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Tiger, Tea and Taj Mahal tour

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Tiger, Tea and Taj Mahal tour

India offers some of the finest birding in the world with unforgettable scenery. Not only is the local birdlife extremely rich and sheer in number but also you can easily approach birds that you encounters. This classic journey is enhanced still further by visiting one of the wonders of the world-the 'Taj Mahal' and some of the India's rich architectural heritage. This tour is also designed to make an exception for the Tiger, surely one ...See more

India offers some of the finest birding in the world with unforgettable scenery. Not only is the local birdlife extremely rich and sheer in number but also you can easily approach birds that you encounters. This classic journey is enhanced still further by visiting one of the wonders of the world-the 'Taj Mahal' and some of the India's rich architectural heritage. This tour is also designed to make an exception for the Tiger, surely one of the most evocative creatures on Earth. To see Tiger there is no finer and more reliable Tiger reserve than Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh in north-central India, protects a vast tract of largely deciduous forest which still holds many Tigers. Bandhavgarh has been recognized by wildlife lovers and Photographers as very best place to go if one wants close encounters with Tigers. This journey not only provides some of the wonderful birding and the opportunity to see some exciting mammals, but as well will show us something of the real India and an age-old way of Indian life

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Trip Highlights

Trip Itinerary

TTT Tour (A classis Natural History Journey to India)

Day 01:  Arrive in Delhi. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Sightseeing of Delhi/Sariska National Park. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Sightseeing of Sariska National Park /Jaipur. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Sightseeing of Jaipur. Overnight at hotel.  

Day 05: Sightseeing of Jaipur/Bharatpur. Overnight at hotel. 

Day 06: Sightseeing of Bharatpur. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07 : Sightseeing of Bharatpur/Agra. Overnight at hotel.

Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Friday

Day 08: Sightseeing of Agra/Chambhal Camp. Overnight at hotel.

Day 09: Sightseeing of Chambhal/Agra + Overnight Train to Umaria.

Day 10: Sightseeing of Bandhavgarh National Park. Overnight at hotel.

Day 11 – 12: In the Park. Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Bhandavgarh/Panna National Park. Overnight at hotel.

Day 14: Sightseeing of Khajuraho/Delhi. Overnight at hotel.

Day 15: Delhi transfer to airport to fly back to onward destination.

Detail Itinerary

Detail itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Delhi,

We arrive Delhi in the morning for one night stay. Morning free to recover from Jetlag and afternoon combined sightseeing of Old and New Delhi to visit Red Fort, Rajghat, Jamia Masjid, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate, Qutab Minar etc. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Delhi/Sariska National Park

After breakfast we drive to Sariska National Park located in the Aravalli mountain range in Rajesthan. It is 163km away from Delhi and takes about 4hrs. After lunch in the hotel we go for Jeep Safari to explore the park. The park support a diverse set of mammals. Beside the tigers, leopard and hyaena, sloth bear, wild dog, caracal, wolf, jungle cat are main attraction.
Neverthess, the birdlife is equally in abundance. Some of the unique birds in Sariska include the White-backed vulture, Pallas Fishing Eagle, Red Spur fowl, Common Sand grouse, Indian Pitta, and Great Horned Owl.

Day 03: Sariska National Park /Jaipur

We leave the park after breakfast for Jaipur in Rajesthan, the Land of the Kings, which is  approx. 108  kms and  takes about 3 hours. The journey takes us through the villages and towns of Rajestan and other populous part of the country, providing a facinating introduction to Indian life. We will also have our first encounter with some widespread Indian plains birds during this journey, including Herons, Vultures, Drongos, Mynas, Bulbuls, Shrikes and many more. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of city visiting City Palace Complex in the heart of old city. The City Place occupies al large area divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. Time permitting we will also be exploring the Observatory or  Jantar Mantar &  Hawa Mahal or the famous Palace of the Winds, is one of Jaipur's major landmark.

Day 04: In Jaipur

Morning we will drive about 11km north of Jaipur to visit Amber, the ancient capital of Jaipur state. We will explore the Amber Fort on an  Elephant. The fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture, stunningly situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake which reflects its terraces and ramparts. Rest of the afternoon we will explore the area for some common local birds and take time for independent activities such as shopping.

