Brahmaputra Cruises

This 10-night cruise starts at a river ghat between Jorhat and Dibrugarh, and terminates at Guwahati. Highlights are the old capital of the Ahom kings at Sibsagar, Majuli Island with its Hindu monasteries, Kaziranga National Park, temples at Tezpur and Madan Kamdev, and the silk weaving village of Sualkuchi.

When to go:

October, November and December - Brahmaputra cruises start at this time. However foliage is still dense, and flood plains are still often under water, so Assam’s wildlife viewing is usually poor until about the beginning of November. Tea gardens and factories though will be in full swing, usually until early December, while this time offers the best chance of a glimpse of Himalayan snows. Rain should be rare and temperatures moderate, but sun not always guaranteed.

​January and February - levels are low on the Brahmaputra, so groundings can occur, while morning mists can delay getting under way. For those who dislike heat, December and January are good months. As leaves shrivel and fall, wildlife viewing starts to improve.

​March and April - Temperatures start to rise, although without much humidity, and by April sudden brief storms can occur. In Assam wildlife viewing is probably at its best, and activity returns to the tea gardens.

Prices are seasonal, include all meals,excursions and transfers. Starts from:
GBP 1695 person sharing a twin cabin

International and domestic airfares are extra..

Brahmaputra Cruises at a glance
  • Day 1: Embark ABN Charaidew II
  • Day 2: Cruise to Majuli Island
  • Day 3: Majuli
  • Day 4: Cruise to Kaziranga National Park
  • Day 5: Kaziranga National Park
  • Day 6 :Kaziranga National Park
  • Day 7: Cruise to Tezpur
  • Day 8: Cruising
  • Day 9: Cruise to Guwahati
  • Day 10: Guwahati touring
  • Day 11: Disembark
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Day 1: Embark ABN Charaidew II

Arrive at Dibrugarh, a typical colonial town and major American base in WWII, then drive for 2 ½ hrs to Dikhou Mukh and embark on our ship. Alternatively, arrive at Jorhat airport and drive for 1 ½ hrs to Dikhou Mukh. (Dependent on river conditions, it may be necessary to board at Neamati, closer to Jorhat.)

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Day 2: Cruise to Majuli Island

Go on an excursion by road to Sibsagar, the one-time capital of the Ahom kings of Assam. Shan by origin but converts to Hinduism, the Ahoms ruled Assam for some 700 years until the 1820s, and their culture and architecture is a strange and delightful amalgam of India and Southeast Asia. We shall see temples with stupa-like profiles and palaces of distinctive form. For the record book, the temple tank here is claimed to be the world’s largest hand-excavated reservoir. Lunch is taken at Horu Charai, a tea estate. Return to the ship and cruise downstream for three hours to Majuli island, one of the world’s largest river islands.​

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Day 3: Majuli

A microcosm of Assamese culture, Majuli represents rural idyll in Assam. A stronghold of the peaceful religion of neo-Vaishnavism, the elegant island satras — some for celibate monks, some for families — showcase a unique way of life where the faithful live simply, offering worship through gayan-bayan (songs and musical instruments) and readings.

 Visit Auniati monastery and its eclectic museum and, in the afternoon, attend a dance performance at Kamalabari monastery. Later, return to the ship and cruise downstream for one or two hours.

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Day 4: Cruise to Kaziranga National Park

A day spent mostly on the river, though we shall stop and make a short visit to a tribal village by the river. By afternoon, Kaziranga National Park will be on our left – wild elephants are sometimes visible from the boat and once, memorably, a tiger.

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Day 5: Kaziranga National Park

This morning, you will arrive at the little temple town of Vishnath, known for its fine Ahom-period temple. Take a walk ashore before continuing the voyage down to a delightful mooring at Silghat, with butterflies abounding in the surrounding jungle.

Depart on a safari through Kaziranga National Park, a jeep ride through its Western Range, with good woodland as well as grassland and wetlands.

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Day 6: Kaziranga National Park

Today, drive to Kaziranga’s Central Range for a morning jeep safari.

Covering an area of approximately 430 sq kms, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros as well as the Indian Wild Water Buffalo. It has also earned the distinction of having the highest density of Royal Bengal Tigers (one every five sq. km.) making this park an incredibly rich biodiversity hotspot. With its marshy swamps and thickets of elephant grass, this park supports large populations of Indian elephants, Indian bison, swamp deer, and Capped Langurs.

​Besides wildlife, Kaziranga National Park is also a birding paradise. A few of the bird species found here are the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Himalayan Griffon and so on.

Kaziranga National Park also frequently draws comparisons to the Serengeti in Africa due to the park's abundance of wildlife and birds.

In the afternoon, go inside the Kaziranga National Park for another jeep safari.

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Day 7: Cruise to Tezpur

Cruise downstream under the seemingly endless new bridge to dock at Tezpur. 

​After lunch on board, we visit the remains of the the 6th century Da Parbatia temple with its exquisitely carved portal. Board cycle rickshaws to take us through the bazaars to Cole Park with its collection of medieval stone carvings. Later, reboard our ship and cruise downstream to moor for the night near the isolated Singri Hill.

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Day 8: Cruising

The day is spent on the river, traversing a lunar landscape of sand islands then closing in on the range of hills beyond which lies Guwahati. Moor for the night not far from Ganesh Pahar.

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Day 9: Cruise to Guwahati

This morning’s voyage is particularly pretty, with jungle-covered hills in the south bank. Reaching Guwahati by midday, we moor opposite the city and climb up to the pretty Aswaklanta temple before driving out to the temple ruins of Madan Kamdev, their erotic carvings being an indicator of the strong tantric traditions of the area. Return to the ship and cruise downstream to Sualkuchi either this very evening or the following morning.

Day 10: Guwahati touring

Walk through Sualkuchi, a bustling little town that is the centre of Assamese silk production, to visit weaving workshops. Witness 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 an Assamese woman). We then sail up to dock close to the great Saraighat bridge and take a tour of Guwahati, driving up Nilachal Hill to the Kamakhya temple. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifices, the more squeamish among us may prefer to content themselves with its exteriors. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves, the museum and the bazaars.

Day 11: Disembark and continue your India adventure

Disembark this morning and transfer to Guwahati airport for final departure.

 

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Highlights

Accommodation

Brahmaputra , Boutique river cruising
ABN Charaidew II

Boutique expedition cruising on the Brahmaputra River with the launch of ABN Charaidew II in January 2019.

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