• Escorted Tour

Central India and Assam

Including a 7 day Brahmaputra River Cruise

For centuries people from many distant lands have wanted a piece of India and its treasures and strangely India has accepted these foreigners into the Indian way of life.

India is a country that weaves races, cultures and philosophies into a tapestry that becomes more intricate by the day.
Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are known as the jewels of India and we have added the Thar Desert – also known as the ‘Land of the Maharajas.’

This tour immerses you in North Rajasthan and Assam, the latter stretching out in the shadow of the Himalayas.

The seven-day cruise along the mighty Brahmaputra River allows us to experience this North-Eastern state of golden-green vistas of jigsaw like rice fields and manicured tea estates framed in the distance by the mountains that feed the Brahmaputra River.  The on-board talks are very informative. 

The option to visit the mountain state of Bhutan is an added adventure.

Your travel itinerary

Sunday 15 November

Auckland – Singapore

Depart Auckland on Singapore Airlines Flight. Overnight in Singapore in Airport hotel.

Monday 16 November

Singapore - Delhi

Arrive in Delhi and transfer to your hotel.

Delhi is a dynamic city of two parts where the past coexists with the present. In 1911, the British decided to make it the capital of India and commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up the plans. The result is slightly surprising, with spacious tree-lined avenues punctuated with architecture that is amongst the most striking in the world.

Tuesday 17 November

Delhi

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This morning experience the combined charm of Old and New Delhi beginning with a drive past the Red Fort, Jama Masjid followed by a Rickshaw Ride through the bazaars of Chandni Chowk. Visit the Sikh temple Bangla Sahib. Continue past the historical India Gate, the Presidents estate and Parliament House and visit Gandhi Smriti. Welcome Dinner tonight.

The place of ‘Sikh’ worship is open to people of all faiths, castes or creeds.  The ‘Langars’ or the community kitchens proves to be the ideal example of prodigious hospitality of the Sikhs where anyone and everyone can have scrumptious meal. 

Wednesday 18 November

Delhi – Jodhpur - Jamba

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A morning flight to the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur and the gateway to the desert.
On arrival, lunch is at a local restaurant before driving to Jamba and the Dera Dunes Retreat – the world’s first resort on top of a high sand dune.

Thursday 19 November

Jamba

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This morning, ride in 4WD vehicles to visit Bishnoi Village. The Bishnoi tribe live a simple life and are the natural conservators of the region and the Demoiselle cranes that inhabit the region. We also visit the Raikas and carpet weavers.

Friday 20 November

Jamba – Jodhpur

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Drive to Jodhpur, arriving around lunch time. This afternoon visit the Meherangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada, a graceful marble cenotaph. 

Saturday 21 November

Jodhpur - Pushkar

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Drive to Pushkar, one of the few Rajasthani towns solely under British control until 1947. Visit Pushkar Lake and enjoy a camel card ride

Sunday 22 November

Pushkar

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Experience the colourful Pushkar festival, one of the largest Hindu fair symbolizing a period of joy and respite from everyday life.

Monday 23 November

Pushkar - Jaipur

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Drive to Jaipur, Afternoon at leisure. Dinner this evening with a local family at their private home

Tuesday 24 November

Jaipur

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A full day sightseeing tour of Jaipur. After a photo stop at the Palace of the Winds (the Hawa Mahal), on to the immense Amber Fort – a palace complex built from pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble.

An afternoon tour includes the City Palace – now museums with fine textiles, costumes, an armory, manuscripts and paintings.

Visit Jantar Mantar to see a collection of architectural astronomical instruments dating from 1734.

Wednesday 25 November

Jaipur – Agra via Abhaneri

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An early start today for the drive to Abhaneri step wells (Chand Baori) – more than 1000 years old. Continue on to Agra with a break in the journey midway.

Arrive at the hotel with time to relax.

Thursday 26 November

Agra

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This morning a memorable visit to the Taj Mahal - one of the wonders of the modern world, completed in 1652 as a mausoleum for the beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal.
Visit the Mehtab Bagh, a garden built on the banks of the Yamuna River and an ideal place from which to view the Taj.

After a special home-hosted lunch with local families, drive to the red sandstone Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Yamuna River. Three successive Mughal emperors helped create the massive structure.
Evening at leisure to explore the city.

Friday 27 November

Agra – Delhi – Varanasi

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Morning drive along the Taj Express Highway to Delhi Airport for a flight to Varanasi. Check into hotel for a two night stay with the evening at leisure.

Varanasi or Benaras is one of the oldest living cities in the world, which according to the English author Mark Twain is “older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as them all put together.”
Dawn rays shimmer across the Ganges, the high banks, temples and shrines along the banks are bathed in a golden hue, with hymns, mantras and incense filling the air – an unforgettable experience.

Saturday 28 November

Varanasi

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Rise early this morning for a boat ride onthe Ganges River past the Ghats where pilgrims gather to bathe in the sacred waters in the misty light of dawn. After breakfast visit Sarnath, one of the four tranquil Buddhist sites and Dhamek Stupa built in 500CE/AD.

Late afternoon enjoy a boat ride along the Ganges River and witness the captivating, twilight ‘Aarti’ ceremony conducted by priests worshipping the river goddess with incense, camphor, flowers and earthen lamps.

Sunday 29 November

Varanasi – Guwahati

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Transfer to the airport for your flight to Guwahati. On arrival, drive to Pandu Port to board the MV Mahabaahu in time for a welcome lunch and a seven night cruise.

Set sail and later visit Peacock Island, famous for its highly-endangered Golden Langur monkeys.
This evening raise a traditional toast to the mighty Brahmaputra River that carves the valley of Assam and enjoy the ‘Kamrup Swaagat Bhoj’ – a sit down welcome dinner.

Monday 30 November

Cruising

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Enjoy the morning scenery and a talk on the geographical location and significance of Assam as you sail towards an island that is occupied predominantly by a bangla- speaking Muslim community involved in extensive farming.

Continue sailing towards Orang National Park, with talks on ‘Life on the Bramaputra River along the way before arriving at a deserted island for a bonfire.

Tuesday 01 December

Silghat – tea estate visit

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Enjoy a relaxing morning sailing to Silghat where we visit the Kaliabore Tea Estate and the tea factory to see the process of producing Assam Tea. Then visit a jute mill
At sunset, we enjoy a cultural evening on board.for a tour, including the growing, picking and processing of tea. Visit a jute mill on our return to the ship for a cultural evening and traditional Assamese theme dinner.

Wednesday 02 December

Kaziranga National Park

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An early morning drive to the Kaziranga National Park - home to the Greater One horned Indian Rhinoceros, wild elephants, tiger, deer, Asiatic wild buffalo and a rich variety of birds.

Enjoy a special safari where we search for the elusive rhinoceros, tigers, deer and a variety of birds.

Later drive to Bagori in the western range of Kaziranga for an open jeep wild life adventure.

Return to the boat for a leisurely lunch followed by an excursion to Bishwanath Ghat to see how this suburban village thrives.

Thursday 03 December

Safari

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Begin with a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside.’

Later enjoy a safari to hopefully see roof turtles on drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, king fishers, serpent eagles and more. This evening enjoy a Chef’s Cooking Demonstration followed by a talk on Vaishnav culture and a beach bonfire.

Friday 04 December

Cruising

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Enjoy a talk of ‘Majuli, the seat of Vaishnav culture’ before sailing towards the Mishing Village whose people live on the banks of the river in houses with raised platforms and are expert weavers. Opportunity to buy ethnic colourful cotton weaves and indulge in a dhoti tying and a Mekhela Chaadar wearing demonstration.
Later drive to cultural performances by musicians, singers and dancers.

Return to the ship for a traditional Assamese evening.

Saturday 05 December

Sibsagar

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Begin with a day-excursion to 13th century Sibsagar, a city built around a huge water tank and Shiva Temple.
Drive to a tea estate for a relaxed afternoon for a home-hosted traditional Assamese lunch with the tea-estate family who have been involved in the tea business for more than a century. Return to MV Mahabaahu by sunset.

Sunday 06 December

Jorhat – Kolkata

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A relaxing morning before disembarkation and a transfer to the airport for your flight to Kolkata. Check into your hotel with the rest of the day at leisure.

Kolkata mainly gained importance in the times of British rule as it had been the capital of India till the year 1912. At present, it is the capital of West Bengal and is one of the most important places of cultural workshop and industrial centre.

 

Monday 07 December

Kolkata

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Visit Colonial Kolkata and Mother Theresa’s House called ‘Nirmal Hriday’ and Shishu Bhawan. Mother Teresa’s great work caring for abandoned children is carried out at this centre. Visit the Newmarket area to familiarize and continue shopping or relax.

Farewell Dinner tonight.

Tuesday 08 December

Kolkata- Singapore

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After breakfast, visit to the flower market – Eastern India’s largest flower market with hundreds of stalls where 2,000 flower growers from the surrounding areas sell their flowers and garlands. Afterwards visit the Victoria Memorial. This marble white monument is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata and the Jain Temple. Transfer to the airport for a late evening flight

Wednesday 09 December

Singapore - Auckland

Change planes and continue on to Auckland, arriving just before midnight.

