Best of Indian Wildlife and Culture Tour

The Best of Indian Wildlife and Culture tour brings you face-to-face with a scene right out of a story book, and why not, as it features Kanha and Pench national parks that inspired Rudyard Kipling's ever-so-famous 'The Jungle Book'. Brave out to see the famous tigers that rule Ranthambore, be cautious not to scare away the rare Siberian Crane at Bharatpur and be patient to spot the illusive civets at Pench. Explore wildlife and culture tour India comes speckled with visits to the spectacular Taj, majestic Jaipur and enticing Khajuraho.



Day 1-2: Delhi

COMPASS REPRESENTATIVE will receive you on arrival at the airport and receive you. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

DELHI, India’s capital is a city built in layers. Over millennia, with the city as epicenter, great empires have risen and fallen, one built atop the remains of another. Consequently, countless ruins and monuments dot the city, each with a story to tell. Alongside, New Delhi’s wide multi-lane motorways, bustling with shopping malls, fast cars and steel and glass office complexes, belong unmistakably to the 21st century.

Proceed for the sightseeing of Old Delhi.

The tour begins with Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. The shrine is a simple black stone structure with an eternal flame burning at one end, a fitting tribute to a humble man who changed the world with nothing but the power of ideas.

Red Fort: The imposing red sandstone structure was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, and remained seat of the empire for the next two centuries. Today, the Prime Minister of the India delivers his Independence Day speech to the nation from its ramparts.

A rickshaw ride takes us to Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. We shall view this magnificent structure from outside, its lofty domes and minarets reminiscent of a scene from the Arabian Nights.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 3-4: Jaipur

Breakfast will be at hotel. Drive to Jaipur.

JAIPUR - Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the KSHATRIYA warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.

The bustling Rajasthan capital of Jaipur takes its name from its venerated founder Jai Singh II, who was given the title Sawai Maharaja by the Mughal. Literally translated this would mean ’one and a quarter’, suggesting that the Mughal thought this emperor to be more valuable than just ‘one’. Jaipur is known as the ’Pink City’ on account of the distinctive colour of its buildings. This did not, however, form part of the original plan, but dates back to 1856, when the city was given a wash of pink in honor of a State Visit from Prince Albert.

Reach Jaipur and check in at hotel.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity.

Enjoy the experience and spend night at Jaipur.

Day 5-6: Ranthambhore

Early morning you will be transferred to the railway station to board train for Ranthambhore…packed breakfast will be provided.

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, is a unique example of natural and historical richness, standing out conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, barely 14 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur. Get in tune with nature for a luxury holiday in the heart of the jungle. Most of the resorts are close to the National Park Gate, Tiger Den being the closest.

It spreads over a highly undulating topography varying from gentle to steep slopes; from flat topped hills of the Vindhyas to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravalis, from wide and flat valleys to narrow rocky gorges. An important geological feature the ‘Great Boundary Fault’ where the Vindhya plateaus meet the Aravali Hill range meanders through the Reserve. The National Park is bound by the rivers Chambal in the south and Banas in the north.

Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, lord over the kingdom in a subtle way. Solitary by nature, it operates in stealth. Therefore tiger sightings, frequent as they are, are always a matter of chance. However, even evidences of tiger's activities are very exciting.

Reach Ranthambhore and check into the hotel.

Spend evening in leisure.

Overnight will be at Ranthambhore.

Day 7: Bharatpur

Proceed to Bharatpur in the morning. Breakfast will be at the resort. Enjoy Birding in the park. Take a boatride in the park and in the afternoon enjoy the birding from the RICKSHAW.

The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is one of the finest water-bird sanctuaries in the world. The Maharaja of Bharatpur artificially created the lake and wetland in the 19th century. By building small dykes and dams and diverting water from an irrigation canal, he converted this low-lying area into a fine wild fowl shooting preserve. In a few years, the new wetland surrounded by marginal forests was able to support thousands of water birds.

