Day 01: Arrive at Dibrugarh Airport – Dibrugarh City
Meeting and assistance on arrival at Dibrugarh Airport, our representative welcomes and escorts and would hand over the documents and brief the tour programme to you. The town of Dibrugarh is on the banks of Brahmaputra. Drive to Dibrugarh City (18km/½hrs) by a private car and transfer to the hotel, whilst the room keys and check-in is organized. If time permits visit local market. Overnight in Dibrugarh.
Day 02: Dibrugarh - Namphake
After early breakfast drive to Namphake Village. Visit to the Buddhist Monastery and the village. An exotic destination four kilometers away from Naharkatia (65 kms from Dibrugarh) town in Assam. Spread three-odd kilometers along the bank of the Dihing, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra, the picturesque village has an enticing old-world charm. It is the largest of the Tai-Phake villages in Assam, boasting 70 odd families, which trace their ancestry to the great Tai race. The village folk speak a dialect similar to the language in Thailand and still follow the traditional customs and dress code of the great Tai race. The hamlet is also home to the Namphake Buddhist Monastery, one of the oldest and most respected Buddhist Monasteries in Assam. The villagers live in ‘chang ghars’ – bamboo and wood houses built on raised platforms and are mostly engaged in agriculture. Evening back to Dibrugarh. Overnight in Dibrugarh.
THE THAI (OR TAI CONNECTIONS)
Throughout Asian History, ethnic politics inevitably set forth images of conflicts between indigenous peoples and the larger migrant group. One such dominant migrant ethnic group, which is found across South, Southeast Asia and China, is the Tais. The Ahoms are an important branch of the Tai people. The Tai-Ahoms entered the Brahmaputra valley from the east (from Moung Mao in China through the Shan states of Burma) in the early part of the thirteenth century. They established a small kingdom in the easternmost corner having conquered the Morans and the Borahis, two small Mongoloid tribes of that area. By the first half of the sixteenth century, the kingdom had grown in size and number after the conquest of many indigenous communities like the Chutiya kingdom on the northeast, that of the Kacharis in the southwest and the Bhuyan chiefs in the west and northwest. In the seventeenth century, the kingdom was further enlarged by the annexation of Kamrupa - the south most part of the Assam valley. As the Tai-Ahoms came from Muong Mao during first part of the thirteenth century, they might have brought to the Brahmaputra valley a Tai language spoken in the Muong Mao region of the present-day Dehong Dai-Jingpow Autonomous Prefecture in Yunan, China and the nearby areas inside Myanmar. Initially, it was probably advantageous for Siukha-pha (the first Tai migrant to the Assam Valley who later became its ruler) and his followers to keep the Tai language alive, speaking both the Tai & the Assamese languages. The Phakial speakers are scattered in different villages situated on the bank of the river Buridihing. They are Buddhist in religion and this is why they could maintain their separate identity socially and culturally within the sea of Hinduism. Though the Phakials are small in population, they are still maintaining their own individualities, their gorgeous and typical multi colored costumes, the Phakial language, their customs and tradition. It has its own separate scripts and has also preserved in a few manuscripts, which are mainly religious scriptures. These manuscripts are written in Tai-scripts, which are preserved in their village Vihars.
Day 03: Dibrugarh – Majuli
Early breakfast, start for journey to Majuli (160 km / 3 hrs + 1 ½ hrs ferry ride), the world`s largest river island, increasingly threatened by climate change. Short ferry ride across the mighty Brahmaputra River to Majuli. One of the world’s largest River Islands, Majuli Island is located in the Brahmaputra River and runs for 80km from east to west and 15km north to south and a total area of 875 sq km. It used to be much bigger than this but has decreased as a result of erosion from the river. The island has a population of 150,000 and there are 243 villages. With a natural and cultural heritage site with water bodies covering most of the areas, Majuli attracts a wide range of birds. Aside from the rice field landscapes, fish traps and water meadows, the local Mising, Deori and Assamise tribes and Satras make the island a fascinating place. Enroute visit Sibsagar, which is one of the oldest capital of Ahom Kingdom. Ahoms who ruled Assam for 600 years before the arrival of the British into these parts. There are a number of old monuments built by them, the most significant being the huge man made tank “Sibsagar”from which the town has got its name. There is “Rang Ghar” the two storied amphitheatre built to enjoy games, sports, dance and music. The other interesting places are “Kareng Ghar”, “Talatal Ghar”, and “Shiva Dol”. Overnight in Majuli.
