Assam Despatch 7:
GUWAHATI TO GUWAHATI
Meet at Guwahati airport and embark on your ship by mid-afternoon close to the great Saraighat Bridge. Cruise downstream to visit a river side village Vijaynagar.
Cruise upstream to the little town of Sualkuchi, loud with the clatter of looms, and visit its silk-weaving workshops on foot. We shall see the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon and spinning to dyeing and hand-weaving into exquisite mekhela chadars (a two-piece sari, the traditional attire of Assamese women). Later, drive to Hajo – a place sacred to Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists – and visit a hilltop Muslim shrine with far-reaching views over the surrounding rural landscape; a simple Hindu temple with its frieze of elephants; and a sacred tank full of great carp, catfish and turtles. Reboard the ship and cruise to an overnight down Saraighat bridge.
This morning, cruise upstream and disembark at Pandu docks to go on a short sightseeing tour of the city of Guwahati. Drive up Nilachal Hill to see the holy Kamakhya temple. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifice, the more squeamish among us may prefer to content themselves with its exteriors. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves cemetery as well as a shop selling local crafts. Cross by country boat to the mid-stream Peacock Island with its population of Golden Langurs before reboarding and cruising pass Kurua in the north bank.
Cruise upstream past jungle-covered hills and turn into the Mayong River. Then, take a country boat for a kilometre or two to the roadhead from where we drive to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
This small park has a dense population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, and we shall be unlucky if we do not spot some of these armoured beasts on a jeep safari around the park. Those departing today are picked up from the park and driven for 4 ½ hrs to Kaziranga National Park.
Alternatively, return to the ship in the afternoon and cruise to a riverside village, which you can explore on foot. Later, sail down to spend the last night close to the picturesque Aswaklanta Temple on the north bank opposite Guwahati.
Cruise down to Saraighat Bridge. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Guwahati airport for final departure.
This itinerary, including the cruise and approximate driving durations, is subject to river and weather conditions.
The 'Brahmaputra Taster' cruise is offered in the Boutique and Active Expedition cruising styles.
BOUTIQUE EXPEDITION CRUISING
with ABN Charaidew II
Our selection of boutique cruise ships are comfortable, contemporary, and celebratory of Assam and Bengal's rich regional heritage. They are designed to reflect a sense of homecoming to the region: the unique objets d'art and handicrafts aboard the ships have been carefully collected and curated over the years, and the locally made furniture and textiles are a product of traditional craftsmanship and modern design intervention.
As such, each boutique ship was designed to be purposefully distinct in its style, with interesting stories that accompany each ship's décor.
ABN Charaidew II has 18 cabins: two spacious deluxe double-bedded cabins and 12 twin/double-bedded cabins on the upper deck, and four cabins with queen size beds on the main deck, for which we charge no supplement.
All cabins have en suites with W.C., a writing desk and chair, mini-fridge, individual climate control, and storage space. The standard cabins have French balconies, while the two deluxe cabins have a private balcony.
There are three cabin categories on ABN Charaidew II:
UPPER DECK DELUXE DOUBLE-BEDDED CABIN
This cabin (350 sq. ft.) is located on the upper deck. The spacious cabin opens out to a comfortable sit-out, offering guests a better vantage point from which to watch rural India glide by.
UPPER DECK TWIN/DOUBLE-BEDDED CABIN
This cabin (240 sq. ft.) is located on the upper deck, and can be converted into twin or double beds.
MAIN DECK CABIN WITH QUEEN BED
Featuring a queen bed, this cabin (170 sq. ft.) is ideal for solo travellers, for which we charge no supplement.
ACTIVE EXPEDITION CRUISING
with ABN Sukapha
Our selection of active cruise ships are small in size, comfortable and filled with character. The décor is fresh and stylish, featuring handlooms, bamboo panelling, and locally made cane and rattan furniture.
Cycles on board and local tuk-tuks allow for independent exploration; additionally, on a few departures, we operate ‘cruising and cycling’ tours.
With only 12 cabins, it is ideal for a small group of travellers or private charter for a group of family and friends.
ABN Sukapha is deliberately intimate in size with 12 cabins, all of which are located on the upper deck of the ship.
The maximum group size on board ABN Sukapha is 24 guests.
All cabins have en suites with W.C., French balconies, individual climate control, and storage space.
There are no separate cabin categories for ABN Sukapha.