Nagaland Hornbill festival & Kaziranga NP tour, India
Description of Nagaland Hornbill festival & Kaziranga NP tour, India
This truly distinctive small-group tour will take you to arguably India's last frontier – the remote region of Nagaland on the borders of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Burma. As well as pristine national parks roamed by rhino and tiger, you'll experience the unique Hornbill Festival – an annual tribal festival celebrating the cultural heritage of Nagaland in art, dance, song and games!
Leaving the hubbub of Kolkata behind, you'll fly to Nagaland to plunge straight into the festival. Your experience of different aspects of the Festival over the next few days will be contrasted with visits to places like Kohima World War 2 cemetery and the home village of the Angami tribe.
Moving onto Jorhat, you'll see one of India's lesser-known tea centres, before taking the ferry along the mighty Brahmaputra River to Majuli Island – home to striking Assamese architecture and an array of 15th monasteries celebrating Vishnu.
At Kaziranga National Park, you'll explore a wonderful natural wonderland that is home to 75% of the rare Indian One-Horned Rhinos left in the world – alongside other wildlife including water buffalo, elephants, tigers, swamp deer and around 400 bird species.
Before heading back to Kolkata, dip into the quieter charms of the city of Shillong – waterfalls and parks, plus a brilliant bazaar where locals and incoming hill-people sell perfect souvenirs of this memorable trip.
PlanetNagaland does not see as many foreign tourists that other states such as Delhi or Kolkata. The state government set up the Hornbill Festival to promote tourism as well as encouraging inter-tribal interaction and protect the culture of the local tribes. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental throughout the tour, especially when experiencing the Hornbill festival. We make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us.
Where appropriate and feasible we will always incorporate walking tours of cities rather than being reliant on private transportation - not only reducing our carbon footprint but we believe leading to a more enjoyable and intimate experience for our clients. Furthermore, all vehicles used on the tour have low carbon emissions. We work closely with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues.
In the national park that we visit on this tour, we follow strict guidelines regarding behaviour towards wildlife, ensuring that our presence here does not upset the delicate balance of nature. On this tour we spend two days in Kaziranga, one of only two places where the Indian one-horned rhinoceros is found. We ensure that we stick to the trails at all times and do not destroy the environment just for the hope of getting better photographs of the wildlife. The park fees that we pay for entering the park contribute to important conservation efforts. By employing local guides here we contribute to the local economies of the villages near the park, thus helping to reinforce the idea that Nagaland’s natural heritage has value and is worth preserving.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.
PeopleClients spend a night on Majuli Island, popular for its monastic retreats. During the stay we visit several unique monasteries of the Vaishnavites. Our local team are sure to brief clients on the appropriate behaviour before visiting these religious sites out of respect of the monks. This promotes a good relationship between the tourists, monks and local people so we can continue to offer this exciting destination to future travellers and be welcomed back as friends.
All of our trips include visits to local markets, craft shops and fairs. As well as being good for the local economy this gives travellers to the country a real feel for the life and culture of this Indian state. When visiting a festival such as the Hornbill Festival, the local tribes are generally tolerant of Westerners and don’t expect that they will necessarily follow, or understand, local customs, so they are not quick to take offence, but we aim to have as little impact as possible and inform all our clients of the correct dress code. Furthermore, it encourages inter-tribal interaction, and allows them to protect their culture by displaying it through dance and song, educating tourists on the importance of local culture.
Clients also have the opportunity to purchase local souvenirs, ensuring the money is kept within the local community.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services. Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.