Commemorating the memory of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the Second World War, the cemeteries at Digboi, Kohima and Imphal enable you to pay your tribute to those dauntless soldiers who died for their motherland. These cemeteries are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Well maintained, calm and tranquil surroundings of the cemetery provide a heart rendering islet of peace and prompt us to remember those prominent words - "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today."
Received at Imphal Airport (suggest arrive Imphal by morning flight) and transfer to Hotel for 03 nights. In the afternoon we take the Battle of Imphal Tour - a three-hour guided tour covering sites in and around the city related to the Battle of Imphal of 1944 and Manipur’s overall War experience. This includes (among others): a Second World War-era airfield, a battlefield and two Second World War Cemeteries maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Imphal.
The Tiddim Road Tour – White Tigers, Black Cats and a Springing Tiger (6-7 hours)
The road that wound its way north from the village of Tiddim in Burma (now Myanmar) to Imphal—the Tiddim Road—and the mountains along it were one of the main sectors of fighting in 1944. It was the route used by the Imperial Japanese Army’s 33rd Division to approach Imphal from the south and southwest. This elite Japanese Infantry Division referred to itself as the ‘White Tigers’ and a white tiger figured on one of its flags. The main British force facing it was the 17th Indian Division, also known as ‘The Black Cat Division’ because of a black cat on its formation sign. The fighting between them on, and near, the Tiddim Road has been described as among the fiercest in the Burma Campaign.
Moirang, which is just off the Tiddim Road, is also significant from an Indian perspective. It was here in April 1944 that members of the INA, who entered Manipur with the Japanese, first planted the Indian tricolour on the mainland. The INA’s flag featured the figure of a springing tiger.
The Tiddim Road Tour gives you a chance to discover this intriguing bit of history. Heading out of Imphal on the Tiddim Road, this guided tour takes in the only Japanese Memorial to the War in India, battlefields, the only INA Memorial Complex in the world at Moirang, Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in northeast India and time permitting, Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating national park in the world.
The Shenam Saddle Tour
One of the main sectors of fighting in 1944 was the road between Palel in India and Tamu in Burma/Myanmar and the section the British called the Shenam Saddle in particular. This was a series of hills between the villages of Shenam (Sinam) and Tengnoupal along the road on which British forces had established defensive positions to prevent the Japanese from advancing towards the Imphal Valley.
What makes this sector even more fascinating is the fact that men of the Indian National Army’s (INA) 1st Division were deployed here and fought on the left and right flanks of the road. Thus Indian soldiers fought on both sides – together with the Japanese as part of the INA, as well as with the British as part of the British Indian Army.
The Shenam Saddle Tour takes you to the very hills that made up the Shenam Saddle position on the road to Burma/Myanmar. Hear all about the fierce fighting in the area and see if you can spot trenches dating back to 1944. At a height of some 5,000 feet, take in some truly spectacular views on all sides. The pretty Kakching Garden en route is included, as is a visit to the Khongjom War Memorial, where you learn about the Khongjom War or Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891.
Road to Kohima
We drive to Kohima (05 hrs) to explore the overlap between the two battles. We stop along the way at Milestone 109 — where the British 2nd Division and Indian 5th Division met in June, 1944 — Kanglatongbi War Memorial, and the Battle of Kohima Museum. Check in at Hotel for 02 nights
We visit the site of the battle known as the ‘Stalingrad of the Far East’, one of the bloodiest of all those fought between the British and Japanese. We walk Kohima Ridge, including its war cemetery, and key strategic positions. Finally, we remember the involvement of the Naga, local tribespeople who were instrumental in helping the British to defeat the Japanese, as we visit the beautiful village of Khonoma. Evening drive back to hotel and overnight.
Today post breakfast we drive to Kaziranga (215 kms/06 hrs). Enroute visit Hot Water Spring and Shiva Temple. On arrival check in at hotel Iora-The Retreat for 02 nights. Later in the evening visit The Kaziranga Orchid Park cum Biodiversity Conservation Centre. Overnight at the hotel.
KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK - Kaziranga National Park - is a World Heritage Site, where more than 75% of the world’s total population of the great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros can be found. It lies on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River and is one of the oldest parks of Assam. Besides rhinos, the Asiatic Water Buffalo, Elephants, Royal Bengal Tigers, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer can be seen. About 400 species of birds are found in Kaziranga National Park. To name a few- Swamp Francolin, Great Hornbill, Pallas Fish Eagle, Pied Falconets, Greater Adjutant Stork, Long Billed Vulture. There is no telling what one might find in Kaziranga but it is always a great experience. The specialty here is the Blue naped pitta among a host of Raptors and Waterfowl. The adjoining buffer areas are worth a try too, as numerous rare sightings are reported regularly.
