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INDIAN JOURNEYS TIGER RESERVES AND PALACES
Destinations Covered : Delhi Corbett, Ranthambore and Sariska Nationa Park,
We journey to Corbett National Park, named after the famous author and naturalist Jim Corbett. Wild elephant, tiger, a variety of deer, langur monkeys, crocodiles and leopards can be seen as we are taken on a guided safari of the wildlife park on elephant back. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India’s most famous monument of Mughal architecture, is our second stopover. The Taj was built as a mausoleum by the Emperor Shah Jehan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. Our tour continues onto Rajasthan. We stay in Jaipur, the famous “pink city” with its many hilltop fortresses and the capital city of the Rajputs, the 'knights of India'.
FLY LONDON TO DELHI
You will be met by our representatives in India who will be holding a ‘Your Name’ placard and transferred by taxi to the Hotel.
Delhi basically is seven cities all merged into one and laced together by the new city of the British Raj, designed by Lutyens & Baker. It was one of the boldest expressions anywhere in the world of British Imperial ambitions and has endless sightseeing possibilities. This morning we will tour Old Delhi, visiting the Raj Ghat memorial at the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, and the two structures that dominate this part of the city - the Red Fort, once the most lavish fort and palace of the Mughal Empire, and Jama Mosque, the largest in India.
RED FORT. This imposing monument to the rule of Shah Jahan was begun in 1639 and completed in 1648, taking its name from the red sandstone used in its construction. It is said to have cost 10 million rupees to build, much of it spent on the opulent marble royal palaces within. Here the Emperor exercised his divine authority in the Halls of Public and Private Audience - seated in the latter on the fabulous gold-canopied Peacock Throne that was inlaid with a vast number of sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds.
JAMA MOSQUE. This last great architectural work of Shah Jahan was intended to dwarf all other mosques that had gone before it, symbolising the aspirations of its maker and the gulf that existed between monarch and subject. Each Friday, the Emperor and his male retinue would travel the short distance from the Red Fort to attend midday prayers. Marble and sandstone are interspersed in its domes, minarets and cusped arches and its courtyard can accommodate 20,000 worshippers.
This afternoon we take a sightseeing tour of New Delhi, visiting Humayun’s Tomb, the most interesting and best preserved tomb in the city, and the 73m-high, five-storey Qutab Minar, begun in 1199 and intended to be a tower of victory as well as a minaret attached to the Might of Islam Mosque. Later we travel along the Rajpath ceremonial avenue past the imposing India Gate war memorial, Parliament House and the President’s Residence and end with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave. Overnight the Hotel
In the morning you will be transferred by Indian car to Corbett park (Approximately 5 hour drive time). Arrive Corbett park and stay in the Resort.
GAME VIEWING AT CORBETT NATIONAL PARK. Among the animals to be seen in the park are wild elephant, tiger, monkeys, deer, including sambars, barking and hog deer, crocodiles, wild boar, jackal, and finally, though seldom seen, leopard. You can explore the park on the back of an elephant as it sways quietly through the jungle bush, or just peer into the vast vista from the top of a stationary watchtower and listen to the sounds of the park inhabitants.
Corbett National Park is named after the famous hunter-naturalist Jim Corbett, who was one of India’s first conservationists who helped to delineate the boundaries of the original park. Corbett National Park was originally established in 1936, as Hailey National Park. It was later renamed Ramganga National Park, before getting its present name in 1957. This is India’s first national park and one of her finest wildlife sanctuaries. The park stretches over an area of 520.6 sq. km in the Himalayan foothills with open grasslands, sal and riverine forest and the Ramganga river flows through almost its entire length. Over 50 mammal, 580 birds and 25 reptile species have been listed in Corbett, but it is most famous for the Royal Bengal Tiger. The very successful Project Tiger of the World Wildlife Fund was first launched in this park. Wildlife populations include the elephant, leopard and Lynx and leopard cats, Sambar and Cheetal – the beautiful spotted deer, barking deer, hog deer, wild boar, languar and rhesus monkeys, Sloth and Himalayan black bear, gharial and mugger crocodiles.
Jim Corbett wrote many books about his life as a hunter of ‘Man-Eaters’ in India, but probably, his best was indeed the ‘The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag’, which he wrote after his famous kill of this incredible animal.
5: DRIVE TO DELHI.
After breakfast, we return to Delhi by Indian Car and check into your hotel (Approximately five hours’ drive time.) The afternoon is free for venturing out into the frenetic rush of India's capital city. Overnight Hotel.
BY TRAIN TO AGRA, SIGHTSEEING, VISIT THE TAJ MAHAL.
Today we board the Shatabdi Express Train for the 200 kms journey to Agra that stands, like Delhi, on the right bank of the River Yamuna. Agra, home of the fabulous Taj Mahal, was one of the great Mughal cities of South Asia, alternating with Delhi as the capital of their empire. On arrival, we will be met and transferred to the Mughal Sheraton Hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we will take a sightseeing tour around the many places of interest, including the magnificent Red Fort and the local bazaar, before visiting the Taj Mahal at sunset. Hotel.
RED FORT. This magnificent fort, standing on the west bank of the Yamuna River and dominating the centre of the city, was constructed by the Mughal ruler, Akbar, in the 16th century. Its impressive imperial quarters and mosque were built later by Shah Jahan. It was here that he was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, and it is said he lay on his deathbed in the beautiful Mussaman Burj (Octagonal Tower), gazing at the Taj Mahal, his memorial to his departed wife.
