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India A Photographer’s Paradise

India A Photographer’s Paradise

It is often said that summers are the best time to see Tigers in the wild.  In fact, the entire year is good for Tiger sightings, but for Tiger photography summer is a little better.   Now, it really depends whether you are an amateur photographer or a professional one.  But, one thing for sure is that the Tiger does not discriminate between the two categories, he would give equivalent odds to both.  Technology today has given an equal platform to everyone.  Undoubtedly it is the eye behind the camera which is important, but the technology has made life easier for beginners.  Yes, I am talking about digital cameras now available specifically for Wildlife photography.  So, consider yourself no less, as even the Tiger does not consider you any lesser.

You can request two Heads of State to shake hands again for that front page shot, but not the Tiger, and for that matter not any wild animal.  So, the onus is on you to make the most of what comes your way.  I have seen many professional photographers not happy with some exquisite opportunities they had to click the Tiger, while the amateurs were ecstatic with what they saw and captured.  There are a plethora of reasons for this difference in reaction to the same window of photography.

Now, the question arises, in which category you see yourself.  Are you just an amateur, a serious amateur or a professional photographer?  Each type requires a different awareness of the facts like, the terrain, habitat, tourism in the parks, what to expect and when, the light, etc.  Most importantly do not be swayed by what you have seen on the Discovery and National Geographic channels with regards to Wildlife photography.  You, as a normal photographer, will not get those chances, but maybe better, it is unto you how you use them.

This is where our expert photographer naturalists come into the frame.  When you do a safari with them, trust their advice regarding the placement of the vehicle and when they anticipate the Tiger to make an appearance.  They will guide you about Tiger behaviour and when to be ready for shots.  Time on hand at times is only a few seconds, by listening to them you will perhaps have taken a goldmine of shots.

Come and discover the photographer in you.

Duration: 25 Days
Places to Visit: New Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambhore – Bharatpur – Agra – Khajuraho – Bandhavgarh – Kanha – Nagpur – Kolkata – Guwahati – Kaziranga – Mumbai – Rajkot – Sasan Gir – Little Rann of Kutch – Ahmedabad – New Delhi


Day 1.  Arrival Delhi
Delhi, the capital of India, is an historical city, which attracts tourists because of its historical past. This city is a 1000 years old with many monuments and temples. Any visit to this city will be incomplete without a visit to these historical places. There are also many great market places with exquisite items which are worth having a stroll around. When you arrive at the airport in New Delhi you will be received by the representatives of Nature Safari India who will then take you to the hotel. Overnight at New Delhi.

Day 2. New Delhi
Morning: Visit the Old City of Delhi to see the historic Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque from the outside. See the colourful bazaar of Chandni Chowk and take a cycle rickshaw ride through the back streets of Old Delhi to get a first-hand experience of the hustle and bustle of this traditional city. This ride through the small by-lanes will be most fascinating. Return to the hotel for lunch or eat at an interesting restaurant in town.
Afternoon: Visit New Delhi, seeing the Qutab Minar, a tower of victory built in the 12th century and India Gate – the war memorial. Drive past the Rashtrapathi Bhawan, the residence of the President of India, the Houses of Parliament and the Government Secretariat buildings. Overnight in Delhi.

Day 3. New Delhi- Jaipur
After breakfast drive to Jaipur, 260km/5 hrs drive, on arrival check into the hotel.

Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan, is colour washed pink – the colour associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. This Pink City of fairy tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues, is picturesque. The first planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall. Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 4. Jaipur
In the morning proceed on an excursion to the Amber Fort with an Elephant ride up to the top of the Fort. Drive past Hawa Mahal, known popularly as the Palace of Winds, a facade built for the Ladies of the Royal household in the 19th century. The Amber Fort, the capital of the erstwhile State of Jaipur until 1728, is perched on a hill. It has halls of Public and Private Audience, a Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) and various marble palaces which are marvellous examples of ancient Rajput architecture. The Temple of Amba (Mother Goddess), the patron deity of the Royal family, is at the entrance to the palace.

Return to the town in the afternoon en route visiting the City Palace – the former royal residence built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal styles which houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armoury of the Mughals and Rajputs, including swords of different shapes and sizes with ornate handles. It has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Also visit the Jantar Mantar – an astrological and astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century, which is remarkable for its accuracy even in the present times. Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 5. Jaipur – Ranthambhore
After breakfast drive to Ranthambhore National Park. Lunch and afternoon game drive to the National Park. Dinner and overnight at resort.