Kaziranga Orchid Park cum Biodiversity Conservation Centre is spread across 16 bighas of land. It also has a photo gallery of 500 orchids, a greenhouse, lakes with boating and angling facilities and small tree-houses, among other attractions. The basic purpose of opening this park was to conserve local varieties of orchids, flowers, fruits, fish and also to spread cultural awareness knowledge . Those visiting the park will also be able to taste juices of local fruits, pithas (local cakes) and enjoy Borgeet and Xattriya dance performances as well. Experts have been involved to give shape to the park. Khonjit Gogoi, a teacher who has been preserving orchids for the past 20 years pitched in to shape the park. As did Mahan Bora, a farmer, with his 10-year experience in collecting paddy varieties, Kunti Bora, an expert in medicinal plants, who helped in opening a medicinal plants sales counter, Bihu expert, Dhaneswar Saikia who showcases the original Bihu dance forms and music while Xattriya expert, Biplob Baruah for Xattriya dance training.
Note : National Park in this sector remains open from 1st Nov to 30th April every year. However during October like previous year, we are hopeful that this coming October also the Forest Dept. will be able to keep the National Park open for Safari's wef 01 Oct. However, this can only be confirmed nearer to date, which Forest Dept. will declare keeping the weather and other factors in mind. Incase park is opened in Oct there is limited access as full access to all the ranges are normally not permitted due to weather and road condition. Alternatively 01 Nov to 30 Apr is confirmed date for opening of park. Hence suggest to plan the trip accordingly
Full day game drive inside the park with early morning 01 Elephant Safari. Post breakfast we go for Jeep Safari. Later in the afternoon go for another Jeep Safari inside the park. Overnight at the hotel.
Elephant Safari: Approximately 45 mins duration 05.30 to 06.30 06.30 to 07.30
Elephant safari for foreign nationals are held only on Kaziranga Range, Kohora (Central Range) Allocation of elephant riding seats and timings are regulated by the forest department, Kaziranga National Park, Government of Assam. The tickets for the same are issued only on the previous evening of the ride after 7:30 PM. subject to availability It starts very early in the morning and continues for approx 45 minutes. It is the best way to explore the wide variety of wildlife in Kaziranga National Park. The park is covered by elephant grass which is very high and so the view from elephant back is perfect! During the course of the safari one can see herds of Indian Elephants, One-horned Rhinoceros at a very close distance. This proximity to wild animals in Kaziranga National Park makes the trip memorable and thrilling. The elephant safari takes place in the central range of the park and one gets good views of the rhino while traversing through its terrain of swamps and tall grass. It is also great for early morning photography of rhinos in the mist. There are good chances of seeing the Bengal Florican from elephant back.
Forenoon: Entry time between 0730 to 1000 Hours. No entry after 1000 Hrs
Afternoon: Entry time between 1330 to 1500 Hours. No entry after 1500 Hrs.
Jeep Safaris are permitted on pre-defined tourist circuits within Kaziranga National Park- currently at the following four points. Each of these circuits takes about one and half to two and half hours (or even more depending upon interest of the tourists), subject to local range conditions and weather. Jeep Safari may be cancelled / curtailed due to any reason by the Park Authorities without prior notice.
1. Mihimukh in Central Range at Kohora
2. Bagori in Western Range at Bagori
3. Agaratoli in Eastern Range at Agaratoli
4. Burapahar Range
The Central Range passes through the entire habitat spectrum from ox-bow lakes, savannah woodland to swamp forests. It is very good for mammal sightings as well as for birds (Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Great Hornbill, Rufous Woodpecker). While driving along the trail, one can see rows of Indian Roofed and Tent Turtles (Kachuga tecta and Kachuga tentoria). Water Monitors Varanus salvator are sometimes spotted in the beels.
The Eastern Range abounds in water birds such as bar-headed geese, falcated duck, grey-headed lapwing and spot-billed pelican (a colony of 200 pairs of this globally threatened species nesting on the Bombax trees can be found here).
