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Winter Bucket List: Go For A Holiday On A River

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OT Staff

Take A Cruise On The Brahmaputra

Unlike those humongous cruise ships which are in troubled waters due to environmental regulations, a river cruise is far gentler. Imagine bobbing along in a small boat, through a gently moving landscape, and shore excursions to round out the experience. And when it comes to this particular experience, the words alone are persuasive: a cruise on the Brahmaputra. When you’re not floating down the mighty river, you make little forays into tea estates, quaint local villages, heritage monu­ments, and the cherry on top, Kaziranga National Park. How could anyone possibly resist? Check out the Assam government website for the one that suits you best.

Immerse In Life On A Riverine Island

One of the most memorable and unique holidays you can have in India is a stay in Majuli, the world’s largest riverine island. The island’s way of life is incredibly simple, and perfectly captures Assamese culture. The satras, which resemble monasteries, are the main draws here. Your holiday here will be filled with unusual experiences, from living in a tribal village to eating off the river or staying in one of the satras.  Even the travel from the mainland to the island of Majuli over the Brahmaputra is incredible. The mighty river normally appears to be calm, yet it is tumultuous and unpredictable beneath the surface.

How to get there: 

The 303-km drive to Jorhat from Guwahati is along the well-serviced NH37. From Jorhat, drive to Nimati Ghat (13 km), then take a ferry for a 1-hr ride to Kamlabari Ghat on Majuli Island. The ferry is large enough to carry at least three Sumos across as well

Nearest airport: Guwahati. Nearest railhead: Jorhat

Stay In A Tavern On The Hooghly

In 1786, the British innkeeper, James Parr, opened the Denmark Tavern & Hotel in Serampore that became quite famous among Europeans. But for a long time it has been in ruins. Its spiral staircase collapsed, and Serampore police lines occupied a part of the building. The heritage building was repaired recently and thrown open to the public. Now you can stay at the lovingly-reconstructed Denmark Tavern, which is on the Hooghly river that flows past. Serampore is better known for its associations with the advent of Bengali printing and publishing, but it was under the administration of Denmark from 1755 to 1845, when the Danes sold their Indian interests to the UK. After painstakingly restoring the church, and while work continues in the court compound, the National Museum of Denmark (NMD), along with the state heritage commission and INTACH, under the Srirampur Initiative that started in 2008, have quietly reinvented the tavern. 

How to get there: 

One can reach the Denmark Tavern by river and by train as well. There are frequent ferry services between Dhobi ghat in Barrackpore to the Serampore jetty on the other side of the Hooghly. The tavern faces the Lady’s ghat or Nishan ghat. Or take a train from Howrah Station. One can also use the river ferry service from Barrackpore Dhobi Ghat. It’s a wonderful experience. The steeple of St Olav’s church is visible from the ghat.

Nearest airport: Kolkata. Nearest railhead: Howrah

Isolate On An Island In Goa With The Birds

Stay on Chorao island located in the middle of the Mandovi river in Goa, and go on an ornithological trip to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in the middle of the Mandovi River. Take a ferry from Ribandar, which is about 15 minutes’ by road from Panaji. Apart from the forest department, there are non-government organisations conducting birding trips to the island. Goa-based Birds & Breakfast, run by Lloyd Fernandes, conducts birding trips across Goa, including Carambolim Lake and Woods, Arpora Woods, Bondla Forest, etc. Check if Mumbai-based BNHS (https://www.bnhs.org/) is running any nature camps in Goa.

How to get there:

The island is not connected to Panaji or other areas of Goa by road. To reach Chorao, you would have to cross the Mandovi river. It is recommended that you drive to Ribandar ferry point, where many ferries run to Chorao Island between 6 AM and 12 AM. You can also take your vehicle on these ferries and use it to get around Chorao.

Nearest airport: Dabolim. Nearest railhead: Thivim or Margao

 



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