12 Nights / 13 Days
Day 01: Delhi To Nagpur, Drive To Kanha
Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Nagpur. You are met on arrival and transferred to Kanha National Park - a 5-hour drive. Time permitting, take a late afternoon jeep safari in the park. Dinner and overnight at KIPLING CAMP.
Day 02 and 3: At Kanha
Early morning and late afternoon game viewing drives in the park. Considered by some to be India's greatest national park, the area is certainly an excellent place to see many species in their natural habitat. First declared as a small sanctuary in 1933, it was upgraded to a national park from 1955. One of India's great conservation success stories is from Kanha, where the barasingha (swamp deer) population was increased from about 66 in the late 1960s to over 450 by 1985. The terrain consists of attractive forest with bamboo brakes, grassy plateaux and meadows in the valleys. The varied habitat is also home to the gaur (largest of the world's cattle), sambar (the largest of the Indian deer), chowsingha (the only four-horned antelope in the world), Nilgai (blue bull), sloth bear, leopard, the elusive and highly endangered Royal Bengal Tiger and a wide variety of birds. All meals and overnight stays at KIPLING CAMP.
Day 04: Bandhavgarh
After an early breakfast depart for Bandhavgarh National Park. The 7-hour drive is interesting, passing through forested and agricultural land. In the late afternoon take a jeep ride in the park to view some of the game found here: Cheetal (Spotted deer), Sambar, barking deer, Chowsingha (four-horned antelope), wild boar, Nilgai (blue bull), wild boar, grey langur, Rhesus macaque, Dhole (Asian wild dog) and a variety of birds. In the evening there is a slide show or lecture on the park and its flora and fauna, with resident naturalists always on hand to answer any queries you may have. Dinner and overnight at BANDHAVGARH JUNGLE CAMP.
Day 05 and 06: At Bandhavgarh
Early morning visits to the Park in search of the Royal Bengal Tiger and other game. Bandhavgarh is renowned for the relatively easy sighting of tiger, especially by daylight. You can also visit some the ancient monuments found here, including a huge 35-foot status of Vishnu, reclining on a bed of serpents. In the afternoons take a jeep drive to another area of the Park. With a road network of over 200 km, it is possible to cover every habitat type. All meals and overnight at BANDHAVGARH JUNGLE CAMP.
Day 07: Panna National Park
After a last foray into the park, depart on the 7-hour drive to Panna National Park. NOTE: due to extensive repair and construction work, the road conditions on this stretch are quite rough at the moment. On arrival check in at the lodge. Time permitting take a jeep safari in the park. Dinner and overnight at KEN RIVER LODGE.
Day 08: Khajuraho
You have the choice of a game viewing drive, a boat ride on the Ken river or a nature walk in the park. Later in the day, depart on the one-hour drive to Khajuraho. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 09: Khajuraho To Agra
After breakfast take a tour of Khajuraho, renowned, the world over for its fine temples, built between 950 and 1050 AD, which are among the most creative examples of Indian architecture. Only 22 of the original 85 temples survive today.
The western group, contained within a fenced enclosure, is well maintained as a park. The large Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to Vishnu and is one of the earliest of the western enclosure temples, dating from 930-950 AD. It is also one of the best preserved, with a full five-part floor plan and four subsidiary shrines. The Vahara Temple, dedicated to Vishnu's boar incarnation (Vahara avatar) faces the Matangesvara Temple and has a huge solid and intricately carved figure of the boar incarnation, dating from around 900 AD. The Kandariya Mahadev Temple is not only the largest but also artistically and architecturally the most perfect. Build between 1025 and 1050 AD, it represents Chandela at its finest. The Mahadeva Temple is small and mainly ruined. However, it houses one of Khajuraho's best sculptures - a fine sardula figure caressing a lion. The Devi Jagadamba Temple was probably originally dedicated to Vishnu, but later changed to Parvati and then Kali. The Chitragupta Temple is unique in being dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. The Matangesvara Temple, standing next to the Lakshmana Temple, is not within the fenced enclose, because it is still in everyday use, unlike all the old temples.
Afternoon transfer to the airport for the flight to Agra. You are met on arrival and transferred to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Bharatpur
After breakfast visit the red sandstone Agra Fort, which stands like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna river, enclosed by forbidding 20-m high walls, with a 12-m moat between them. Three successive Mughal emperors - Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan - helped create this massive structure which contains Hindu and Muslim architecture. The highlight of your trip will probably be a visit to the Taj Mahal, surely the greatest monument to love and one of the wonders of the modern world. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20, 000 labourers worked for 17 years to build this edifice, constructed by emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Marble was brought from Makrana, near Jodhpur and precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pearl were carried to Agra from Persia, Russia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and the Indian Ocean.
In the afternoon depart on the one-hour drive to Bharatpur. En route stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted sandstone city, which was the glorious but short-lived imperial capital of Akbar, the greatest of Mughal emperors. Lying on a rocky ridge, it is today a haunting complex of empty palaces, forts and mosques. A variety of architectural styles are found, since craftsmen representing many schools were employed.
On arrival in Bharatpur, check in at the hotel. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is formally known as Keoladeo Ghana, after the ancient Shiva temple in the heart of the forest. Spread over 29 square km of shallow lakes, scrub and woodland, it was initially developed in the late 19th century as a wildfowl hunting preserve by the royal family of Bharatpur. Today it is one of the most spectacular waterfowl sanctuaries in the world.
After lunch take a cycle rickshaw or a boat ride in the park. Among the variety of water and other birds which gather here are the painted stork, egret, pelican, ibis, cormorant, darter, grey and white heron, sarus crane and purple moorhen. The exotic migrants from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tibet and further afield are the barheaded geese from China, the Siberian crane and greylag geese form the Arctic. Innumerable ducks dot the low-lying swamp - coot, mallard, pochard, dabchik, brahminy, teal and spoonbill. Islands and forested hillocks break the water and embankments criss-cross the marshland, making for easy viewing. Apart from birds, other species include the nilgai (blue bull), sambar, wild boar, hyena, cheetal (spotted deer) and porcupine. Large rock pythons can be seen sunning themselves after hibernating for months. Dinner and overnight at LAXMI VILAS PALACE.
Day 11: Bharatpur To Ranthambore
After breakfast depart on the 6-hour drive to Ranthambore National Park. On arrival check in at the hotel in time for lunch.
In the late afternoon take a jeep safari in the park. Ranthambore has an impressive range of animal species within its 392 sq. km, including sambar, cheetal, nilgai, chinkara, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, leopard and the highly endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. The rich birdlife reflects the range of flora on which it feeds. During the winter months, the lakes attract a variety of migrant water birds. Dinner and overnight at SAWAI MADHOPUR LODGE.
Day 12: At Ranthambore
Early morning and late afternoon game viewing drives in the park. Ranthambore is situated at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. Since becoming one of the original 11 areas under Project Tiger in 1973, the park has recovered much of its previous natural glory. The blend between nature and history is strong in this park - the fort, temples, tanks and other relics are a constant reminder of man's involvement in the area. The fort commanded a large region and up to the late 13th century was the centre of a Hindu kingdom. During the 18th century the area was protected as a hunting area for and by the Maharajas of Jaipur and it is thanks to an extension of this protection that the park exists today. All meals and overnight at SAWAI MADHOPUR LODGE.
Day 13: Ranthambore To Jaipur, To Delhi
After an early breakfast depart on the 3-hour drive to Jaipur, one of the best-planned cities in India, built of rose-pink sandstone by the great astronomer-king Jai Singh II in 1727. Visit the City Palace, which stands in the centre of the city. Part of it is still the Maharaja's residence, while most of the complex has been developed into a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armoury. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is the landmark of Jaipur. It stands on one of the main streets, a curious building, elaborate and fanciful, built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design. Rising five storeys high, it is composed of semi-octagonal overhanging windows, each with its perforated screen, which allowed the ladies of the court to look onto the main street without being seen. Jantar Mantar observatory, built by Jmaharaja ai Singh II, has huge stone instruments devised to study the movements of the sun, moon and planets and are incredibly accurate. There is time to wander through the colourful bazaars, a veritable collector's paradise where you can watch ancient craft forms.
Late afternoon transfer to the airport for the flight to Delhi.
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Lodges & Resorts in Bandhavgarh National Park