Is it possible to be alone in a crowd? Not if that crowd is part of the seething, multi-coloured mass that boils around the streets and flower markets of Calcutta. Yet strolling through Calcutta’s botanical gardens is a serene experience. Going on an elephant safari in Kaziranga National Park, or taking tea in a plantation high in the foothills of the Himalayas will present you with yet more perspectives on India.
In fact, the Colonial North East India tour is purpose-designed to show you India’s culture, its ancient temples and palaces, as well as revealing the history of the British Raj.
Dubai – Calcutta
Day 1 – 2: Fly to Dubai and connect with your flight to Calcutta. You’ll arrive in the cool of early morning and will be taken to your hotel.
Day 3: Calcutta
Lose yourself in the twisting alleyways and side streets that line the banks of the Hooghly River and form Calcutta’s fragrant flower market, before crossing the river by ferry, to visit the famous, 273-acre botanical gardens, originally created in 1786. Then move on to see the Marble Palace, Indian Museum, Potter’s Village and Mother Teresa’s house.
Stay: Two nights in a deluxe room in the Oberoi Grand Hotel.
Calcutta – Jorhat – Kaziranga
Day 4: Return to the airport for a quick flight to Assam’s Jorhat, and then onwards to Kaziranga National Park.
Day 5 – 6: Kaziranga National Park
The park offers you an unforgettable experience. You can trek after a rich variety of wild game on the gently swaying back of an Indian elephant, in the manner of the old colonials. But you, of course, will be shooting with your camera. Expect to photograph rhino – the park’s population numbers 1500 – wild buffalo, gaur, leopards and civet, otters, swamp deer, wild boar, gibbons and langurs, sambar, pythons and even the mighty tiger. Plus a huge variety of birdlife.
Stay: Three nights in a cottage at Diphlu River Lodge.
Day 7: Kaziranga – Guwahati – Bagdogra – Glenburn Tea Estate
Today you travel to Guwahati Airport for your flight to Bagdogra and the Glenburn Tea Estate.
Day 8 – 10: Glenburn Tea Estate and Darjeeling
And relax. Your days at the Glenburn Tea Estate will, of course, include taking afternoon tea on the balcony; overlooking the rolling hillsides and drinking in the delicious scenery. You will wander around the tea plantation and enjoy a guided factory tur, complete with tasting session. You can swim in Rungeet River and indulge in an Indian barbeque feast or hike up Tooti Daara for a hilltop picnic. There is river rafting, plus hikes along River Rung Dung, overnight stays in a log cabin, as well as trips to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and local primary schools. You can visit the grand old Planter’s Club, take a train from Darjeeling Town to picturesque Ghoom and Kurseong, tour the local Maharaja’s palace and photograph the views from Chowrasta’s colonial bandstand.
Stay: Four nights in a suite in the Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn – Bagdogra – Calcutta
Return to Bagdogra Airport for your flight back to Calcutta.
Fly home on day 12.
Stay: One night in a deluxe room in the Oberoi Grand Hotel.