Day 05: Jaipur/Bharatpur

Today we leave Jaipur after breakfast for Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur, which is approx. 170 kms & takes about 4 hours. We will stay for next two nights and if time permits we will begin our exploration of this magnificent reserve in the  afternoon.

Day 06: In Bharatpur

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, usually known simply a 'Bharatpur', needs little introduction, for it is undoubtedly one of the finest birdsantuary  in the world. Formerly a shooting preserve of the Rajput Maharajas of Bharatpur. It is just 29 sq.km, but holds a remarkable diversity of habitats. The wetland-marshes and flooded 'Jheels'-are contained within acacia-lined 'bunds', or embankments, and irrigated by a system of canals and sluices. Around them lies semi-arid grass and scrubland and some excellent broad-leave Kandam woodland. Over 350 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Amongst these will be and unequalled array of wetland species, a great variety of Vultures, Eagles, Falconsand Owls, plus numerous small land birds. Pride of place goes to the rarest Siberian Crane.  The interest for birdwatchers is enhanced still further by the large number of winter visitors from northern Asia, many are only rare vagrants in Europe. As well as birds, the park has excellent variety of wild animals. Nilgai (blue bull), Sambar and Spotted deers, Blackbuck, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Asiatic Jackal and Mongoose are all common, and this is one of the few places in India where the rare Fishing Cat may be seen. We have three days to enjoy this exceptional feast of wildlife, and the superb photographic opportunities that presents.
Note: Last couple of years, due to the change in weather pattern and irregular monsoon rain, the park dos not have enough water to support all migratory bird species.

Day 07: Bharatpur/Agra

After a final morning in Bharatpur we will drive to Agra which is approx. 65 kms and takes about one and half hour. En-route visit Fatehpur Sikri - the deserted city of Mughal Emperor "The Akbar" built in 16th century. We will arrive Agra in mid-afternoon. Time permits, we shall pay an evening visit to the famous Taj Mahal, viewing it in the soft pink light of a north Indian sunset-perhaps the best light of all. The other best option to visit Taj Mahal is early in the morning for Sunrise.

Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Friday

Day 08: Agra/Chambhal Camp

After  making our way to the incomparable Tajmahal, a mausoleum of ethereal beauty built by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, really does live up to it reputation and more.  As we arrive there the magnificent Taj changes in every light. In the crisp air of early morning it is a different building; its compelling atmosphere is hard to leave, especially as its gardens, and the Yamuna River just beyond, offer so much ornithological excitement as well! Afternoon leave Agra and drive to Chambhal Camp for Bird watching. Overnight at the Resort.

Day 09: Chambhal/Agra + Overnight Train to Umaria

Today we will visit the National Chambal Sanctuary on the border between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states. We will take a boat ride in the Chambal River, the last unpolluted major river in northern India, flows between low erosion cliffs as it approaches its junction with the Ganges. The sanctuary, which also includes part of the state of Rajasthan further upstream, was set up to protect the healthy population of crocodiles that survives here, and also a population of the highly endangered Gangetic River Dolphin.  We should be able to closely approach the crocodiles as they sun themselves on the sandbars, both the long-snouted Gharial and the more conventionally-shaped Mugger. We also have an excellent chance of seeing the blind Gangetic River Dolphin and we may even be lucky enough to watch them jumping exuberantly, although sometimes they show little more than their backs. The most notable bird species of the Chambal is the localized Indian Skimmer and we should be able to watch these bizarre creatures living up to their name as they flap across the river, intermittently dipping their ‘broken’ bills into the water, or gather on small islets. Other attractions include the beautiful Small Pratincole, the hulking Great Thick-knee, River Tern and the increasingly uncommon Black-bellied Tern. Many other water birds will be present, including the elegant Bar-headed Goose, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Northern Shoveler, Goosander (or Common Merganser), Kentish Plover, River Lapwing, Common and Spotted Redshanks, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, Little Stint and Pallas’s (or Great Black-backed) Gull. Other species present in the area include Osprey, Black Kite (of the resident form govinda, perhaps a candidate for a split, or else lumping with Black-eared), Black-eared Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, Rock Dove (here of the genuine wild population), Eurasian Collared Dove, Asian Koel, Brown Boobook (or Brown Hawk-Owl), Sand, Greater Short-toed and Crested Larks, Grey-throated Sand Martin (split from Brown-throated), Masked and Himalayan Wagtail, Desert Wheatear, Plain Prinia, Lesser Whitethroat, Common and Large Grey Babblers, Bank Myna and House Crow. We return to the lodge for Lunch and after lunch drive back to Agra and from Agra take Night Train 6478 Kalinga/Uttakal  Express at 1615 hrs. to Umaria. Overnight on board the train.

