This exciting family tour combines two of the country’s most fascinating cultural and ancient sites, namely Khajuraho and Varanasi, and an opportunity to visit the Tigers of Bandhavgarh.
Starting at India’s capital city, Delhi, we take you to see the magnificent monuments of the Mughal times and the architectural gems of British and modern India. The sightseeing will include Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Raj Ghat, glorious Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Asia’s largest mosque—the Jama Masjid, Lutyen’s Delhi of the British Raj to see the India Gate, President’s Residence and Houses of Parliament, and modern India’s architectural marvels like the Bahai Temple. You are free to sample the varied cuisine options available in the gourmet city. We take the overnight train from Delhi to the ancient holy city of Varanasi. Situated on the banks of river Ganga, it was best described by Mark Twain, “The oldest living city. Older than legend, older than traditional, older than all of these put together”.
The old city, best explored on foot and cycle rickshaws, can be very chaotic but exotic at the same time. The magical sight of sunrise bathing the banks with gold is an unforgettable sight to behold. With boats sailing past, pilgrims taking holy dips, cremations and birth rites being performed under picturesque iconic umbrellas, clothes being washed, there is never a dull moment on the 800-odd ghats of this holy river. The evening Aarti at the busiest—Dashashvamedha Ghat—is spectacular to say the least.
After exploring this fascinating and unforgettable destination, we take a flight to Khajuraho to see the magnificent Khajuraho Temple complex, the most iconic manmade structure in India after the Taj Mahal. Built by the Chandela dynasty of kings between 8–9th Century, it is now a World Heritage site. The 25 temples at Khajuraho are best known for depiction of various explicit sexual poses, along with the usual scenes of dancers, musicians, processions, domestic, courtly and social scenes. They are considered to be a version of pure Kamasutra in stone. Outside the temple complexes, there are lovely cafes serving traditional and international cuisine and hosts of shops selling curios for the tourists that visit Khajuraho. Among other artefacts and jewellery, beautiful brass statues are great buys as souvenirs.
A pleasant 5-hour road trip takes us away from the manmade to the beautiful natural forests of Bandhavgarh National Park. A great place to sight the revered but endangered Tigers, among other mammals and birds. A beautiful drive from Khajuraho with lovely views of rural Madhya Pradesh, you will get to see a glimpse of typical central Indian flora, vistas, architecture and way of living. A perfect start to the adventure ahead.
Bandhavgarh is uniquely famous as a forest offering nearly 100 percent chance of Tiger sightings! The density of the Tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. Along with the majestic Tigers, one can hope to see more than 20 species of mammals and 250 species of birds.
In the park, you can taste the real adventure of a jungle safari. The excitement begins to build up as we take you to the core of the forest and you begin to hear and spot the animal and birds. You can also choose to explore birdlife in the forests, fort or adjoining areas, like the Bhadrashilla Lake, Gadhpuri Dam and Bhambhera Dam, which are ideal for birding. A trip to the ancient temple ruins at the 2000-year-old Bandhavgarh Fort is also a great option. You can either explore it in a jeep or follow the steep trekking path on foot with our trained local guides. Along with thrilling safaris, for those interested, we can also arrange a village visit or cultural performance of local tribal dance. Also recommended is a visit to the Baghel Museum, housing precious belongings including a stuffed white Tiger of the Maharaja of Rewa who maintained Bandhavgarh as his game reserve.
In Bandhavgarh, along with Tiger, you can see Leopard, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Barking Deer, Nilgai “Blue Bull”, Indian Gazelle, Striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Common Langur, Rhesus Macaque and more.
The vegetation along streams and marshes is rich in bird life. The common species of birds seen here are Egrets, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Oriental Darter, Yellow- and Red-wattled Lapwings, Egyptian Vulture, Kingfishers and Indian Rollers. Reptilian fauna include Cobra, Krait, Viper, Rat Snake, Python, Turtles and a number of Lizard varieties.
Checking into Monsoon Forest, a unique eco-lodge with luxury tents and indigenous central Indian mud house styled architecture, serenity seeps into you. With beautiful grasslands, views of the forest and the Bandhavgarh Fort in the distance, it’s an ideal base to explore the magic of Tiger spotting. Be prepared to have a fabulous stay as they go out of their way to make your stay most memorable. Special romantic dinners, traditional massages, and yoga sessions are also an option at this resort.
After fantastic wildlife sightings and a relaxing stay over the three nights at Monsoon Forest in Bandhavgarh, we take the flight back to Delhi where our tour ends.