Wild India

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Tour Description

With more than 5,000 years of human history to its name, India is the perfect setting for adventure travel on a grand scale. Our 19-day India and Delhi tour reveals the dramatic landscapes, varied wildlife, and rich culture of the region, from 1,000-year-old Hindu temples to the increasingly rare Bengal tiger. An in-depth Delhi tour, including sights of both Old and New Delhi, kicks off our India expedition. From there, we venture into Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks by 4x4 vehicles—the best way to experience India adventure travel and wildlife up close—searching for elusive wild dogs, one-horned rhinos, and Asian elephants.

Wild India Expedition Highlights:

  • Comprehensive Delhi tour, with stops at bustling markets, one of the city’s best restaurants, and the impressive Qutab complex.
  • More than 200 bird species and over 20 species of mammals regularly encountered on our India tours.
  • Jeep and elephant rides to track tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park, through forested ridges and thick bamboo groves.
  • Three full days to explore Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage Site, with photo ops of one-horned rhinos and Asiatic water buffalos.
  • Vastly experienced guide and field naturalist Mark Brazil, who has been leading India and Delhi expeditions since 2006.

What to Expect:

For India adventure travel, a healthy spirit of adventure and flexibility are strongly suggested. While most of the accommodations we encounter are en suite, the standards—while cheerful and clean—are often below what we would call three-star by Western standards. Many days will involve extended travel by air and car, which can be quite strenuous. Despite the occasional delays and sometimes bumpy conditions, our India expeditions receive rave reviews from experienced travelers.

Itinerary

Day 1

USA / Delhi, India

Depart the USA on your international flight to Delhi, India.

Day 2

Delhi

Arrive in Delhi late this evening and transfer to our hotel.

Day 3

Delhi

Our full day exploration of both Old and New Delhi allows us to take in the elegant district where we pass the President’s House and India Gate in New Delhi, enjoy a rickshaw ride past the imposing Jama Majzid and the Red Fort in Old Delhi before delving into the narrow alleys of the market. Here, in a multitude of brightly bedecked stalls, Indians shop for everything from wedding jewels to spices, and silk brocades to sweets. After the exciting bustle of the market we visit the more contemplative Gandhi memorial and enjoy lunch at one of Delhi’s fine restaurants. Later we explore another of the city’s major highlights, and one of India’s many World Heritage Sites, the impressive Qutab complex including Qutab Minar. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Delhi.

Day 4

Delhi / Khajuraho

After breakfast we take a morning flight to Khajuraho, the once opulent capital of the Chandela dynasty. This afternoon we visit the World Heritage Site complex of 1,000-year-old Hindu temples famous for their fabulously detailed scenes of daily life including erotic carvings. The sculpted exterior of the Temple of Kandariya is considered one of India’s great artistic masterpieces. Dinner and overnight at the Jass Radisson in Khajuraho.

Day 5

Khajuraho / Bandhavgarh National Park

This morning we journey overland through the scenic landscapes of forests, hills, and picturesque villages where women conduct their daily business clad in brightly colored saris. We arrive this afternoon at remote Bandhavgarh National Park. Formerly a maharajah’s private hunting preserve, the area was designated a national park in 1968 and is now famous as one of the very best places to view Indian wildlife and to seek out the rare and endangered Bengal tiger. Dinner and overnight for the next four nights at the Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge.

Day 6-8

Bandhavgarh National Park

We have three full days exploring this scenically diverse park set among the Vindhya Hills of Madhya Pradesh. We travel by 4 x 4 vehicles and take elephant rides, when possible, to track tigers. Expect excitement and the thrill of the hunt as your mahout, or elephant handler, guides his elephant over forested ridges, through thick bamboo and undergrowth, or across shallow rivers.

In the lowlands of the park, we look for wild boars, several deer species including muntjac, or barking deer; the sambar; and the chital, or spotted deer, plus keep and eye out for their predators, the elusive leopard and tiger. In the trees overhead we watch for Rhesus macaques and hanuman langurs, and bird watching in the area is phenomenal. In the lodge’s gardens, the flowers and fruit trees attract the green bee-eater, white-bellied drongo, and plum-headed parakeet.

Day 9

Bandhavgarh National Park / Kanha National Park

After breakfast an overland journey takes us across a hilly terrain, through extensive teak forests, and open agricultural areas to Kanha National Park. This wonderful park, even more remote than Bandhavgarh, is often referred to as the Ngorongoro of India, although Kanha is greener and its surrounding hills are more densely wooded. Dinner and overnight for the next four nights at the Kanha Jungle Lodge.

Day 10-12

Kanha National Park

We spend three days devoted to wildlife viewing in Kanha’s beautiful wild country of forests and plains—a true wilderness and the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book. The diverse topography provides the ideal habitat for animals, and photographers discover great opportunities to “capture” the wildlife.

Again, we use 4 x 4 vehicles (and elephants when possible) to explore the riches of Kanha. Expect to encounter herds of chital, the endemic swamp deer or barasingha, sambar, wild boar, and langur monkeys. This area is also the best place to look for the gaur, a bison-like animal and the largest of all bovids. With luck, other possible species include Indian wild dog, jackal, sloth bear, or perhaps even a rare chousingha—the world’s only four-horned antelope.

The rich birdlife of the park includes such specialties as lesser whistling-duck, crested treeswifts and jungle owlets, Alexandrine parakeets, little cormorants, and Indian pond-herons.

Day 13

Kanha National Park / Raipur / Kolkata

After one last morning game drive we depart for Raipur. Driving through rural India is to be constantly exposed to ‘incidental’ culture as we pass through villages and farmland. We board an evening flight to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Overnight at the ITC Sonar Bangla Hotel.

Day 14

Kolkata / Jorhat / Kaziranga National Park

This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Jorhat, upon arrival we depart for Kaziranga National Park passing tea estates and lush rural countryside. In the late afternoon we may have time for a short stroll of the area surrounding our lodge on the border of Kaziranga National Park. Here we spend the next four nights at Diphlu Lodge, situated on the Diphlu River in a setting of supreme natural beauty.

Day 15-17

Kaziranga National Park

We have three full days to explore this amazing World Heritage Site; a 165-square-mile reserve that borders the Brahmaputra River and Mikir Mountain Range. The country here is mostly flat—a luxuriant tangle of thorny rattan cane, elephant grass, evergreen forest, and shallow marshland. The various ranges of the reserve offer visitors excellent opportunities to see and photograph the many one-horned Indian rhinoceros and wild Asiatic water buffalo. The rhinos are of special interest and are the main focus of our attention, along with the population of Asian elephant that also occurs here. Other highlights are wild boar, the abundant hog deer, and the locally common swamp deer or soft-ground barasingha. Birds abound at Kaziranga as well: there are flocks of bar-headed geese; hordes of ducks; grey-headed and Pallas’ fish eagles; red-breasted parakeets; oriental darters; herons and egrets of all shapes and sizes; black-necked, lesser adjutant, Asian open-billed storks, and many, many more species to keep our bird enthusiasts busy.

Day 18

Kaziranga National Park / Guwahati / Delhi

After breakfast depart Kaziranga for Guwahati where we will connect with our flight to Delhi. Arrive Delhi late in the afternoon where we will have day rooms at the Delhi Radisson Hotel before transferring to the airport late this evening.

Day 19

Delhi / USA

Depart Delhi on independent homeward flights.

Departures

Pricing Information

Land-based Accommodations

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.