The journey begins in Delhi and takes you through India's rich and varied heritage.View exotic birds at Chambal and the wondrous epitome of love - the Taj Mahal. The heart of India is a travelers delight and consists of some of the most rugged and remote areas of India's territories. Central India includes extensive jungles and is world renowned as an important Tiger habitat. Kipling set his "Jungle Book" here and, to this date, the National Parks in the heart of India, accessed by safari jeeps and on elephant back, offer a glimpse of the wild and even a chance to see the tiger in its natural habitat. From mountain forts of Gwalior to the Bundela murals of Orchha along with the thriving forest reserves of Panna and Bandhavgarh, there is plenty to see and do.
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- Tour Operator
- Learning Journeys
- 16 Days
- Escorted - Yes
- Day 1
- ARRIVE DELHI
Welcome to India!
Our representative will meet you in the arrival area of the airport after you clear all immigration and customs formalities. Depart for your hotel where you will check in for your stay.
Delhi stands as the capital of Modern India. Here you can see the mingling of the Old and New India, the ancient and the modern. Delhi is made up of seven ancient cities, spanning the period from the 11th to 20th centuries. Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many emperors, which has left behind a plethora of monuments that commemorate the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Very few cities in the world can express such a profusion of architectural styles.
- Day 2
- DELHI-CITY TOUR-PIGEON RACING
After breakfast morning visit to Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in year 1650 AD and completed in the year 1656 AD. From here, board cycle rickshaws for a tour of Chandni Chowk (Silver Street). Here you will get a glimpse into an old world lifestyle slowly fading from Delhi. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be felt in the Chandni Chowk's narrow lanes. Board the bus after the rickshaw ride, going past the Red Fort (photo stop), and disembark at the Raj Ghat - a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, set within a beautiful park.
After the rickshaw ride, head on to meet the Kabootarbaz (pigeon fancier) and get introduced to the art of pigeon flying by which received royal patronage in medieval India. It is here, on the rooftop of his home, that you experience a truly unique activity - the art of controlling 50 pigeons using a whistle, stick, and a bag of seeds.
Continue the tour passing along Sansad Bhawan (the Parliament House) and taking a photo stop at India Gate - a stone arch of triumph raised in honor of the Indian soldiers martyred in the campaigns of WWI.
Next stop at Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi's epic life. Located in the house in which he was assassinated, the exhibits include the room where Gandhiji (as he is respectfully called locally) lived and the grounds where he held prayer meetings every evening. The building and the landscape
End the day with a visit to World Heritage Site of Humayun's Tomb, the first garden tomb of Indian sub-continent, built in the mid-16th century under the governance of the Mughal Emperor Akbar in honor of his father, Humayun. It is known as a predecessor of the Taj Mahal for its similarities in form and shape. (B)
- Day 3
- DELHI - CHAMBAL
After breakfast ,morning, drive to Chambal. Arrive Chambal and check in for stay.
Chambal River is one of the last strongholds of the strange Gangetic Dolphin and Indian Skimmer. Other river specialists here include Small Pratincole, Black-bellied and River Terns, Dalmatian Pelican, River Lapwing and the bizarre Gharial. (B)
- Day 4
- CHAMBAL-RIVER SAFARI
Morning, enjoy a boat safari with a naturalist. The motor boat safari between Kota and Jawahar Sagar dam is any nature lovers dream come true. The National Chambal Ghariyal Sanctuary was established in 1978 to protect rare aquatic reptiles, particularly the Gavial, a rare long nosed reptile endemic to Indian rivers. The safari takes you inside the sanctuary and gives you an opportunity to view crocodile, gavial, otters, many species of turtles and the unique flora of the river valley.
The calm and gentle waters of the Chambal River are best explored on boats and the River Safari provides spectacular opportunities to view the wildlife. The Chambal Safari boatmen are exceptionally skilled at cutting the boat engines, and manoeuvring as close to the birds and animals as possible without disturbing them. Trained naturalists will provide expert information on the Chambal wildlife. The River Safari is a most relaxing, enjoyable and special experience.
The best season to explore the valley for birds is undoubtedly autumn and winter when both altitudinal migrants from the higher Himalayas and Palaearctic region assemble here. The current bird checklist stands at 262 species of resident and migratory birds and is increasing with each bird-watching season. The Sanctuary is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most reliable places to see the Indian Skimmer (Rynchops albicollis). In addition it is also home to threatened species such as Ghavials, Marsh Crocodiles, Gangetic Dolphins, Striped Hyenas and Wolves.
