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FESTIVALS OF THE NORTH EAST

Accompanied trip: 21 November - 30 November 2020

21 November to 30 November 2020

THE SANGAI FESTIVAL in MANIPUR & THE HORNBILL FESTIVAL in NAGALAND

The North East States of India are culturally and geographically quite different from ‘main-land India’, as the North Easterners themselves refer to the rest of the country. Still relatively unaffected by tourism, the North East can be considered one of the last true wilderness areas of India, with an unusually rich diversity of ethnic groups, religions, climates and landscapes.  In this tour we combine a visit to two states, Manipur and Nagaland and our journey is planned to coincide with two major Festivals.

Manipur offers a mix of landscape and was referred to as the Land of Jewels’ by Jawaharlal Nehru, due to its serene beauty.  It is also known as the birthplace of modern day polo.  For centuries horsemen across the Asian world had played games which could all be considered the pre-cursor of polo but it was in Manipur in the 1800’s that some British soldiers & residence after seeing the local game of Sagol Kangjei, refined the game, gave it some rules and created the sport that we know today as polo. The Manipuris are still enthusiastic players of the game which is played on the small, indigenous Manipur Pony and during our trip we will have an opportunity to watch a game, part of the International Man’s Polo Tournament   

Nagaland, is home to 16 major tribes, we will visit a village of the Angami people, which will give a close insight into village life.  The main focus of this part of the tour will be the Hornbill Festival, this annual event is organised by the Nagaland Tourism department as an opportunity to showcase, protect and preserve the culture of Nagaland and give a closer understanding of the people of the North East.   
Both Manipur and Nagaland were strategically important during World War II and our tour will also encompass this period of history.  

The infrastructure in Nagaland & Manipur is still in the early stages of development, and the roads are not good in places and the accommodation is relatively simple on an international scale, however the welcome will be warm and the festivals will be vibrant & unforgettable and the whole experience memorable and particularly exciting for photographers.
 
FESTIVALS OF THE NORTH EAST - ITINERARY

November/December 2020

21 November 
DELHI OR KOLKATA/IMPHAL

Fly from Delhi or Kolkata to Imphal.  
Met on arrival and transfer to Classic Grande hotel.
Afternoon introductory sightseeing tour including a visit to the bustling Ima Keithel, Mother’s Market and a visit to the Govindaji temple, with English speaking guide.
Overnight Classic Grande.

22 November
IMPHAL

Morning sightseeing in Imphal to include a visit to the Kangla Fort and the WW2 Cemetery, with English speaking guide.
Afternoon attend a polo game, part of the Men’s International Polo Tournament.
Evening visit to the Sangai Festival.  
Overnight Classic Grande.

23 November
IMPHAL/LOKTAK LAKE

Depart Imphal for drive through the countryside to Loktak Lake; the largest freshwater lake in the North East of India.  On route to Loktak we will stop at Red Hill and the INA Museum in Moirang, both important land marks during WW2 and the Japanese Peace memorial.  
At Loktak there will be a boat ride on the lake to explore the floating islands (phumdis)and fisherman’s villages.
Overnight Classic Grande.

24 November 
IMPHAL

Morning visit to the shrine of Ibudhou Marjing, known as the shrine to the pony, before attending the final of the International Men’s Polo Tournament.
During the day/evening another visit will be made to the Sangai Festival ground.  
Overnight Classic Grande.

25 November
IMPHAL/KOHIMA

Depart Imphal for the drive to Kohima, this road was built in 1944,  and remains today Manipur’s lifeline and main connection to the outside world.  
The drive to Kohima will take approximately 5-6 hours; the drive is through attractive countryside, but the road may be rough in places.  
Depending on time of arrival in Kohima, a visit to the war cemetery and memorial of the Allied forces during World War II will be arranged.
Alternatively this will be visited later in the tour.
Overnight Razhu Pru Heritage Guesthouse.

26 November 
KOHIMA/HORNBILL FESTIVAL

Drive to Kigwema for the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Festival; as well as dance and music performances there are many stalls show casing the Naga handicrafts and offering excellent retail experiences.  Small restaurants give you the opportunity to try the local cuisine.
Overnight Razhu Pru Guesthouse.

27 November
KHONOMA VILLAGE

After breakfast drive to Khonoma Village (approximately 1 hour’s drive). Also known as the ‘Green Village’, this village occupies a remote and beautiful location and gives an excellent introduction into the life of the Angami tribe.  The residences of Khonoma were known for their valour and courage against the British infiltration into the Naga Hills.
On returning to Kohima sightseeing of Kohima town can be included.
Overnight Razhu Pru Guesthouse.

28 November
KOHIMA/HORNBILL FESTIVAL

A morning walk can be arranged in Kohima Village, the original Angami village above our guesthouse,  prior to final visit to Hornbill Festival.  
Full day at the Hornbill Festival.  A visit to the WW2 Museum, located on the same site, is highly recommended.  
Overnight Razhu Pru Guesthouse.

29 November
DIMAPUR/DELHI

Depart Kohima and drive to Dimapur airport (approximately 3 hour drive), for the onward flight to Delhi or Kolkata.   

End of arrangements

Please note that the infrastructure in the North East is not sophisticated.  The road from Imphal to Kohima and onto Dimapur is a mountain road and in places not in good repair so can be slow and bumpy.  We do use comfortable vehicles.  
In Imphal the hotel is a modern 3-4 star property and in Kohima we stay in a relatively simple guesthouse, however the welcome is warm and the food good.
At 1,500ms above sea level temperatures in Kohima at this time of year will be cold.
Night falls early making for particularly chilly evenings!  Day time temperatures are very pleasant.
Due to local conditions and specific events at both the Sangai & Hornbill Festival the exact itinerary may change

Notes on itinerary:
1. For those with more time available the trip could be extended to include time in Assam.  
2. Alternatively if you have limited time it would be possible to shorten the itinerary and either visit Manipur or Nagaland.  
3. Extra arrangements in Delhi and Kolkata can be arranged – currently not included

Price:   
On request

Come prepared and you will be in for a wonderful & memorable journey.

 

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