The Western Range has the highest density of rhinos as this part of the park is swampier. It has grassland birds and raptors (swamp francolin, pallas's fish eagle etc ). Smooth Indian Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) can sometimes be seen fishing in it’s ox-bow lakes.
Today post breakfast we drive to Dibrugarh (140 kms/03 ½ hrs). Enroute we visit the Ahom Monuments and Temples at Sivasagar that encompass the 600 year old history of the Ahom Dynasty. On arrival check in at Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow for 02 nights. Overnight at the bungalow.
SIVASAGAR - Sivasagar was once the capital of the Ahom Kings. The Shans who came from Thailand through Northern Myanmar to this area in the early 13th century, ruled from here for 600 years. Thus the ruins of Ahom palaces and monuments dot the landscape around this historical town. The Siva Temple situated in Sibsagar was built by the Ahoms and is believed to be the tallest of all existing hindu temples. Centuries, before the arrival of the British, this part of the world was controlled by a number of tribal chieftains.
Shiva Dol and Shiva Sagar(tank): A huge 125 acres water tank was built in Sibsagar by Queen Ambika in 1734AD. On its bank are three temples – Shivdol, the most important of three, attracts a large number of devotees on Shivaratri. It is probably the loftiest Shiva temple in the country.
Rang Ghar: It remains Asia's largest amphitheatre and was the cultural playground of the Ahom Swargadeos or kings. It was constructed in 1746 during the reign of King Pramatta Singha. The king and his officers would sit in the auditorium and watch indigenous games like wrestling, birds' fight, buffalo fights and more. There is a beautiful park near the ancient royal auditorium which enhances it’s picturesque setting.
Talatal Ghar: Ahom architecture over the centuries has resulted in some very defining edifices. The Talatal Ghar at Sivasagar is a seven storied building with four floors below the ground and three floors above the ground- an amazing palace for the Ahom Kings but at the same time an exceptional architectural concept given the period of history in which it was built.
DIBRUGARH - Dibrugarh is the gateway to the “hidden land” of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and Northern Myanmar. The Ahoms from Thailand came through Northern Myanmar to this area in the 13th century to establish their empire which thrived in the ancient land of Assam. It is the “Camellia” town of Upper Assam, an undisturbed , unspoiled and undistributed paradise on earth with breath- taking scenic beauty surrounded by a lush green expanse of tea plantatons. Tea incidentally is a variety of the camellia plant. Experience and enjoy the richness of these tea gardens while staying at the Heritage Chang Bungalows. These are constructed on stilts and are situated in a serene atmosphere free from pollution. In Dibrugarh, Purvi Discovery provides to you, two of its well appointed mid 19th century Chang Bungalows constructed on stilts, Chowkidinghee Chang Bungalow is one such heritage bungalow which welcomes you to Dibrugarh- the “camellia” country! It is ideally suited for a private family holiday allowing you to experience the luxurious raj period hospitality that the British manager and his memsahib enjoyed. When the British established tea plantations in the mid-19th century, they built comfortable bungalows designed to make life as pleasant as possible in what, was to them, a hostile and strange land. Mancotta Chang Bungalow is another heritage property located on the outskirts of Dibrugarh town. It is conveniently accessible from both Dibrugarh railway station and Dibrugarh airport. It provides a base for a unique holiday set amidst the tea plantations.
Our day-long Second World War Tour gives you a chance to uncover this fascinating part of world history. It takes in the colonial town of Digboi (80 kms / 02 hrs), known as the birthplace of the Indian oil industry, which is also home to a Second World War cemetery maintained by the UK-based Commonwealth and War Graves Commission. You drive along railway lines that were crucial for carrying Allied supplies during the War and experience the thrill of exploring Ledo Airfield, one of those used for flights over the “Hump”. The tour ends with a visit to Zero Point, the starting point of the famous Ledo or Stilwell Road, and a walk through what remains of a long-abandoned Chinese cemetery nearby. Later in the afternoon drive back to Dibrugarh. Overnight at the Bungalow.
In time transfer to Dibrugarh Airport to board flight for onward destination
The WWII Museum in Kisama, Kohima is usually open only from Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m. to about 2 p.m. or just after. It is also closed on government holidays.
The Kohima War Cemetery, Kohima is closed on Sundays and sometimes after lunch on Saturdays. It is also closed on government holidays
The INA Museum in Moirang, Imphal is closed on Mondays.
The Kangla Fort, Imphal is closed on Wednesdays.
The Digboi Oil Museum is closed on Mondays.