Commonly referred to as Bharatpur, the Park is a delight for bird watchers. Over 375 species of birds are found here and raised paths, camouflaged by babul trees and undergrowth make viewing easy. A quiet ride by boat in the early hours of the morning is also unforgettable experience. The cacophony is unbelievable as painted storks, open bills, spoonbills, egrets, cormorants, white ibis and multitudes of others, tend their young. Jacanas with their iridescent colors and elegant tail feathers and purple moorhen can be seen delicately treading over the floating vegetation.

Colorful kingfishers and Trans - continental fliers - the migratory water - fowl are amongst the 375 species of birds found in the Keoladeo National Park. The most spectacular nesting is that of the egrets, storks, herons and cormorants, which make over 10,000 nests every year. This makes outstanding bird havens of the world. The park covers an area of 28.73km.

The story of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is incomplete without an account of the migratory waterfowl. The most prominent waterfowl coming to this park are bareheaded and greyleg geese. Ducks also create a lot of fluttering in the lakes. The ducks usually found here are pintail, widgeon, common shelduck, shoveler, garganey, teal, etc.

Attracted by the influx of the waterfowl the predatory birds-tawny eagles, spotted eagles short-toed eagles imperial eagles and fishing eagle also arrive. They all form the apex of the biological pyramid of the sanctuary and complete the avian food chain of the ecosystem. There are large herds of the nilgai, chital, wild boar and fear cows in addition to a few herds of sambar.

Reach and check in at the hotel. In the afternoon proceed for a quaint boat ride into the park for birding.

Overnight will be at Bharatpur.

Day 8-9: Agra

Proceed to Agra. Reach and check into the hotel.

AGRA: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously.

Enjoy the sightseeing of Agra Fort & Baby Taj.

AGRA FORT – The red sandstone structure is surrounded by chahar-bagh, a four-square formal garden. Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction. It lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1563-73 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat.

After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ or the ITMAD-UD-ULLAH – The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj. One of the most beautiful Mughal tombs, Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb was built by Nur Jahan, the Empress of Jahangir for her father in 1628. The tomb is a resting place of the powerful personality in Mughal Court, Itmad-Ud-Daulah, whose life is very interesting. Formerly a very poor Persian merchant then named Mirza Ghiyas or Ghiyas Beg he became a minister and a trusted treasure in Akbar's court. After Akbar's death in 1605, his son Jahangir rose into power. Jahangir made Ghiyas Beg his chief minister and honored him with the title of Itmad-Ud-Daulah, the Pillar of State. Later, Jahangir met a beautiful daughter of Ghiyas Beg named Mehr-Un-Nissa and married her. Mehr-Un-Nissa soon played a significant role in the Jahangir's court and was called Nur Mahal, the light of the Place. Owing to her influence, her father and brother were granted with privileges in the court. When Ghiyas beg (Itmad-Un-Daulah) dies in 1622, Nur Mahal decided to build a mausoleum for him. Queen Mumtaz Mahal or the lady of the Taj was also from this prevailing family. The mausoleum is entirely made of white marble and graced with intricate decoration of inlay work, and marble-screen work belonging to the Islamic style. With its tranquil, small garden on the bank of Yamuna River, the tomb stands impressively elegant from a distance.

Proceed for a HERITAGE WALK to the other side of River YAMUNA with your guide.

The other side of the TAJ MAHAL across the river Yamuna where Mughal History has been written in edicts of stone, the river Yamuna lined with the residences of mobility was the artery, the very lifeline, which fostered the development of Mughal Agra. These heritage relics have been weaved together for a historic experience of Mughal Agra. You would walk through the various monuments in midst of rural setting intertwined with the communities along with stunning view of the TAJ MAHAL.

Enjoy the extended hospitality of the local villagers sipping a cup of Masala Chai on the Tea Terrace with standard, comfortable, clean, affordable, and safe facilities. The whole village walk through India’s Mughal History and amiable people is an unforgettable experience.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Day 10: Khajuraho

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

As per the flight timings proceed to the airport to take flight for Khajuraho. Reach and check into the hotel.

