The Ultimate Wildlife Tour With MV Mahabaahu (Downstream)



This tour covers well-known national parks for Tiger viewing in India – Bandhavgarh, Pench and Kanha National Parks located in Madhya Pradesh which are also home to a variety of flora and fauna. You get to explore the rich biodiversity of Central India. Here you can spend time in the company of some rare animals and plants during your Central india wildlife holidays along with The Brahmaputra River cruise which is a perfect combination offering the wildlife & culture of Assam with Victorian Kolkata which is also ideal for embarking on this enchanting cruise.

Tours Highlights

  • Bandhavgarh, Kanha & Pench National Park.
  • Open Jeep Safaries at each park.
  • Option of going for a Nature Walk
  • 130 year old flower market in Kolkata
  • Cruise expedition on Bharamputra river.
  • Beautiful tea estates in Assam
  • Majuli to experience the neo-Vaishnav culture of the world’s largest inhabited riverine island.
  • Boat safari on the eastern range of Kaziranga.
  • Elephant Safari in Kaziranga.
  • Jeep Safari at Kaziranga National Park to witness wildlife up close- Asiatic water buffaloes, Rhinos and Tiger.
  • Kamakhya Temple - devoted to Kamakhya, the eternal Feminine - the Goddess of desire.

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Arrive Delhi


    After clearing immigration and customs, we step into the receiving area where we will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Arrive and check-in to the hotel.

    Overnight at Hotel (No Meal)

  2. Day 2 Delhi – Jabalpur by flight


    Jabalpur – Bandhavgarh by road: Approx. 165 Km / 103 Miles / 4 hrs

    Today morning our airport representative will report at pre-set hotel 0700 AM and transfer to Delhi airport to connect with the flight to Jabalpur.

    Met on arrival in Jabalpur Airport, we start our 4 to 5-hour drive by private vehicle to Bandhavgarh National Park. The drive passing through small farming villages, teak forests offers many photo ops that we will take advantage off. Arrive at our lodge before dinner.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, D)

  3. Day 3 Bandhavgarh National Park


    Bandhavgarh Park is located in one of India's last remaining areas of substantial forest, in what was originally part of the princely state of Rewa, home of the rare white tiger. Contrary to popular belief, white tigers are neither a subspecies of tiger, nor are they albinos - they are actually white-colored Bengal tigers (currently there are no wild white tigers). Though small, the park abounds in many of India's endangered animals—spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, nilgai, blackbuck, fourhorned antelope, gaur (Indian bison and largest of the world's oxen), sloth bear, leopard, and the Royal Bengal Tiger. Bandhavgarh was designated a “Tiger Reserve” and comes under the protection of Project Tiger - the single largest conservation project mounted by the Government of India.

    Explore the national park by morning and afternoon game drives.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  4. Day 4 Bandhavgarh National Park


    We will have another full day to explore Bandhavgarh, with sunrise and sunset game excursions in this fantastic wildlife park. Daytime sightings of tiger are more likely at Bandhavgarh than at any other preserve in India. The Park remains closed to visitors between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and accordingly, your will have sunrise and sunset excursions in private 4-wheel drive vehicles, accompanied by attentive and knowledgeable naturalists, who will expertly introduce you to the area's rich and varied wildlife.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  5. Day 5 Bandhavgarh – Kanha by road: Approx. 210 Km / 130 Miles / 5 hrs

    Kanha National Park

    We have the opportunity of one last sunrise excursion into Bandavgarh National Park before bidding it adieu. After returning from the excursion and an early lunch we start our 4 to 5 hour drive to Kanha National Park .

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  6. Day 6 Kanha National Park

    Kanha National Park

    Often called Tiger Land, Kanha is located in a horseshoe-shaped valley with two distinctive hills on either side. In the centre is the maiden (open grassy meadow), dotted with stands of majestic evergreen Sal trees to form a savanna countryside reminiscent of Africa. This park has been designated a “Tiger Reserve” and comes under the protection of Project Tiger - the single largest conservation project mounted by the Government of India.

