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INDIA

INDIA
Asia

Bengal Tiger

India - a country as far-removed from our own as can be imagined, brim-full of exciting wildlife and exotic atmosphere.

Asia

This two-week tour will take us to one of the finest birdwatching sites, punctuating our journey with stops to enjoy a small sample of India’s extraordinary historic monuments and finally heading to arguably the best tiger reserve in the country. Our journey will take in the Keoladeo Ghana National Park near Bharatpur which drips with birds in the winter, residents being joined by migrants from Russia and beyond. Vast gatherings of wildfowl, waders, herons, gallinules and cranes feed on the rich wetlands, hunting ground for a wide variety of raptors. We will stop to admire the stunning Taj Mahal, one of the world’s most exquisite pieces of architecture and finally on to the forested hills of Bandhavgarh. This is not only one of India’s finest wildernesses but probably the most reliable place to see the magnificent Bengal Tiger. Our accommodation has been carefully chosen for location and quality throughout.

Next date to be announced
15 days
£TBC
£TBC
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Economy class flights, accommodation with private facilities, full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner), transport by private bus, train, jeep (and rickshaw!), tips, guides and services of Wild Insights leaders.

Travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry and phone calls.

Day 1.  Depart London p.m.


Day 2.  Arrive Delhi a.m. After the long overnight flight we will check in to our five-star hotel and relax. Those with energy may like a wander in the garden where we will look out for some of the common birds such as Common Myna, Oriental Magpie Robin, Jungle Babbler, Tailorbird, Coppersmith Barbet, Rose-ringed Parakeet and Black Kite. For those with energy we will also take a short trip to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary which will provide first views of a number of wetland birds.  Overnight at five-star hotel in Delhi.


Days 3 – 5.  After a refreshing night in our luxury hotel, today we will be heading for wilder country and our journey takes us south and east to Bharatpur, gateway to the famous Keoladeo Ghana National Park where we will arrive comfortably in time to check in and enjoy the hotel gardens. Over the next two days we will take morning and afternoon excursions to the reserve, leaving time to unwind back at our hotel. Formerly created as a hunting ground for the Maharajas, shooting last took place at Keoladeo in 1964. Now, the network of pools attract Indian Pond Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple and Grey Herons, Black Bittern, Little, Intermediate and Great Egrets. Sarus Cranes stalk the fields while Black-necked Storks stand to attention. A variety of eagles winter here including Imperial, Greater and Lesser Spotted which join the noisy resident Crested Serpent Eagles. Various Eurasian passerines such as Citrine Wagtails and Bluethroats forage around the edges with Blythe’s Reed, Dusky and Paddyfield Warblers in the scrub. Long-tailed Shrikes, White-throated Kingfishers and Indian Rollers watch from vantage points while Hoopoes explore the lawns. There are a number of species of owl which can be found here including Pearl-spotted, Brown Hawk and Dusky Horned. Overnights at luxury hotel near Bharatpur.


Day 6.  Our tour now takes us back to Agra via the fascinating historic fort of Fatepur Sikri which is one of the most incredible examples of early Moghul architecture  where we will spend the remainder of the day exploring the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of architecture and decoration in marble, completed in 1653 by Shah Jehan to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This will be followed by a relaxed evening at our five-star hotel in Agra.


Days 7 – 8.  Today we will spend the first part of the morning exploring the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of architecture and decoration in marble, completed in 1653 by Shah Jehan to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. We then make the journey to Bandhavgarh by overnight train via Umaria, arriving early morning. After checking in to our comfortable lodge not far from the reserve we will take time out to relax and refresh ourselves before the first trip into the park.


Days 9 - 12.  The next four days will entirely concentrate on Bandhavgarh National Park where we will be exploring on early morning and late afternoon jeep drives and elephant rides with the hope of seeing tiger. The reserve is also home of course to a wide range of other mammals such as Nilgai, Chital, Langur Monkey and Sloth Bear. It is also rich in bird life with one hundred and fifty species recorded with a variety of hornbills, bee-eaters, rollers, flycatchers and drongos plus a colony of Long-billed Vultures on the fort. It is good raptor country as well with Bonelli’s Eagle regularly passing overhead and we will be looking out for the massive Brown Fish Owl as we explore the forested streams. Overnights at excellent lodge at Bandhavgarh.


Day 13.  Today we travel by road to the beautiful small city of Khajuraho, a logical stopping point on our way back to Delhi, to admire the ornately carved Hindu temples which were “rediscovered” by the British in 1838 having remained in obscurity in the forest since they were built in the tenth and twelfth centuries. We will stay overnight in five-star hotel in Khajuraho.


Day  14.  We fly from Khajuraho direct to Delhi for our final night.


Day 15.  After a relaxed morning we check out and transfer to the international airport for our journey home.

Louisa Thompson 0207 3864682
www.theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk