December 2016 was marked by the third tour to the 'wild' North-East India. The group was very composed and we were able to do everything as planned and even more:) We had a lot of beautiful moments. We wandered into a distant village on Majuli island where local people literally ran to see us; an elephant was assisting his family to cross the road in Kaziranga National Park; we were lucky to reach an old palace near Shivsagar right before the sunset and had just enough time to explore the labyrinths of rooms inside — that was the first time the group had enough time to make it that far! It was also the first time for my group to see the tea factory while operation — unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos inside but I will remember that wonderful tea smell forever. I liked Shivadol temple in the morning and a talk to the pandit there. I liked the amazing sunrises on Majuli island and also our bamboo huts at the pond in the paddy fields. And an ancient temple ruins we saw on the way to Nagaland. A merry crowd at the Hornbill festival. And I remember the faces of my ladies at the market in Shillong — they finally satisfied their passion for exotic things and strong desire to 'be closer to the people'))) Lastly we were welcomed to the amazing landscapes of Meghalaya. One of the ladies separated from us here for an individual 2 day journey I prepared for her. The rest 4 of us went trekking into a canyon near Cherrapunji. These places are some of the best discoveries of my traveling life. I was happy to share this beautiful experience with you!
P.S. I have to admit, this tour was not easy for me — because of the notorious money reform in India started in November, because of misfortunes and accidents in the lives of the people close to me. But during the hard times one finds real friends (or realizes that some of the friends are real people, worthy people whom one can rely on
). It was my great luck to see that I have many good friends! I'm very grateful to them. Thanks to them I could settle the troubles beforehand and I with my group didn't face any money issues during our tour. Everything went very well!
These are the fearless travelers who went to the Brahmaputra river with me in December 2016: Lena, Lena, Anya and Tanya. Lena travelled with me on the very first group tour I managed in 2012) It feels very good when people come again and again. Tanya and Anya came for the first time. One more person is behind the camera. Thanks to Mike for the photos! I didn't have as many photos of me from the tours ever before.
Traditional visit to Mother Kamakhya in Guwahati.
It's so good to move a little after 5-hour drive in the car.
We started to explore the Park at the dawn and after the elephant safari we were able to do 2 more jeep safaris — in the different parts of the park. It felt like a real working day))
Midday swim for elephants.
At some point we lost interest of seeing the rhinos but this episode won the hearts of all of us: this elephant stood in the middle of the road blocking the way for the cars — to let his family cross the road after taking a bath in the river.
These bamboo and clay huts were our home at Kaziranga.
Finally we were able to mingle with the local people on Majuli island.
The people were happy and inspired not less than we were.
One of the biggest impressions on Majuli for me is incredibly beautiful sunrises.
There were plenty of tea plantations that we passed by every day almost from the very beginning of our journey. This is a long awaited moment — we visited a tea factory and collected some tea ourselves.
A palace of Ahom dynasty — Thai dynasty which ruled the modern-day Assam for 600 years.
At the ruins of a 10 century temple somewhere near the border of Assam and Nagaland.
It's 'Merry Christmas' mood in Nagaland from early December.
I like it more not to sit at the main arena but rather walk around Morungs of different tribes — eating, drinking, talking to people.
The groups representing 16 main tribes of Nagaland come here from various districts, sometimes from really far away. For tribal people it's a very interesting opportunity to see others and show who they are.
Local cuisine! It's difficult to be a vegetarian here...
This is the way men in Meghalaya enjoy themselves — every evening they gather to shoot arrows, and those who do not shoot make bets! Can you guess how many arrows are in the target?
Never-ending steps to the abyss. This is how the climb down to the canyon near Cherrapunji looks like.
An astonishing view. It's not my first time but emotions are just as strong.
It's easy to imagine oneself to be a Mowgli)))
Here is the beach — not for lazy people.
Pretending to be mermaids))) There is a local saying: tourists come here for bridges and stay — for pools. It was a pleasant completion of our 2 week immersion into such different worlds of North-East India.
For those who want to see more photos from our trip here are some links to wonderful reports by Lena — on Facebook: