Horseback holidays in Assam

Horseback holidays in Assam

Assam is the ideal destination for those who love horses and horse riding as it brings back the nostalgia of the life the British planters led. Ride along the banks of the Brahmaputra as the river comes alive. Enjoy an exhilarating canter along the sandy shores or just walk gently through the villages of the river people. The extensive trails in the tea gardens will also make an attractive ride. See the tea pluckers at work, plucking fresh green tips destined for the estate factory.

Your base during the ride is a beautifully renovated former tea manager’s Heritage Chang bungalow set in the midst of the tea gardens. From your veranda and over morning tea, you will hear the jingle of bicycle bells and the chatter of the tea workers as they walk or cycle to work.

Horseback holidays in Assam

Each day the rides explore the surrounding tea gardens and Brahmaputra flood plain. Throughout the area you will see farmers working their fields in a way unchanged for centuries.

Tour Highlights

  1. Tea factory and tea estate tours as well as tea tasting session.
  2. Ride through the lush green tea plantations.
  3. Cruise on the mighty river Brahmaputra- Experience the traditional village lifestyle.

Itinerary

Dibrugarh – Tinsukia – Sibsagar – Kaziranga NP – Dibrugarh

Day 1: Arrival in Dibrugarh
Welcome at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Night in hotel. Mancotta Chang Bungalow (Heritage) When the British established their tea plantations in the mid-19th century they quickly built comfortable bungalows designed to make life as pleasant as possible in what, was to them, a hostile and strange land. One of the main features of these buildings has given rise to their name. Chang in the local language means “raised on stilts” and the design served multi purposes- to keep the house cool by allowing the breeze to blow underneath and to keep both water and animals out!
Day 2: Dibrugarh – Brahmaputra Trail (3 hrs ride)
After breakfast your ride takes through the rolling carpet of tea bushes and onto the banks of the Brahmaputra river – the best possible way to see the countryside as you journey unhurriedly and enjoy the thrill of riding along the beaches of the river and the grasslands, often encountering rural settlements. Lunch in a tree house. Afternoon at leisure. Evening, enjoy a cultural programme (Bihu Dance) on the lawns of the bungalow. Night in Chang Bungalow. Bihu is the most popular folk dance of Assam. The people of Assam are very proud of its unique position among all other such dances of India. Except Bhangra (the popular folk dance of Punjab), no other folk dance in India can compete with the rhythmic exuberance of the Bihu dance.
Day 3: Dibrugarh – Rukmini Cruise (3 hrs ride)
Post breakfast, the ride today takes you to the riverfront from where you embark on a boat cruise to a river island in the midst of the mighty Brahmaputra. A picnic lunch is organized. Enjoy kayaking on the river. Return late in the afternoon to the mainland. Evening at leisure/ free for shopping. Night at the Chang Bungalow.
Day 4: Dibrugarh – Greenwood Trail (3 hrs ride)
Today your ride takes through a different tea plantation through the country side and paddy fields. Enjoy packed lunch. Return to the Chang Bungalow. Afternoon at leisure. Night in Chang Bungalow.
Day 5: Dibrugarh – Ethelwold Trail (2 hrs ride)
Today your ride takes through the lush green tea plantations of Ethelwold and Jalannagar Tea Estate. Later we take a tea tour around a tea estate known for producing high quality CTC teas. Learn all about tea - its origin, how it is grown, all about tea tasting and its quality. Return to Chang Bungalow. Post lunch we drive to Digboi (80 kms/ 02 hrs), the first Oil town of South Asia. We visit the Oil Museum and the 2nd World War Allied Forces Cemetery where 200 graves are permanently maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Return to Dibrugarh for overnight stay at the Chang Bungalow. Digboi : Digboi is a small but  wonderful town in Tinsukia district in the north-eastern part of the state of Assam, India. Petroleum oil was discovered here in late 19th century and the Digboi oilfield is one of the oldest oil fields. With a significant number of British professionals working for the Assam Oil Company as late as until the decade following the independence of India, Digboi has a legacy of well-developed infrastructure and a number of bungalows unique to the town. It has a world class golf course with 18 holes as part of the Digboi Club. Note: Visit to tea factory is subject to being operational on the day of the visit. There is no tea plucking between December till mid-March and hence the actual manufacturing process of tea cannot be demonstrated when one visits the factory during this period. Factory also remains closed on Monday’s of the week. Digboi Museum remains closed on Monday’s of the week.
Day 6: Dibrugarh - Tinsukia (2 hrs – 55 Km)