Day 04: Majuli
After morning breakfast, take a sightseeing tour of Majuli – visit the island’s ancient satras (rare Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries worshipping Lord Vishnu). Pop into the local mask making area and pottery workshops and watch master craftsmen at work. There are just under 30 Satras in Majuli and each Satra acts as a cultural activity centre for its region in festivals and occasions. Formed by the Assamese philosopher, Sankardev , the religion is based on the caste system and idol worship. Dance and play-acting of scenes from the holy Hindu scripture (Bhagavad Gita) have an important role. Pottery in Majuli is also very famous because it is made from beaten clay that is burnt in ovens fired with driftwood. From the beginning of their settlement in the island the people of Majuli have been facing the challenge of roaring force of nature like river Brahmaputra and have acquired the art of utilizing this mighty force of nature for their benefit. With the advent of Vaishnava saint of Assam the people have made their tiny island a Nerve Center of Assamese Religion, Art, Culture and Education and they have been preserving it as a living culture for the last five hundred years against all challenge of calamities - natural, political and social. This is a unique in this world and deserves recognition. Majuli for the past five centuries has been the cultural capital of Assam. The main depositories of cultural and spiritual heritage are the Sattras, which are just like Gurukul (hermitages) of yore. Here up to 400 celibates' stay for life preserving spiritual and cultural heritage, renouncing worldly desires. From the time of the great Vaishnavite renaissance of 14th and 15th century AD, under Srimanta Sankardeva, Srimanta Madhab Deva and other saints this island became the seat of Vaishnavite religion, art and culture. The famous Satriya Nritya (Dance) and Ankiya Bhaona (Traditional Drama) created by Sankardeva are now internationally acclaimed and nationally honoured. Majuli is equally famous for Tribal Folk Culture and Heritage. It is said to be the cradle of Missing and Deori cultures. The ancient Indian "GURU SISHYA PARAMPARA" system of education is prevalent only in the Satra Institutions of Majuli, Assam. The system confines the universal code, humanitarianism, the path of devotion, renunciation, truth, non-violence, well-being of the people, liberation from birth and death, under restrain, charity and compassion. The antique social customs of indigenous Assamese society are in practice only in the Sattras of Majuli in lineage system. In the sattra institutions of Majuli there is ample scope for learning every faculty required for leading a cleansing successful life. " Overmight in Majuli.
DAY 05: Majuli - Guwahati
After breakfast drive to Guwahati (230 kms / 5 hrs). Afternoon visit Kamakhya Temple. Kamakhya Temple: Over the centuries, Kamrup Kamakhya has been the seat of the powerful tantrik cult in India. Situated atop the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, it is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of the country. Rising to a modest height of 562 feet above the mighty river Brahmaputra, the hill on which the temple stands commands a magnificent view of the entire city. Several smaller shrines and temples dedicated to Kala Bhairava, Shiva and other Hindu deities are also located in its vicinity. Legends says that Kamakhya came into existence after the female genitalia of Sati, the Great Mother Goddess, fell when Vishnu started dismembering her body to force her inconsolable husband, Shiva, into performing his divine duties again. Legend has it that King Daksha had organized a sacrificial rite, to which he invited all the deities except Shiva. In fact, Daksha had done it deliberately to insult Shiva. Sati, being the daughter of Daksha, came uninvited. During the ceremony, Daksha began to speak ill of Shiva. Unable to bear the insults heaped on her husband, Sati immolated herself. The meditation of Shiva, who is omnipresent, was disturbed. Furious, he descended on Daksha and his kinsmen and destroyed them. With the dead body of his beloved Sati on his shoulders, he started the dance of destruction (Tandava). In his attempt to calm down Shiva and save the world from ruin, Vishnu sent forth his chakra to cut Sati’s dead body. The reproductive organ of Sati, the yoni, fell at the spot where the temple of Kamakhya stands today. When the yoni of Sati fell on the hill, where the temple stands, the hill turned blue and came to be known as Nilachal (Blue Mountain). Narakasur, the demon king, gave the name of the place Kamrup Kamakhya. He made Kamakhya his patron deity. Kamdev, the God of Love, with the help of the celestial architect Vishwakarma, built the original temple. Tradition has it that once in every year, the spring waters at Kamakhya turn red and the temple remains brought from near and far by devotees are soaked in the waters and distributed as Prasad (offering).
Day 06: Guwahati – Sualkuchi – Hajo - Guwahati After breakfast excursion to Sualkuchi and Hajo villages. Sualkuchi village: Assam produces three unique varieties of silks, the Golden Muga, the White Pat and the warm Eri. Silks grown all over the state find their way to Sualkuchi. Sualkuchi is one of the world’s largest weaving villages. The entire population here is engaged in weaving exquisite silk fabrics. A renowned center of silk production, particularly known for Muga - the golden silk of Assam, which is not, produced anywhere else in the world. One can distinctly hear the rhythm of the shuttles of the looms as soon as one enters this craft village. Sualkuchi, the biggest village of Assam with a population of around 50,000, is situated on the north bank of the mighty Brahmaputra (35 kms from Guwahati). Hajo Village: The town of Hajo (35 km west of Guwahati and 20 kms from Sualkuchi) is a sacred place for Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. The town also boasts of the Hayagriba Madhava Temple, accessible via a long stone stairway. Hajo village is renowned for their bell metal work. Evening back to Guwahati. Overnight in Guwahati.
Day 07: Dibrugarh – Delhi / Major cities of India
Breakfas tin hotel and transfer to Guwahati Airport (20km/½hrs), end of service.
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