You begin in Delhi. In the afternoon, your journey really starts, as you are transferred to the railway station to catch the train to Ranthambore National Park, a journey of approximately 5 hours.
You will make your game drives today; the first will be early in the morning, and the second will take place in the evening. Two drives are necessary to increase your chances of seeing a tiger. Game drives are undertaken in large open trucks called canters, from which you will have unobstructed views of the park and the animals. Ranthambore is one of India's tiger reserves under Project Tiger. Sadly, after the project’s initial success, poaching has drastically reduced the tiger population, though groups are known to have spotted wild tigers there. There is a huge array of other wildlife, such as several species of monkey, deer, crocodile and bird life. This, along with the magnificent scenery, makes for a fascinating and exciting day.
In the morning, you will head back into the park in search of tigers, returning to the hotel before lunch. In the afternoon, you will have time to take an optional visit to the ancient forts, temples and villages in and around the park.
You will depart from Ranthambore in the morning, and travel to Bharatpur by train. You will then continue the journey to Agra by road, visiting Fatehpur Sikri en route.
No stay in Agra would, of course, be complete without a visit to the beautiful white marble Taj Mahal. The Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan had this beautiful marble landmark built in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. The Taj is serenely beautiful and never fails to amaze a first time visitor; the white marble exterior changes colour according to the position of the sun during the day, the beauty of which is matched only by the rich interior detail. You will also visit the nearby Red Fort of Akbar, the third of the Moghul emperors. The mighty sandstone walls of the Red Fort enclose the beautiful white marble Pearl Mosque, and the palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains of his sons and successors, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. It is here that the latter spent his final years, imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb. This afternoon is left free for individual sightseeing. In the evening you will catch the overnight train to Jabalpur.
You will arrive in Jabalpur in the morning, where you will have some breakfast before transferring, by road, to Kanha National Park. Although the distance is not too great, the poor road surface means that the journey will take approximately 5 to 6 hours. On arrival at the hotel, the evening may be spent as you wish.
Day 7 - 9
Created in 1974 and often described as India's greatest wildlife reserve, Kanha is vast. Covering approximately 1945km2 of undulating terrain, the elevation ranges from 450m to 900m with expansive grasslands, plateaus and dramatic rocky escarpments providing a home to literally hundreds of species of wildlife. The tiger population has been affected by poaching in recent years, but the huge abundance of animals makes the game drives a memorable experience. The park signifies the start of India's attempts to protect the tiger, and was the site of the first ever scientific study by zoologist George Shaller. Nowadays, the park is seen throughout India as a model for excellent wildlife management. During your time in Kanha, you will undertake 4 game drives, but for those who wish to do more, there is time for 3 further optional drives which should be booked and paid for locally. The game drives in Kanha are undertaken by jeep.
You will leave Kanha National Park after breakfast and drive to Bandhavgarh, stopping off en route for refreshments. The total journey time is approximately 6 to 7 hours. On arrival, the remainder of the day and evening are free for you to spend as you wish.
Day 11 - 13
At only 437km2, Bandhavgarh is one of the smallest and least-visited national parks, but nonetheless enjoys an impressive setting with a stunning cliff-top fort overlooking grasslands, birch forests and bamboo. These provide cover for the plentiful indigenous wildlife. In common with many other parks, Bandhavgarh is home to a wide variety of game including leopard, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital, wild pig and, of course, tiger. The population of approximately 60 to 70 animals means that this park has the highest tiger density of any of India's reserves. Game drives in Bandhavgarh are undertaken by jeep. Aside from the game and the tigers, the park also plays host to up to 150 species of bird, including many on the migratory trail, such as the Steepe eagle. The itinerary includes 4 game drives during your stay in this beautiful rugged national park, but for those who wish to do more, there will be time for 3 further optional drives which should be booked and paid for locally.
The drive to Katni Railway Station takes approximately 3 hours. You will stop for refreshments, conveniences, and any photo opportunities along the way. This evening you will catch the overnight train to Delhi.
On your early arrival into Delhi you will transfer to the hotel and have some breakfast. You will then have a tour of the capital. In Old Delhi, you will visit the Red Fort and Jamia Masjid (India's largest mosque), while New Delhi will offer you its fine colonial buildings. Built by the British Raj in the early years of the last century, and set in spacious tree-lined avenues, these now house various Indian governmental departments. The afternoon will be free for further individual exploration of India's capital, or for relax at the hotel.
After Breakfast, Depart Transfer