Ranthambhore: With an area of 400 sq km encompassing rocky hill crests which descend to open valleys between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges, dotted with water pools and fruit trees, this Park gets its name from the thousand year old fortress, which looms above the forest. Well known for the diurnal activity of tigers, Ranthambore is a very special and unusual area where a natural present meets a historical past. Sambar, cheetal, chinkara, nilgai and langur can be seen. The elusive leopard and tigers are found in this reserve with tourists standing a very good chance of seeing tigers during the day.

Dotted across the landscape are the crumbling ruins of its past glory, be it chatris or cupolas, like palaces or old guard posts, all of which reinforce the magical and ethereal quality of this great wilderness.

Day 6. Ranthambhore
Morning & evening drives in the Park. Breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort.  During the day visit the famous Ranthambhore Fort (12 km from the Resort), a unique Rajput fort. It is a massive enclave but perhaps the only fort which is not visible from a long distance. Mughal Emperor Shah Alamgave it as a gift to Sawai Madho Singh I of Jaipur in 1754 AD and it was maintained as a private hunting reserve. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have stayed here.

The Archeological Department took it over in 1964. It is 1578ft above sea level and 750ft from the ground. Total area of the fort is about 7 miles. There is no driveway up to the fort, just the stairs. There are three big artificial lakes up in the Fort.

Day 7. Ranthambhore – Bharatpur
Morning game drive to the National Park. Later drive to Bharatpur 210 km/5 hrs drive. On arrival check into the hotel. Evening visit to the sanctuary.

Bharatpur is popular for its bird sanctuary – the Keoladeo Ghana National Park – in which there are over 400 species of water birds. The sanctuary covers an area of 40 sq km of swampy, lightly wooded terrain that was once the private hunting and shooting preserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur. Today it is the protected breeding ground for many species of birds and also the home of migratory birds, especially of the Siberian Crane, that spends its winter here. Colonies of cormorants, spoonbills, storks, egrets, herons, pelicans, ibis and grey herons can be spotted all over the park, besides a fairly rich inhabitation of deer and snakes. The best time to visit the park is from October through to March.The park can be explored either by foot, cycle rickshaws (the drivers are all very capable naturalists) or by boats on the lake.

Overnight in Bharatpur.

Day 8. Bharatpur- Agra
In the morning visit the Bharatpur Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary by cycle rickshaws. Later drive from the wilderness of the forests to the places of historic significance that mark the beginning of the next part of our trip, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri: This exquisite city built by Akbar the Great in 1569, in red sandstone, with its forts, palaces and mosques was abandoned 14 years after its creation due to political reasons. The Diwan-i-am – a vast courtyard in which the emperor gave a daily public audience; Diwan-i-khas – a large quadrangle which contained all the major functions of the Palace; Pachisi court, the Emperors private living quarter; Jodha Bhai’s Palace; Mariam’s Palace; Birbal’s Palace; Hawa Mahal and Panch Mahal are some of the important buildings of this residential complex. The Friday Mosque and the exquisite tomb of Sheik Salim Chisti are in the religious grounds set aside in a separate enclosure adjacent to the secular buildings.

Continue drive to Agra after visiting Fatehpur Sikri (49 km). On arrival, check in to the hotel.

Agra is famous as the home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces in Agra is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire. Agra was their capital for nearly a hundred years from 1564. A pleasant town, with a comparatively easy pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by artisans who are hereditary crafts persons.

The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.

Visit the Agra Fort, built by three Mughal Emperors starting from Akbar the Great in 1565 which is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings including the Moti Masjid, Jahangir’s Palace, Khas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal, Diwane-i-Am, Diwane-i-Khas and MusammanBurj, where Emperor Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor, died a prisoner. Later visit the Taj Mahal – the inimitable poem in white marble. Built over a period of 22 years, by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1630, for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains, it is one of the seven modern wonders of the World. The Taj is closed on Friday.

Overnight in Agra.

Day 9. Agra – Jhansi – Khajuraho
Morning sunrise visit to Taj Mahal and after breakfast transfer to the railway station to board an Executive Chair car train to Jhansi. Arrive Jhansi late morning and drive to Khajuraho 180km/4 hrs drive.

