Expedition to Indian Tibet for Myoku Festival of Apatani, Aoleang Festival in Nagaland, Cherrapunjee living root bridges and Holi Festival on Majuli island


March 18 to April 4, 2024
Tour North-East India

Tour to India expedition to Arunachal Pradesh Tawang Nagaland Konyak Cherrapunjee tour to North East India Indian Tibet

Kaziranga Assam Majuli Torgya Monpa Mon
Burmese headhunters, showing you their trophies, one-of-a-kind Apatani women worshiping of Moon and Sun and wearing rattan pieces in their noses, 20-meter long living root bridges, sophisticated trekking and stirring Tibet landscapes! All that you can find in remote North-East appendix of India in Himalayan foothill - absolutely authentic part of the planet, hardly touched by the time.

Our forth expedition to the North-East India aims at visiting three great festivals – Apatani animistic Myoko festival, Aoleang festival of Naga Konyak headhunters and Holi Festival on Majuli island, the world's biggest river island and one of the most syncretic place in India.

Tour to India. Dancing Buddhist monks dressed in ceremonial masks and theatre costumes, Burmese headhunters showing you their trophies, unique Tibetan tribes worshiping of Moon and Sun and wearing rattan pieces in their noses, 20-meter long living root bridges, sophisticated trekking and stirring Tibet landscapes... All that you can find in remote North-East appendix of India in Himalayan foothill - absolutely authentic part of the planet, hardly touched by the time.

© Alexey Kolbov, MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS, 2022

Dates: March 18 – April 4, 2024

Duration: 18 days / 17 nights

Number of participants:
8 – 12

Cost per person (based on TWIN/DBL accommodation):

– USD 3 490 subject to 12 participants,
– USD 3 590 subject to 10 – 11 participants,
– USD 3 790 subject to 9 participants or
– USD 3 990 subject to 8 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before October 18, 2023)

Everything is included (also domestic flights), except for:

– international flight to Delhi roundtrip,
– medical travel insurance,
– Indian visa (Indian visa obtained upon arrival to Delhi with pre-visa on the website, at visa fee of USD 60)
– lunches and dinners in Delhi.

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Delhi – Moscow: USD 700 – 1000 (to be bought on your own).

Single supplement: USD 890 (provided throughout the whole itinerary)


Day 1. March 18, 2024 (Monday). DELHI

Flight to Delhi. Arrival in the late evening or in the night. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Hotel Uptown By Srida Hotels and resorts 3* or similar in the center of local life.

* Recommended flight:

- with Aeroflot, departs from Moscow on March 18 at 19:30, arrives in Delhi on March 19 at 4:05 am,
- with Etihad Airways, arrives in Delhi on March 19 at 3:00 am, flight EY-218 from Abu Dhabi,
- with Qatar Air, arrives in Delhi on March 19 at 2:05 am, flight QR-578 from Doha,
- with Emirates, arrives in Delhi on March 18 at 19:55, flight EK-514 from Abu Dhabi,
- any other flight with arrival in Delhi any time on March 18 or in the night from March 18 to 19.

Accommodation: Hotel Uptown By Srida Hotels and resorts 3* in Delhi or similar
Meals included: no

Day 2. March 19, 2024 (Tuesday). DELHI

After late breakfast, around 12 pm, we start exploring old Delhi – the huge megalopolis, true city of contrasts. We stay in the very center of local life, so right from the entrance door you are in the middle of Indian universe: loud and frequent car signals, hustle and bustle of crowded streets, crazy traffic and sometimes elephants on the roads! We can visit the most notable historical places or choose "another way", take rickshaw and see true Indian color in such amazing places like Railway station, Red Fort, Spice market or roofs of the slum area. That is the best way to explore Delhi! Overnight in Hotel Uptown By Srida Hotels and resorts 3* or similar.

Accommodation: Hotel Uptown By Srida Hotels and resorts 3* in Delhi or similar
Meals included: breakfast

Day 3. March 20, 2024 (Wednesday). DELHI – DIBRUGARH – ZIRO(240 km, 6 – 7 hrs drive)

Take a breakfast box and a very early morning transfer to the airport for a direct flight to North East India. Flight at 7 – 8 am to Dibrugarh city with IndiGo, Vistara, Air Asia or other airlines.
Morning arrival (around 10 am to 12) in Dibrugarh. Meeting the guide at Dibrugarh airport and transferring to Ziro. En route we cross the border of Arunachal Pradesh state and fix all the paper formalities (sometimes it takes long).
If we are on time (otherwise on the way back from Ziro to Majuli on Day 6), stop in Joram village with the long common house to meet Nyishi tribe famous for their long houses and the closest people to Apatani.
Late arrival in Ziro, the area of Apatani people. Ziro is almost a level valley enclosed on all sides by pine-clad low stooping hills. This area, also called Apatani Plateau, is famous for Paddy-cum-Fish culture. Overnight in Siiro Resort or similar.

