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India & Bhutan Holidays

Kolkata, Mountain Kingdoms of Bhutan & the Brahmaputra river

16 Night Itinerary from £5,395

Brahma Tour

Explore the fascinating Kolkata region, across to the Himalayas for the remote and beguiling Bhutan and the Brahmaputra river, on a cultural journey with stunning landscapes and wildlife.

Select your preferred departure date

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Tour Route

Travel Highlights

  • Discover Bhutan, a land of stunning Himalayan scenery, welcoming people, environmentally friendly living and lively local markets.
  • Explore the arts and bazaars of Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, a city with no traffic lights!
  • Visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627.
  • Take a 5 hour trek on the incredible 'birds nest' Taktshang Monastery, the highlight of your journey.
  • Explore the Brahmaputra River on a first class expedition cruise.
  • Visit Kolkata and Mother Teresa’s House, ‘Nirmal Hriday,’ and be inspired by their work.
  • Enjoy a guided tour of a colonial Assam tea plantation including tastings.
  • Take safaris by jeep and boat discovering the wildlife of Kaziranga National Park, including the famous one horned rhinos. 
  • Stop at riverside villages and enjoy a barbeque on the river island of Majuli.

This itinerary can be tailored to your preferences by our specialist advisors, who can provide a guaranteed price based on your choice of route, duration, flights, hotels, transport and excursions.

Tour Itinerary

Victoria Memorial 2394784 1920

Fly to Kolkata - 2 Nights

Day 1 - Departure from the UK on an overnight flight to Kolkata

Day 2 - Arrive Kolkata

Day 3 - Guided tour of Kolkata

 

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 1

Fly to Kolkata

Depart on an overnight flight to Kolkata.


Day 2

Arrive Kolkata

Arrive in Kolkata in the morning. You will be met by your Veloso Tours guide and transferred to your chosen hotel for a 2-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. Kolkata the city of joy as it is called is also commonly considered as the 'Paris of the East' as there's a happy amalgamation of different cultures, styles and moods, coupled along with numerous forms of industries and commerce and politics. Kolkata mainly gained importance in the times of British rule as it had been the capital of India till the year 1912. At present, although it is no more the capital of India, it is the capital of West Bengal and is one of the most important places of cultural workshop and industrial centre.


Day 3

Guided tour of Kolkata

Kolkata the city of joy as it is called is also commonly considered as the 'Paris of the East' as there's a happy amalgamation of different cultures, styles and moods, coupled along with numerous forms of industries and commerce and politics. Kolkata mainly gained importance in the times of British rule as it had been the capital of India till the year 1912. At present, although it is no more the capital of India, it is the capital of West Bengal and is one of the most important places of cultural workshop and industrial centre.

After breakfast, visit the Victoria Memorial. This marble-white monument is one of the most fascinating landmarks of Kolkata. Here, come face to face with miniature paintings and images of Queen Mary, King George V and Queen Victoria. Of special importance are the Queen's dresses, the famous Rosewood piano, the Whispering Gallery in the dome and numerous artillery weapons used in the Battle of Plassey.

We also visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in the Indo-Gothic style of architecture, and was built in the year 1847 by Major W.N. Forbes of the East India Company. The height of the Cathedral is 201 ft. This Cathedral has the rare distinction of being the first Episcopal Church built in this part of the world.  The peak of St. Paul's Cathedral has been designed as a replica of the famous Canterbury Cathedral's Henry Tower.

We continue to Mother Teresa’s House, called ‘Nirmal Hriday,’ and also visit Shishu Bhawan, located near her house. Mother Teresa’s great work of caring for abandoned children on the streets of Kolkata is carried out at this center.  Watch the children’s face light up with just one smile of yours.

Peerless Inn

Kolkata - Tourist Hotel

Located at centre of Kolkata, The Peerless Inn, Kolkata is only 15 minutes walking distance from Eden Gardens or the Victoria Memorial.

The hotel has 168 spacious rooms and suites, furnished either with king or twin beds, two plush armchair and a glass top coffee table, a study table and chair and a 32 inch LED T.V. The rooms also have a well stocked mini bar, a tea-coffee marker and FREE wi-fi connectivity. Bathrooms in superior rooms are well furnished with full length bathtub, variable pressure shower and sunken white wash basin. Guests are provided cotton towels and comfortable rooms slippers.

Public areas include a fitness centre and excellent cuisine from the authentic Bengali cuisine Aaheli to the sea food restaurant Oceanic, a gourmet bakery shop The Tea Lounge and Ego, a Pan Asian Retro Lounge.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Image for: Kolkata 01

The LaLiT Great Eastern

Kolkata - Luxury Hotel

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata was built in 1841 as the “Auckland Hotel” and is in fact the longest continuously operating luxury hotel in Asia. The architecture is a combination of Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary styles. The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata is centrally located in close proximity to key commercial and and sightseeing attractions.

The hotel has 215 beautifully furnished rooms and suites, all air-conditioned with private bathroom, parquet flooring and luxury amenities. Plus safe, hair dryer, sitting area, minibar, free Wi-Fi, TV and tea/coffee maker.

Public facilities include a swimming pool, spa, tea lounge, bakery, bar and two restaurants, namely, Alfresco and The Legacy Grill. 

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Image for: Kolkata Facade Hotel Attractions 820X400

The Oberoi Grand

Kolkata - Deluxe Hotel

Fondly referred to as the Grand Dame of Chowringhee, The Oberoi Grand has been an icon on the landscape of Kolkata for more than a century; with a reputation for taking care of its guests like no other. The sense of calm that pervades the outdoor space is carried into the classically appointed rooms and suites that encircle the courtyard. 

The hotel has a varied range of classicly furnished rooms and suites, each being air-conditioned with luxury private bathroom, city, garden or pool view and the upgraded rooms have a balcony or terrace. The amenities, beds and facilities are everything you would expect from one of India's top hotels.

Public areas include a stunning swimming pool, spa, threesixtythree all day dining restaurant offering a wide range of international cuisine, Baan Thai restaurant and a fashionable bar. There is also a poolside grill.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Image for: View Of Hotel
Tigers Nest 2691190 1920

Bhutan - 5 Nights

Day 4 - Fly to Bhutan

Day 5 - Thimphu

Day 6 - Punakha

Day 7 - Paro

Day 8 - The Taktsang Monastery

  • Full Description

Day 4

Fly to Bhutan

This morning, we leave for the airport to take the flight to Paro. The flight into the Himalayas reveals breathtaking views of the world’s highest peaks, taking you right into the Dragon Kingdom’s cloud scraping airstrip in the lush green valley of Paro (alt. 7000 ft).

After clearing immigration and customs, step into the receiving area where we meet our Bhutanese tour director and drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Late afternoon/evening, visit Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery that houses most of the Government's office and the King's Throne room. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot.


Day 5

Thimphu

After breakfast we embark on a sightseeing tour of Thimphu. Visit the National Library which has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.

Later, drive to the Painting School, famous for traditional ‘Thangkha’ paintings. See students at work, producing intricate designs on cloth. Also, visit the Traditional Medicine Institute where centuries old healing methods are still practiced. Thereafter visit the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese culture and living traditions.

After lunch, visit the Handicrafts Emporium which displays a wide assortment of beautifully handwoven and crafted products. From there drive to the Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in memory of Bhutan's Third King who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside this monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.


Day 6

Punakha

After breakfast, check out and drive to Punakha with a short stop en route at the Dochula pass (3,050m) that offers enchanting views. Arrive in Punakha and check into our hotel.

After lunch, proceed to visit the Punakha Dzong, the 17th century fortress which has played an important role in building up of modern Bhutan. Thereafter visit the Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, the newly built stupa. After the visits in Punakha, drive to the nearby town of Wangduephodrang and visit the local market which is famous for its bamboo products, slate and stone carvings.


Day 7

Paro

After breakfast, check out and drive to Paro en route visiting the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627; it now houses the School for religious studies. Arrive in Paro and check into our hotel.

After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, the National Museum of the Kingdom. Originally built as a Watch Tower, since 1967 it is serving as the National Museum of the country and holds a fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. Thereafter walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong which has a long and fascinating history.


Day 8

The Taktsang Monastery

After an early breakfast, depart for an excursion to the Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence it is called the "Tiger's Nest". Non Buddhists are not allowed inside the monastery. Therefore, view the monastery from a view point nearby. The trek/hike to the view point takes about 5 hours for a round trip.

In the afternoon, drive north of Paro valley to the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong. From this fort the Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies. Later, visit nearby traditional Bhutanese Farm House which offers a good insight into the lifestyle of the local people. On our way back, we visit the Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.

Victoria Memorial 2394784 1920

Return to Kolkata - 2 Nights

Day 9 - Fly to Kolkata

Day 10 - At leisure in Kolkata

 

  • Full Description
  • Accommodation

Day 9

Fly to Kolkata

After early breakfast, we drive to Paro airport to board our Druk Air flight to Kolkata. On arrival at Kolkata airport, we will be met by our representative and transferred to your chosen hotel for a 2-night stay. The rest of the day is at leisure.


Day 10

At leisure in Kolkata

Today is free for you to explore Kolkata at your own pace. Your local Veloso Tours guide is on hand should you require any assistance.

Peerless Inn

Kolkata - Tourist Hotel

Located at centre of Kolkata, The Peerless Inn, Kolkata is only 15 minutes walking distance from Eden Gardens or the Victoria Memorial.

