Deep in India’s wilderness, the majestic tiger prowls in greater numbers than anywhere else in the world, and rare beasts like greater one-horned rhinoceroses and sloth bears coexist with countless species of birds. On safari with a National Geographic grantee in three national
parks—Panna, Bandhavgarh, and Kaziranga—experience some of India’s best wildlife viewing, and track the elusive Bengal tiger.
Spend two days in Bandhavgarh National Park, home to perhaps the greatest density of wild tigers in India.
Visit Qutb Minar and the magnificent temples of Khajuraho, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Explore India’s wild habitats with top wildlife experts, observing a wide variety of unusual creatures.
Explore the grasslands of Kaziranga, where most of the world’s greater one-horned rhinoceroses roam.
Itinerary - 15 Days
Days 1, 2 & 3 — U.S./Delhi, India
Depart on an overnight flight to Delhi and transfer to our hotel upon arrival. The next day, discover the sights of New Delhi, India’s capital city since 1911. See the colonnaded house of the Indian Parliament and the ornate presidential palace, Rashtrapati Bhavan, and pay a visit to the India Gate, a memorial to Indian soldiers killed in World War I. Step into centuries past at the World Heritage sites of Qutb Minar, an early 13th-century red sandstone minaret that rises 238 feet into the air, and Humayun’s Tomb, an impressive example of early Mogul architecture. Visit the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, and stop in at the Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Khajuraho/Panna
After breakfast, fly to Khajuraho to visit a stunning group of Hindu and Jain temples that date back a thousand years. Wander through this World Heritage site to examine shrines covered in magnificent sculptures. Continue overland to Panna National Park, a wildlife reserve that links animal populations of the eastern and western parts of the Vindhya Range. Pashan Garh (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Panna
Embark on morning and afternoon game drives in the Panna wilderness for an introduction to India’s native deer species, including the sambar, chital, and chousingha; and the nilgai, Asia’s largest antelope. Search for elusive predators such as leopards and dholes (Indian wild dogs) and look for sloth bears perched on rocky escarpments. With luck, we may see our first tiger, as efforts to stablize a small population of tigers in Panna are ongoing. Between drives, take a dip in the infinity pool at our hilltop lodge, or relax with a book on your private veranda. If water levels permit, take a boat ride on the Ken River to see several species of water birds or a large mugger crocodile basking on the riverbank. Pashan Garh (B,L,D)
Days 6, 7 & 8 — Bandhavgarh
Travel to Bandhavgarh National Park, the former hunting preserve of the maharajas of Rewa, which now boasts one of the highest concentrations of wild tigers in India. Spend two days on safari in the park, tracking more than 40 resident tigers and spotting other wildlife: black-faced Hanuman langurs; macaques; wild boar; and a variety of bird species, including Bonelli’s eagles, malabar pied hornbills, and perigrine falcons. See the enormous reclining statue of Lord Vishnu known as Shesh Shaiya, which dates back to the tenth century. If you prefer, set out on a guided birdwatching walk and visit a local village in lieu of a game drive. In the evenings, take in a traditional dance performance or relax around the bonfire under the stars. Samode Safari Lodge (B,L,D daily)
Day 9 — Khajuraho/Varanasi
Take a scenic drive to Khajuraho and board a flight to Varanasi, India's holiest city. Take the evening to relax at our luxury hotel, or venture out to the banks of the river Ganges to attend the evening aarti, a prayer ceremony where hundreds of ghee candles are set afloat on its waters.
Taj Gateway Ganges (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Varanasi/Kolkata
Further explore the ancient city of Varanasi today, a pilgrimage site for Hindus who come to bathe in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. It is a window into the spirituality that is an integral part of Indian life. Early this morning we'll take a sunrise boat ride on the river, to observe the morning rituals and prayers. Once ashore walk through the colorful and boisterous bazaar for a close encounter with the routines of daily life. There will be time to further explore this sacred city or shop for the silks and brocades that Varanasi in known for, before an early evening flight to Kolkata, our jumping off place for flights to Assam, and Kaziranga National Park. Swissôtel Kolkata (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Jorhat/Kaziranga National Park
Fly to Jorhat in India’s eastern State of Assam and continue overland to Kaziranga National Park. Check into our lodge, set among bamboo groves and fruit orchards, and get settled in private cottages built on stilts in the local tradition. Diphlu River Lodge (B,L,D daily)
Days 12 & 13 — Kaziranga National Park
Stretching along the edge of the Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga National Park is a World Heritage site and one of the last unspoiled wildernesses in eastern India. The park and its environs have been designated a tiger reserve and a BirdLife International Important Bird Area. Explore the varied landscapes by elephant and by 4x4 vehicle, venturing through fields of elephant grass, marshlands, and dense forests to find tigers, greater one-horned rhinoceroses, Asian elephants, water buffalo, and more than 300 species of birds. buffalo, and more than 300 species of birds. Experience everyday life outside the park on an optional village walk, and stop to photograph lush tea plantations along the way. If you choose, take a boat ride on the Brahmaputra River to search for aquatic wildlife. Celebrate our last evening with a festive farewell dinner and a traditional dance performance. Diphlu River Lodge (B,L,D daily)
Days 14 & 15 — Kaziranga/Kolkata/U.S.
After a final morning game drive, fly from Jorhat to Kolkata and check into day rooms. Enjoy time to relax before transferring to the airport for overnight flights home. Swissôtel Kolkata (B,L,D)
Pricing starts at $10,000 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,920 in 2016. International airfare to Delhi and return from Kolkata and airfare within India are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within India are approximately $980 (subject to change).
Accommodations (hotels, tents, and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.