Situated in the northernmost part of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is famous for its enchanting temples and its legendary Khajuraho dance festival. The name Khajuraho is derived from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which is grown abundantly in the region. The Khajuraho Temples are dedicated to a celebration of womanhood, her myriad moods and facets. Famous for its erotic architecture, the carvings include, women writing a letter, applying eye makeup, combing her tresses, dancing & playing with her child. Her innocent, blushed, charming, seductive, ardent beauty, all depicted in exquisitely sculptured details. These temples have been designed and carved to lead the eyes from ground level upward till you seem to be looking at heaven.

Proceed for the sightseeing of the FAMOUS WESTERN & EASTERN TEMPLES of Khajuraho.

Overnight will be at Khajuraho.

Day 11-13: Bandhavgarh

Reach Umaria and drive to Bandhavgarh. Reach and check in at the resort.

Bandhavgarh is a new National Park with a very long history. Set among the Vindhya hills of Madhya Pradesh with an area of 168sq miles (437sq km) it contains a wide variety of habitats and a high density of game, including a large number of Tigers. This is also the White tiger country. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for Many years. Maharaja Martand Singh captured the last known in 1951. This white Tiger, Mohun is now stuffed and on display in the Palace of Maharaja of Rewa. Prior to becoming a National Park, the forests around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargah, or game preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa. The Maharaja and his guests carried out hunting – otherwise the wildlife was well protected. It was considered a good omen for Maharaja of Rewa to shoot 109 tigers. His Highness Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh shot 111 Tigers by 1914.

Where birds are concerned, keep a look out for white browed fantails, steppe eagles, green pigeons, grey Malabar hornbills, black and white Malabar hornbills (quite a rare sighting), blossom headed parakeets, parakeets, blue bearded bee eaters, green bee eaters, white bellied drongos, owls, Jerdon's and gold fronted leaf birds, minivets, woodshrikes and the lovely paradise flycatchers.

Enjoy afternoon game drive.

Spend evening in leisure.

Overnight will be at Bandhavgarh.

Day 14-16: Kanha

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to Kanha. Reach and check into the hotel.

This is the place that has been described by RUDYARD KIPLING in his great book "The Jungle Book". Located in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, Kanha National Park is a tiger reserve that extends over an area of over 940 square km. A horseshoe shaped valley bounded by the spurs of the Mekal presents an interesting topography. Steep rocky escarpments along the edges offer breath-taking views of the valley. Realizing the danger on the Tiger population in the country, the Government started the "Project Tiger" at Kanha and in 1974 the area was declared a Tiger reserve. The park is also the habitat of the high ground Barasingha.

In 1930s, the Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries - Hallon and Banjar of 250kms to 300kms each. Though one of these was subsequently disbanded .The area remained a protected one until 1947. Depletion of the tiger population in the year that followed led to the area being made an absolute sanctuary in 1952.

Patient watching should reward the visitor, with a sight of Indian Fox, Sloth bear, Striped hyena, Jungle cut, Leopard, Mouse Deer, Chausingha or four horned antelope, Nilgai, Ratel and Porcupine Kanha has some 200 species of birds. Watchers should station themselves in the hills, where the mixed and bamboo forests harbour many species and in the grassy forest clearings. Water birds can be seen near the park’s many rivulets and at Sarvantal, a pool that is frequented by water birds and the area in front of the museum. The birds comprise of Racket Tailed Drongo, Crested Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Peacock, Golden Oriole, Treepie, Whitenecked Stork, Shikra, White-eyed Buzzard, Roseringed Parakeet, Shama, Red Munia, Large Green Barbet, Crimson Breasted Barbet, Lesser Golden Backed Woodpecker, Hair Crested Drongo, Common Teal, Pintail Duck, etc.

Overnight will be at Kanha.

Day 17-19: Pench

After breakfast, drive to Pench.

Pench National park, nestling in the lower southern reaches of the satpuda hills is named after Pench River, meandering through the park from north to south. It is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra, in the districts of Seoni and Chhindwara.

