When it comes to birding in India, then the North Eastern part of India is truly a bird watchers paradise and a variety of bird species can be spotted here especially during the migratory season of winters when thousands of birds from countries are far as Siberia and North America come to the region to make this place their home for a few months and this is the time when the birdwatchers come to North East India from all across the World to capture beautiful pictures of these rare bird species. While the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh remain to be the most popular birding destinations of the region, Nagaland is also coming up to be a nice birding destination as well because of the Amur Falcon species that are known to come to the state to roost every year. Arunachal Pradesh that is also referred to as the Land of the Dawn Lit Mountains and the Land of the Rising Sun in India (the first rays of the Sun falls on the land of India at the Dong Village in the Eastern most part of the country), the state is also a renowned birding destinations with places like the Mishmi Hills and the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary being the top birding destinations of Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh is blessed with the bounties of nature all around with the towering Eastern Himalayas bordering the state and it is a land of breath-taking hills and mountains and a spectacular variety of life.
The snow-capped mountains of the West Kameng district at Tawang is a very popular tourist attraction along with the Tawang Monastery and the border of India and China at the Bumla Pass. Arunachal Pradesh is full of surprises to any tourist who come here and not just birders because the place is known for its exotic flora, fauna and avifauna as well and at one time you would be travelling across the snow capped mountains and at another you will be visiting the dense rain forests of the Namdapha National Park and the next moment you will visit the fast moving hill streams and enjoy the view of the crystal clear waters of the River Lohit in the eastern most part of the state that flows in Assam as the mighty Brahmaputra. Arunachal Pradesh is also home to numerous indigenous tribes who have inhabited the state since times immemorial and the prominent tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are the Nyshis, Adis, Apatanis, Mishmis, Galo, Tangsa, Singpho, Monpa people who have passed on their traditions and culture across the generations and they still follow ancient tribal practices of culture, religious customs including festivals and fairs. In total there are around 26 different tribes and communities who inhabit Arunachal Pradesh and a visit to their places of stay to witness their life and culture is a rewarding experience in itself.
The State bird of Arunachal Pradesh happens to be that of the Great Indian Hornbill and the local people of the state as they admire this bird species for its qualities of alertness and grandeur. The Great Indian Hornbill bird species of Arunachal Pradesh is closely linked to the social and cultural life of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and this is displayed in the various folklores among the State’s tribes. The local people used to adorn traditional headgears that were made by the beaks of the Hornbill birrs and this has led to decline in the species as rampant hunting had occurred but the people were educated and told not to kill the birds and this has allowed the population of the Great Indian Hornbill to thrive in Arunachal Pradesh at present and when you visit the Namdapha National Park or Pakke Tiger Reserve you will notice this grand bird species in abundance in the protected forests of the state. Apart from the Great Indian Hornbill species that is the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh, when it comes to birding across Arunachal Pradesh, the state possess exception and richness in the form of its avifaunal diversity and the various parts of the state draws bird lovers from around the World specially at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mishmi Hills and the Namdapha National Park.
Apart from these three places, the other places of mention that are great for birding in Arunachal Pradesh are Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Sessa Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakke Tiger Reserve, Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary, D’ering Wildlife Sanctuary, Mouling National Park, etc. One bird that is noteworthy of mention is the Black Necked Crane that is known to be found in the winter season at the Western Valley of Arunachal Pradesh in the Sangti Valley and Zemithang areas. These places are inhabited by the Monpa people of Arunachal Pradesh and they are followers of Tibetan Buddhism and they consider the Black Necked Crane to be sacred and they revere this bird species. The Buddhist traditions and culture protect the Black Necked Crane species and in Bhutan a special festival is celebrated in the name of this bird as well. There are 25 notified Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Arunachal Pradesh and the West Kameng and Tawang districts of Arunachal Pradesh also boast of hundreds of bird species that include many migratory and endangered ones. Though these parts of Arunachal Pradesh are a paradise for bird lovers, but it is known mostly among the tourists as a place famous for its snowfall and the ancient and majestic Buddhist Monasteries and breathtaking views of the landscapes of Arunachal Pradesh as well.
If you are a serious about birding, then Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are the best destinations for you and there are several trek routes across Arunachal Pradesh that you can embark upon with trained guides and get to witness some of the very rare and endangered species of birds that are both resident and migratory as well. A trip to Arunachal Pradesh clubbed with the National Parks of Assam will allow you to achieve a birdwatching tour like more another and you are sure to spot some of the very beautiful bird species. Few of the trek trails across Arunachal Pradesh that are renowned for birding are Zemithang, Sangti Valley, Bailey Trail Trek, area around Tawang, Mishmi Hills, etc. The trek across the third largest National Park in India viz. the Namdapha National Park that is the only rainforest in the country is one of the most rewarding birding experiences as well that can be enjoyed on your visit to the far east corner of India and the River Nao-Dehing at Deban is also where you can get to sight some of the amazing and rare bird species as well. Few of the noteworthy bird species to be found at Arunachal Pradesh are Selater’s Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Blyth’s Tragopan, Rufous Necked Hornbill, Yellow Rumped Honeyguide, Spotted Wren Babbler, Broad-Billed Flycatcher, Bush Robin, Great Indian Hornbill, Black Necked Crane, Black Necked Stork, Greater Long Billed Thrush. Etc.
Coming to the popular birding destinations of Arunachal Pradesh, these are as follows:
1| Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the paradise for all bird lovers, the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and it is often referred to as the Paradise for Indian Birding. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh spreads across an area of 217 sq. km. and have elevations ranging from across 500m to 3300m and it is this elevation that makes the Wildlife Sanctuary an ideal place for birding in Arunachal Pradesh. Apart from birds one also gets to sight varied species of flora and fauna as well and few of the mammal species that are known to be found inside the dense semi-evergreen and tropical wet evergreen forests of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary are Clouded Leopards, Asiatic Elephants, Bengal Tigers, Red Panda, Wild Bison, Dhole, Capped Langurs, Golden Cat, Marble Cat, Leopard Cat, Arunachal Macaque, etc. Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is considered to be one of the best birding sites in the country and it is stated that almost 650 species of birds are known to be found in the Wildlife Sanctuary along with surrounding areas.