Day 10: Bandhavgarh National Park

We will arrive early in the morning at Kanti from where we will drive through increasingly forested terrain to the village of Tala, the gateway to Bandhavgarh National Park, for four nights stay. To explore the park, we will head off for game drive soon after arrival and other excursion scheduled for rest of the stay.

Day 11–12: In the Park

Bandhavgarh National Park claims to have the highest density tiger population in India with between 46 and 52 tigers. There are also 27 leopards. The park area is 693 sq km of mainly deciduous tropical forest  with impressive setting in the rugged Vindhya range. It is named after the ancient fort built on 800m-high cliff. There's a temple at the fort that can be visited by jeep and below it are numerous rock-cut caves shrines. Bandhavgarh was once a hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Rewa, and it became a national park in 1968. We shall be spending most of our time in the core area of the park, the 105 sq km of the Tala range where the habitat is at its best and the density of Tigers is more. We will also take an opportunity to ride elephants to track the Tigers as it gives you an easy access through the forest through tall grass of the meadows until the Tigers are located. The core area of the park has a fragile ecology, but it supports a variety of wildlife  such as nilgai, wild boar, jackals, gaur, sambar and porcupines as well as many species of birds. In particular, Painted Francolin is regularly seen here and another bird rarely seen elsewhere, that is Mottled Wood Owl and many more interesting and beautiful birds.

Day 13: Bhandavgarh/Panna National Park

After some final exploration at Bandhavharh we will head for PANNA N.P. for overnight stay. It is about 160 km and takes about 4-5hrs. On the way we will make some stops at rivercrossing and local  ponds which holds an interesting selection of waterbirds, including Comb Duck, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, and Pheasant -tailed Jacana. If time permits we will make an introductory visit to the Easter Group of Temples at Khajuraho such as Jain temples, Adinath temples etc. Panna National Park spread over 542 sq.km. Was carved out of the hunting reserves of the erstwhile Panna, Chattarpur and Bijawar states. Panna was accorded sanctuary status in 1975 and upgraded to a National Park in 1981. In 1994, it became India's 22nd Tiger Reserve. Panna is situated at the junction of the gangetic plains and the Deccan peninsula. The Panna hills provide the catchment area for the Ken river, which is the life line of the park. It is predominantly an open forest, offering great opportunity to see the tiger and other mammals. It also supports closed canopy forests, open forest with short grass and undercover, open savannah woodlands which reflect sub Saharan habitats, tall grasslands and degraded scrub. Driving through the undulating land and plateaus is an experience in itself. Panna also boasts of a successful radio collaring project on tigers which has witnessed a remarkable recovery in the tiger population, which has risen beyond 35. It also hosted radio collaring projects on sloth bear and sambhar. Currently radio collaring projects on tiger and four horned antelope are being undertaken. The park is open from 1st October to 30th June and is closed during the rainy season. Panna is a prime tiger land with estimated over 35 tigers, studies in Panna found that the home ranges of tigers are much larger than in other more productive areas in India. One such male tiger ranged over 280 sq.km. The tiger population in Panna has made a comeback in the last seven years and seeing the upswing the Project Tiger is hoping to add another 200sq.km. in its grip. Besides the tiger, Jungle Cat, Rusty spotted Cat, Leopard Cat, Desert Cat, Toddy Cat and Civet are also found here. Ungulate population include Nilgai(Blue Bull), Sambhar Deer, Cheetal(spotted deer), Chausingha( four horned antelope), Chinkara and Wild Boar. Due to the vast calcium deposit's, the Sambhar Deer found here are one of the largest in the country. Panna has a sizeable population of the Sloth Bear, more commonly seen early in the morning specially in the Mahua(a flowering tree) season. Panna is a prime tiger land with estimated over 35 tigers, studies in Panna found that the home ranges of tigers are much larger than in other more productive areas in India. One such male tiger ranged over 280 sq.km. The tiger population in Panna has made a comeback in the last seven years and seeing the upswing the Project Tiger is hoping to add another 200sq.km. in its grip. Besides the tiger, Jungle Cat, Rusty spotted Cat, Leopard Cat, Desert Cat, Toddy Cat and Civet are also found here. Ungulate population include Nilgai(Blue Bull), Sambhar Deer, Cheetal(spotted deer), Chausingha( four horned antelope), Chinkara and Wild Boar. Due to the vast calcium deposit's, the Sambhar Deer found here are one of the largest in the country. Panna has a sizeable population of the Sloth Bear, more commonly seen early in the morning specially in the Mahua(a flowering tree) season. Panna also boasts of Crocodiles and Gharials which are easily sighted in the boat safari. More than 300 species of birds have been sighted in Panna of which around 65 are water birds. Though not much work has been done in this field in the past, we at the Ken River lodge are presently, continuously trying to update the data. We welcome suggestions and contributions from birders and are putting a comprehensive bird list for suggestion and contributions.