Some of the more significant bird species found in the National Chambal Sanctuary are - Ruddy Shelduck, Lesser Whistling Teal, Comb Duck, Spot-billed Duck, Common Pochard, Pied Kingfisher, House Swift t, Little Tern, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork and Desert Wheatear to name a few. (B)
- Day 5
- CHAMBAL-HOLIPURA VILLAGE
Afternoon, explore the old town of Holipura Village - This village with 500 years of recorded history is inhabited by the Chaturvedi's; a priestly clan who has produced administrators and professionals of repute. There is a belief that their ancestors were priests in Alexander's army who later retreated. A walk in the village of Holipora gives one opportunity to see the havelis dating back to the late 1800's in the hands of the descendent of the original owners and retain a certain character and charm. Many of the havelis are built with ample Indian influences adapted to a rural scenario. (B)
- Day 6
- CHAMBAL - AGRA
Morning, drive to Agra. Arrive Agra and check in for your stay.
At the time of the Mughals, in the 16th & 17th centuries, Agra was the capital of the grand Mughal Empire. It came into prominence when a lavish patronage of Mughal rulers created forts, tombs and palaces in red sandstone and marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. During this period the city became a leading centre of art, science, commerce and culture. The short golden age of Agra came to an end with the seventeenth century reign of Shah Jehan, mastermind of the Taj Mahal.
Visit Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Approachable by two imposing gates and constructed of red sandstone, the citadel was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar between the years 1565 and 1573. Encircled by a moat, this dramatic city within a city was the palace of three emperors, Akbar, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb, each of whom made significant contributions to the wonderful architecture of the inner buildings - a combination of Persian (Islamic) and local Hindu styles.
Late afternoon, drive to the ancient village of Kachhpura for the Mughal heritage walking tour and gain more insight into Mughal history. You will walk to lesser-known, yet significant, Mughal-era monuments including Humayun Mosque and the historical wells or Baoli. Admire Gyarah Sidi, carved from a single stone and situated at the edge of the River Yamuna, overlooking Agra Fort.
Follow your guide on foot through rustic Kachhpura and experience an authentic side of rural India that we've probably never seen before, including a street play presented by the town's youth. This will be an opportunity to learn about India's rural lifestyle as we check out the traditional art form of Sanjhi - paper stencils drawn on the walls by young girls.Observe the wonderful hospitality of Kachhpura with a visit to the tea terrace, including photoworthy views of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Finally, take a leisurely stroll in the Mehtab Bagh and enjoy a stunning view of the Taj Mahal - at sunset! (B)
- Day 7
- AGRA - GWALIOR
Early morning, visit Taj Mahal at dawn. It is fitting to see this extraordinary monument by the first light of day as its exemplary beauty is awe-inspiring and will create an unforgettable memory. During this time Taj Mahal changes various hues from pink to light yellow to bright white.
Said to be one of the most elegant and harmonious buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1630 AD to enshrine the mortal remains of his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal manifests the wealth and luxury of Mughal art as seen in architecture and garden design, painting, and calligraphy. The 144 foot double dome of the Taj is capped with a finial and the four minarets each 131 ft. high and crowned by an open octagonal pavilion highlight the perfect symmetry of the tomb.
Morning, train to Gwalior. Arrive Gwalior and transfer to hotel for your stay.
The City of Gwalior is famous as an ancient seat of culture with a colourful history going back to the 6th century. A multitude of reigning dynasties, of the great Rajput clans of the Pratiharas, Kachhwahas and Tomars have left indelible etchings of their rule in this city of palaces, temples and monuments. Gwalior's tradition as a royal capital continued until the formation of present day India, with the Scindias having their dynastic seat here. The magnificent mementoes of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an appeal unique and timeless. Due to its location in the heart of India it has been a melting pot of cultures and civilizations. This synthesis has manifested itself in a highly developed musical tradition reaching a peak during the reign of Emperor Man Singh Tomar in the early 16th century. Mian Tansen, perhaps the best known vocalist of all times was born in Gwalior in 1606, reaching the pinnacle of frame in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Visit the magnificent Gwalior Fort, built in the 8th century AD by the Rajputs.
It is also famous for its riot of blue and yellow glazed tile work on the walls of the Fort, only some of which is left intact now. Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gurjari Mahal is a monument which was built by Raja Mansingh Tomar to express his love for his Gurjar queen, Mrignayani. After he had wooed and won her, so the story goes, Mrignayani demanded that he build her a separate palace with a constant water supply from the River Rai, via an aqueduct. The outer structure of the Gurjari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into an Archaeological Museum. Then visit Sas Bahu ka Mandir, located on the eastern edge of the Fort having a unique blend of medieval architectural styles. Drive past The Scindia School-Gwalior, a residential school of national repute run by the Royal family of Gwalior. Visit a historical Gurudwara inside the Fort which is known as 'Data Bandi Chhor Sahib' built in the memory of 6th Sikh Guru (Sri Guru Hargobind ji). Here one can hear 'shabad kirtan' (devotional hymns) being sung by the Raagis in the morning and evening (timings to be checked before the scheduled visit). (B)
- Day 8
Breakfast at the hotel
Morning visit tomb of Ghaus Mohammed and Mian Tansen
Afternoon visit Jai Vilas PalaceOvernight in Gwalior
Morning, visit the Tomb of Ghaus Mohammed and adjacent grave of Mian Tansen - the great singer in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The Tomb of Ghaus Mohammed - This is a tomb of a 16th century Afghan prince turned sufi saint Ghaus Muhammad who helped Babur (the first Mughal Emperor) to win over fort of Gwalior waging a war for it. The mausoleum exhibits typical Mughal architecture with its hexagonal pillars and screens using pierced stone technique. Located in the same compound is the grave of Mian Tansen, who was one of his disciples for some time.