The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected forest area that joins the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary in the Northeast and the Pakke Tiger Reserve across the River Kameng in the East. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from the Red Eagle Division of the Indian Army that was positioned across the area in the 1950s. The remains of the abandoned army camp can be seen along the road to the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is considered to one of the best birding destinations in the World and no wonder guests from various Nationalities come to the place to enjoy their birding experience here. Apart from the birds and mammal species that are present at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, there are also 160 species of butterflies to be found here and the place is truly a magical and mysterious land for all the nature lovers and photographers as well. There is a jeep track that passed through the temperate colored forest, dense stretches of bamboo and patches of the broadleaved evergreen forests that cover the forest tracks. When it comes to the bird species to be found at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, the various species to be found are the Cormorants, herons, black stork, Oriental white (black-headed) ibis, ducks, hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and vultures, falcons, pheasants, junglefowl, quail, and peafowl, black-necked crane, rails, plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, waders, ibis bill, stone-curlew (Eurasian thick-knee), small pratincole, gulls, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, owls, nightjars, swifts, trogons, kingfishers, bee-eaters, rollers, hoopoes, hornbills, barbets, woodpeckers, broadbills, pittas, larks, martins, wagtails, shrikes, bulbuls, fairy-bluebirds, shrike, brown dipper, accentors, thrushes, Old World flycatchers, parrotbills, warblers, flycatchers, tits, nuthatches, tree creepers, flowerpeckers, sunbirds, Indian white-eye, bunting, finches, munia, sparrows, starlings, orioles, drongos, ashy woodswallow and jays. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary has the distinction of having three tragopan species, perhaps unique in India.
Apart from the mammals, bird and butterflies, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is also known to be home to around 34 species of amphibians, 24 species of snakes and 7 species of lizards that include Geckos, agamids and skinks. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the way towards Bomdila and there are a series of mini waterfalls along the road and this tempts visitors to get down to the place and admire the charming beauty of nature. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is a totally green paradise on Earth and one gets to spot the beauty of the Kameng River and also the lush green cover of thick vegetation as well. Coming to the birding experience at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, what makes it an ideal place to spot the birds is that the geography of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of mountain ranges with deep valleys along the Kameng River and the clear skies makes it an ideal place to spot the bird species like Hornbills, Eagles, Kingfishers, Pheasants, Ducks, etc. The forests here changes from tropical to sub-tropical with change in the composition atop.
The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh covers a wide area that is adjoining the Bugun Community Forest, and this allows the place to have a diverse geography. To the south of this biodiversity area are the plains of Assam and also to the North is the Gori-Chen mountains that has altitude of 19,683 feet and the Alpine forests of Dirang and the Sela Pass. The entire forest area is the belt of temperate broadleaf and coniferous forests. The entire forest area is accessible via a motorable track that is navigable by 4WD vehicles, and the trail starts from the Tenga Valley and traverses across the forest cover to reach Lama Camp. Post you halt at the Lama Camp you will need to cross the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, and this goes past Bompu and Sessini Camp and then the route goes down to the beautiful village of Khellong. Various bird tour departures are organized by the local guides who arrange the entire logistics, accommodations and meals of guests and proper birding equipment’s are carried along as well to achieve the birding goals.
If you are travelling in a group then this way you are able to keep a check on the costing because birding across the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is a slightly costly affair when it comes to birding in Assam. To visit the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, you will need to have the requisite forest permits and this is arranged for you in case you are travelling in a group. However in case you are planning to travel on your own, you will need to stop at Ramalingam that is a present on the way between Tenga and lama and collect your forest permits from the Beat Forest Office here after paying the requisite entry fees. Ramalingam is also a nice place to enjoy birding and if you have time you can set out to explore the place on foot accompanied by your local guide and you might have the opportunity to spot rare bird species of the likes of blackbirds, wall creepers, common buzzards, etc. The forests at Ramalingam are also known to be home to the Himalayan Serrow, Barking Deer and also the very rare Golden Cat species as well.
The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is having a checklist of birds that keeps growing each year and this provides a wealth of learning with abundance of birds and wildlife in the zone that is free of noise and is filled with abundance of pristine woods. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary has a unique feature wherein the entire area of elevation of the place is covered with various habitat and species. Though most of the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are closed in the monsoon season across Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, but the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary remains enthralling even in the monsoon season. Because of the elevation, the climate remains favorable across the year unlike the hot and sultry monsoon season of Assam and a few of the animals and birds of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary are known to be found only in the monsoon season making it an ideal time for birding as well. Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is not just a paradise for birders but for photographers as well and the pictures of the rare birds and animals that are captured here at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is an experience that you would not like to miss out if photography is your passion. Apart from the birds of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, you can also have the opportunity to capture great pictures of the various mammal species like the Clouded Leopard, Red Panda, Arunachal Macaque, Gaurs and endangered Capped langurs as well.
The area around the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is a delight for all animal and bird lovers and it is truly a magical and mysterious land that has so many things that are yet to be explored and the grand testimony of this is the rediscovery of the Mictopholis that is a lizard species found after 150 years and also the Litter frog in the Bompu region near the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary as well. Efficient conservation programs have led to the thriving of the species of animals and birds in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and this Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is protected physically from the timber and animal poaching activities that is often heard of in some of the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries across the state and also Assam as well. The absence of the human settlement in large numbers has minimized the problem of hunting inside the premises of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. The prominent birds look out for at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in the winter season are tawny wood owl, grey chinned minivet, mountain hawk eagle, Barbets ( 6 species), Partridge (rufous throated & chestnut breasted), Robin( golden bush & blue fronted), niltava, fulvettas, parrotbills, etc. Birds to look our for in the monsoon season are Blythe’s & Temincks tragopan, beautiful nuthatch, rufous necked hornbill, shortwings( lesser & white browed), wren babbler( wedge billed), Wards trogon etc.
Another well known birding destination in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh is that of Mandala and this is an unknown birding paradise. The vegetation across the Mandala area comprises of tropical evergreen forest cover that is mostly in the lower areas and the coniferous forests in the Upper areas and this is owing to the climate across the region and the altitude across Mandala ranges from 1500 to 3600m. The Mandala area has a few natural lakes that are located at an altitude of 3000m and above. The area across Mandala is filled with abundance of rainforest, bamboo forests, pine forests and this allows the place to have a diverse habitat and also the presence of the towering Eastern Himalayas makes Mandala a top biodiversity hotspot in the World. Though there are no defined boundaries for this area and also the area is not protected and yet due to the lack of much human habitat the place turns out to be a gold mine for bird lovers and photographers at the same time. At Mandala area, the spotting of birds and photography is much easier compared to other locations in Arunachal Pradesh.
When it comes to stay in the Mandala area, then one place that comes to mind is the Mandala Lodge that is a very beautiful bungalow type accommodation that is an ideal place to spend your time on your birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh. Mandala is truly a bird lovers paradise, and the place offers various other activities that include hiking trails as well. The Mandala Lodge is located at an elevation of almost 3000m above MSL and guests can get to view the vast Himalayan beauty across the place. The place has a wide range of forest habitat and this is a perfect place for all the bird lovers who can have access to high number of bird species that are known to be found across the place. The Mandala lodge offers large rooms both double and triple that offer breathtaking views of the towering Eastern Himalayas. The rooms are spacious with thick sleeping mats, blankets and quilts that are very much needed to beat the cold weather conditions at Mandala in Arunachal Pradesh. As the place is secluded with less shops close by, the place offers its guests the options of all meals at the Mandala lodge itself.