Accommodation: Siiro Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4. March 21, 2024 (Thursday). MYOKO FESTIVAL IN ZIRO

The next two days will be spent on exploring Apatani villages and witnessing the Myoko ceremony of this community. Myoko is a spring festival celebrated when apricot trees start to bloom. This is the biggest celebration of the Apatani community related to agriculture, spirituality, nature and communal harmony amongst the Apatani and its immediate neighbor Nyishi. Since most of the tribes in the region don't have their own script. So as far as Apatani legend it's believed that they being a mongoloid stock migrated somewhere from Mongolia long time back. They were told to celebrate this Myoko festival by their ancestors wherever they settled down when the peach tree started to bloom, which they brought along with them.
This day you will witness a palm procession carried out by all the male members of the village. This is the ritual where they invoke the spirits of their departed ancestors to join the festival. A skull of long tailed macaque which they purposely hunt down for this ritual is used during the ceremony.
Apatani women traditional dancing in Michi village.

Accommodation: Siiro Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5. March 22, 2024 (Friday). MYOKO FESTIVAL IN ZIRO

Another day in the Myoko Festival to witness an animistic ritual of the Apatani tribe and to enjoy the hospitality of the community. They have an early morning Pig offering ceremony by a married couple. This happened near an apricot tree. All the married couple willing to offer a pig brings a pig to this sacred altar called "Yugyang". Later these animals are sacrificed in the name of Myoko deity. Apatani has a unique way of killing this animal. A person is appointed for this work with an assistant. They are called 'Aha Pornw'. They move from house to house to take the heart out from the pigs. He cut the chest open of the pig when the animal is still alive and put his hand inside to grave the heart of the animal and pull it out and put it in the basket of hearts he has already taken. After this ritual it is taboo to take any food which doesn't belong to their community for more than a month. Dozens and dozens of pigs are slaughtered ritually. This appears to be one of the massive and bloody animistic ceremonies.
Discovering the local culture of the Apatani tribe whose old ladies still practice the unique tradition of nose plugs piercing and facial tattooing. Apatani practices Doniy Polo animism and believes in Sun and Moon. It is not Sunday, so we cannot attend the prayer in Donyi Polo temple, but we will ask the priest to open the door and tell us the story of this religion.
We also make an excursion to the interior of Ziro valley visiting the Hong village, the largest village of Apatani Community, and probably (if time permits) some of the other Apatani villages such as Bulla, Hari, and Hija.

Accommodation: Siiro Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6. March 23, 2024 (Saturday). ZIRO – MAJULI (157 km, 5 – 6 hrs drive)

After breakfast, visit some last events of Myoko festival and at 12 at the latest start driving back to Assam state (or rather drive right after breakfast if there are no other celebrations of Myoko).
We head to Majuli. Majuli is famously known as the world's largest (or, arguably, second largest) river island. It is located in between two streams of mighty Brahmaputra River.
En route stop in Nyishi traditional village or Mishing tribal village to know more about their culture and way of living.
On arrival check-in at Le Maison de Ananda. Dinner and traditional dances of Mishing (Miri) people. Overnight at Majuli.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Maison de Ananda on Majuli island or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7. March 24, 2024 (Sunday). HOLI FESTIVAL IN MAJULI

Full day Majuli sightseeing, visiting the temples with age old history and learn about the monks staying in the temple, amazing Gayanbayan folk dance by the monks, visit mask making temple, pottery village and Mishing tribal villages.
Majuli is the cultural capital of Assam. Shrimant Sankardeva established this practice of Vaishnavism in the 16th century. Vaishnavism is a sect of Hinduism where they worship Lord Vishnu, The Protector, and his re-incarnation. The major population of this island is in habitat by the Mishing tribe, who are believed to have migrated from present Arunachal Pradesh. History says that they were bond laborers of Adi Tribe for finding gold in river bed. To escape this they followed the river and migrated down to Assam. Now most of this tribe is settled down in Assam close to the water body.
Tonight the Holi Festival celebration starts. In India, the typical celebration of Holi lasts for two days although preparations can start weeks in advance. The main events of the celebration are the Holika Dahan – burning of the demon Holika on a bonfire to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It will happen tonight after 7 PM. We will attend the rituals in Garmur Satra.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Maison de Ananda on Majuli island or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8. March 25, 2024 (Monday). HOLI FESTIVAL IN MAJULI – GUWAHATI (340 km, 7 – 8 hrs drive)