    Kanha has a large, healthy population of tigers. But this park features more than tigers; it supports the full range of Indian wildlife described in The Jungle Books. The variety and abundance of wildlife in Kanha is remarkable. The park is famous for its herds of hard-ground Barasingha - also called swamp deer, a large and beautiful endemic animal with 12-point antlers (it has probably been saved from extinction by careful management in Kanha). Also found are herds of the beautiful chital (common name is spotted deer), and sambar, the biggest of the Indian deer. Other commonly seen herbivores include barking deer, nilgai antelope, four-horned antelope, wild boar, and the imposing gaur (also called the Indian bison), which is considered the largest wild bovine in the world. A gaur bull can stand over six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh more than a ton!

    Explore the national park by morning and afternoon game drives.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  7. Day 7 Kanha – Pench National Park (200 kms / 124 miles /approx. 4 hour drive)

    We will have one last game drive in the Kanha National Park before leaving for Pench National Park.

    Pench is a protected area in the southern extensions to the hills of Satpura, Central India and park was established in 1975, subsequently declared a tiger reserve, Kanha-Pench Tiger Conservation unit under Project tiger in 1992.

    Check-out from hotel and drive to Pench National Park.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  8. Day 8 Pench National Park

    Pench National Park is a wild playground harbouring country’s maximum density of prey animals, chased by an estimated 65 Tigers. The park is well administered and extensively mentioned in the Indian history for its vivid fauna and flora. The landscapes of scrublands, deciduous forest of Teaks and many lakes, streams and Pench River can be instantly associated with the incidents and wild mentions of the animal life in the jungle book of Sir Rudyard Kipling. The established corridor between Pench and Kanha National park, adds to the glory of both the parks with many animals frequently traversing between the park boundaries.

    Explore the national park by morning game drive. Special Note: Central India Wildlife Parks remain closed for the afternoon Safari on Every Wednesday.

    You can opt for Walking tour in the evening.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  9. Day 9 Pench National Park

    The undulating topography supports a mosaic of vegetation ranging from moist, sheltered valleys to open, dry deciduous forest. Over 1200 species of plants have been recorded from the area including several rare and endangered plants as well as plants of ethno-botanical importance.

    The area has always been rich in wildlife. It is dominated by fairly open canopy, mixed forests with considerable shrub cover and open grassy patches. The high habitat heterogeneity favours high population of Chital and Sambar. Pench tiger reserve has highest density of herbivores in India (90.3 animals per sq km).

    The area has always been rich in wildlife. It is dominated by fairly open canopy, mixed forests with considerable shrub cover and open grassy patches. The high habitat heterogeneity favours high population of Chital and Sambar. Pench tiger reserve has highest density of herbivores in India (90.3 animals per sq km).

    Explore the national park by morning and afternoon game drives.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  10. Day 10 Drive Pench – Nagpur (120 kms / 75 miles / approx. 3 ½ hour drive) & flight to Kolkata


    Morning will be free at leisure. After relaxed breakfast, check-out and drive to Nagpur airport to connect with flight to Kolkata.

    On arrival, step into the receiving area where our representative will meet you and escort you to your hotel.

    Arrive at your hotel and check-in.

    Kolkata, the city of joy as it is called is also commonly considered as the 'Paris of the East' as there's a happy amalgamation of different cultures, styles and moods, coupled along with numerous forms of industries and commerce and politics. Kolkata mainly gained importance in the times of British rule as it had been the capital of India till the year1912. At present, although it is no more the capital of India, it is the capital of West Bengal and is one of the most important places of cultural workshop and industrial centre.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  11. Day 11 Kolkata


    After breakfast, visit Flower Market. It is a 130 year old flower market, the largest in Kolkata, and one of the biggest in Asia. People travel all over the city and suburbs to sell flowers here.

    Later visit the College Street, the largest second-hand book market in the world and largest book market in India.

    Visit the Victoria Memorial (Closed on Monday). This marble-white monument is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata. Here, come face to face with miniature paintings and images of Queen Mary, King George V and Queen Victoria. Of special importance are the Queen's dresses, the famous Rosewood piano, the Whispering Gallery in the dome and numerous artillery weapons used in the Battle of Plassey.

