The pages of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book come alive as you travel through India’s ancient civilizations, architectural wonders and lush nature reserves. Feel your heart pound while watching a magnificent wild tiger stroll through its native habitat; explore bamboo thickets and sal forests; watch the mahouts and their elephants as they search the jungle for tigers; be entertained at the amazing temples of Khajuraho and stand in reverence at the holy city of Varanasi. An exotic landscape of rich colors, textures and unique wildlife brimming with cultural wonders, you’ll be inspired to pen your own ‘Jungle Book.’
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
India is best visited during winter – October through March. During this time, there’s hardly ever any rain, and the days are warm – not hot – while the evenings are cool. During summer, it can be very hot, which is also the time of the monsoons, with a substantial amount of rainfall. It can be foggy in Delhi during the winter months. For our South India program, for best viewing of wildlife at Nagarahole, April/May is recommended, when the elephants congregate at the banks of the lake and can be seen in massive herds. It is warm, but the wildlife viewing warrants it. For our Wild India program, the parks close between June and mid-October when temperatures can soar to 120 degrees. For our Little Tibet program, this part of India is best visited June through September. Because of the high elevation and winding mountain roads, driving the rest of the year could be treacherous and it will be quite cold. June through September, the average temperature ranges from the low 60’s at night, to the high 80’s during the day. Delhi at this time of year will be quite hot and possibly rainy – temperature could be around 100 degrees.
Your adventure begins as you board your overnight flight to Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your luxurious hotel in the commercial district of Delhi. Spend the next day exploring one of the world’s most fascinating cities, India’s capital and political hub. This ancient city has something for everyone: history, architecture, religion, shopping and cosmopolitan culture. In Old Delhi, a labyrinth of crowded streets, see the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque; the Red Fort; and Raj Ghat, a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi. In New Delhi view the 12th century Qutab Minar, Humayun’s tomb, India Gate, the Presidential Palace and the Secretariat buildings, a blend of the Victorian and 20th century design. LALIT NEW DELHI HOTEL. (B, Welcome Dinner)
Begin your wildlife exploration through the jungles of India as you fly to Nagpur and proceed on a drive to Pench National Park. Nestled in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura Hills and named after Pench River, the landscape supports a mosaic of vegetation ranging from moist, sheltered valleys to open, dry deciduous forest with over 1,200 species of plants recorded in the area. As a result, Pench has the highest density of herbivores in India and is famous for large herds of gaur, cheetal, sambar, nilgai, and wild boar, and the predators they feed…tiger, leopard, dhole and wolf. Here, too, you can find sloth bear, chousingha, chinkara, barking deer, jackal, fox, palm and Indian civet, hyena and porcupine, as well as over 285 species of resident and migratory birds including the Malabar-pied Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, and White-eyed Buzzard. Your luxury tented camp evokes the era of yesteryear with all modern comforts, perfect for your exploration of the bush. JAMTARA CAMP. (B,L,D Daily)
Your drive through rural India takes you to Kanha National Park. Its lush forests, meadows and ravines provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The largest wildlife sanctuary in Asia, Kanha was one of the first Project Tiger reserves in India and is home to tiger, leopard, wolf, jackal, sloth bear, macaque, wild dog, and a stunning spectrum of birds. On jungle safaris in open 4x4 vehicles, watch for shy creatures hiding in the grasses and listen to the vibrant sounds of nature – mating calls, alarms, even casual roars. Walks can also be arranged, as well as visiting the local villages. Your environmentally friendly lodge sports all modern comforts. KANHA EARTH LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Embark on a lengthy but thrilling drive to Bandhavgarh National Park, a wildlife retreat where history and nature meet. Set amidst the Vindhyan Mountains, Bandhavgarh is home to the famous white tigers of Rewa, including the legendary Mohan, who reportedly has offspring in Zoos around the world. The park was once a hunting reserve for Rewa’s royal family, and an alarming number of tigers were killed in imperial times. Declared a national park in 1968, Bandhavgarh now has the highest density of tigers in the country. Other wildlife includes nilgai, chital, chinkara, gaur, sloth bear, dhole, wild boar and 250 species of birds. Your lodge is set in a sprawling estate of 12 acres surrounded by sal forest hills on all sides. KINGS LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Take to the road again for your drive to northern-most Madhya Pradesh and tour the Eastern group of the famed Khajuraho Temples. These enchanting structures, now a World Heritage Site, are considered the high point of medieval Indian architecture and offer a fascinating insight into the country’s spirituality. Each shrine is dedicated to a Hindu deity or the Jaina pantheon, and all celebrate the sublime beauty of everyday life. You will be inspired by the complex spires, erotic imagery and intricately carved sculptures depicting ordinary villagers – farmers, musicians, women applying make-up, etc. Your home is a tranquil haven nestled amidst eleven acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. TAJ CHANDELA HOTEL. (B, picnic lunch)
Tour the spectacular Western Temples of Khajuraho this morning before flying to Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world dating back 3,500 years and one of the seven sacred cities of Hindu, home to the holy shrine of Lord Kashi Vishwanath and one of only 12 shrines in India to Lord Shiva. Watch the Hindu ritual of Aarti performed at sundown. Next day, start your day with a boat ride on one of the most sacred sites – the holy river Ganges. Watch the faithful wash away their sins and view the cremation sites. Later, visit Sarnath, where Buddha preached his first sermon about enlightenment and tread in his footsteps while taking a stroll in Deer Park. Gaze at the Dhamekha Stupa – a majestic structure with beautifully carved stonework. Tour the Archeological Museum and the Mahabodhi Buddha Temple. If you wish, return to the river at sundown for another Aarti performance. THE GATEWAY HOTEL. (B,L,D)
Greet the day with a last early morning. Hindus believe that bathing in the river will remit their sins, and that dying in the city circumvents rebirth – cremation ceremonies along the river are numerous. Afterwards, visit various beautiful temples and pass by old-world shops filled with exquisite handmade silks. Then fly to Delhi where a day room awaits you at the CROWN PLAZA GURGAON. This evening, bid farewell as you board your overnight flight home, with incredible memories and images. (B,D; Meals Aloft)
Extend your journey and discover what makes the Taj Mahal so famous around the world—perhaps no other historical monument has evoked as much awe and admiration; the ultimate requiem of love, it was built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved wife. Marvel at the perfect symmetry and the way the marble reflects an array of hues in the sunlight. Then, continue to the “Pink City” of Jaipur, with its aristocratic atmosphere, unique architecture, and amazing shopping opportunities. Explore the Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, the complex of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar. Jaipur will delight both the historian as well as the shopper... stroll through the streets full of crafts: custom jewelry, pottery, leather goods, stonework, etc.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
Sign up today for exciting news, upcoming promotions and interesting stories in the world of conservation, nature and travel. For every person that signs up, Classic Escapes will donate $1 to our featured conservation.