The Ultimate Wildlife Tour With MV Mahabaahu (Upstream)



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. Bandavgarh 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 Bandhavgarh 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 National Park

    Kanha National Park

    Kanha is known for its large population of gaur, and this large animal is an important food source for the tiger. Other predators in the park include sloth bear, the common (or golden) jackal, the striped hyena, and the dhole or Indian wild dog (which, like the African wild dog, lives and hunts in packs). Leopards also live in Kanha, but are much more difficult to see. Other interesting mammals include the Indian ratel (honey badger), Indian porcupine, and various species of mongooses. Primates are represented by troops of monkeys of two species - the rhesus macaque and the silver (or common) langur. Kanha’s bird life is equally impressive, with more than 200 recorded species.

    Explore the national park by morning and afternoon game drive.

    Overnight at Hotel (B, L, D)

  8. Day 8 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)

  9. Day 9 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)

  10. Day 10 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)

  11. Day 11 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)

  12. Day 12 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)

  13. Day 13 Kolkata - Guwahati by flight


    Kamakhya Temple, board MV Mahabaahu and sail past Peacock Island

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

    Arrive at the Guwahati Airport and you will be taken on a drive through the busy streets to the Kamakhya Temple. This Temple is devoted to Kamakhya, the eternal Feminine - the Goddess of desire.

    After taking blessings from the Goddess of Desire, drive towards the MV Mahabaahu.

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

    You peel away from the Sarai-ghat bridge that supports a rail and a road and marks the narrowest stretch of Brahmaputra. We sail past the Peacock Island and notice the hills around Guwahati that make it picturesque.

    Use the afternoon to settle in and this evening we gather on the Sun Deck.

    You raise a toast to the River Brahmaputra and enjoy this sundowner and look out for the Gangetic Dolphins that hunt in these deep waters.

    Soon after you gather for a safety briefing and a presentation on the ship’s facilities as we sip on Assam tea.

    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.

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

  14. Day 14 M. V. Mahabaahu / Village Visit/ Full Day Sail


    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.

    You 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. April showers add to the water levels.

    You return to the ship for lunch and enjoy some leisurely hours reading a book or indulging in a steam, Sauna, Jacuzzi or an Ayurvedic Massage or any other treatment. You can enjoy a dip in the swimming pool or be on the sun deck to enjoy the river in its process of devouring or adding to the sand of the sand bars.

    In the evening, along with some ‘chai and pakoras’, an ethnic Indian snack, you enjoy a talk on 'Assam, its geographical location, the role of River Brahmaputra, the tribal life and commercial Ventures; Tea, Silk & Jute that Assam is famous for'

    Enjoy a relaxed dinner on the MV Mahabaahu.

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

  15. Day 15 M.V. Mahabaahu / Sail to Silghat / Visit Tea Estate And / Or Jute Mill


    Come alive with a relaxed cup of coffee or Assam tea, some Yoga and a laid-back leisurely breakfast followed by a talk on 'Kaziranga and wildlife in India' and orientation on 'Kaziranga Park Visit' along with an orientation for visiting the Jute Mill and the Tea Estate.

    We sail along Singri and Tezpur and under the Kaliabhamura bridge and reach Silghat where the ship docks.

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

    You enjoy the State Dance of Assam, ‘Bihu’ by young village boys and girls and return to the ship.

    Thereon, enjoy the evening in the lounge and then have a leisurely time in the dining enjoying the cuisine for the day.

    The program for the following day is announced. You book your wake up calls at the reception for the following morning’s early start.

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

  16. Day 16 M.V. Mahabaahu / Kaziranga National Park

    Kaziranga National Park

    This day you wake up much before 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’s drive takes you to a resort in Kaziranga for use of facilities before you get ready for an elephant ride.

    You ride into the early morning mist and as the sun rays force the mist to thin, You 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.

    You 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 you drive towards the range for a jeep safari to explore more of the wildlife. 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 your wheels cautiously maneuver along the Karbi Anglong bends.

    The bird life is an experience in this Park. This afternoon you board the ship at 1200 hrs, enjoy lunch and settle in for a restful afternoon. For those of you who like to watch the world go by, you make yourself comfortable on the sun-deck as the ship sails towards Diphlu. This perched up position on Deck 5 facilitates the best view and understanding of the river and the sand bars. It is interesting to observe the ever-changing landforms and the migratory birds finding their nesting spots.

