Temples, Tribes and Tigers of Central India


Temples, Tigers and Tribes of Central India

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 13 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

This tour combines visits to ancient temple cities with two outstanding wildlife sanctuaries at Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Park in central India. Bandhavgarh is famous for its healthy population of Bengal tigers but it also has a wide range of other game including nilgai (blue bull), jungle cats, wild boar and hyenas. Kanha’s stunning forest also offers good chances of spotting the majestic tiger and other wildlife including leopards, Indian bison, deer and blackbuck. It is a truly magnificent place. You also visit the small town of Orchha, with its magnificent palaces and temples, and Khajuraho famed for its erotic sculptures. Round off your journey with a visit to Bhoramdeo, a village beside an 11th Century temple complex in north-western Chhatisgarh, an area far off the beaten track and ideal for exploring the life of India’s aboriginal tribes.


Day 1 – Arrive Delhi

Arrive in Delhi, the capital of India, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at The Metropolitan Hotel New Delhi or similar.

Delhi

Old Delhi was the capital of Moghul India between the 12th and the 19th centuries. You will find here many mosques, monuments and forts of the Moghul period of India's history. The medieval atmosphere of the bazaars of Old Delhi contrasts sharply with the open, spacious streets of New Delhi, the imperial city created as the capital of India by the British.

Day 2 – Orchha

Travel by express train to Jhansi. On arrival in Jhansi you will be met and transferred to Orchha, a tiny village in the north of Madhya Pradesh. Overnight Amar Mahal or similar. (B)

Orchha

During the 16th and 17th centuries, this was the capital of the Bundela dynasty who built a fort palace on a small island on a bend in the Betwa River, later followed by other magnificent fortifications, palaces and temples. It is now a peaceful and easy-going place - prefect for relaxation and independent exploration of the scattered ruins.

Day 3 – Orchha

Today you start with a guided morning tour of Orchha. The huge monuments which once formed the capital of the Bundela kings now surround and dwarf, the small rural village of Orchha. The largest of these is the Palace complex, where the separate Raj Mahal and Jehangir Mahal boast a unique combination of Hindu & Muslim architecture, painted decorations, and tile work. You will also see the fantastic Chaturbhuj temple and the enormous cenotaphs by the river. In the afternoon, you are free to further explore the village on your own. Overnight at Amar Mahal or similar. (B)

Day 4 – Khajuraho

Drive from Orchha to Khajuraho, known for its temples representing the finest art and architecture of medieval India. Every inch of the outside and much of the inside, of these temples is covered by superb stone carvings. The sculptures are sublime and sensuous at the same time, from the famous erotic art to the beautifully carved boar statue, and many more. You will have the chance to visit the Khajuraho temples on a guided afternoon tour. Overnight at Ramada Khajuraho. (B)

Khajuraho

The splendour of the Hindu temples at Khajuraho is a sight to behold. They have been immaculately restored and are now classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is thought that the temples date from the 10th – 12th centuries from the Chandella dynasty and are famous for their exquisite intricacy, especially the temples in the Western group which are partly constructed with soft coloured sandstone making the temples particularly attractive to view in the early morning or late afternoon light. Some temples feature erotic images which have been the cause of much debate between academics and historians to fully explain the content and meaning of the carvings. There is no doubt however that Khajuraho is a site not to be missed for its incredible artisanship.  

Day 5 – Bandhavgarh

Drive from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh National Park, one of the best places in India to spot a tiger and also home to a wide range of other game such as nilgai, jungle cat, wild boar, hyenas and many species of birdlife. This compact park with a core area of 105 sq km was originally the private game reserve of the Maharajas of Rewa and it is here that the first white (albino) tiger was found. Overnight at Nature Heritage Resort or similar. (BLD)

Bandhavgarh National Park

One of the principal National Parks of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh has one of the highest densities of tigers of any park in India. Your chances of spotting this majestic animal are high here. The park consists of a mixture of grassland and rugged hilly terrain with sal tress prominent in the valleys and mixed forest at higher elevations. In addition to the healthy tiger population there is an array of other wildlife including leopard although these are very elusive. The park is also home to some exotic birds such as the red jungle fowl and white-naped woodpecker to name a couple.