3| Mishmi Hills
Another very prominent birding destination in Arunachal Pradesh is the Mishmi Hills that is located in the Northeastern part of India in the Mishmi Hills. The Mishmi Hills is a part of the Shan-Malaysia plateau and in 1950, this place was the epicenter of a devastating earthquake that had occurred across Assam. The Mishmi Hills is located at the junction of the Northeastern Himalayan and the Indo-Burma range, and this is what makes the place to be rich in biodiversity. The area of the Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh comprises of tranquil forests, alpine meadows, stumbling woods, bamboo groves and sloping grasslands that makes the area of the Mishmi Hills a magical destination here in Arunachal Pradesh. Mishmi Hills is an amazing paradise for all the bird lovers and photographers who come from all across the World to have the opportunity to sight eh endemic bird species of the region and also certain bird species that are not to be found anywhere else are sighted here. The area of the Mishmi Hills comprises of 6000 species of plants, 100 species of birds and also 680 species of birds that make it a wildlife haven.
The bird species that are to be spotted at the Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh are Mishmi Wren Babbler, Sclater’s Monal, Blyth’s and Temmink’s Tragopan, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Rufous-necked Hornbill, pale-capped Pigeon, Ward’s Trogon, dark-sided Thrush, Green and Purple Cochoa, Rusty-bellied and Gould’s Shortwing, Beautiful Nuthatch, Rusty-throated and Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, at least four Parrotbill species, Black-headed Greenfinch, Scarlet Finch and Grey-headed Bullfinch. Coming to the various animals to be found at the Mishmi Hills, they are the Bengal Tigers, Common leopards, Clouded Leopards, Snow Leopards, Golden Cat, marbled cat, jungle cat, red panda, hoolock Gibbons, giant flying squirrel, Mishing takin, Musk deer, Himalayan Serow, Himalayan Black Bear, etc. A major part of the Dihang-Diban Biosphere reserve and the whole of the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary falls under the area of the Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh as well. Apart from the varied species of flora, fauna and avifauna to be found at the Mishmi Hills, there are also a large number of insects, reptiles and butterfly species to be found as well that adds to the vast biodiversity of the Mishmi Hills. The Mishmi Hills is divided into 2 sections namely the flood plains of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra River and the Arunachal Himalayas that consist of snow-capped mountains, the lower Himalayan ranges and the Shivalik range. The hilly area of the Mishmi Hills are characterized by steeply sloping landforms, sub-tropical evergreen forests and high rainfall.
Across the Mishmi Hills, one can find the beautiful subtropical evergreen forests of Oak, Maple and the Pine cones along the hilly parts of the region of the Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh. When it comes to the demographics across the Mishmi Hills, the major tribes inhabiting the region are Mishmi, Miju, Idu, Khamti and the Singpho people and also a certain portion is inhabited by the Tai Phake people as well and these tribes have a dialect that is of the Tibeto-Burmese linguistic family. These folks in the Mishmi Hills practice agriculture as their profession and the major crops grown by them are Rice, Corn, Wheat, potatoes, cotton, oranges, etc. The cultivation of these crops and vegetables are mostly done on terraced hill slopes and also in land patches that are bordering the rivers as well that provides a fertile land for the better growth of crops. The people of the Mishmi Hills are involved in cottage industries as well and these include bamboo and cane handicrafts, handloom weaving, silver works and blacksmith as well.
4| Namdapha National Park
Coming to another very amazing birding destination in Arunachal Pradesh, then it is none other than the third largest National Park in India (in terms of area) and the only rainforest in the country viz. the Namdapha National Park that is located in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh and it is a biodiversity hotspot with over 1000 floral, 1400 faunal and over 450 species of birds that are to be found here at the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh that makes the place one of the top birding destinations in the country. The forests of the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh comprises of the Northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the World and also the dipterocarp forests as well. The Namdapha National Park spans over an area of 1985 sq. km. and includes a buffer area of 177 sq. km. and the forest area is located in between the Dapha Bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai range. Namdapha National Park has the River Nao Dehing flowing across the area of the park that makes it an ideal habitat for all the bird lovers that can be spotted by the banks of the Nao Dehing River. The mammal species that are known to inhabit the forests of Namdapha National Park are leopard, snow leopard, tiger and clouded leopard, dhole, Malayan sun bear, Indian wolf, Asiatic black bear, red panda, red fox, yellow-throated marten, Eurasian otter, Oriental small-clawed otter, spotted linsang, binturong, Asian palm civet, small Indian civet, large Indian civet, masked palm civet, marbled cat, fishing cat, Asian golden cat, mongoose, Indian elephant, wild boar, musk deer, Indian muntjac, hog deer, sambar, gaur, goral, mainland serow, takin, Bharal, stump-tailed macaque, slow loris, hoolock gibbon, capped langur, Assamese macaque, etc.
The various bird species to be spotted inside the forests of the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh are There are five species of hornbills recorded at the Namdapha National Park, several species of rare wren-babblers, laughing thrushes, parrotbills, fulvettas, shrike babblers and scimitar babblers. The snowy throated babbler is a rare species of babbler found only in the Patkai and Mishmi Hills and nearby areas in Northern Myanmar, is found in Namdapha. Other rare, restricted range or globally endangered species include the rufous-necked hornbill, green cochoa, purple cochoa, beautiful nuthatch, Ward’s trogon, ruddy kingfisher, blue-eared kingfisher, white-tailed fish eagle, Eurasian hobby, pied falconet, white-winged wood duck, Himalayan wood-owl, rufous-throated hill-partridge, and white cheeked hill partridge. Several leaf warblers and migrants such as amur falcon and several thrushes are also to be found in the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh as well.
5| Sangti Valley and Sela Pass
Another very fascinating birding destination in Arunachal Pradesh that is known for the species of the Black Necked Crane is the area across Sangti Valley. Coupled with Sela Pass, the Sangti Valley forms two of the very important birding destination in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. Both these places do not come under any forest reserve or protected area here in Arunachal Pradesh and yet they are both great places to enjoy birding. The Sangti valley that is very well known for the species of the Black Necked Crane that comes to visit the place every year in the winter season and is revered by the local Monpa people of the Sangti Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. The area is located at 1500m above MSL and it comprises of broad leaf forests, paddy field cultivations and patches of marshy lands as well. Sangti Valley is known as a place that is having a huge potential of the sun, shade and rainfall the temperature across the area ranges from 26 degree in the summer season to 2 degrees in the winter season. Apart from the black necked crane, the region across Sangti Valley is known to be having a fair population of the Ibisbill, long billed plover and the black tailed crake as well.
