Imphal and Kohima in India's far eastern corner witnessed fierce battles between the Allied Forces and the Japanese army who were marching on after capturing Rangoon (now Yangon) with their aim to get to Delhi, the U-GO offensive into India. The Japanese attacked Kohima in the spring of 1944, a surprise move which caught the Allied forces unawares. A pitched battle ensued and a number of soldiers, mainly British, had to lay down their lives. At one point of time there were 1,500 soldiers holding on to 15,000 Japanese troops. There is this famous inscription poignantly erected in the Kohima War Graves site:
When You Go Home
Tell Them of Us and Say
For Your Tomorrow
We Gave Our Today
The Battle moved on to Imphal when the Japanese came through the Manipur border and reached Imphal. Many skirmishes and bigger battles were fought. The British Royal Air Force pitched in and the Dakotas flew in much need men and material. Airfields were quickly constructed and before too long the Allied Forces grew in strength and pushed the Japanese back all the way down through the Manipuri hills and down to the other side into the Chindwin River. By this time the heavy monsoon rains was coming down, it was mid summer. The Japanese fled through thick jungles, mud created by the rains and suffered many casualties. The war, at least in the Kohima-Imphal theatre, was won emphatically.
This episode of WW2 has now been given due recognition as Britain’s ‘forgotten’ battle that may have changed the course of WW2. According to military historian Robert Lyman, the battle "changed the course of the Second World War in Asia". "The Japanese invasion of India, of which the battle of Kohima was a significant part, was their first major defeat in the Far East."
We run this tour taking you to the war sites, WW2 era airfields, war museums, war graves maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
For a longer tour we cover the other important sites in Northeast India like the Stilwell Road which was constructed to connect this part of India with Kunming in China when the Burma Road was cut off by the Japanese, the Digboi WW2 war graves, airfields in the plains of eastern Assam that were used to get supplies to China over the eastern Himalayas called ‘the Hump’, a treacherous air corridor replete with vicious air pockets, little visibility due to low lying clouds and heavy rains.
Our guides have spent a lot of time doing research, talking to locals and have proved to be invaluable in escorting/ guiding in this endeavour.
Tell us if you want to cover specific aspects of the war and we will try to include this in the tour.
The Northeast, also known as the Seven Sisters of India (comprising the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya), is the least visited of the regions – tucked away in a remote corner of the country, bordered by China in the north, Myanmar (Burma) in the east and Bangladesh in the south and west it is almost a separate country joined to mainland India by what we term as the chicken’s neck, just a few square kilometers of land in its western border. Geographically, it is amazing – the great Himalayas to the north, the Assam valley carved out by the mighty River Brahmaputra, one of the greatest rivers in the world, the beautiful Khasi and Jaintia Hills in the south and the Patkai range in the east makes for a natural splendour difficult to find elsewhere.
With the varied terrain comes a wide spectrum of vegetation - Tropical evergreen rainforest is confined to the humid foothills of the eastern and central Himalayas. The evergreen dipterocarps—a group of timber- and resin-producing trees—are common; their different species grow on different soils and on hill slopes of varying steepness. Bamboos grow on steep slopes; oaks (genus Quercus) and Indian horse chestnuts (Aesculus indica) grow on the lithosol covering sandstones from Arunachal Pradesh westward to central Nepal at elevations from 3,600 to 5,700 feet (1,100 to 1,700 metres). Alder trees (genus Alnus) are found along the watercourses on the steeper slopes. At higher elevations those species give way to mountain forests in which the typical evergreen is the Himalayan screw pine (Pandanus furcatus). Besides those trees, some 4,000 species of flowering plants, of which 20 are palms, are estimated to occur in the eastern Himalayas. Temperate mixed forests extend from about 4,500 to roughly 11,000 feet (1,400 to 3,400 metres) and contain conifers and broad-leaved temperate trees. The alpine zone begins above the tree line, between elevations of 10,500 and 11,700 feet (3,200 and 3,600 metres), and extends up to about 14,600 feet (4,500 metres) in the eastern Himalayas. In that zone can be found all the wet and moist alpine vegetation. Juniper (genus Juniperus) is widespread, especially on sunny sites, steep and rocky slopes, and drier areas. Rhododendrons occur everywhere but is more abundant in the wetter parts of the eastern Himalayas, where it grows in all sizes from trees to low shrubs. Mosses and lichens grow in shaded areas at lower levels in the alpine zone where the humidity is high; flowering plants are found at high elevations.
We cover all the above in our botany tours. Most of it is accessible by roads - we take you through the Sela Pass at 4,200 m (13,700 ft), the highest motorable pass in western Arunachal Pradesh. The higher reaches, upto 4,900 m (16,000 ft), is by way of trekking trails through stunning Himalayan landscapes.
The above are a few Special Interest tours that we have projected. There are other tours which could be of specific interest to you like butterfly tours, spiritual/ pilgrimage tours, Buddhist circuit and a few more. Please drop us a line with what you have in mind and we will get back to you with details.