The hotel has 168 spacious rooms and suites, furnished either with king or twin beds, two plush armchair and a glass top coffee table, a study table and chair and a 32 inch LED T.V. The rooms also have a well stocked mini bar, a tea-coffee marker and FREE wi-fi connectivity. Bathrooms in superior rooms are well furnished with full length bathtub, variable pressure shower and sunken white wash basin. Guests are provided cotton towels and comfortable rooms slippers.

Public areas include a fitness centre and excellent cuisine from the authentic Bengali cuisine Aaheli to the sea food restaurant Oceanic, a gourmet bakery shop The Tea Lounge and Ego, a Pan Asian Retro Lounge.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Image for: Kolkata 01

The LaLiT Great Eastern

Kolkata - Luxury Hotel

The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata was built in 1841 as the “Auckland Hotel” and is in fact the longest continuously operating luxury hotel in Asia. The architecture is a combination of Victorian, Edwardian and contemporary styles. The LaLiT Great Eastern Kolkata is centrally located in close proximity to key commercial and and sightseeing attractions.

The hotel has 215 beautifully furnished rooms and suites, all air-conditioned with private bathroom, parquet flooring and luxury amenities. Plus safe, hair dryer, sitting area, minibar, free Wi-Fi, TV and tea/coffee maker.

Public facilities include a swimming pool, spa, tea lounge, bakery, bar and two restaurants, namely, Alfresco and The Legacy Grill. 

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Image for: Kolkata Facade Hotel Attractions 820X400

The Oberoi Grand

Kolkata - Deluxe Hotel

Fondly referred to as the Grand Dame of Chowringhee, The Oberoi Grand has been an icon on the landscape of Kolkata for more than a century; with a reputation for taking care of its guests like no other. The sense of calm that pervades the outdoor space is carried into the classically appointed rooms and suites that encircle the courtyard. 

The hotel has a varied range of classicly furnished rooms and suites, each being air-conditioned with luxury private bathroom, city, garden or pool view and the upgraded rooms have a balcony or terrace. The amenities, beds and facilities are everything you would expect from one of India's top hotels.

Public areas include a stunning swimming pool, spa, threesixtythree all day dining restaurant offering a wide range of international cuisine, Baan Thai restaurant and a fashionable bar. There is also a poolside grill.

The rates are on a room and breakfast basis.

Image for: View Of Hotel
DSC 0555

Brahmaputra Expedition Cruise - 7 Nights

Day 11 - Fly to Guwahati & embark the MV Mahabaahu

Day 12 - Village visit and cruise 

Day 13 - Kaliabore Tea Estate

Day 14 - Kaziranga National Park

Day 15 - Boat safari

Day 16 - Mishing Village

Day 17 - Majuli Island and Sibsagar

Day 18 - Fly back to the UK

 

  • Full Description

Day 11

Fly to Guwahati and embark the MV Mahabaahu

Morning have breakfast at hotel. Later check out from hotel and transfer to airport to board your flight to Guwahati. Arrive at the Guwahati airport and transferred to MV Mahabaahu, with packed lunch. We drive through the busy streets to the Kamakhya Temple.  This Temple is devoted to Kama Khya, the eternal Feminine- the goddess of desire. 

After the Temple visit, we drive towards Pandu Port and embark the MV Mahabaahu. After a quick orientation and we de-board for a short visit of the picturesque Peacock Island, the smallest island on the Brahmaputra (flight time permitting) famous for the highly endangered Golden Langur.  It would be a good idea to have one’s binoculars and cameras at hand.

Proceed into the evening with a talk on ‘Kamakhya and the occult in Assam’. Soon MV Mahabaahu drops anchor and the evening follows into the welcome dinner.

https://www.veloso.com/india/assam-the-mighty-brahmaputra-river/brahmaputra-river-cruise/mv-mahabaahu/

 


Day 12

Village visit and cruise

MV Mahabaahu lifts anchor early. We take yoga on the deck for an hour and move on for breakfast. We enjoy a talk on 'Assam, its geographical location in the national and international context and how it is acclaiming recognition'. MV Mahabaahu heads on towards an island that is occupied predominantly by a ‘Bangla’ speaking Muslim community who are involved in extensive farming. After visiting this village, we return to the ship for lunch and sail towards the Orang Point.

Evening sets in and over a cup of tea, we enjoy a talk on 'The River Brahmaputra and the tribal life’. We anchor at a deserted island for the evening and enjoy a bonfire and a barbeque.


Day 13

Kaliabore Tea Estate

MV Mahabaahu sails early and we after yoga on the deck and breakfast enjoy a talk on 'Wildlife in Kaziranga with an overview of the wildlife in India'.

