devi Temple at Nilachal Hills. Built in reverence of Goddess Kamakhya, believed to be a form of Parvati, the temple is one of the most powerful among the 51 shrines of Sati. Dating back to around the 8th century, the temple is steeped in historical, religious and cultural legends. The Kamakhya Devi temple is believed to be the place where Sati retired in secret to satisfy her desires with Shiva.
Getting ready for the river cruise
After visiting the temple, you can drive to Pandu Port, where you will spot the cruise ship. Following the essential safety briefing, all the passengers gather on deck to enjoy the first sail. In the following days on the cruise, the mornings start with yoga sessions and discussions about Assam, its people and cultural significance. After sight-seeing, everyone returns to the ship, which is anchored on an island, to retire for the day.
An island visit
You will be set to go about the first day on the ship touring a farming village on a river island. The fact that most of the population depends on traditional farming for a living may leave one surprised. Conversations with locals will reveal that the Brahmaputra widens to 10 km as it flows through Assam to the Bay of Bengal.
Kaliabor Tea Estate
The next day starts with visiting the Kaliabor Tea Estate. India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world, and most of it is produced by the tea plantations in Assam. You can witness the entire tea refining process and will also be treated to a cup of tea at the end of the tour.
Kaziranga National Park
The most exciting part of the adventure begins once the cruise enters the wilderness. Take a jeep safari through the Kaziranga National Park. To spot the one-horned rhinoceros — one of the world’s most endangered species and prized possessions of Assam — and see it pass in front of you is one of the most gratifying experiences. Assam is also home to as many as 180 species of animals. The state also boasts a rich variety of birds, all of which add to the beauty of the landscape.
As the days pass by, the excitement continues to heighten. The cruisers sail towards Mishing Village as they learn about Majuli and Vaishnav culture. You are bound to have an unforgettable experience interacting with the locals who are experts in weaving and will gladly give you a peek into their culture and heritage. Performances by the Sattriya dancers and singers bring the evening to life.
The cruise then takes everyone on board to Sivasagar, the ancient city and capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms. The Guwahati travel guide mentions Kareng Ghar, the Ahom Kings' residence and Rang Ghar, an amphitheatre, as must-sees on the list of Assam travel destinations. After a hearty local meal with a tea estate family, you will be set for a rewarding siesta in the afternoon.
Assam is home to a variety of tribal communities. Tourists consider it an unparalleled experience to witness them continuing to live in peace and harmony. They reflect the “Unity in Diversity” message loud and clear. Their lifestyle is the epitome of simplicity, relying on agricultural products to meet most of their basic needs. Assam is also a food lover’s haven. Most of Assam’s famous dishes are steamed or boiled using natural fresh vegetables and are highly nutritious. One of the absolute favourites is a special mixture called Khaar.
It’s safe to say that such an excursion will be enough for you to fall in love with and appreciate the sublime beauty of Northeast India!