Day 6 – Bandhavgarh

Morning and afternoon jeep safaris in Bandhavgarh National Park are escorted by a specialized naturalist for extensive wildlife viewing. Your day begins just before dawn with a wake-up call along with a cup of tea/coffee at the designated time. An open jeep awaits you to take you closer to the nature and, hopefully, to see the majestic tigers. Some neatly packed fruits are provided along with a bottle of mineral water for your  jungle safari. Overnight at Nature Heritage Resort or similar. (BLD)

Day 7- Kanha

You drive from Bandhavgarh to Kanha National Park. This is original Kipling country, of which he wrote so vividly in his Jungle Books. The same abundance of wildlife species exists today in Kanha National Park, which is one of the largest sanctuaries in India covering an area of over 2,000 sq km. With its extensive grasslands and sal and bamboo forests, Kanha is often compared to Ngorongoro park in Tanzania. Ravines and hills make for interesting features, and undoubtedly Kanha's beauty is thrilling. The park is the only habitat of the rare hard-ground Barasingha deer (Cervus Duvaceli Branderi). It is also home to 21 other species of large mammals including a number of tigers and well over 200 species of birds. Overnight at The Courtyard House or similar. (BLD)

Kanha National Park

Widely considered one of the most stunning wildlife reserves in India, Kanha National Park covers around 940 square kilometres of grasslands, forests and meandering rivers and its beauty is utterly spellbinding. In addition the park is home to hundreds of species of birds and animals. For most the highlight of a visit to Kanha is the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the magnificent tiger. Sightings cannot be guaranteed but you have a reasonable chance of seeing them here. Thankfully poaching is largely under control here. There is also much other wildlife to see such as sloth bears and sambar deer. There are also many species of birds such as the paradise fly catcher. Heading out into the park in the cool of the morning as the mist hangs over the grasslands is a sight to behold

Day 8 – Kanha

Today you will join a morning and afternoon open jeep safari in the various zones of Kanha National Park. Each excursion takes approximately three hours. The zone is allotted during the online gate entry booking. The preferred zone is subject to availability. Apart from tigers, you can see leopards, Indian bison, sambhar, blackbuck and wild dogs. Days in Kanha start early, with one game drive at dawn, watching the sun streak through the foggy forest and listening to the forest wake up. After lunch, you will have another game drive in the hotter afternoon, prime time for animals to go looking for a drink of water. Overnight at The Courtyard House or similar. (BLD)

Day 9 – Bhoramdeo

Drive from Kanha to Bhoramdeo, a village in north-western Chhattisgarh. The Maikal Hills that surround the village are home to many species of central India's spectacular wildlife as well as to the indigenous Baigas and Gonds, whose tolas (villages) dot the countryside. Bhoramdeo is also known for its 11th-century temple complex, a miniature local Khajuraho of similar antiquity but rather more exclusive. You stay for three nights in a simple but well-run rural retreat. Overnight at Bhoramdeo Jungle Retreat (BLD)

Day 10 – Bhoramdeo

In the company of your local guide you will visit the villages around Bhoramdeo. You have the chance to spend an afternoon at a pottery village (trying your hand at the wheel or paddling the clay with your bare feet), a bamboo-craft centre, cow herders' villages and Agaria (blacksmith) villages. There are also many colourful weekly haats (tribal markets); with one falling on almost every day of the week, you will have the chance to visit at least one. Overnight at Bhoramdeo Jungle Retreat. (BLD)           

Day 11 – Bhoramdeo

Today it is possible to take a short trek into the forested hills to explore the local wildlife. The hills around Bhoramdeo are also home to a plethora of birds. Wildlife species that have been seen in the area include the wolf, nilgai, dhole, hyena, leopard, porcupine, jungle cat - and even tigers although you will be unlikely to see any here. Short, local cycle rides, arranged by the retreat, are also a good way to explore, and the area is safe and friendly, perfect for solo pottering around. Overnight at Bhoramdeo Jungle Retreat. (BLD)

Day 12 – Bhoramdeo – Raipur – Delhi  

A three-hour drive takes you to Raipur airport where you can board a flight back to Delhi. Overnight at a hotel close to Delhi airport. (B)

Day 13 – Depart

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight (B)

Tour Inclusions/Exclusions

Inclusions:

Arrival and departure transfers

All transport

All accommodation on twin-share basis

Park entrance fees for excursions listed in the itinerary

Services of English speaking guide / tour leader Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)

Internal flight 

Excluded:

International flights

Travel Insurance

Visas Services,

Meals and Drinks other than those mentioned in the itinerary

Items of a personal nature

Entrance fees (unless specifically mentioned in the inclusions)

Tips (discretionary)

 Please note that you should also read the Country Notes in association with this itinerary for practical information about your trip and the destination you will be visiting.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and Undiscovered Destinations.


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