TAJ MAHAL. The Taj Mahal (The Crown of the Palace), one of the most famous buildings in the world, was Shah Jahan’s lavish tribute to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel of the Palace) who died giving birth to their 14th child. It took 22 years and a workforce of 20,000 to construct and the white marble to which it owes much of its breathtaking beauty was transported 300 kms from near Jodphur on a fleet of 1,000 elephants. Inside the mausoleum itself, where Mumtaz and her devoted husband now lie, this marble is carved into intricate screens inlaid with precious stones brought from all over Asia and the Middle East. The symetrical gardens, restored by Lord Curzon, early in the 20th century, were separated by four watercourses into quadrants, each divided into 16 flower beds, and the original trees were either cypress to signify death or fruit trees to signify life. At sunset, as at dawn, the Taj Mahal presents an unforgettable spectacle and one we are sure you will never forget.
7: DRIVE TO RATHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK VIA FATEHPUR SIKRI.
(160kms South of Jaipur, 3 hours drive time) The Park sprawls over an estimated area of 400 sq kms. Steep ravines embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and on top of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambore Fort, built in the 10th century. Strategically built on the border of Rajasthan and Malwa, the fort houses some splendid monuments within its precincts. The terrain fluctuates between impregnable forests and open bushland. The forest is the typically dry deciduous type, with dhok, being the most prominent tree. The entry point to the Park, goes straight to the foot of the fort and the forest rest house, Jogi Mahal. The latter boasts of the second-largest banyan tree in India. The Padam Talab, the Raj Bagh Talab and the Milak Talab are some of the lakes in the area, that attract the tiger population . They have been spotted at the edges of these lakes, and Jogi Mahal itself. Old crumbling walls, ruined pavilions, wells, and other ancient structures stand witness to the region's glorious past. The other permanent residents of the park include, marsh crocodiles, hyenas, jungle cats and sloth bears. Chital, nilgai, and chinkara, are the other inhabitants of the region. The bird population comprises of black storks, quails, Bonelli's eagles, spur fowls, crested serpent eagles and painted storks. Resort.
DAY 8 RATHAMBORE
At leisure. Overnight the Resort.
Day 9 DRIVE TO
170kms. 4.5 hours. Jaipur was founded in 1727 by the Sawai Jai Singh II, the Maharaja of the Kacchwaha clan of Rajputs, who ruled from 1699-1744. Hotel
Day 10 EXCURSION TO AMBER FORT, CITY TOUR OF JAIPUR.
Today we travel 20 kms north of the city across the plains to Amber, ancient capital of the Kacchawaha region from 1037 until Sawai Jai Singh II moved to the newly-created Jaipur. Overnight at the Hotel.
AMBER FORT. The building of the fort-palace, with its distinctly Mughal architecture, was begun by Raja Man Singh, a noted Rajput general in Akbar’s army in 1600 and later added to by successive rulers. The most popular way to enter the hilltop palace is on the back of one of the colourfully-decorated elephants, which walk up and down the entrance ramp in a continuous train. The ride can be a bit unnerving when the elephant comes close to the edge of the road, but it is perfectly safe. The palace contains a green marble-pillared temple to Shila Mata (Kali as Goddess of War), as well as beautifully-decorated pavilions of cream marble filled with mosaics, mirrors and paintings. From the rooftop there are stunning views across the rooftops of Amber town. Above the palace stands the gigantic bulk of Jaigarh, its walls, bastions, gateways and watchtowers a testimony to the power of the Jaipur rulers.
In the afternoon, we return to Jaipur, known as the Pink City of Rajastan, to discover why it is the most popular tourist destination in the region. The original buildings were painted in a variety of colours, including grey with white borders, but now many have a pink wash - first used in 1853 in honour of a visit by Prince Albert. The numerous places of interest include the City Palace and its museum, built in 1728-32 and dominating the centre of Jaipur, the Jantar Mantar (Observatory), also built in the 1700s, yet even today looking futuristic or even surrealistic and the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds.
DRIVE TO SARISKA NATIONAL PARK.
(approximately 2-3 hours drive time). Situated 107 km from Jaipur and 200 km from Delhi, the sanctuary is in a wooded valley surrounded by barren mountains. It covers 800 sq km (including a core area of 498 sq km) and has blue bulls, sambar, spotted deer, wild boar and above all tigers. This park contains ruined temples as well as a fort, pavilions and a palace (now a hotel) Built by the maharajas of Alwar, the former owners of this area. The sanctuary can be visited all year round, except during July/August, when the animals move to higher ground, but the best time is between November and June. You’ll see most wildlife in the evening, though tiger sightings are becoming more common during the day. Overnight Hotel.
Day 12 SARISKA NATIONAL PARK. AT
Day 13: CHECK OUT AT NOON AND
DRIVE TO DELHI.
(approximately 3 hours drive time) Day rooms will be available at the Siddarth Hotel for immediate occupancy. Late evening transfer to the airport by taxi to board your return flight to Your Next Destinations.
Bird Watching Tours
Birding Tour of Rajasthan | Himalayan Birding Tour | Birding Tour in Kerala | Birding Tour in South India & Goa | Birding Trails of North India | Bird Watching Tour of Goa | Birds Watching Tours of Sikkim | Birds Watching Tour North Bengal | Weekend Birding Jimm Corbett | Birds Watching Tour of North India | Birding Tour in Nepal & Bhutan | Weekend Birding Bharatpur | Weekend Birding Harike National Park