    This section of the sail is especially fascinating as the ship moves in the river’s meanders. You enjoy a cup of tea or coffee on the open deck and watch the sun lowering itself. As the sun sinks into the horizon the navigation team locates an untouched deserted island and the ship is moored 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. We pay homage to the Brahmaputra River by floating oil lamps. You move to the ship’s restaurant to enjoy a sit-down dinner. After dinner the spirit of the evening moves into the lounge and you watch a documentary/movie for an hour and retire to the comfort of your cabins.

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

  17. Day 17 M.V. Mahabaahu / The Weaving Community of Bishwanath Ghat / Boat Safari

    Kaziranga National Park

    We sail very early towards Bishwanath Ghat. After breakfast, you shall given an orientation on Bishwanath Ghat, the Boat Safari and Mishing Village. Visit this tiny sub-urban village on the banks of Brahmaputra and sprinkled with temples and is a cosmos of weavers, fishermen, farmers and 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 their colourfully woven fabric and wait in anticipation. Return to the ship for lunch and sail on towards the Eastern Range (Agoratoli) to explore the Eastern Range of Kaziranga and view the wildlife from the river side.

    This afternoon, post lunch; take our tenders to wander and study the shores of Agoratoli Range of Kaziranga and observe how the river carves and shapes Kaziranga each year; you notice tree trunks in the river that had enjoyed some summers and others that are ready to give way and of course the forest that is holding strong. This evening you return to the Ship at Sunset. The Chef is ready with his cooking demo when you step onto the ship.

    Spend an hour in the lounge and then on to dinner.

    The program for the following day is announced.

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

  18. Day 18 M.V. Mahabaahu / Mishing Village Visit / Assamese Theme Evening


    Yoga, a good breakfast and leisurely hours of the morning set the happy pace of a good sail.

    We sail on 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 for lunch and continue upstream towards Majuli.

    After some sail, siesta and sunset, meet for a talk on Sibsagar and Majuli along with the orientation on these visits together with the home-hosted lunch at a tea-estate with a Planter’s family.

    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)

  19. Day 19 M.V. Mahabaahu / Majuli Visit / Neamati Ghat / Sibsagar


    An early breakfast and we sail out to Majuli in the tenders to experience the neo-Vaishnav culture of the world’s largest inhabited riverine island.

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

    Return to MV Mahabaahu for lunch and sail to Neamati Ghat. If you are not too tired, you can undertake another road excursion to Shivasaagar to understand the history of Assam through the Ahom monuments or else we can indulge in an hour and a half of nature walk on the bund of Neamati Ghat to discover more Rural life and some birds that nest along a rain-fed swamp.

    The group that goes to Shivasagar will return by 1900 hrs and the others can enjoy an hour in the lounge.

    We look forward to the Chef’s ‘Alvida Bhoj’, Farewell Dinner on the river Brahmaputra.

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

  20. Day 20 Nature Walk / Home-hosted lunch with a Tea Planter’s Family


    Jorhat-Kolkata by flight

    This day the nature enthusiasts wake up early to enjoy a walk on the Bund at Neamati Ghat. This is a walk through a narrow village where the huts/homes have sprouted along the two sides of a 12 ft wide bund. The bund has the Brahmaputra River on one side and a monsoon or rainwater swamp on the other side making it an ideal space for bird life. Owls, owlets, orioles, quails, partridges, adjutant stalks and woodpeckers are an integral part of this space. Star fruit, wild figs, bananas, tamarind trees abound in the area.

    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 out their fresh catch from the net. This walk is an informal way of peeping into the simple unpretentious Assamese village life.

    Return to the ship for an early morning breakfast and deboard the ship at 0900hrs to drive to a tea estate for a home-hosted early lunch prior to boarding the flight.

    At the tea estate we meet the Planter’s family that has been in the tea-business for over a century, enjoy a tea-talk with professionals, walk around the Planter’s residence, the tea-estate that supports several herbs.

    After a delicious home hosted ethnic Assamese lunch and warm hospitality, you bid farewell to the hosts and drive to the airport to board your flight to Kolkata.

    (B, L)


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