    Next, visit the St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in the Indo-Gothic style of architecture, and was built in the year 1847 by Major W.N. Forbes of the East India Company. The height of the Cathedral is 201 ft. This Cathedral has the rare distinction of being the first Episcopal Church built in this part of the world. The peak of St. Paul's Cathedral has been designed as a replica of the famous Canterbury Cathedral's Henry Tower.

    Thereafter visit Mother Teresa’s House, called ‘Nirmal Hriday,’ and also visit Shishu Bhawan, located near her house. Mother Teresa’s great work of caring for abandoned children on the streets of Kolkata is carried out at this center. Watch the children’s face light up with just one smile of yours.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  12. Day 12 Kolkata / Jorhat Flight & transfer to Neamati Ghat / Board MV Mahabaahu


    Today morning after breakfast check out from your hotel and transfer to the airport to board your flight to Jorhat.

    Arrive in Jorhat where the representatives of MV Mahabaahu receive you and thereafter drive away to Neamati Ghat to board MV Mahabaahu.

    You are welcomed and ushered in to our cabins and soon after we enjoy lunch on board.

    Use the afternoon to settle in and this evening we indulge in a short local sail to enjoy the hues of the sun as it dips into the horizon.

    Raise a toast to the River Brahmaputra and enjoy this sundowner and look out for the Gangetic Dolphins that hunt in the vicinity of Neamati Ghat.

    Gather for a safety briefing and a presentation on the ship’s facilities as we sip on Assamese tea. Join us for a talk on the Shivasaagar, the Home-hosted lunch at a tea estate and Majuli, as an orientation before your visit these places.

    This evening gather in the lounge for drinks and move on for a sit-down Chef’s Welcome Dinner in the Ship’s Restaurant ‘Mungri Mungram’.

    You are briefed on the program for the following day once again.

    Guests also decide if they would like to go to Shivasaagar the next morning or would like to spend the morning relaxing on board. We all meet for Lunch at the Tea-estate.

    Wake-up calls are noted down according to the visit opted for.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  13. Day 13 Sibsagar/ Home-hosted lunch with a Planter’s family at their Tea-Estate


    After an early morning light breakfast, drive along the river and through the Assamese countryside, laden with huts, fish ponds and beetle trees. You witness road side vegetable vendors selling home-grown vegetables and fruits and some fresh catch of fish from the river.

    Reach Shivasaagar, the Ahom stronghold where monuments speak of an era of 13th Century, when the north-east was ruled by a Tibeto-Burman race that adopted the neo-Vaishnav philosophy of the locals. Visit the tallest Shiva Temple of India, Shiva Dol; Talatal Ghar, the Ahom Palace; the Rang Ghar, an amphi-theatre.

    Later, arrive at the Planter’s family home on the Tea-Estate and get a feel of the luxury, expanse and history of the years invested in growing one of the best aromatic teas in the world. Assamese tea is famous round the globe and is one of the only two places in the world which has native tea plants, the other being Southern China.

    We are welcomed by the guests and we help ourselves to the buffet of ethnic Assamese cuisine. After a relaxed meal and authentic Assam Tea we indulge in some tea-tasting and a talk by the professionals.

    This evening you return to the Ship at Sunset, freshen-up and step into the Lounge and enjoy a relaxed dinner in the Dining area.

    You are briefed on the program for the following day and we call it a day or continue in the lounge.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  14. Day 14 Majuli Island visit/ A Bonfire Evening with Barbequed snacks and Beverages on a deserted island, a unique experience


    This day the nature enthusiasts wake up early to enjoy a couple of hours of walk on the Neamati Bund which is a raised platform that juts out above the river. On one side is the river that constantly cuts and adds sand and on the other side a swamp fed by rain water which is a natural breeding space for birds. Enjoy a walk through this narrow village where the huts/homes have sprouted along the two sides of a 12 ft wide bund. At this early hour one can see the village waking up, milking cows, gardening, farming, children in uniform cycling to school and the fishermen fishing for a fresh catch from the net. This walk is an informal way of peeping into the simple unpretentious Assamese village life.