Sangti Valley is known to be inhabited by the local Monpa community who are majorly Buddhists and they practice agriculture as their primary profession and the main crops cultivated by them are paddy and maize. The Black necked crane that is a flagship bird species to be spotted at the Sangti Valley in Arunachal Pradesh are known to arrive towards the end of November or early December and these boards leave the area around the month of February. These black necked crane bird species are known to feed on insects and grains fallen across the fields and they generally nest at the site of the marshy spots in the fields. This is an endangered bird species, and they are known to regularly visit as early as 1950s. Sangti Valley serves as an ideal breeding ground of these black necked crane because of the marshy lowlands act as a good source of food supply for these birds. At night, the black necked crane species halt by the river banks on the sandy islands with vegetation and to safeguard them from the wild animals like leopards and jackals.
The Sela Pass is a high altitude pass that remains covered with snow all across the year and with the high altitude of the place that ranges from 3500 to 4500m serves this place to be a great birding destination here in Arunachal Pradesh. Sela Pass is located along the Tezpur – Tawang highway and it remains covered with snow and also there are around 101 lakes around the Sela Pass that is revered by the local Buddhist people and these lakes serve as a good feeding ground of the birds and here the birds are known to be found in plenty across the area with less human habitat as well. The birding can be done from across the road and the vegetation across the Sela Pass mostly happens to be that of the scrubs, conifers and also various alpine meadows and certain kinds of Rhododendrons as well. Certain bird species that are known to be found across the Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh are snow partridge, blood pheasant, Himalayan moral, Tibetan black bird, etc.
Sample Itinerary for your Birding Tour at Mishmi Hills (Arunachal Pradesh) and Assam:
Welcome to Mohanbari Airport Dibrugarh. On arrival directly transfer to Maguri Beel. After lunch boat ride birding at Maguri Wetland. It is located southeast to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in the Tinsukia district of Assam. It is renowned as the best bird watching destination in Assam and one of the best bird watching locations in India! Since one end of the swamp conveniently opens up to the Dibru river, it was still water at one end and moving water at another. This makes the landscape unique. As a result of the amalgamation of the two water bodies, you can find both freshwater and wetland fish in the beel. Maguri beel hosts the most beautiful of the migratory birds.
Night Stay: Kohuwa Eco Camp
After breakfast visit to Mishmi Hills, Mishmi Hills in central Arunachal Pradesh are a southward extension of the Great Himalayan ranges, with its northern and eastern borders touching China. Unscathed tropical forests, alpine meadows, shrubby woods, bamboo groves and sloping grasslands co-exist in varying hues of blue, yellow and emerald, often interspaced with dense fog, making the Mishmi Hills a magical destination. Mishmi Hills is the ideal place for birdwatchers. Besides endemic birds, several eastern Himalayan species, which are very difficult to find elsewhere in the region, are easily sighted here. Almost every bird lover wishes to visit this place at least once. Mishmi Hills harbour around 6,000 plant species, 100 species of mammals and 680 species of birds. The serene forest around Mishmi Hills is considered the best biogeographical zone in the entire Himalayan range. The landscape here is extremely attractive for nature lovers, ornithologists and researchers. Birding in lower Mishmi Hills and evening proceed for night birding.
Night Stay: Frogmouth Camp & Resort
After breakfast we will proceed for birding tour to Mayodia Pass and Upper Hills. Species such as Rufous Necked Hornbill, the endemic Mishmi Wren Babbler along with its counterparts such as Chevron Breasted Wren Babbler, Long-billed Wren Babbler and Pygmy Wren Babbler are found here. The evergreen forests also contain the gorgeous Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Purple Cochoa, Green Cochoa, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Beautiful Nuthatch, Goldenthroated Barbet, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Lesser Shortwing and Rustybellied Shortwing. The mixed hunting flocks are mesmerizing with Yuhinas, Fulvettas, Woodpeckers and Golden Babblers galore! Night Stay: Coffee House Day 04: 13/02/202 After breakfast we will proceed birding tour from Coffee House to till Kohuwa Eco Camp. After dinner night birding around Kohuwa Eco Camp.
Night Stay: Kohuwa Eco Camp
After breakfast visit to Dehing – Patkai National Park. It is part of a large tract of elephant corridor of Northern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. These are the only rainforests of Assam and are rich in biodiversity and very productive for birdwatchers with beautiful and rare species alike.
Night Stay: Kohuwa Eco Camp
Full day birding at Maguri Grassland. Evening drop at Dibrugarh.
Night Stay: Tulip Residency
After breakfast drive to Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the only sanctuary in India to be named after gibbons as it contains the largest density of gibbons. The sanctuary is the home to seven types of apes – western hoolock gibbon, Bengal slow loris, stump-tailed macaque, northern pig-tailed macaque, eastern Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque, and capped langur. Apart from the apes, the forest is also abundant in elephants, tigers, leopards, jungle cats, civets, Himalayan squirrels, wild boars and other mammals. There are also a large number of bird species and several types of snakes inhabiting the forest. The sanctuary has a rich diversity of flora as well. The tall hollong trees form the upper canopy (at around 90 feet), the Nahar trees form the middle canopy (at 30 feet) and the shrubs form the lower canopy. The forest is so dense that the only way to explore the place is by foot, inspite of the fact that the forests contain wild animals like leopards, wild elephants and wild boars. No vehicles are allowed inside the sanctuary. This is quite a rarity in the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. So it is essential to take a guide and an armed guard with every group that enters the forest. On arrival visit to Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
Night Stay: Gibbon Eco Camp
After breakfast drive to Kaziranga National Park. On arrival check into the hotel. After lunch go for a Jeep Safari into the Central Range of Kaziranga National Park. The Central zone of the Kaziranga National Park is the prime zone for the ecotourism in the Kaziranga forest. The entry gate to the central zone is situated just about two km from the National Highway passing through the village of Kohora. The zone is spread in the southern riverbed of the Brahmaputra River and highly rich in wildlife and landscape variations. The wetlands, water bodies and highland with lush greenery makes it an ideal place for the avifauna and so the best for the birding. The Jeep safari in the central zone is organized in the two shifts. You are not allowed to get down from the Jeep in between your forest safari. The Jeep safari offers you some spectacular sighting of the Rhinos grazing or wallowing in the large grassland, a herd of elephants comprising of adorable baby elephants to big old elephants and many other species of the wild flora and fauna in this tourism zone.
