Published by The Australian, AU
From humble beginnings in the Tibetan Himalaya, the Brahmaputra River gathers volume and strength over its 3850km course to empty into the world’s largest delta. “This river waters more than one-third of the world’s population,” claims Sanjay Basu, creator of the MV Mahabaahu, a 23-cabin vessel that plies the mighty waterway between eastern Assam state and Kolkata. Week-long itineraries are a wonderful medley of temples, tribal minorities and ruins of the ancient Ahom kingdom. There are tea breaks on an actual tea plantation, sandbank cricket and sundeck yoga, and a visit to the shapeshifting sand island of Majuli, India’s largest. The highlight is World Heritage-listed Kaziranga National Park, home to more than a dozen of India’s endangered mammals, including the one-horned rhino and Bengal tiger. Sightings are reliable on excursions by 4WD and tender launch led by engaging naturalists. Despite major flooding in the area earlier this year, Basu says: “We are getting a tremendous number of tiger, rhino, elephant, wild buffalo, freshwater dolphin and bird sightings.” Life onboard is relaxed and comfortable with well-appointed cabins and even a pool and tiny spa. Sunset G&Ts on the roof deck are de rigueur.
Best moment A tie between sighting a Bengal tiger framed by riverbank grasses and frolicking with a baby elephant, both at Kaziranga.