Inclusions

  • Return economy airfares Auckland - Singapore - Delhi // Kolkata – Singapore – Auckland
  • Domestic air flights Delhi - Jodhpur // Delhi – Varanasi - Guwahati // Jorhat - Kolkata
  • Travel in air conditioned coaches
  • Accommodation in 4 star hotels with private facilities
  • Breakfasts daily, lunches and dinners as specified
  • Entrance fees at monuments outlined in the itinerary
  • Pushkar Festival
  • Shared boat ride on Lake Pichola
  • Jeep safari
  • Seven day river boat cruise with included meals
  • Excursions off the boat
  • One home-hosted meal
  • Two bottles of mineral water per person, per day
  • Government Service Tax @ 4.5%
  • English speaking guide for the 10 days prior to the cruise
  • Services of English speaking naturalist / destination manager during all the included boat excursions
  • Pukekohe Travel tour escort (subject to 15 people travelling)

Cost

Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle
 Suite Cabin (with balcony)    $13,144  N/A 
 Luxury Cabin (with balcony)   $12,436  $18,513
Deluxe Cabin (with balcony)  $12,153       

$17,497

 Superior Cabin (no balcony) $11,586  $16,616

Business Class Upgrade

(Auckland - Singapore - Auckland Airlines flights only)

+$4,266

Premium Economy Class Upgrade

(Auckland - Singapore - Auckland Airlines flights only)

+$1,920
Early Booking Discount ( 28/02/2020) $150
Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount $100

*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment

Exclusions

  • Airport and security taxes (approx. $149 per person)

  • Items of a personal nature

     

  • Camera / video fees at monuments

     

  • Indian visa (approx. NZD30 per person) - NZ Passport holders. All other passport holders please ask

     

  • Travel Insurance (Please ask us for a quote)

     

  • Gratuities and tips 

Booking Conditions

  • A non-refundable deposit of $1500 per person will secure a place on the tour

     

  • Full payment due no later than 21 August 2020

Cancellations

  • From the date of booking until 21 August 2020 – loss of deposit

     

  • After 21 August 2020 – no refund

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is essential. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

General Information

Temperatures ˚c                 Max              Min                                                                                                                                                 
Delhi 28 14
Jorhat 27 16
Agra 29 12
Gulwhati 28 17
Jodhpur 32 15
Kolkata 30  19
Bhutan 120   06

Clothing

Comfortable clothes are the order of the day – the laundry service in the hotels is inexpensive and efficient. Hats, sunglasses and comfortable sandals are a must.  A scarf or pareu is handy for temples etc or for sun protection. A small umbrella is great for rain showers or sunshade. Photographic opportunities are plentiful – respect the local people and ask before taking photos.

Currency / Money

  •  Cash is king in India. Take USD, Euro or Pounds Sterling to change into Rupees
    ATMs are available in the cities and it is advisable to use ones located inside a bank – this can be time-consuming!
  • Credit Cards, Visa and Mastercard are accepted in all the hotels we will be staying in and larger more up-market restaurants and shops

Documentation

  • A current New Zealand passport is required valid six months beyond the date of travel.
  • New Zealand passport holders require a visa for India (approx. NZD150 per person)
  • All other passports please ask

Health and Fitness

  • There are no obligatory inoculations required
  • The tour stays in 4 Star hotels and included meals will be at recommended restaurants which will minimise health risks
  • Hepatitis should not be an issue but precautionary measures are your choice Include broad spectrum anti-biotics in your medicine kit
  • Update your tetanus and polio
  • Assam is a Malaria-risk area. A good Deet insect repellent is recommended and long sleeved trousers and shirts early morning and evening are advised
    Malaria prevention varies considerably. Check with your medical professional
  • The streets of India are busy and pavements crowded and rough. A good standard of health and mobility are required with the ability to climb steps and walk up hills

Ship Information

The Brahmaputra River – 2900km long - one of the major rivers in Asia – flows through Tibet, the Himalayas, India (the Assam Valley), Bangladesh into the Bay of Bengal - possibly one of the
holiest rivers of the World! - the only river in the world considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bonpas, amounting to four religions!

Assam - a rich, green land of rolling hills, plains and dense forests, is the gateway to north-east India. The mighty Brahmaputra River that has its origin near Lake Mansarovar and Mount Kailash, charts its course through Tibet, Assam and Bangladesh. Assam, the mystic land of blue hills and beautiful rivers, is renowned for its tea, rich flora and fauna. 70% of the population are involved in agriculture.

MV Mahabaahu Facts
Year Built 2011
Length 55m
Speed 12 knots / 22 kph
Cabins 23
Passengers 46
Crew 30
Life on Board Guests on board will be treated to an unforgettable journey on the beautiful Brahmaputra River under the shadows of the Himalayan Mountains and surrounded by abundant wildlife.
The stunning countryside of North-Eastern India and its tribal cultures are sure to captivate. Nightly entertainment in the form of local tribal dances or guest lectures are held in the theatre.
Recreational facilities on board include a swimming pool. Sports room, spa, hair salon, sundeck, a well-stocked library, internet café and various board games.

Features
All cabins incorporate satellite TV, personal safe, mini bar, inhouse telephone and an ensuite.
Air Conditioning
All cabins and the restaurant / lounge are centrally airconditioned.

Dining
The chefs devise local / Indian and continental menus, sourcing
local ingredients.
Shore Visits
Two supervised excursion tenders ferry guests safely to and
from the ship. All shore excursions are escorted.

Currency onboard
Indian Rupees only.

Cruising Times
All cruising takes place between 6am and 6pm to take full
advantage of the spectacular scenery


Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change

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