Today is the main day of Holi Festival, the day of the color fights, when the whole country heads to the streets to celebrate. We will be immersed into the celebration. It is a very special experience to celebrate Holi on Majuli island, one of the most syncretic places, when Hinduism intertwined with the numerous animistic beliefs.
Today we will say farewell to Majuli island and leave for Guwahati. Arrival in the center of Guwahati, to Umananda Ghat, from where we take a 10-minute boat in order to reach one more island, this time the smallest inhabited riverine island on the planet. Today we started from the world's largest river island and reached the smallest one!
The islet Umananda is located in the middle of the mighty river Brahmaputra. Owing to its unique structure which resembles the splayed feathers of a peacock, a British officer even gave the island the name Peacock Island. We will visit Umananda temple of Shiva.
Check-in at the hotel Ghar 365 Residency or similar. Stay overnight in Guwahati, the economical capital and the biggest city of the Assam state and also the largest metropolis in northeastern India. It is called the ''Gateway to North East India". Dispur, the capital of Assam, is in the circuit city region located within Guwahati.

Accommodation: hotel Ghar 365 Residency or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9. March 26, 2024 (Tuesday). GUWAHATI – MAWLYNNONG – DAWKI – CHERRAPUNJI (195 km, approx. 6 – 7 hrs drive)

Early morning after breakfast, we drive to Meghalaya state, via Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.
From Guwahati some 6 hours drive to Mawlynnong, the cleanest village in Asia. Mawlynnong village is home to the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya, and you can get to witness the various traditions and culture of the
Khasi people here (even if the village is becoming more and more modern).
Rather short drive to Dawki to arrive at the time when the sun is up at most. Dawki visited Umngot River, also known as Dawki River, famous for its crystal clear water. This river is also a prime fishing spot for both Indian and
Bangladeshi fishermen. We will take a boat for a short ride in Dawki River. One can also see the Indo-Bangladesh border nearby. Later we'll drive to Cherrapunji.
Rest and overnight in Cherrapunji.
Usually during these days Shad Suk Mynsiem festival takes place with the culmination on Sunday. If the Khasi festival falls on this day, we will witness Khasi traditional dance.

Accommodation: La Kupar Inn or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10. March 27, 2024 (Wednesday). CHERRAPUNJI – NONGRIAT

After early breakfast, on a guided hike trek down to Nongriat village to visit Double Decker Root Bridge. The path to the double-decker Root Bridge is around 3 kms long. It has approximately 3500 stairs and descends 750 meters elevation.
Upon reaching Nongriat, explore the village and visit 2-store Living Root Bridge. Living root bridges are created entirely by manipulating the roots of the Indian Rubber Fig Tree by hand, and without the aid of a scaffolding or any other natural or manmade materials.
Sunset at the most famous Double decker root bridge.
For those who want to photograph the place in the night, the night starry sky photo session at living root bridges. Overnight in Serene guest house in Nongriat with basic amenities.

Accommodation: Serene Homestay/Guest house in Nongriat or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11. March 28, 2024 (Thursday). NONGRIAT – CHERRAPUNJI – SHILLONG (60 km, approx. 2 hrs drive)

Early wake-up in order to take sunrise photos at Double-decker root bridge. After breakfast, keep exploring the area of Living Root Bridges.
Cherrapunji has a couple of world records and appears the wettest place on Earth! It impacts extremely dense vegetation around here. We can find and try Meghalaya red fruit. In the past, the tropical showers were bringing so many water flows along the river valleys of Cherrapunji, that only living root bridges were able to stand for nature. That is why these techniques were born here. Even if it is not unique for our planet, the Living root bridges of Cherrapunji are the most famous and the most elaborate.
For those who are in really good shape, trek to Rainbow waterfall (2,5 hours trek). On the way back we visited another Living root bridge, the most photogenic. Ascend upstairs, it may take up to 3 hours.
Once we have climbed up, we drive to the observation desk at Nohkalikai Falls where we have lunch. While waiting for lunch we can enjoy a breathtaking view at the tallest waterfall in India with its 340 meters.
In the afternoon we drive and visit one more amazing waterfall – Wei Sawdong, where the cascaded bowl appeared.
Later we will drive back to Shillong, the former capital of Assam and all North East India.
Overnight stay in Shillong at Rock Cliff Homestay or similar.

