Wildlife Viewing and Authentic Culture

#1 Jan 24th, 2014, 18:53
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  • JosephBellestri is offline
#1
I know there are many travel experts out there that read the India Mike Forum and probably knowledgeable of India. If you can spend a few minutes answering my post, it will be very helpful to me.
My 15 day holiday is scheduled for March. My budget is moderate and interests are wildlife viewing and authentic culture. This will be my third time to India but so much more to see. Previous trips included: Delhi, Agra, Bombay, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan, and Srinagar. This trip I am considering Calcutta, (gateway city from Bangkok), Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Please tell me if there are places I should add or delete. Are there other areas of the country that should be considered over these states in North East India?
Thank you very much for answering my questions.
Joseph
#2 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:11
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#2
Hello Joseph and welcome to IndiaMike!

For a two-week holiday, you will be able to have an overview of Kolkata, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Adding to these would probably make your trip too rushed, I reckon.

Are you planning (moderate budget) to fly or to take the train?

The main costs in the North East are for car hire, unless you plan to take public transportation.
#3 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:21
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#3
If you are considering Kaziranga Park as a possible destination, do read this trip log:
http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...rhino-t194233/


For Meghalaya, please see karikor's posts in the Meghalaya forum.


Also, read this excellent trip log:
http://www.indiamike.com/india/megha...louds-t166369/


You might be interested to have a look at my own trip report from 2013 about Nagaland:
http://www.indiamike.com/india/nagal...hills-t195047/
#4 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:25
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#4
I have not been to the NE - Joseph and TD is the right person to help as she has been to these places many times. However, if you'd like to view wildlife (and march is actually the prime month as it's not too hot (good for humans) and dry enough (imperative for the tigers to feel the need to find a watering hole), then head to eastern MP for Bandhavgarh / Kanha and Pench national parks.

This may be combined with South Chattisgarh (Bastar) for visiting the tribal areas and possible the golden triangle of Odisha tourism (Konark, Bhubaneswar and Chilika though its too late for the birds there). This is doable in two weeks by taking a few trains from and to Kolkata.

My Bastar trip report may give some idea about tribes there: http://www.indiamike.com/india/off-t...antak-t156117/
#5 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post ... head to eastern MP for Bandhavgarh / Kanha and Pench national parks...
If covering the North East a closer option may be Manas National Park, a Project Tiger reserve on the Bhutan border.
#6 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:47
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#6
Joseph, if national parks are your main interest, you might also consider the Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh.

Actually, if you could stretch your two weeks a little bit, you could throw in a bit of Arunachal Pradesh as well.

Beware! You need a special permit for AP. You do NOT require any for Assam or Meghalaya or Nagaland.
#7 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:49
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#7
Arunachal is a great option, but needs a week just to itself. I thought that the Government had dispensed with special permission requirements for AP except for protected border areas.

Quote:
Arunachal Pradesh
Protected Area:
Itanagar, Ziro, Along, Pasighat, Miao, Namdapha and Sujesa (Puki) Bhalukpong.
I'll recheck.
#8 Jan 24th, 2014, 19:52
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If you really wanted to see Wild life chances of your sightings are much higher in Eastern MP Forests of Bandhavgarh / Kanha / Pench or may be Ranthambhor in Rajasthan. Usually forests in eastern and North Eastern are much dense and sighting are not as good as in forests of Central or Western part of India. But if you love forests and not just interested in animal sightings, Manas is certainly a must go for you. Kaziranga will be too crowded and commercial. The problem of Manas is the politically unstable region of Bodoland. Being general election year, 2014 March may not be very calm and peaceful time to travel inside India. Still if you come and stick to your plans in North East one more place I would suggest you, that's Namdapha National Park in Eastern Arunachal. Arunachal needs permit for foreigners but if you can take that hassle, Namdapha would certainly give you an unique rain forest experience which no other forest in India can give you.

Wish you a safe and nice travel!!

**********
Just note, Cross posted with TD but yes Namdapha is certainly unique among Indian Forests.
**********
#9 Jan 24th, 2014, 20:07
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#9

Re: Wildlife Viewing and Authentic Culture

Great suggestions. If you are in Kolkata please visit the sundarbans for experiencing unique mangrove experience. Tiger sighting will be one in a million chance but the first will enchant you for sure.
Cheers.

Somnath
#10 Jan 24th, 2014, 20:10
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamsomnath View Post ...Tiger sighting will be one in a million chance ...
Unless the tiger sights you first!
#11 Jan 24th, 2014, 20:18
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#11

Re: Wildlife Viewing and Authentic Culture

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post Unless the tiger sights you first!
Ha ha ha... Good one. Shortest route to fame
#12 Jan 24th, 2014, 20:23
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post If you really wanted to see Wild life chances of your sightings are much higher in Eastern MP Forests of Bandhavgarh / Kanha / Pench or may be Ranthambhor in Rajasthan.
This was the logic I had in mind - kshil has saved me a bit of typing here.
#13 Jan 24th, 2014, 21:20
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#13
We visited Assam some years ago.
Kaziranga was fine wild-sanctuary. Ok there are not much tigers there but the mighty rhino's compensate that.

Not far from there is Jorhat. From here visit the gibbon sanctuary in Mariani.
It is also a good base to visit the large Majuli island, see here for more about it http://www.indiamike.com/india/assam...putra-t194204/.

Details of our trip are in the North-East journal in my signature.
#14 Jan 25th, 2014, 13:33
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#14
Thank you all for the helpful information. This is a lot to digest and with such a short stay, it will be necessary to hit the ground running. If I start the journey in Assam and end it with 2-3 days in Calcutta, which parks and villages should I visit? I do want more than an just overview so I am willing to distill this down to a reasonable number of sites to visit.
#15 Jan 25th, 2014, 14:17
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#15
O.K., here are a couple of itineraries, off the top of my head, for you:

- Start at Guwahati, then drive to Manas national park (I think it is about three hours drive). Enjoy the visits to Manas park. (I have not yet visited this place, but it looks great on paper.)

- From there, continue across to Arunachal Pradesh, and stay at an eco homestay in Ziro. You will be able to see tribal life aplenty and enjoy one of the most beautiful parts of Arunachal Pradesh, the Ziro plateau. The Apatani tribals have managed to sustain their traditional way of life.*

- Back to Assam and take the train or fly from Guwahati to Kolkata. (If you still are energetic enough, visit Majuli Island on your way. I have heard great reports. [See vonkla's trip log for starters.] )


OR

- Instead of visiting Ziro, go from Guwahati to Shillong and to Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya. (Lots to read in the Meghalaya forum.) Highlights are the treks to the double decker living root bridges.


OR


Don't stop at Manas park. Go directly from your arrival point in Assam, to Nagaland, starting at Dimapur (accessible by flight or by train from Kolkata as well as Guwahati). Drive to the small town of Khonoma (between Dimapur and Kohima) and visit the nearby Tragopan Sanctuary. Continue to Kohima, sightseeing locally. Then continue northwards to Mokokchung; followed by Mon, in Northern Nagaland. [I have not been to Khonoma or Kohima yet. For the other places, i.e. Mokokchung and Mon, see my aforementioned travel report.]

From Mon, drive to either Jorhat or to Guwahati, to return to Kolkata.




* You might be lucky enough to time your visit during the Myoko Festival (in March). I will check the dates for you.

P.S. To whet your appetite, here is an article on Ziro:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...4dd_story.html

(This is giving me travel ideas too! I had not realized that there is now a Music Festival in Ziro every autumn.)

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