Night Stay: Kaziranga Holidays
Early morning proceed for a jeep safari in the Eastern range. The Agartoli Range of the Kaziranga National Park spreads in the eastern side of the park along the National Highway nearby the Agartoli village. This zone is famous among the adventure-loving wildlife tourists and wildlife photographers as the zone is enriched with raw natural beauty and wildlife species. During the Jeep Safari in this zone, you can easily spot approx 478 Species of Migrated Birds out of which the Crested Serpent Eagle, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Greater Adjutant Stork, Bar Headed Goose, Whistling Teal, Pelicans, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Changeable hawk eagle, Brown Fish Owl, Spotted Owlet, Alexandrine Parakeets ,Ruddy Shelduck, Black Headed Ibis, Spot Billed Ducks, Greenshank, Brown Fish Owl, Bar Headed Geese, Lesser Whistling Duck, Bronzed Winged Jacana, Greater Cormorant, Darter, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Large Egret, Grey Heron, Common Teal, Northern Lapwing, Grey Headed Lapwing, Black necked Crane, Stout Bill Kingfisher, White Breasted Kingfisher, Swamp Francolin, Red Jungle fowl, Common Mallard, Long Billed Vultures, Greater Coucal, Black Shouldered Kite, Indian Roller are worth mentioning. Grazing Rhinos in the thick bushy forest and the wild Buffalos or the herd of the Elephants can also be seen from the distance. After lunch proceed jeep safari at Bagori Range. The landscape of the Bagori ecotourism range of the Kaziranga National Park spreads in the western region of the forest and considered the best zone for the wildlife sighting. The zone has a magnificently beautiful landscape with an abundance of wildlife species and lush greenery. The Jeep safari in the Bagori zone offers an amazing sighting of the Rhinos, Elephant, Swamp deer, Buffalos and many other wild animals. The entry gate of the Western zone is located in the village of Bagori from where registered Jeep is allowed to enter the park for the safari.
Night Stay: Kaziranga Holidays
After breakfast proceed for a jeep safari at Eastern Range of Kaziranga National Park. Come back to hotel after safari, Get refreshed and after lunch proceed Jeep Safari at Burhapahar range. Burhapahar tourism zone of Kaziranga is located around 40 km from the central zone of Kaziranga National Park. The entry gate of this zone is situated in the village of Ghorakati on the National Highway and the first zone on the way to Kaziranga from Guwahati by road. Jeep safari in the Burhapahar zone is the best way explore the wildest side of Kaziranga.
Night Stay: Kaziranga Holidays
Early morning proceed Jeep Safari at Eastern Range and after lunch drop at Guwahati.
Night Stay: Sai Kripa Inn
Early morning proceed Jeep Safari at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. It has more than 190 species of birds, including many disappearing birds like the Spot-billed Pelican, White-bellied Heron, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant and Swamp Francolin. The grasslands of Pobitora is the home for the most of the representative birds of the Brahmaputra floodplains such as Striated Babbler and Yellow Weaver. The wetlands of Pabitora attract thousands of waterfowl during winter. More than 20,000 waterfowl are regularly found there. It has recorded 57 wetland species, including 16 ducks and geese and four species of storks. After lunch birding outskirts of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Night Stay: Sai Kripa Inn
Day 13: After breakfast check out from hotel and drop at Guwahati Airport.
Arunachal Birding Itinerary: Nameri National Park, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakke Tiger Reserve and Kaziranga National Park
Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are two of the very great birding destinations in the country and two of the very prominent birding destinations in Assam are that of Nameri National Park and Kaziranga National Park. Both these places coupled with the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and the Pakke Tiger Reserve and the places around the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary that provide some of the best birding experiences across the country. On this particular Itinerary we will cover few of the major birding destinations on this Itinerary and we will set out to explore the various important birding destinations at Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Day 1: Guwahati – Nameri National Park
Arrive at the LGBI airport at Guwahati and you will be welcomed by our representative cum birding guide who will offer you a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style and we board our comfortable vehicles, and we start on our drive to Tezpur. We cross the city of Guwahati that is the fastest growing city in Northeast India and the city is surrounded by the lush green hills and the River Brahmaputra passes across the city and the place has rich and diverse flora and fain as well.
We cross Guwahati to drive towards the Sonapur area and further the beautiful countryside of Assam at Jagiroad and Khetri area and travel towards Nagaon where we stop for lunch at one of the very popular restaurant that is the Anurag Dhaba that is known to serve some of the very delicious Assamese cuisine recipes to their guests. Post lunch we proceed on our drive to Tezpur that is the city of blood because one of the famous mythological battles that was fought here between the followers of Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna and hence the name Tezpur. Tezpur holds a special place in the history of Assam and at Tezpur we will take the opportunity to visit the historic Agnigarh Fort that is called as the Fortress of Fire and this is a fort of grand architecture. We continue on our drive to Nameri National Park from Tezpur that will take us about 40 minutes and we go to check into our place of stay at Nameri at Camp Lalimou. Late afternoon we will go to the banks of the Jia Bhoreli River to have the experience of birding at the banks of the Jia Bhoreli River.
Day 2: Nameri National Park
Today we will have the perfect opportunity to explore the beautiful National Park and Forest reserve of Nameri. This beautiful National Park is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas and the place covers an area of around 200 sq. km. Nameri National Park is located by the banks of the Jia Bhoreli River and it is located in the district of Sonitpur in Assam and the place is known to be a paradise for bird lovers. Nameri was originally created to conserve the habitat of the White Winged Wood Duck and later on it went on to be declared as a National Park and also a Tiger Reserve. Nameri is known for its rich diversity of flora and fauna and the park comprises of semi-evergreen vegetation, moist deciduous trees and open grasslands that have about 600 species of flora. Nameri National Park is home to the Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants, Leopards, Indian Bison, Gaurs, Sloth Bear, Capped Langurs, Indian Giant Squirrel, Giant Cat, etc. Nameri National Park is known for its varied species of birds and all bird lovers from all across the World come to Nameri to witness the bird varieties here.
Few of the notable bird species to be found at Nameri are White Winged Wood Duck, Great Pied Hornbill, Black Necked Stork, Ibis Bill, Babblers, Plovers, Rufous Necked Hornbill, etc. To explore the Nameri National Park there is only one option of trekking inside the forest reserves and you will be accompanied by an armed forest guards who will escort you across this territory of the Bengal Tigers and Asian Elephants. The trek inside the forests of Nameri National Park starts as early as 6.30AM in the morning and we will go to the forest office at Nameri and upon the entry formalities we will board our vehicles to travel to the banks of the Jia Bhoreli River and we cross the River on a country boat and we will reach the forest reserves of Nameri and you will need to keep a close watch along the river banks because many times many rare bird species are known to be spotted here along the banks of the River as well. We walk towards another forest office where our entry passes are validated and we start on our jungle hike across the forest of Nameri to enjoy our birding tour.
Our trek into the forest reserves of Nameri begins and the armed forest guards who is also a very good local guide will lead our group into the forest reserves and along with our birding guide you will get to witness the vast landscapes across the forest reserves of Nameri. There are tall growth of trees across the forest reserves of Nameri and one has to keep a strict vigil along with the binoculars to spot the bird species and the best option is to remain calm and not make noise so that the birds do not run away. The trek takes us further inside the forests of Nameri and you will have the option of climbing a watch tower and you will get an aerial view of the Nameri National Park and get to spot the various bird species and certain of the animals as well. Our jungle trek will take us to the banks of the Jia Bhoreli river on another side and this serves to be an important watering hole for the various animals and birds of the park and we might get lucky to spot few of the rare bird species of Nameri National Park here as well. We will come back to the boat ride point and here we will board the boat and come back o the other side of the park and we will take some more time to look out for the bird species of Nameri and post this we come back to the place of stay. Evening we will go to visit the fringe areas of the park and here we spend time birding and also witness the local villages across the park and get to understand the life of the rural people of Assam.