Khajuraho, discovered by chance, is India’s second biggest single tourist attraction. Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval temples that are adorned with numerous sculptures of extraordinary grace and delicacy celebrating the stylized and refined courtly accomplishments of beauty, love and creative arts. Once the religious capital of the Chandela Rajputs, the temples of the city date from 950-1050 AD. A wall with eight gates encloses the entire area and two golden palm trees flank each of them. Originally, there were over 80 temples, of which only 22 are now remarkably preserved. The set of temples at Khajuraho celebrating Hindu religious thought in its mystifying variety of scope and inclusion stands distinguished from rest of the Hindu temples. The temples highlight the existential ethos in religion that venerates ‘Yoga’ and ‘Bhoga’. ‘Yoga’ is union of the self with the Almighty, while ‘Bhoga’ is the path to God through physical pleasure. The temples at Khajuraho, dedicated to physical love and pleasure are a testimony to this philosophy. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1986, Khajuraho is a prominent, must-see destination and its temples are India’s unique gift to the world as they capture life in every form and mood in stone.

Evening Sound and Light show at Khajuraho. Overnight at Khajuraho.

Day 10. Khajuraho – Bandhavgarh
After breakfast drive to Bandhavgarh National Park 280 km/6 hrs. On arrival check into the resort. Lunch at resort and afternoon game drive to National Park. Dinner and overnight at resort.

Day 11. Bandhavgarh
Morning and afternoon game drives, meals and overnight at resort.

Bandhavgarh: The National Park is mainly known for its tiger population. This is the place where the famous White Tigers of Rewa were discovered. The best way to tour the Bandhavgarh National Park is on Elephant Back, which increases the chances of spotting a tiger. The other wild attractions in the Park include Nilgai, Chausingha, Chital, Chinkara, Wild Boar, Fox and Jackal. There are at least 22 mammal species and about 250 bird species in the Park. The grasslands in the Park support chinkara (Indian gazelle), nilgai (blue bull),chausingha (four-horned antelope) and wild boar. The dense forests contain sambhar (Indian stag), muntjac (barking deer) and the herds of chital (spotted deer).

The other animals found in Bandhavgarh are ratel, porcupine, small Indian civet, palm squirrel, lesser bandicoot rat, jungle cat, hyena, jackal, sloth bear and the elusive leopard.  The reptile population in the Park includes cobras, kraits, vipers, rat snakes, pythons, lizards and turtles. Two primate species – the rhesus macaque and the Hanuman langur – also inhabit Bandhavgarh Park.

The undergrowth is not as dense as in some northern terai forests, but the best time to see the Park inhabitants is still the summer months when water becomes scarce and the undergrowth dies back.

Day 12. Bandhavgarh – Kanha
Morning game drive, after breakfast depart for Kanha, 250km/6 hrs drive, with packed lunch.

Dinner and overnight at resort.

Day 13. Kanha
Breakfast, lunch and dinner at resort. Morning and afternoon Jeep safaris to the National Park.

Kanha National Park’s sal and bamboo forests, rolling grasslands and meandering streams stretch over 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendour which form the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve created in 1974 under Project Tiger. The Park is the only habitat of the rare hardground Barasingha.

This is original Kipling country of which he wrote so vividly in his Jungle Book and the same abundance of wildlife still exists today.

The forests of the Banjar valley and Halon valley, respectively forming Kanha’s western and eastern halves, had, even at the turn of the century, been famous for their deer and tiger population. By a special statute in 1955, Kanha National Park came into being. Since then, a string of stringent conservation programmes have been launched, for the overall protection of the Park’s fauna and flora. It is one of the best maintained National Parks in Asia, and a major attraction for avid wildlife buffs all over the world.

Kanha has many species of mammals. Some of the inhabitants of this Park are the gaur, the largest of the world’s cattle; the sambar, the largest Indian deer; and the chausingha, the only four-horned antelope in the world. Other frequent visitors include the Nilgai antelope, sloth bear, dhole, or Indian wild dog, and leopard. Some 200 species of birds inhabit the Park that include the cattle egret, black ibis, hawk eagle, and the red-wattled lapwing. Shravantal is an old, earthen bound tank in the central Kanha meadows, which happens to be an important watering hole, for a large number of water fowl in winter. Bamni Dadar, known as Sunset Point, is the most beautiful section of the Park, and the view of the sunset from this spot is absolutely mesmerising. Quite a few animals can be sighted around this area which include the sambar, gaur, the four-horned antelope and the barking deer.