List of mammals recorded in Panna

Day 14: Khajuraho/Delhi

In the morning we will visit the amazingly intricate and beautiful Hindu temples at Khajuraho are famous for their erotic carving. Khajuraho's temples were built during the Chandela period, a dynasty that survived for five centuries before falling to the Mughal onslaught. Most date from one century-long burst of creative genius from 950 to 1050AD. The temples are superb examples of Indo-Aryan architecture, but it's the decorations with which they are so liberally embellished that have made Khajuraho famous. Around the temples are bands of exceedingly artistic stonework showing many aspects of Indian life a millennium ago-gods and goddess, warriors and musicians, real and mythological animals. But two elements appear over and over again and in greater detail than anything else - women and sex. Stone figures of Apsara-or celestial maiden, appears on every temple. They pout and pose for all the worlds like pin-up models posing for the camera. In between are the Mithuna, erotic figures, running through a whole Kamasutra of positions and possibilities. In the afternoon we will catch a flight to Delhi for overnight. This evening we will go to a good restaurant for classic Indian dinner.

Day 15: Delhi/Onward destination

Early morning transfer to airport to fly back to onward destination.

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What makes this trip different?

Eco Trip Nepal has been working hand to hand with nonprofit social organization SWAN Nepal (Social Welfare Association of Nepal) from its initial years. We provide continuous support to SWAN financially as well as by organizing charity and volunteering tours in the remote village of Baglung district. Organizing your holiday through Eco Trip Nepal will not only provide the chance to explore the natural grandeur of Himalayan country Nepal but also you will be playing a vital role in bringing positive changes in the lives of local community.

Financial support to direct beneficiaries:  In all our programs, we strive to ensure that we only use local operators and try to source all provisions from local businesses, so you can be sure that some part of the money paid to us for arranging your holiday goes to the needy people of Nepal. The money you pay for touring and trekking through Eco Trip Nepal directly benefits the local people through SWAN as we provide them certain percentage of our profits from each and every trip on regular basis. Our guests experience true satisfaction together with enjoyment from Nepal holiday.

Local development through tourism: Eco Trip Nepal along with SWAN has been working together in discovering new routes, making plans into action and constantly working on how it can positively impact on local community development through tourism. In this way we have developed the Eco-tourism Project which focuses to flourish local tourism preservation of nature and cultural heritages.

Community Tourism: We help experience the best of Nepal through the eyes of the local Nepalese community. We enhance community based tourism to help our guests discover local habitats and wildlife; celebrate and respect traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. In this way community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will promote community based management of these resources.

For more details, visit SWAN Nepal's website www.swannepal.org