Untamed India Expedition Highlights
- Discover a wide variety of Indian wildlife: wild boar, several species of deer including chital (spotted deer), and sambar; plus, a multitude of colorful birds, such as the green bee-eater, Indian peafowl, and plum-headed parakeet.
- Search for the increasingly rare Bengal tiger in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
- Photograph the Asian one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park, one of the largest land mammals in the world.
- View the fascinating religious art and rock-cut architecture of Ellora, Ajanta, and Elephanta, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Explore the lesser-visited Satpura National Park as well as Pench—the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
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Depart USA / Mumbai, India
March 5 — March 6
Board your independent flight, arriving in Mumbai late the next day. Transfer to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for overnight.
This morning board local boats at the doorstep of the Gateway of India triumphal arch monument to visit the World Heritage Site of Elephanta Island—a perfect opportunity to photograph the Mumbai skyline. Explore the rock-cut Hindu temples with their elaborately carved depictions of the Hindu god, Shiva, in his various manifestations as destroyer, creator, and preserver. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy an orientation tour of India’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. View the elegant colonial architecture of the Gothic Victoria Terminus railway station and the Prince of Wales Museum in the former British fort area. Follow famous Marine Drive, passing Chowpatty Beach, to Malabar Hill with its superb views, parks, and Hanging Gardens.
Mumbai / Aurangabad
Transfer to the airport early this morning for your short flight to Aurangabad. Founded in 1610 and named after the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, the city is renowned for its World Heritage Sites—the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. After breakfast at the Taj Residency Aurangabad, set out for the magnificent cliff-side Ajanta Caves, carved from the volcanic rock during the 2nd century B.C. and “lost” until 1819, when British tiger hunters happened upon them. Explore the individual grottoes—of the 30, five are temples and 24 are monasteries—with their massive chambers, ornate reliefs and sculptures, and elaborate paintings. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Aurangabad / Mumbai
Drive to the nearby Ellora Caves this morning, an extraordinary complex of 34 side-by-side monasteries and temples chiseled from basalt cliffs between 600-1000 A.D. Its sanctuaries, devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, reflect the peaceful coexistence of India’s three major religions. Return to Aurangabad for a tour of the city, highlighted by a visit to Bibi Ka Maqbara, the Taj Mahal-like mausoleum of Emperor Aurangzeb’s first wife. Continue to the airport for your return flight to Mumbai. Overnight at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Mumbai / Nagpur / Tadoba
Return to the airport this morning for your flight to Nagpur. Drive to the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, the oldest national park in central India’s Maharashtra state, and one of India’s 41 Project Tiger reserves. Check into the Svasara Jungle Lodge, your base of exploration for the following four nights. After lunch, set out for your first safari, exploring the densely forested terrain and open grasslands.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
March 11 — March 13
During three full days in the park, enjoy morning and afternoon wildlife viewing safaris in 4X4 vehicles. Learn about the incredible variety of park botanicals, many with medicinal properties. In addition to the Bengal tigers, watch for Indian leopards, wild dogs, gaurs, striped hyenas, sambar deer, and chital in the forests. Marsh crocodiles inhabit Tadoba Lake and its shores, along with terrapins, Indian pythons, and Indian cobras. Birders will be rewarded with outstanding viewing around the lake; more than 195 species have been recorded, including the gray-headed fish eagle, Indian pitta, crested honey buzzard, bronze-winged jacana, and Indian peafowl.
Tadoba / Pench National Park
After your final Tadoba safari drive this morning, set out on the drive toward Pench, the 19th Project Tiger Reserve, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Its wildlife-rich forest habitats were the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Check into the Jamtara Wilderness Lodge, a luxury tented camp surrounded by lofty arjuna trees and your home base for the next three nights.
Pench National Park
March 15 — March 16
Spend two full days in the park with twice daily wildlife viewing drives. The rich variety of mammals that live in the park make it a photographer’s paradise, with excellent chances of spotting gaur, chital, wild dog, chinkara, mongoose, jackal, jungle cat, and hyena, with a possibility of the elusive tiger and leopard. Among the more than 200 avian species are bulbul, barbet, and blue kingfisher.
Pench National Park / Satpura National Park
Enjoy a final morning safari and breakfast in Pench before setting out for your drive to Satpura, a 202 square-mile national park and tiger reserve, and the heart of the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. Rich biodiversity and a rugged geography of sandstone peaks, narrow gorges, deep valleys, and sal and teak forests characterize this unique Central Indian Highland ecosystem. Check in to the Forsyth Lodge which boasts stunning mountain vistas, and enjoy lunch. This afternoon visit the park by 4X4 vehicle and watch for such mammals as dholes, black buck, four-horned antelopes, sambar deer, pangolins, and Old World langur monkeys. Nearly 280 species of birds make their home here, including black-headed ibis and Saker falcons, and endemics such as painted bush quails and gray junglefowl.
Satpura National Park
March 18 — March 19
During the next two days, choose from several options, including wildlife viewing drives, elephant safari, walking safaris, bush walks around the camp, or walks through local villages, all with expert local guides.
Satpura National Park / Bhopal / Delhi
After a final morning safari in Satpura National Park, transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Enjoy dinner and overnight at the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel.
Delhi / Guwahati / Kaziranga National Park
Fly to Guwahati this morning; upon arrival, depart for Kaziranga National Park passing lush countryside and tea estates. In the afternoon there may be time for a short stroll along the border of the park. Spend the next four nights at Diphlu River Lodge, situated on the Diphlu River in a setting of great natural beauty.
Kaziranga National Park
March 22 — March 24
Spend three days exploring this amazing 165-square-mile reserve that borders the Brahmaputra River and Mikir Mountain Range. The country here is mostly flat—a tangle of thorny rattan cane, elephant grass, evergreen forest, and shallow marshland. The ranges of the reserve offer opportunities to see numerous one-horned Indian rhinos—the largest number of this species in the world roams here—as well as wild Asian elephants and wild Asiatic water buffalos. Other highlights include wild boars, hog deer, hoolock gibbons, and the locally common swamp deer or soft-ground barasingha. Birds abound at Kaziranga as well: bar-headed geese; gray-headed and Pallas’ fish eagles; Oriental darters; herons and egrets of all shapes and sizes; black-necked, lesser adjutant, and Asian open-billed storks, and many more.
Kaziranga National Park / Guwahati / Delhi
After breakfast, depart Kaziranga for your flight to Delhi, via Guwahati. Arrive Delhi late in the afternoon and check into your hotel day room. After dinner, transfer to the airport for your late evening flight homeward.
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