Today early morning we drive to Tinsukia Later we visit Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Magori Bheel for a full day birding programme. We take several boat rides on the Dibru River, go for jungle walk, bird and Gangetic Dolphin sighting. Check in at Wathai Heritage Bungalow, Limbuguri Tea Estate. Night in bungalow. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park has the most distinct and vibrant wilderness on earth and is known for its pristine scenic beauty. The forest in this park ranges from semi-evergreen to deciduous to littoral to swampy marshes with patches of wet evergreen jungles. About 36 species of mammals have so far been recorded in  Dibru-Saikhowa National Park – Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Jungle Cat, Sloth Bear, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Slow Loris , to name a few. Dibru-Saikhowa is a safe haven to many rare and endangered species of over 350 birds and is, perhaps, the best place to see three Indian specialities: Marsh and Jerdon's Babblers, and Rufous-vented (Swamp) Prinia apart from the rare Jerdon's Bushchat and Black-breasted Parrotbill, Several other rarely observed species can be found in the extensive grasslands, wetlands, and riverine forests. These include Baer's Pochard, White-winged Wood Duck, Bengal Florican,  Pale-capped Pigeon, Rufous-rumped Grassbird etc. Recently it has been reported that The lesser white –fronted goose an endangered bird have been spotted at Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, 40 years after it was last seen at Kaziranga National Park. Dibru Saikhowa is a haven for an incredible no of waders, ducks, raptors and its speciality grassland birds. Although reverine in nature, this park remains open most of the year with innumerable varieties of colourful birds chirping at various pitches and hopping from branch to branch. It is indeed an orinthologist’s delight. Endangered species like Gangetic Dolphin and Feral Horses are common sights in Dibru- Saikhowa. Wathai Heritage Bungalow (Heritage): Located in Limbuguri Tea estate, this plinth bungalow will allow you to rejuvenate your senses. Located just 5 km from Dibru Saikhowa National Park, it is the ideal retreat for a birding break. This ‘Managers Bungalow’, defines serenity and you will most certainly leave revitalized. It has been recently renovated and is the ideal base whether on a quest for quietude or seeking refuge whilst on an explorative ornithological voyage at the neighbouring Dibru Saikhowa National park. Fresh tea can be enjoyed in the ‘jali room” to the front of the bungalow in a peaceful atmosphere overlooking the manicured gardens, while meals are served in the spacious dining room complete with an original fireplace. The family room and two large bedrooms complete with ensuite enables eight people to sleep here very comfortably.
Day 7: Tinsukia – Dibrugarh (4/5 hrs ride)
Today morning we ride through a different tea plantation through the country side around Limbuguri Tea Estate. Return to Bungalow for lunch. Post lunch visit Barekuri Village (10 Km / 20 min) to see a small group of Hollock Gibbons and later drive back to Dibrugarh. Night in Heritage Chang Bungalow.
Day 8: Dibrugarh - Sibsagar - Kaziranga NP (5 hrs - 220 Km)
Post breakfast we drive to Sibsagar to visit the Ahom monuments and temples which encompass the 600 year old history of the Ahom Dynasty. After lunch at Sivasagar, we drive to Kaziranga National Park and check in hotel. Night in hotel.   Sibsagar was once the capital of the Ahom Kings. The Shans who came from Thailand through Northern Myanmar to this area in early 13th century, ruled for 600 years. The Siva Temple, built by the Ahoms, situated here is believed to be the tallest of all existing Hindu temples. The ruins of the Ahom palaces and monuments dot the landscape around this historical town. Centuries, before the arrival of the British, this part of the world was controlled by a number of tribal chieftains.   In the town of Sibsagar, one can still see the remaining well preserved relics. The largest and the oldest ampi-theatre of Asia (Rang Ghar) is also another remarkable landmark in the history of Sivasagar. The Tai- Ahom Museum of Sivsagar contains some of the relics of the Ahom period like – swords, clothes, manuscripts and sundry artefacts.
Day 9: Kaziranga NP
Early morning go for an elephant safari. After breakfast and lunch visit the park by open jeep. Night in resort.   Kaziranga NP is a World Heritage Site, home to   more than 75% of the world’s total population of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros. It is on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River. Besides Rhino, the Asiatic Water Buffalo numbering over 1200, elephants over 1000, tigers more than 120, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer can be seen. About 400 species of birds are also found: Swamp Francolin, Kalij Pheasant, Grey lag Goose, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveller, Northern Pintail, Streak Throated Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Osprey, Palas’s Fish Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Pied Falconets, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Greater Adjutant Stork, Black necked Stork, Grey-headed Lapwing, Indian White Backed Vulture, Long Billed Vulture, along with a large number of Spotted Billed Pelican.
Day 10: Kaziranga NP – Guwahati (220Km-5hrs)
Post breakfast drive to Guwahati airport to board flight for onward destination.
  • Best Season:

    October to March

map of Nawabs of Lucknow

The highlights of this trip

The Ridding

You should be a competent and confident rider on a forward going horse. Riding through the tea gardens is at a walk; however, there are opportunities for trot and canter when you explore the countryside.  Please note that if there has been recent rain this can make tracks too slippery for much cantering.

The riding time varies between two and four hours per day and averages three hours. There are a number of trail rides exploring the surrounding area of the Brahmaputra and the tea gardens.

On some days you ride through the tea gardens where there is the opportunity to learn about the history and production of tea. Other rides head out through the farms and villages that spread out from the banks of the river. It is sometimes possible to ride out to islands which appear in the dry season. These are sandy and provide perfect going for some faster riding.

Tea Plantations

The enormous tea plantations of Assam that look like a green carpet are renowned across the world for their beauty as well as the premium quality tea produced by them. Every year, Guwahati welcomes numerous tourists that come to experience the process of manufacturing tea, right from the planation until the leaves are packaged.

Heritage Tea Bunglows

With the stunning ancient bungalows amidst lush tea gardens “tea tourism” is another exciting part of Assam tour. The lavish tea bungalows constructed during Britcher’s era are still intaking its traditional way in most tea gardens.

Though the British left India in 1947 they left their embrace in all the tea bungalows. Most of them are sizeable two-storied bungalows with a vast loan amidst tea garden with a scenic view. Staying a few days these places will take you back to a planter’s life in the 18th century.

  • Horseback 95% 95%
  • Tea Plantations 90% 90%
  • Wildlife 45% 45%
  • Landscapes 95% 95%

The horses are extremely good in traffic - not that there is any of them once you are in the plantations themselves.

“Unique and unforgettable, would love to go back. | A second horse was arranged after the first did not suit me, and after that I really enjoyed the riding. It was very clear that the horses were cared for to the highest standard and we saw the stables where they live when they are not out on rides. They are used for other equestrian activities, such as show jumping there.”

Jean Fraçis & Mäe – Camargue, France

Holiday of a lifetime!

“Holiday of a Lifetime | Super horses, well cared for and well led. Good variety of riding experience from ambling walks to exciting canters. Appropriate rest periods and refreshments along the way.Great tack and stabling.“

Janette & Gilbert – Amman, Jordan.

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Hornbill Festival

Nagaland is steeped in history and tribal tradition. Wander through tribal villages and soak up the atmosphere at the Hornbill Festival, where Naga culture is brought to life in colourful song and dance.

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