Mian Tansen's grave - This famous Hindustani classical musician in the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar was buried in the mausoleum complex of his Sufi master Shaikh Muhammad Ghaus in Gwalior. His grave has pristine simplicity about it. More than a monument, it is part of Gwalior's living cultural heritage, being the venue of a Music Festival in his name - 'Tansen Sangeet Samaroh' held annually on a national scale in November - December. Leading musicians of the country gather here to give musical performances during the festival.
Afternoon, visit Jai Vilas Palace - a European style Palace where the Royal family of Scindias currently resides; part of it has been converted into museum and is open to general public. It has a unique architecture which is a mix of Italian, Tuscan and Corinthian. The Palace was constructed by Maharaja Jiyaji Rao Scindia in 1874 at a cost of One Crore Rupees and is festooned with furniture from Versailles, Italy and France. (B)
- Day 9
- JHANSI - ORCHHA
Morning, train to Jhansi. Arrive Jhansi and drive to Orchha, a short drive into the countryside. Arrive Orchha and check in for your stay.
Orchha is a city frozen in time. It was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela chieftain, Rudra Pratap Singh, who built this new capital on large wooded islands on the River Betwa. Today, remains of the fort and palaces speak eloquently of Orchha's time of glory, of its splendid legacy of art and culture. Though little more than a village today, stepping back in time, into Orchha's fortress and palaces is an enjoyable experience.
Places of interest include the multi-tiered Jehangiri Mahal, within the fort, built in 1606 AD; the Raj Mahal noted for its fine murals and the Rai Praveen Mahal, a palace set in the gardens of Anand Mahal. Orchha has tall-spired temples that are certainly worth visit. Notable among them are the Ram Raja Temple, Laxminarayan Temple with its exuberant frescoes, and the Chaturbhuj Temple. (B)
- Day 10
- ORCHHA - PANNA
Morning, drive to Panna. Arrive Panna and check in for your stay. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Panna is situated in the Vindhya Hill range and spreads over Panna and Chhatarpur districts in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh. Panna National Park is the most important protected area in the north-central highlands of India, as it links the eastern and western populations of wild animals through the Vindhya ranges.
Home to the majestic tiger, one also gets to see leopard, wolf, hyena, jackal and the sloth bear. The reserve is also well known for sightings of nilgai, sambar, chital, wild boar and Indian crocodile.
The pattern of early morning and afternoon excursions will be interspersed with periods of relaxation back at your lodge during the heat of midday. (B)
- Day 11
Morning and afternoon safaris in Panna National Park to explore the wildlife. (B)
- Day 12
- PANNA - BANDHAVGARH
Morning, transfer to Bandhavgarh by surface. Arrive Bandhavgarh & check in for your stay. (B)
- Day 13
Morning and afternoon safaris in Bandhavgarh National Park to spot the big cats.
Bandavgarh National Park, situated amid the airy Vindhya hills of Madhya Pradesh, has established a reputation as one of the best places in India to observe Tigers. Although a relatively small reserve when first established in 1968, it was enlarged twenty years later to include adjacent tracts of Sal forest and this extension has proved very beneficial for the Tiger population. The 105 square kilometres of park area, open for tourists is estimated to have a population of 22 tigers, a density of one tiger for every 4.77 square kilometres. Like many Tiger reserves in India, the area was formerly the hunting reserve of a Maharaja and contains much evidence of its royal associations, most spectacular being the ruins of a huge hilltop fort which dominates the centre of the reserve.
The Sal Forest which predominates in the Park is replaced by mixed forests at the higher elevations in the hills and there are also expanses of grassland and bamboo in the north. The core of the reserve is hilly and dominated by the ancient natural fort which towers to an impressive 800 metres above the forest. Long since deserted it is now overgrown but worth a steep climb for the breathtaking view from the ramparts, and to see the ancient rock carvings in the vicinity. In this arid region water is always attractive to wildlife and the presence of pools and streams in the reserve is one of the reasons it is so favoured by both game and predators. (B,L)
- Day 14
Morning and afternoon safaris in Bandhavgarh National Park to explore more wildlife and nearby Tribal villages. (B)
- Day 15
- BANDHAVGARH - JABALPUR - DELHI
Morning, flight from Jabalpur airport to Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer to hotel for your stay. (B)
- Day 16
- Depart Delhi
- DEPART DELHI
Morning, transfer to international airport connect flight for onward destination. (B)