Day 3: Nameri – Bhalukpong – Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
Today we depart from Nameri after breakfast, and we go to Bhalukpong area in Arunachal Pradesh. We will need to carry our valid ILPs/PAPs to travel to Arunachal Pradesh and here we will cross over from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh, and we travel to the Bhalukpong area that is a very renowned tourist spot for the picnic lovers and adventure tourists who can get to spend quality time on the Kameng River that flows across Assam as the Jia Bhoreli and merges with the Brahmaputra River at Tezpur. We explore Bhalukpong and also the Tippi Orchard that is known to host about 234 species of orchid species.
We explore the Tippi Orchard at Arunachal Pradesh and later we continue on our drive towards Dirang where we go to the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. We reach by late afternoon and we will check in at the Lama Camp at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and our evening will be at leisure across the camp where we will take time to explore the surroundings. Our meals would be cooked at the Lama Camp itself and as there are no other places to go out to explore so we will be at the camp itself.
Day 4: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
Today we will all set out to explore the area across the Lama Camp at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary on foot and it will be a full day trek to spot the various bird species of the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh. Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the very beautiful bird sanctuaries in Northeast India and due to the presence of the lush green forests and grasslands, the various bird species to be spotted here are almost around 600 species. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and the place covers an area of over 200 sq. km. and this is one of the most prominent birding destinations on India. Apart from the various bird species to be spotted here you can also spot the animal species like the Red Panda, Asian Elephants, Sambars, Serrow, Goral, etc. We will enjoy the day birding around the Lama Camp area in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and we will have packed lunch on our birding tour and we will come back by late afternoon.
Day 5: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
Today we will head to the Bompu Camp from the Lama Camp at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, and we will depart after an early breakfast and we will enjoy guided birdwatching along the way. The towering Eastern Himalayas across the place serve as an ideal place to enjoy birding and we can spot the many rare and endangered bird species along the way. Arrive at the Bompu Camp and you are free in the evening to explore the area across the Bompu Camp in Arunachal Pradesh.
Day 6: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
Today in the morning we enjoy the beautiful landscapes around the Bompu Camp and take sometime birding in the wee hours of the morning as this is the best time to spot the bird species that come out early looking for food across the area and we have a quick breakfast and later we tart on our trek to Sessni and this is a complete guided trekking experience and we will have the perfect opportunity to sight the various bird species at the place and we will have a great time birding at Sessni. Packed lunch we will be served to everyone, and we continue on our birding tour and late afternoon we will travel back to the Bompu Camp from Sessni and time is a sure shot great birding experience at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh. Evening will be free at the Bompu Camp area and you can get to spend time by the bonfire and savor the local cuisine as well and this will be an ideal experience for everyone here at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.
Day 7: Bompu to Lama Camp
Today we will have another great experience of birding around the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh where we will travel from the Bompu Camp to the Lama Camp and here we will get to travel across Sunderview and the Eaglenest Pass and both these places are great birding destinations as well. This drive will be across the rugged terrain of Arunachal Pradesh and so our 4WD vehicles will come as great help and we will travel from Bompu to the Lama Camp area birding along the way here at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh. Come back to the Lama Camp and here we will enjoy our time in calm in the evening and we get to spend time by the bonfire reflecting on our past few days of birding around the prized Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.
Day 8: Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary to Pakke Tiger Reserve
Today we will have a leisure breakfast in the morning around the Lama Camp in the morning and take some time to enjoy our birding on the final day here at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and post breakfast we pack up and start on our drive from the Lama Camp at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary to travel towards the Pakke Tiger Reserve that was earlier called as the Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary and the park is in conjunction with the Nameri National Park and this is what makes the Pakke Tiger Reserve an ideal place for birding as well. We will drive across the beautiful landscapes of Arunachal Pradesh overlooking the towering Eastern Himalayas and we will have lunch on the way and we reach at the Pakke Tiger Reserve where we will travel on offroad track to the interiors where there is a forest guest house and our reservations will be made here and we will enjoy our stay here. Take time to explore the area across the place that is covered by the tall trees and you can find various bird species perched atop the tall trees and in the evening you can spend time by the bonfire to beat the chilly weather.
Day 9: Pakke Tiger Reserve
The Pakke Tiger Reserve is another of the very nice places to enjoy birding in Arunachal Pradesh and today we will have the opportunity to go for a trek inside the forest reserves of the Pakke Tiger Reserve to spot the varied bird species that are found in the place. This is a Tiger territory and so you will be escorted by a forest guard, and we will go for our trek inside the forest. Pakke Tiger Reserve is known for its Hornbill species, and it was even awarded towards the conservation efforts towards this bird species. Apart from the bird species it is also known for its mammal species that include the Bengal Tigers, Indian Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Leopard, Wild Dogs, Asiatic Jackals, Elephants, barking deer, gaur, sambar, etc. The squirrel species to be found here are the Malayan Giant Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Squirrel and the primate species are to be found that are mostly the capped langurs, rhesus macaque and the Assamese macaque. Around 296 species of birds are known to found inside the forests of the Pakke Tiger Reserve and there are Jerdon’s baza, pied falconet, white-cheeked hill-partridge, grey peacock-pheasant, elwe’s crake, ibisbill, Asian emerald cuckoo, red-headed trogon, green pigeon, forest eagle owl, wreathed hornbill, great hornbill, collared broadbill and long-tailed broadbill, blue-naped pitta, lesser shortwing, Himalayan shortwing, Daurian redstart, Leschenault’s forktail, lesser necklaced laughing-thrush, silver-eared leiothrix, white-bellied yuhina, yellow-bellied flycatcher warbler, sultan tit, ruby-cheeked sunbird, maroon oriole, and crow-billed drongo, etc.
Day 10: Pakke Tiger Reserve – Kaziranga National Park
Today we will leave Pakke Tiger Reserve to travel to the very famed National Park in Assam that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this is none other than the Kaziranga National Park. Continuing on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh, we will make sure to make a stop at Kaziranga National Park where we will go for jeep safari rides across 3 principal zones of the park to spot the various bird species and also the animal species namely the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros that is the flagship species of Kaziranga National Park. We will travel from Pakke to Tezpur and we will go the Kaziranga National Park area and on the way we will view the lush landscapes of Assam coming over from the mountain region of Arunachal Pradesh. We reach Koliabor and take a left diversion to travel to Kaziranga National Park area wherein we will reach Burapahar and we drive towards the Central range of Kaziranga National Park at Kohora and this is the place where we will check into our place of stay and quickly freshen up and we will go for a jeep safari ride in the afternoon at the Central range of the park and this is called as the Kohora range and it is known for the population of the Rhinoceros and the occasional sighting of the Tiger as well.