Accommodation: Rock Cliff Homestay in Shillong or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12. March 29, 2024 (Friday). SHILLONG – KAZIRANGA (approx. 260 km, 6 – 7 hrs drive)

After breakfast, visit the Don Bosco Museum in Shillong.
Rather long drive to Kaziranga National Park. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga National Park is home to the unique One Horned Indian Rhinoceros apart from several other wild animals.
En route visit Umiam (Barapani) Lake, which landscapes in a way unexpectedly resemble Baikal Lake in Siberia.
After arrival at Kaziranga, check in into D Courtyard resort or similar.

Accommodation: D Courtyard resort Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13. March 30, 2024 (Saturday). KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK

This day we dedicate to Kaziranga National park. Early in the morning, before sunrise, we drive to the gate of Kaziranga park where the Elephant safari starts. Here mounted onto Indian elephants we can enjoy the wildlife and spot a great number of One Horned Rhinos. Probably nowhere on Earth you can encounter so many rhinos. These Asian rhinos are the biggest in the world and look like they had an armed skin. Kaziranga National Park at sunrise with its fogs and wild grass appears the worlds' most photogenic place for taking pictures of rhinoceros.
After some rest, in the afternoon board to jeep for evening safari in a different part of the park, in western range of Kaziranga National Park, famous for one horn rhinos. Besides one horned Rhinos, we will meet various mammals like wild boar, hog deer, swamp deer, Asian buffalos, wild Indian Elephants. Here we also have a chance to find the Indian tiger.
Evening visit – The Orchid Bio Diversity Park, there you can enjoy the cultural show. Overnight stay at Kaziranga at D Courtyard resort or similar.

Accommodation: D Courtyard resort Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14. March 31, 2024 (Sunday). KAZIRANGA – SIVSAGAR – MON (approx. 255 km, 7 – 8 hrs drive)

After breakfast drive up to Mon in Nagaland. En route visit historical monuments of Ahom dynasty in Sivsagar, such as Shiva Dol and Kareng Ghar. Sivasagar was the capital of the Ahom Kingdom in the 18th century. The Ahoms ruled Assam for six centuries until their kingdom fell to the Burmese in 1819 and their ruling class was all but wiped out.
Arrive in Mon in the evening, registration in the police first.
Mon is the home of the Konyak Nagas who were the last of the headhunters. They are famous for their accomplished craftsmanship in making wood carvings, headgears, necklaces etc. Overnight at Helsa Resort in the suburb of Mon or similar.

Accommodation: Helsa Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15. April 1, 2024 (Monday). AOLEANG FESTIVAL IN MON – HONGPHOI VILLAGE – MON (20 km, 1 hr drive)

After leisure breakfast, drive to a nearby village called Hongphoi to witness the Aoleang festival of the Konyak tribe. Aoleang is a main festival of this tribe to mark the beginning of their agricultural cycle of the season. The main attraction of this festival is the dances in colorful traditional attires, beating of log drums in their community hall called "Morung" and muzzle loading gunfire. One can meet the tattooed Konyak elders and interact with them in Morung and also visit the modest king's house.

Accommodation: Helsa Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 16. April 2, 2024 (Tuesday). AOLEANG FESTIVAL IN MON – LONGWA VILLAGE – MON (85 km, 4 hrs drive)

Spend the first half of the day at Aoleang festival and in the afternoon drive to Longwa village. Longwa is situated in the easternmost tip of Nagaland and the village itself is right on the border in between India and Myanmar. The villages are ruled by the hereditary chief the Angh (king). The house of the Angh of Longwa is situated half in India and half in Burma in the fantastic picturesque place, among the emerald hills. Explore the village to meet and interact with the Angh, who has 16 villages in Myanmar and 4 villages in Indian territory under his sovereignty.
Drive back to our hotel in Mon overnight.