The undulating terrain of Pench is covered with small hills and well stocked taek and mixed forest. The main floras are Teak (Tectona grandis), Saja (Terminalia tomentosa), Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), Lendia, Haldu, Dhaora, Aonla, Amaltas etc. The ground is covered with a number of grasses, bushes, herbs & shrubs. Dazzling white Kullu trees scattered around singly in the forest is conspicuous among various hues of green. The old plantations of Teak & Bamboo add orderly vistas in the otherwise general wilderness.

The flow of Pench river stops in December, what remains are a few scenic and serene pools in the river bed. There are a few perennial springs and tanks. At the southern boundary of park, the Pench river has been dammed for Pench hydroelectric project at Totladoh. At the maximum capacity the reservoir submerges 54 sq Kms of the park area. This had been the loss of best valley forest, which was once referred by Sir Rudyard Kipling in his book named "Jungle Book". This large reservoir of Pench with sporadic islands attracts a number of winter birds from north.

Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai are commonly seen grazing on the open sites on roadsides and banks of river & reservoir. Jackals can be seen in search of food anywhere in park. Packs of wild dogs can also be seen occasionally. Herds of Gaur can be spotted near streams and bamboo patches, more common during summer months.

Langurs are very common. Whereas Rhesus monkeys may be seen occasionally on the fringes there are around 50 Tigers and 30 Leopards they are a shy lot and can be seen on roads and near water pools of river during summer months. Pench boasts of more than 210 species of birds including several migratory ones. Commonly seen are Pea fowl, Red jungle fowl, Crow pheasant, Crimson breasted barbet, Redvented bulbul, Racket tailed drongo, Magpie robin, lesser whistling teal.

Reach and transfer to the resort.

Overnight will be at Pench.

Day 20: Delhi - Back Home

Enjoy morning game drive.

Come back and have breakfast.

Later drive to Jabalpur airport to take flight for Delhi Reach and check into the hotel.

Relax and as per the international flight timings, you will be transferred to the airport to take flight back home with sweet memories of the Indian Wildlife.

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED

• Rickshaw ride at old delhi.
• Elephant ride at amer fort - jaipur.
• Horse cart ride to taj mahal in agra.
• Theatre show in taj mahal in agra.
• Lunch at orchha.
• Sound and light show in khajuraho.
• Elephant ride in bandhavgarh and kanha if available.

THE TOUR INCLUDES

• Accommodation at mentioned hotels on double occupancy,
• Sightseeing tours India as mentioned in the itinerary,
• Daily buffet breakfast,
• Private ac deluxe toyota innova vehicle for all tours and transfers,
• English speaking company authorised guide for all mentioned tours,
• All private safaris tour in ranthambhore, bandhavgarh, kanha and pench with a naturalist,
• All meals in ranthambhore, bandhavgarh, kanha and pench,
• Rickshaw ride in bharatpur with a naturalist,
• Economy class airfare from nagpur to delhi,
• Executive class train travel between agra and jhansi,
• Monument entrances,
• Assistance at the airports on arrival / departure,
• Assistance at stations on departure and arrival,
• All applicable taxes and service charges and
• All road taxes, government taxes and driver allowances.

EXCLUSIONS

• Lunches and dinners (except for those mentioned in inclusions),
• Personal expenses,
• Camera fees, tips etc,
• International airfare,
• Visa charges.

Hotels

City Luxury Palace & Boutique First Class & Heritage Nights
Delhi The Oberoi The Imperial The Maidens 02
Jaipur The Oberoi Rajvilas Taj Jai Mahal Palace Shahpura House 02
Ranthambhore The Oberoi Vanyavilas Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge Pug Mark 02
Bharatpur The Bagh The Bagh Laxmi Vilas 01
Agra The Oberoi Amarvilas Grand Imperial Clarks Shiraz 02
Khajuraho The Lalit Temple View The Lalit Temple View Radisson 01
Bandhavgarh The Tree House Bandhav Vilas Mogli 02
Kanha Tuli Corridor Tuli Tiger Resort Mogli 02
Pench Tuli Corridor Tuli Tiger Resort Pench Jungle Lodge 02

Tour Price

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