Lunch will be served at the Hotel and we will go to visit the Central range of Kaziranga National Park and our jeep vehicle will pick us up and we will enjoy our day of birding and spotting of animal here at Kaziranga National Park. We come out of the park and we travel to the Kaziranga Orchid Park that is the largest orchid park of India and this is the largest orchid park in India. We will take time to explore the Kaziranga Orchid Park where we will be taken on a short guided tour of the green house of the park where we get to admire the various flowering orchid species and also the rare species that are even endangered now as well. At the Kaziranga Orchid Park we visit the section of handicrafts and handlooms and also the section of the rice museum, orchid photo gallery and the bamboo garden and finally we take our seats to witness the various traditional dance performances of Assam at the stage area here.
Day 11: Kaziranga National Park
Today we will have two rounds of jeep safari inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park at two separate zones and these are namely the Eastern Zone and the Western Zone respectively (Agaratoli and Bagori). We start our day with an early breakfast at our hotel/resort at Kaziranga National Park and we will be picked up0 by our jeep vehicles and we start on our drive from the Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park to travel towards the Agoratoli range and the drive is across the beautiful landscapes of Kaziranga National Park and we can get to spot many bird species along the way as well. We take a right diversion from the highway to travel towards the Eastern range and here we will witness the countryside of Assam and how the local people mare engaged in agriculture related activities here. We reach the forest office and our entry formalities are completed at the Eastern range and we begin on our 2 hour long jeep safari ride inside the forest reserves and we will soon be able to spot the Great Indian Hornbill Species that are generally seen perched atop the tall tree at the entrance of the forest range of Agoratoli.
We will be accompanied by our birding guide along with an experience jeep safari driver who knows that forest reserves of the Eastern range of Kaziranga National Park very well and we soon spot more number of bird species as well. A visit to Kaziranga National Park is noteworthy for the various animal species and especially the One Horned Rhinoceros and we get to sight the same here at Agoratoli and we admire the grand body armor of this beast. We might also get lucky to spot the Asiatic Elephant Herd, the Asiatic Wild Water buffaloes, Hog Deers, Swamp Deer and in case we get lucky we can see the Bengal Tigers of Kaziranga National Park as well. The jeep ride will take us towards the banks of the Diphlu River and we can have the opportunity to get down here and admire the landscapes and post this we will come out of the forest reserves of the Eastern Range of Kaziranga National Park and we will have the opportunity to sight the various bird species like the black necked stork, Great Indian Hornbill, flame backed woodpecker, drongos, White breasted kingfisher, etc. and we will come back to our hotel/resort for lunch.
Next up we have a special lunch that will be cooked for us at our resort that will be a traditional Assamese style meal and it will be a highlight of this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and post lunch we will head on our drive tot eh Bagori area of Kaziranga National Park where the jeep vehicle will take us and we will cross the place across a beautiful mountain that is infact called as Burapahar and there is a very sacred temple at this place called as the Buri Aai Than and the travelers who drive along the road ensure to stop their vehicles here and they seek the blessings of the Goddess and they believe it to be a sacred omen that would bless them to have a safe journey on the road ahead. We will not stop here and simple seek our blessings from our vehicle itself and we drive to the Bagori range of Kaziranga National Park that is known as the place that is famed for the presence of the population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros of Kaziranga National Park. At the Bagori forest office we will quickly get our forest entry done and we go for our jeep safari ride inside the forest reserves.
At first we will go to the Sildubi Beel area that is a large water body and it is known to have a good number of fresh water fishes here and we can get a nice landscape view of Kaziranga National Park here and this is also the territory of a One Horned Rhinoceros that comes close to the view of the travelers coming here and guess can have an up close view of the animals here at Kaziranga National Park. Our jeep ride will take us further into the forests of the Western range of Kaziranga National Park and we get to spot the various bird species of the park and also the up close view of the Rhino. Also at times, there are encounters with the wild elephant herds and at times the elephant herd also charge at the jeep safari vehicles but it is nothing to worry about as the jeep drivers are very much experienced and they know how to keep this safe from the elephant herds and soon we will come out of the forest range of the western zone of Kaziranga National Park and we will travel back to the central range of Kaziranga National Park where we will stop at a tea shop and this the retail outlet of a local tea garden under the Tata group and we will purchase our souvenirs of the Assam Tea here.
We go back to our hotel/resort at the Central range of Kaziranga National Park on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and we will spend our evening at leisure. In the evening a bonfire would be arranged for us and we will take our seats by the bonfire and there will be a dance performance of the Bihu dance and the Tea garden people’s Jhumur dance and it will be another highlight on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh. Northeast India is home to around 200 tribes and sub-tribes who have lived across the place since time immemorial and they have passed on their culture and customs across the generations and this way they have been able to preserve these culture and customs. Across Kaziranga you can see the settlement of the Karbi and Mishing people of Assam and also the tea garden people as well. In the beginning these people were brought in from Central India by the British to work on the tea gardens of Assam and they have since then adopted to the culture and traditions of the state, and they are very hardworking people who get up early in the morning and they go to the tea gardens to pluck the tea leaves, and this makes them very experienced in their work as well.
The tea garden tribes of Assam perform a very unique folk dance called as the Jhumur dance and we will have the opportunity to witness these two dance forms today here at the resort and post these performances we will enjoy a nice dinner and retire for the night and we will prepare for out next day’s journey to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary that is also another great birding destination in Northeast Indi and it is often referred as the Bharatpur of the East. Night halt will be at a comfortable resort at Kaziranga.
Day 13: Kaziranga National Park – Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Today we begin on our drive to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary from Kaziranga National Park, and we will travel to the land that is home to the highest population density of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros from the land that is home to the highest population of the rhino. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is located close to Guwahati, and it would mean that we are mostly travelling towards the final leg on our journey here in Guwahati on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh. We will leave Kohora area to travel towards Bagori and further to Burapahar area to reach Jakhlabandha.
We cross Koliabor and continue further on our drive towards Nagaon and we travel to Jagiroad, and we will stop for lunch at Jagiroad at the Ni4 restaurant that is a pure veg restaurant and it is known for its specialty South Indian cuisine recipes. We enjoy a change in menu after a few days and we will continue our drive to the Khetri area, and we take a right diversion to travel to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary continuing further on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. We will drive across the beautiful countryside of Assam and soon we will reach the viewpoint area ot eh sanctuary premises and here we will catch a glimpse of the One Horned Rhinoceros of Assam. We admire the sight and there is a large swamp area here and we can get to spot the varied bird species that are known to be found here at the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and we will admire the beautiful hue of the bird species at the Bharatpur of the East. Post this we will go to the Mayong Museum of black magic that stores the various relics from the time of the black magic practices that were prevalent in the olden days across the state.
