2014 India Itinerary

Day 1

U.S. / En Route

Fly independently to Mumbai, India. (Meals Aloft)

Day 2


We arrive in Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) in the late evening, meet our guide and transfer to the Vivanta by Taj President Hotel, our home for the first two nights of our India travel tour. (Meals Aloft)

india tiger safari elephanta caves


Day 3


Following breakfast we visit our first UNESCO World Heritage site, 1,200-year-old Elephanta Caves, dedicated to Lord Shiva. We return to the Gateway of India for an introduction to Indian food at a local restaurant. The balance of the afternoon we’ll explore the great coastal city of Mumbai. The city tour will take in the downtown historic Fort area that includes Victoria Terminus (named UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004), Rajabai Clock Tower, High Court, Prince of Wales Museum and Crawford Market. We’ll continue along Marine Drive, known as the “Queens Necklace,” to the posh residential area of Malabar Hill for a panoramic view over Chowpatty beach and a short stroll through the Hanging Gardens. The Parsi Towers of Silence are also located in this area. We’ll tour the Jain temple and stop for a photograph at Dhobi Ghat, the city’s open-air laundry to name a few. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Days 4-6

Mumbai / Raipur / Kanha National Park

We fly to Raipur early in the morning and then drive to Kanha National Park, arriving in the late afternoon, picnic lunch en-route. Kanha is one of India's signature wildlife areas and often described as a model of wildlife conservation. The Sal forests, grasslands, flat-topped hills and streams here are home to a rich variety of wildlife and nearly 300 species of birds. We explore the park in open 4X4 jeeps in search of barasingha deer, Indian gaur, sambar deer, chital, wild boar, gray jackal, wild dog and troops of langurs. We keep an eye out for the park’s greatest prize of the India tiger safari: the Bengal Tiger. In addition to Bengal tiger, with luck we may even see leopard and sloth bear. During our three nights at Kanha Jungle Lodge, we enjoy stargazing, cooking demonstrations and a dance performed by local villagers. (B,L,D Daily)

india tiger safari


Day 7

Bandhavgarh National Park

After breakfast we drive to the renowned Bandhavgarh National Park. En-route we’ll visit a local home and stop in the sleepy town of Mandla (sacred city for Gond tribals) where the Narmada river, second holiest to the Ganges, is the center of activity. Temples and ghats line the banks of the river, and it may be possible to observe the Gonds performing their funeral rites. The main bazaar is interesting to explore with its shops selling tribal silver and bell metal (time permitting). Bandhavgarh National Park is one of India’s most important Tiger Reserves. The park is made up of rocky hills, lush deciduous forests, marshes and stretches of meadows. It is considered the best place in the world to observe wild tiger. Tonight we enjoy an outdoor barbeque dinner cooked over an open flame. Spend three nights at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge. (B,L,D)

Days 8 & 9

Bandhavgarh National Park

Morning and afternoon excursions are the ideal opportunity to search for Bandhavgarh's tigers and spot some of the park's 250 species of birds, including the vibrant peacock. Your naturalist guide will also point out various deer and antelope species, jungle cats and Indian wild dog (dhole).. (B,L,D Daily)

 india tiger safari khajuraho temple  


Day 10

Bandhavgarh / Khajuraho

We take a morning drive to Khajuraho, passing through the villages and countryside of Madhya Pradesh. In the afternoon we’ll visit the amazing temples adorned with vivid erotic stone carvings dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. Tonight dinner is at the Taj Chandela, where we spend the night. (B,L,D)

Day 11

Khajuraho / Orchha / Jhansi / Agra

This morning we drive to the medieval city of Orchha set amidst rolling hills and teak forest on the banks of the Betwa River. Orchha’s grandeur has been captured in stone. Palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain their pristine glory. We enjoy lunch at a hotel in town built in the traditional Bundelkhand architectural style. Late afternoon we depart for Jhansi Railway Station and board the Shatabdi Express to Agra. We’ll take a box dinner for the ride complimented by the service on the train. We overnight at Agra's ITC Mughal. (B,L,Box D)

india tour taj mahal  


Day 12

Agra / Fatehpur Sikri / Bharatpur

This morning we visit the spectacular Taj Mahal, a touchstone site that fully lives up to its reputation as one of the most glorious monuments in the world. Built by moghul Shah Jahan for his beloved wife the project took 22 years to complete. We also explore the famous Agra Fort with its imposing red sandstone, then continue to Bharatpur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (Victory City). Once the Mughal capital for 14 years, this walled city is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture. On arrival in Bharatpur we check into our beautiful palace hotel, the Laxmi Vilas Palace, our home for two nights. (B,L,D)

Day 13

Bharatpur / Keoladeo Ghana National Park

We have morning and afternoon excursions (walks and rickshaw) in Keoladeo Ghana National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered one of the world’s most important bird sanctuaries. The park spreads over 11 square miles of wetlands, and attracts a wide variety of migrant and water birds who arrive each winter from places as distant as Siberia. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve, including endangered Siberian cranes. Keoladeo’s dry area has mixed vegetation and is home to many animals including the famed Nilgai (Blue Bull), the largest of all Asiatic antelopes. (B,L,D)

india tiger safari sarus cranes


Day 14

Bharatpur / Samode

Drive to the sleepy village of Samode and spend two nights in the 18th century palace which dominates the hilltop. The nearby village is famed for the printed cloth and glass bangles produced by local artisans. (B,L,D)

Day 15

Samode: Jaipur

Today we drive to Jaipur, capital of the state of Rajasthan. It is known as the “Pink City” because of the reddish color applied to the old city walls and palace as a symbol of welcome to a visiting Prince. A labyrinth of fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces and historic sights, tradition and modernity exist side by side. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the notable astronomer, this city is 260 years old. Explore the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Maharaja's City Palace and the Observatory. Explore Amber Fort, Rajasthan's ancient capital. We continue to Sheesh Mahal or the Hall of Victory, glittering with mirrors. Return to Samode. The afternoon is free to explore the village. (B,L,D)

india tour amber fort jaipur  


Day 16

Samode / Delhi

Drive to Delhi and spend tonight at The Trident. (B,L,D)

Day 17

Delhi / En Route

We enjoy a full day of sightseeing round both Old and New Delhi. We begin this morning in Old Delhi including Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana - the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and drive past Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. Following lunch we visit New Delhi, designed by Sir Lutyens, New Delhi became political capital of India in 1911. Our afternoon includes Qutub Minar, built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibek in 1199, Humayun's Tomb and India Gate (War Memorial Arch). We’ll drive past President's House, Parliament House, Government Secretariat Buildings and Connaught Place, New Delhi’s main shopping center. We return to the hotel before our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. We transfer to the airport for the international flight check-in. (B,L,D)

Day 18

En Route / U.S.

Meet our connecting flights home. (Meals Aloft)

Please Note: Travel to India necessarily involves some inconveniences. The subcontinent is large, and there are some long travel days on very bumpy roads. The itinerary is fast-paced and there are at times long distances to walk to reach a site. Traversing hills, uneven terrain and steep stairs will also be necessary. Good mobility and stamina are necessary to get the most from this adventure.

A key reason to visit India is to see places and cultures that are very different from our own, and you will certainly have a wealth of extraordinary experiences. Your accommodations will be outstanding. But please bring a sense of humor and be prepared if things don't always go 100% according to plan — you'll enjoy your visit all the more.