India | Into the Wilds of India: Tigers and Beyond

India | Into the Wilds of India: Tigers and Beyond

About this trip

Often overlooked in favor of its cultural treasures, India’s resplendent natural heritage is also a vital part of the country’s identity. Go deeper into the heart of wild India through the stories of its conservationists and its most beloved resident: the Bengal tiger. Along with game drives to spot one of these elusive creatures, learn about the efforts to protect their dwindling populations, including those of Kailash Sankhala, who founded Project Tiger in 1973. You’ll witness his family’s conservation legacy firsthand during your stay at their ecolodge in Kanha, and discover their connection to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Along the way, spot other wildlife like Barasingha deer, Indian bison, langur monkeys, and sloth bear, plus get a taste of bustling Delhi and its rich history of pre-colonial empires and cultures.

Highlights

  • Go on game drives accompanied by a local naturalist and park guide for the best chances to spot tigers and other wildlife in three of India’s best parks and reserves.
  • Discover the conservation story of the Bengal tiger at Kanha Jungle Lodge, operated by the family of Kailash Sankhala, India’s “Tiger Man” and pioneering conservationist.
  • Gain a new perspective on the safari experience as you hike through Satpura National Park on foot, a rare opportunity.
  • Learn about Indira Gandhi, India’s first female prime minister and champion of tiger conservation.
  • Take a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi to get a glimpse into India’s cultural past and present.
11 Travelers

$6,125

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$5,495

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Day 1

Depart States

Delhi

Day 2

Arrive at the international airport in Delhi, clear customs and immigration, and meet your representative and transfer to the hotel. Check-in is available beginning at 2 pm. Continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE, Delhi has been the capital of kingdoms and empires, and today is a sprawling metropolis that encompasses this fascinating blend of past and present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of this ancient land.

Overnight at The Visaya

Delhi

Day 3

After breakfast, be transported back in time to the grandeur and eventual ruin of the Mughal Empire, which ruled from the 16th century to the mid-19th century. Visit Jama Masjid, India's second largest mosque, and admire its tapering minarets and marble domes. Stroll through streets and markets where royalty once roamed, savor the fragrances of boisterous spice markets, be dazzled by India's largest jewelry markets, and glimpse the once?glorious havelis (royal mansions) of Old Delhi. Alternating between walking and rickshaw rides, we'll discover hidden gems as we explore the narrow alleys and 350?year-old markets of this city built at the pinnacle of the Mughal period. Afterwards, visit the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, once the residence of the former Prime Minister of India, and the site where she was assassinated in 1984. Learn more about her life, death, and politics, as well as that of her son Rajiv Gandhi, who served as Prime Minister after his mother's assassination, and who himself was assassinated in 1991. The museum houses a collection of rare photographs documenting the Nationalist Movement, which sought independence from Great British colonial rule, as well as personal mementos of the Nehru?Gandhi family and clippings of Rajiv Gandhi's funeral pyre. Learn about Indira Gandhi's work as a champion of tiger conservation, and later hear a lecture about Project Tiger, a government conservation program launched in 1973 during her tenure.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at The Visaya

Kanha National Park

Day 4

After breakfast, leave the bustling city behind and journey into tranquility of India's wilderness. First take a flight to Raipur, then make a driving transfer to Kanha (about a 4?5 hour drive). Kanha National Park, on the Chhota Nagpur Plateau in Madhya Pradesh, is under the purview of Project Tiger and provides breathtaking vistas of grassy plains and strands of mixed sal/teak forests. This 366-square-mile preserve was planned to save two endangered species, the Bengal tiger and the Barasingha deer. This evening, watch the award-winning Discovery Channel documentary, "Tigerland," which focuses in part on Kailash Sankhala, the founder of Project Tiger. Sankhala's grandchildren run and manage Kanha Jungle Lodge, your accommodation for the next three nights. Spend the evening getting to know this family whose heritage in tiger conservation dates back three generations.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge

Kanha National Park

Day 5

Today we'll embark on early morning and afternoon visits to Kanha National Park in a 4x4 Jeep with an English-speaking naturalist. You will have an opportunity to see wild dogs (more commonly known as dhol), chital (spotted deer), gaur (Indian bison), munjak (barking deer), sambhar (deer), leopard, and sloth bear. Kanha is also the only place in the world where you can spot Barasingha deer in the wild, thanks to the successful conservation program that virtually saved them from the brink of extinction. Enjoy a picnic breakfast in the middle of the jungle with a cup of hot tea or coffee, and later lunch at the lodge. In the winter months, warm clothes, woolen caps, and gloves are needed for morning safaris in the open 4x4. Blankets are provided for extra comfort and protection.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge

Kanha National Park

Day 6

Continue with morning and afternoon wildlife drives in Kanha National Park in a 4x4 Jeep with an English-speaking naturalist.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge

Pench National Park

Day 7

This morning, drive from Kanha to Pench (4?5 hour drive). Pench National Park is located on the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, nestled in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura Mountain Range. Named for the Pench River, which meanders through the park from north to south, Pnech covers 295 square miles. Notably, the present-day Pench Tiger Reserve and its surroundings are the original setting for Rudyard Kipling's famous work, "The Jungle Book." The undulating topography supports a range of vegetation, from moist, sheltered valleys to open, dry deciduous forest. Over 1,200 plant species have been recorded here, including several rare and endangered plants and plants of ethno?botanical importance. The area is also rich in wildlife; the high habitat heterogeneity favors large populations of chital and sambar. In fact, Pench Tiger Reserve has the highest density of herbivores in India.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Jamtara Wilderness Lodge

Pench National Park

Day 8

As soon as dawn breaks, set out on a morning jungle safari through Pench National Park, accompanied by a resident naturalist and forest park guide in 4x4 Jeeps. After lunch, return to the 4x4 Jeeps with your naturalist and guide to go on an afternoon jungle safari and continue the search for target species.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Jamtara Wilderness Lodge

Pench National Park

Day 9

Continue your exploration of Pench National Park with morning and afternoon game drives.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Jamtara Wilderness Lodge

Satpura National Park

Day 10

After breakfast, depart Pench and drive to Satpura National Park, located in south Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh. The 820-square-mile park is the core area of the Panchmarhi Biosphere Reserve, and has an elevation of 1,050 to 4,350 feet, with tall sandstone mountains, narrow gorges, ravines, waterfalls, streams, and dense forests. The area boasts two distinctive species of trees, the sal and the teak, as well as many varieties of ferns, mango trees, butterflies, and birds.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge or Forsyth Lodge

Satpura National Park

Day 11

Go on morning and afternoon wildlife drives in Satpura National Park by 4x4 Jeep with an English?speaking naturalist. You will also have the opportunity to explore the park beyond the safari vehicle - on foot, by elephant, and by boat. Satpura is the only tiger reserve that permits walking safaris in small groups (four, plus the guide) through the heart of the park and encourages a wide variety of activities that give visitors a much deeper insight into tiger country than is possible only by Jeep. Park management as well as Forsyth Lodge are involved with training local boys as naturalist guides to provide surrounding communities with access to skilled work, on the core belief that every well?trained guide is one less potential poacher.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge or Forsyth Lodge

Satpura National Park

Day 12

Continue with morning and afternoon visits to Satpura National Park by 4x4 Jeep with an English speaking naturalist.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge or Forsyth Lodge

Depart

Day 13

This morning is at leisure. After lunch, drive to Bhopal (4 hour drive). On arrival, transfer to the airport and board your flight to Delhi to connect with your international flight home.

Breakfast-Lunch- included

Day 14

Arrive States