Black Magic has been long abolished and only the relics of these practices remain however the use of magic for the betterment of the people’s health is still practiced across the Mayong region. We will take some time to witness these various relics across the place and we learn about how the black magic sorcerers possessed various powers in their hands to tame a wild tiger, convert humans to animals, cause immense harm to a person both physically and mentally or even make an entire army of men disappear as well. The museum is spread across a large hall and the various black magic scriptures are placed and kept nicely in a showcase and the place also tells us about how the area of Mayong and Morigaon is still having a King who is the nominal head of the place as well. After our exploration of this museum we will proceed on our drive to our place of stay at Pobitora at the Maibong Eco Resort that is located close to the entrance of the Sanctuary.
We freshen up and we will be served tea and snacks in the evening and we will take our places at the bird observatory site at the premises of the Maibong Eco Resort and here we will spend some time birding and also across the area of the place we get to spot various birds as well. We will be served with a sumptuous dinner at the Maibong Eco Resort and the place has a pond at the backyard and this is known to have various fish species and the fish is caught fresh and served to guests here and so we will savor a special fish curry here.
Day 14: Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary – Garbhanga – Guwahati
Today is our day of jeep safari inside the forest reserves of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and we will be travelling deep into the forests accompanied by our birding guide and the forest personnel who is a known birding person and he can identify the birds of Pobitora quite well. The jeep ride starts at 7.30AM and we can go for our jeep safari into the interiors of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary where along with the bird species of Pobitora we will also spot the animal species as well. The jeep ride will last for about an hour and half and we come out of the forest reserves.
We will leave the Maibong Eco Resort at Pobitora after our jeep ride and we drive towards Guwahati city crossing Chandrapur, Panikheti and Narengi to travel to the Lokhra area that is the gateway to the Garbhanga Reserve Forest area that is a beautiful forest pocket located very close to the city of Guwahati that is the fastest growing city in Northeast India. Continuing this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, a visit to the Garbhanga Reserve Forest is planned on this itinerary because this place too is a great birding destination, and the forest reserve is also known for its varied species of animals and butterflies as well. The roads are good even though the route is across a mountain, and we enjoy our drive across the beautiful forests of Garbhanga and we will travel to a certain point where we make a stop to view the birds and butterflies of the Garbhanga forest area. The vast forest reserves will provide us a fresh atmosphere and we will breathe in the fresh air that is present across the place and we will head to the view-point area that is providing a good opportunity for both the birds lovers coming to the place and this is a great opportunity for us as well.
We spend some time at the place and later we will come back to the Lokhra area where we will have our lunch and we will go to check into our hotel at the Garchuk area in Guwahati. We freshen up and take time to rest and later we go to visit the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary area that is a Ramsar Site and this is known as the place that is home to various variety of birds mostly as it is a freshwater lake area that is a good source of food for the birds and we will take time to spot the birds here continuing on our birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Deepor Beel is a fishing area for the local fishermen and the fish caught from the place is sold across the street that is present and many people come from Guwahati to buy this fish because it is a freshwater dish and these fish are not harvested artificially and as they feed on natural food they have a great taste as well. We will go to the watch tower area at the Deepor Beel on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and soon we reach back to Guwahati city and we will spend the evening at the hotel. The hotel is located at the outskirts of the city and so there will not be so much of a rush like in a city environment and we will spend our last evening at leisure on this birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and we will relive our moments spent birding at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and at the same time we will also remind ourselves of the fantastic captures at Nameri National Park, Pakke Tiger Reserve and Kaziranga National Park as well. Dinner will be served at the hotel and we will call it a day.
Day 15: Kamakhya temple – Guwahati Airport
Today even though this is a birding tour, yet a visit to Northeast India is considered to be incomplete without a visit to the Kamakhya temple shrine that is present at Guwahati city and so we will go to seek our blessings of the Goddess at this temple shrine. We will start our day after an early breakfast, and we will proceed on our drive to the Nilachal Hills where the temple shrine of Goddess Kamakhya is present and we will check out of the hotel with our luggage as this means that we will head to the airport post our visit to the temple and we will travel to the Kamakhya gate where we begin on our ascent atop the Nilachal Hills. We reach the parking spot of the temple, and this is one of the holiest temple shrines in Northeast India. The Kamakhya temple shrine is one among the 51 Shatkti Peethas and this temple shrine is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya. It is believed as per mythology that Goddess Sati’s womb had fallen atop the Nilachal Hills when Lord Shiva was carrying her mutilated body and travelling across the Universe performing the Tandav Nritya.
The Kamakhya temple shrine called as the temple of the bleeding Goddess because it is believed that every year in the month of Asad (June), the Goddess menstruates, and this is the time when the Ambubachi Mela is celebrated, and this is called as the Eastern Mahakumbh and the festival attracts lakhs of devotees to the place every year including the holy Sadhus who come to the place to seek the blessings of the Goddess. Goddess Kamakhya is associated with the spirit of womanhood and the ability of a mother to give birth to a new life, and we will go to explore this holy temple shrine. The temple has a remarkable structure, and the present structure of this temple was restored by the Ahom Kings who ruled over Assam and as per the Hindu mythology, this temple was originally built by Lord Kamadeva (the Hindu God of Love) with assistance from Lord Vishwakarma (the Hindu God of machinery) and it is remarkable to see the temple stand tall even today. The walls of this temple shrine are ornately decorated with stone sculptures of various figures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
The temple dome on top is covered with pure Gold and it was donated by the Hon. Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani. We will cleanse our hands and feet and we go to seek our blessings of the Goddess at the inner sanctum of the temple and one is the general queue and the other is the VIP entry and we will purchase our VIP passes and we will head to the inner sanctum of the temple. Our temple priest will guide us how to approach the inner sanctum and we will need to wait a while as both the queues merge here and we will be taken inside a dark chamber where there are many idols of the Gods and Goddesses kept here and we shortly make our way to the inner sanctum of the Kamakhya temple. Here we will notice that there are no idols of the Goddess and instead there is only a stone shaped in the form of a Yoni (Vulva) that is fed by an underground water stream. We need to touch this holy water and sprinkle it on our head and this completes our darshan of the Kamakhya temple and we will come out of the temple’s inner sanctum and we will be again greeted by the temple priest and he will help us perform the final rituals at the Kamakhya temple.
We will go round across the temple complex and we will be asked to break the coconut and we will get to spot many bird species as well. We will take a while to admire the grand architecture of the Kamakhya temple shrine at the Nilachal hills in Guwahati and we will capture our moments here at this very holy temple shrine. We will complete our darshan at the Kamakhya temple and we will come out to the parking space and we board our vehicles to travel to the airport at Guwahati. We will stop for lunch at one of the nice restaurants along the way and we drop you off at the airport to board your flight to your onward destination. With this we end our tour of birding of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.