We sail on for the next couple of hours and enjoy a relaxed lunch as we reach Silghat.  After a talk on ‘Tea, Jute & Silk in Assam’, we take a short drive to Kaliabore Tea Estate which is a vast undulating expanse with tea bushes. We proceed to the tea factory to see the processing of the Assam Tea and get an insight into all that goes into preparing a cup-of-tea (The tea factory is not operational from mid-December to mid-February as it is time for pruning the tea bushes).

While returning to the ship, we visit a co-operative Jute Mill which is an interesting place to understand how the Jute fibre takes the form of very eco-friendly gunny bags.

We enjoy a cultural evening on the ship followed by an early dinner.


Day 14

Kaziranga National Park

An early wake-up call before we set out towards the Kaziranga National Park.

The most prized inhabitant of Kaziranga is the Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros, but the Park is home to as many as 180 different mammals including wild elephants, tiger, deer, Asiatic wild buffalo and a rich variety of birds. We reach the Kohora Mihimukh range of the National Park and are ready to start our morning adventure. An elephant-back safari is an experience, to search for the elusive rhinoceros, tigers, swamp deer and hog deer and more and a large number of very interesting birds.  The park never ceases to surprise its visitors!

After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, we drive on to Bagori, the Western Range of Kaziranga and get into the open jeeps for some more wildlife adventure and an extensive coverage of this magnificent park. We return to MV Mahabaahu, start sailing towards Bishwanath Ghat as we enjoy a leisurely lunch and a relaxed afternoon.

We get into the excursion boats to reach the shores of Bishwanath Ghat. We walk through the village and are struck by the simplicity of life while the weaver women surround us with their silk and cotton weaves. We enjoy some happy interaction with them. 

We return to the ship to enjoy an evening on a deserted island and then proceed for dinner.


Day 15

Boat safari

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast over a talk on ‘The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside’. 

We proceed for the boat safari with possible viewings of roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles and many more. 

We return to the ship for lunch. This evening, we enjoy the Chef’s cooking demonstration and sample the snacks. The evening on a deserted island with bonfire is always exclusive! We enjoy dinner on-board.


Day 16

Mishing Village

After Yoga and breakfast, we enjoy the sail towards the Mishing Village.

The Mishings live on the bank of river in 'Chang Ghars' - houses with raised platforms. All Mishing women are expert weavers. We can buy the local colourful cotton weaves and indulge in a dhoti tying and a Mekhela Chaadar wearing demonstration.

We return to the ship to enjoy a talk on ‘Sibsagar and the Ahom civilization’ and proceed to get ready for a Traditional Assamese evening.


Day 17

Majuli Island and Sibsagar

After breakfast, we enjoy a talk on ‘Majuli the seat of Neo–Vaishnav Culture’ and then proceed in our excursion boats to the mainland. Here on, a drive takes us to a scenic corner of a Satra (monastery) for an interesting cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. 

Next, we proceed to Kamlabari Satra to witness the Vaishnavite priests dancing to the rhythm of cymbals, drums and chanting in the temple premise. The humble dwellings of the monks are a revelation of utmost simplicity.

We enjoy lunch on MV Mahabaahu as we sail towards Neamati Ghat.

Post lunch, we drive through the countryside to reach Sibsagar, the ancient city, built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom queen. A town that literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva’.  We notice the district is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire of the Ahoms.  Sibsagar was the capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin. The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be one of the highest Shiva temple in India. 

We visit Talatal or Kareng Ghar which was the palace of the Ahom Kings and after a leisurely stroll in and around the monument, we go on to Rang Ghar which was a place for hosting wrestling bouts and buffalo fights and other entertainment or important meetings of the Royals and their guests.

We return to MV Mahabaahu at sunset for the farewell dinner.


Day 18

Fly back to the UK

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Jorhat Airport for your flight back to the UK, arriving later the same day.

Price Guidelines

Season High Season
Travel Dates October to March
Room Arrangement First
Multiple Travellers - Twin Room £5,395
Single Traveller - Own Room £7,690

Prices are a guideline and per person. Please request a quote for Special Events, Christmas, New Year's Eve & Easter.


What's Included

  • 18 days / 16 nights
  • International flights (1 overnight)
  • 4-nights in Kolkata on bed and breakfast basis
  • 5-night tour of Bhutan, meals as per the itinerary
  • 7-night cruise on the MV Mahabaahu on a full board plan.
  • All entrance fees as described
  • All excursions, sightseeing and activities as per the itinerary
  • Services of English speaking naturalist and guides throughout 
  • All transfers
  • Arrival & departure transfers with assistance at the airport
  • All currently applicable taxes
  • Pony ride to the Taktsang monastery in Paro (one way/uphill only)
  • Government Royalty, Taxes & Bhutan Visa Fee

 

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