    After breakfast, MV Mahabaahu sails towards Majuli. You take our tenders to go ashore Majuli to experience the neo-Vaishnav culture of the world’s largest inhabited riverine island. Sail away in our tenders to Majuli to experience the neo-Vaishnav culture of the world’s largest inhabited riverine island.

    Enjoy Gayan Bayan, a religious dance by the priests. Drive to a different part of Majuli to watch ‘Dashavatar’’ by young Vaishnav girls and an episode from Ramayana—Mukha Bhavana. These are a peep into the varied and rich culture of Assam.

    You have lunch on board and enjoy the sail towards the Deserted Island. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee on the sun deck and watch the sun lowering itself.

    As the sun sinks into the horizon the navigation team locates an untouched deserted island moor for the night.

    The beverages are set and the seating arranged. The aroma of the barbecued snacks fills the air and soon the guests step out on the island. Drinks in hand we indulge in talks, charades, camp fire songs and story-telling and enjoy the star laden skies with the ambience of water all around. You pay homage to the Brahmaputra River by floating oil lamps.

    Move in to the ship’s restaurant to enjoy a sit-down dinner. After dinner the spirit of the evening moves into the lounge, watch a documentary/movie for an hour and retire to the comfort of your cabins.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  15. Day 15 Mishing Village Visit / Boat safari


    This morning enjoy Yoga or a walk on the untouched silver sands of the island. After breakfast sit through a short orientation on the Mishing Village Visit and the Evening Boat Safari at Agoratoli.

    You take our tenders to the Mishing Village to witness life on Chang Ghars of Bamboo scaffolding, bamboo roofs and matted bamboo walls. The Mishing women arrange their looms beneath their raised homes and weave bright and colourful ethnic designs in their waft and warp. This village provides an opportunity to add Mishing woven fabric to your wardrobe or home décor.

    Return to the ship and the ship sails away towards the Eastern Range of Kaziranga.

    After a sumptuous lunch and some rest, you get into our tenders to study the shoreline of the Eastern Range of Kaziranga and understand how the mighty Brahmaputra shapes and re-shapes the Banks. This area is the confluence of Dhansiri and Brahmaputra and promotes itself as a playground for Gangetic dolphins, tiny Assamese roof turtles and fish eating avians. Any wildlife we see is a bonus.

    Enjoy the Chef’s cooking demo and a talk on Assam, its geographical location, the role of River Brahmaputra, the tribal life and commercial Ventures like Tea, Silk and Jute that Assam is famous for. This will be followed by a short orientation on the Jute Mill and the Tea Estate.

    Enjoy a relaxed lounge hour followed by dinner.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  16. Day 16 Weaver’s village at Bishwanath Ghat/ Sail to Silghat/ Tea Estate visit and/or Jute Mill


    This morning we enjoy Yoga on the Sun Deck as the ship sails towards Bishwanath Ghat; to this tiny sub-urban village on the banks of the Brahmaputra which is sprinkled with temples and is a cosmos of weavers, fishermen, farmers, boat makers.

    Bishwanath Ghat wakes up once a week to the presence of MV Mahabaahu and the travellers of the world and excitement shoots across.

    The sound of the shuttle on tense warp and raised alternate weft moving back and forth is music to the weavers of this community. A Shiva Dol (temple) from the times of Ahoms looms over and a promenade along the outcrop of rocks and swinging country boats adds beauty to the area. The weavers display their stories on these colourfully woven fabrics and wait in anticipation. Bishwanath Chariali is the 6th Range of Kaziranga.

    Sail along Kaziranga and reach Silghat where the ship docks. After a relaxed lunch and some leisure, you walk to the Jute Mill to witness the complete process in a co-operative mill for turning the golden fibre into a gunny bag. All the families in Silghat and the Jute Mill have formed a special eco-system for themselves.

    From here drive to the Tea-Estate to see the women plucking tea-leaves and also to the tea-factory to see the leaves turn into various grains for packing (The tea-factory is operational till mid Nov and after mid-Feb).