Accommodation: Helsa Resort or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 17. April 3, 2024 (Wednesday). MON – DIBRUGARH (120 km, 4 – 5 hrs drive)

After breakfast driving to Dibrugarh. On the way visit Naga Konyak village of Lampong Shanghai to meet other tattooed Konyaks or further attend the Aoleang festival events in one of the villages in the area.
Arrival in Dibrugarh. Evening take a stroll to the upbeat market of Dibrugarh. Overnight at Hotel Hotel Tree Fern.

Accommodation: Hotel Tree Fern in Dibrigarh or similar
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


After breakfast, transfer to the airport of Dibrugarh for a flight back to Delhi. Departure at 10 am to 12 am.
Arrival in Delhi at 1 to 5 pm. Onward journey or flight back home.

* Recommended flight:

- with Etihad Airways, departs from Delhi for Abu Dhabi on April 4 at 21:10, flight EY-223,
- with Qatar Airways, departs from Delhi for Doha on April 4 at 22:10, flight QR-4781,
- with Emirates, departs from Delhi for Dubai on April 4 at 21:50, flight EK-515,
- with Ethiopian Airlines, departs from Delhi for Addis Ababa on April 5 at 2:30 am on April 5, flight ET-687,
- with Turkish Airlines, departs from Delhi for Istanbul on April 5 at 6:20 am with flight TK-717 (extra night in the hotel in Delhi may be needed),
- any other flight with departure from Delhi not earlier than at 9 pm on April 4 or in the night from April 4 to 5.

Accommodation: no
Meals included: breakfast

Cost includes:

- flight Delhi – Dibrugarh – Delhi (roundtrip)
- accommodation in TWIN sharing rooms (in DBL rooms for family couples) as per itinerary
- transport along the route (4WD Toyota Innova with 2 persons on a back seat of a car)
- pick up from and drop at Dibrugarh Airport
- three times a day meals along the route except for Delhi
- breakfasts in Delhi
- non-limited drinking water along the entire itinerary in North East India
- English speaking main guide along the entire itinerary
- English speaking local guides for sightseeing at Ziro, Majuli, Cherrapungi and Mon
- Toll tax and Parking Fees & permits for vehicle
- Pick up from and drop at Dibrugarh Airport
- Permit (PAP) for Arunachal Pradesh and all other permits for all states, incl. Nagaland and Meghalaya
- Ride Jeep (4 Persons in one Jeep) and Elephant Safari at Kaziranga National Park
- All sightseeing as per itinerary
- All traditional dances as per itinerary (Apatani, Mishing, Khasi dance and Gayanbayan dance)
- Entrance fees and tickets for all sites and parks mentioned in the itinerary
- financial support of local communities
- English and Russian speaking team leader

Cost excludes (additionally paid):

- international flight to Delhi (about USD 700 – 1000)
- lunches and dinners in Delhi (about USD 40)
- Indian visa (obtained upon arrival for USD 60)
- medical insurance for international trips
- tips

To take with:

- wear sets fitting weather conditions
- warm and wind stop clothes, thermal underwear (there is minus at night in mountains)
- swimsuits
- forehead torch
- raincoat
- set of long sleeve clothes, repellents, anti mosquito net
- comfortable closed trekking footwear, also warm
- sun and wind protection means (cream, sunglasses, sun hat)
- personal hygiene means
- personal medical kit (analgetic, antiseptic, antibiotic, your personal medications)
- backpack, small backpack for radial walks
- photo and video camera

North East India

Best season: September - May

North-East appendix of India is absolutely exotic for tourists and short of rear travelers. It spreads along mighty Brahmaputra river by the root of Himalayas.

Humid Meghalaya jungles, which is considered the most rainy place on Earth, and a true wonder of the world hidden in a ravine - 30-meter long Cherrapungee living root bridges. Trekking to the bridges includes a descent to the ravine, which demand considerable effort when ascension back.

Unique Tibetan-Burmese tribes, such as Apatani, worshiping of Moon and Sun, and whose women are the only ones wearing rattan pieces in their noses.

The most significant Apatani animistic festival Myoko with bloody scarification ceremonies.

Aoleang festival in Nagaland, where former headhunters Naga Konyak tribe makes a huge annual celebration. True headhunters, who are 80 years old now, will tell us by the fire stories of their trophies obtained.

Washed by Brahmaputra Majuli island, marked by Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in the world river island and Kaziranga National Park - home for Indian elephants, one-horned rhinos and Bengal tigers.
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