    Enjoy the State Dance of Assam, ‘Bihu’ by young village boys and girls and return to the ship. Over tea-coffee and snacks enjoy A talk on 'Kaziranga and wildlife in India' and an orientation on the Elephant and Jeep Safaris.

    The evening leads us to the lounge and an early dinner.

    Wake up calls must be requested at reception for a 3:30 am coffee and light snacks in the restaurant. The group will depart for Kaziranga at 0400 hrs.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  17. Day 17 Kaziranga National Park (An early morning Elephant Safari and a Post breakfast Jeep Safari)

    Kaziranga National Park

    Today wake up much before the dawn and sip away at a strong cup of Assam tea, some coffee, and cookies. Some fresh fruit, juice, and some dry fruits are on display too. An hour of the drive takes you to a resort in Kaziranga for use of facilities before we get ready for an elephant ride.

    You ride into the early morning mist and as the sun rays force the mist to thin, we witness wildlife up close and personal; swamp and hog deer, Asiatic water buffaloes and Rhinos; all happily grazing within yards of each other. An hour of elephant back saga through tall elephant grass leaves us nonplussed and wanting.

    Drive to a resort where breakfast will be waiting.

    Energize yourself on regular continental breakfast along with a lavish display of Indian cuisine like dosas, idlis, coconut chutney, poori aaloo, paranthas and much more.

    Soon drive towards the range for a jeep safari to explore more of the wild life. You look for the Asiatic Wild Elephants, the striped cats, the Wild Water Buffalo with enormous horn span, the hog deer and the swamp deer and of course the one horned-rhinoceros that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for.

    The Jeep Safari ends by 1030 hours, when you head back to the Cruise witnessing the paddy fields fed by the Brahmaputra as our wheels cautiously maneuver around the Karbi Anglong bends.

    This evening Enjoy an Assamese themed evening; Assamese freshly caught fried fish for snacks, Assami Mekhla Chaadar and Dhoti Kurta with Ahomia music and Ahomia dance moves and to top it all an Assamese Dinner Menu.

    Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  18. Day 18 A Bangla Village Visit and sail past Peacock Island


    This is a very relaxed morning. You can sleep in or be on the top deck to experience a session of Yoga and enjoy a peep into the traditional wisdom of the gurus from ancient times.

    Relish a laid-back relaxed breakfast from 0800 to 1000 hrs, a talk on Kamakhya temple and an orientation on the Bangla Village and Kamakhya. We also talk of our departure arrangements for the following morning.

    You leave for the Bangla village visit. Interact with the village folk and try to understand their simple and satisfied subsistence lifestyles. These folks who live off the Brahmaputra river, both for farming and fishing make a choice of living on fertile unclaimed sand bars. They understand that they can enjoy the privilege of owning large expanse of land only till the river decides to remain benevolent.

    The river claims their land during the monsoon and they must return to their haven on mainland or create one. The river starts receding from October to mid-Feb and slowly the snow-melt in the Himalayas starts creating volume and an indication to get ready. Sail on towards the Peacock island and enjoy the hills that surround Guwahati. We get together on the top deck to sail into Guwahati as the sun sets behind the Sarai Ghat road and rail bridge. Sarai Ghat marks the narrowest stretch of the river as 1.3 kms. Dock into Pandu Port and this marks the end of Cruising. You get together in the lounge for a relaxed evening. This evening enjoy the Chef’s ‘Alvida Bhoj’ - A Farewell Dinner Overnight on board MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

  19. Day 19 Guwahati – Kolkata by flight


    This morning you are docked at Pandu in Guwahati. Enjoy breakfast on the ship and deboard at 0900 hrs.

    You get into our cars and drive to the famous Shakti Peeth of Kamakhya Devi, the Goddess of Desire. This temple is located on Nilachal hill.

    Post the temple visit, drive to the Guwahati Airport with countless memories of Assam and packed lunch to board your flight to Kolkata.

    On arrival in Kolkata, board connecting flight to onward destination.

    (B, L)


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