Day 14. Kanha – Nagpur – Kolkata
Morning at leisure. Take packed lunch for drive to Nagpur 250 km/6 hrs drive to board a flight to Kolkata in early evening. Upon arrival in Kolkata transfer to the hotel. Overnight at Kolkata.

Day 15. Kolkata – Guwahati – Kaziranga
After breakfast transfer to the airport to board a flight to Guwahati. Meeting and assistance on arrival at Guwahati airport and drive to Kaziranga National Park 250 km/5hrs drive. Dinner and overnight at resort.

Day 16. Kaziranga
Morning and afternoon game drives, meals and overnight at resort.

Kaziranga National Park lies partly in Golaghat District and partly in Nagaon District of Assam. It is the oldest park in Assam and covers an area of 430 sq km along the river Brahmaputra in the North and the KarbiAnglong hills in the South. The National Highway 37 passes through the park area and tea estates, hemmed by table-top tea bushes. The Park is a world heritage site and was declared a national Park in 1974. The landscape is of sheer forest, tall elephant grass, rugged reeds, marshes and shallow pools.

Kaziranga National Park is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human presence. It is inhabited by the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tiger, elephant, water buffalo, gaur, leopard cat, otter and monitor lizard. Some of the birds that can be commonly sighted are theflamingo, crane, grey-headed fishing eagle, whistling teal, crested serpent eagle, open-billed stork, swamp partridge, osprey, cormorant, heron and marsh harrier.The Park is open from November to May. Safaris can be taken by jeep or on elephants or by a cruise in a boat on the Brahmaputra along the park.

Day 17. Kaziranga
Morning and afternoon game drives, meals and overnight at resort.

Day 18. Kaziranga – Guwahati – Mumbai
After breakfast drive to Guwahati 250km/5hrs to board a flight to arrive in Mumbai early evening. Meeting and assistance on arrival at Mumbai and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at Mumbai.

Day 19. Mumbai – Rajkot – Sasan Gir
Early morning flight to Rajkot. Arrive Rajkot and drive to Sasan Gir 165 km/4hrs drive. On arrival check into resort. Lunch and afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at resort.

Day 20. Sasan Gir
Morning and afternoon game drive to the National Park. Meals and overnight at resort.

Gir is the only home in India for the Asiatic Lion of which there are nearly 300 in the park. The Gir National Park lies in the Gujarat peninsula in South-Western India. The terrain is rugged with low hills and the vegetation is mixed deciduous, with stands of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak trees, interspersed with large patches of grasslands. The trees on the hills are sparse and stunted. Within the sanctuary there are numerous human settlements of cattle herders called Maldharis with an estimated 20,000 head of livestock (which, incidentally, forms a significant part of the Lion’s diet). There are also places of Hindu worship and pilgrimage and sulphur springs at Tulsi Shyam and Kankai Mata. The edges of the park have a good population of Indian Gazelle, protected by religious sentiments of the local people.

Day 21. Sasan Gir
Morning and afternoon game drive to the National Park. Meals and overnight at resort.

Day 22. Sasan Gir – Little Rann of Kutch
Full day drive from Sasan Gir to Little Rann of Kutch 343km/8hrs. Dinner and overnight at resort.

Day 23. Little Rann of Kutch
Full day safari at Little Rann of Kutch. Overnight at resort.

The Little Rann of Kutch is a birdwatcher’s paradise in winter. Houbara bustard, sandgrouse, desert chat, desert wheatear, nine species of larks, quails, gray francolin,etc are seen in the saline desert wilderness. Eagles, vultures, harriers and falcons can be seen hunting in the Rann. The marshes in the Rann, and nearby lakes like NawaTalao and Vanod Saran, attract huge flocks of water birds. Flamingos, pelicans, cranes, storks, ducks,etc can be seen in large numbers.

The Wild Ass Sanctuary is located in the Little Rann of Kutch. It covers an area of 4954 km². The Sanctuary is named after a sub species of wild ass (Equushemionuskhur), the last population of which it harbours. The Rann is one of the most remarkable and unique landscapes of its kind in the entire world. It is a vast desiccated, unbroken bare surface of dark silt, encrusted with salts which transforms into a spectacular coastal wetland after the rains. The present saline desert of the Little Rann (saline desert-cum-seasonal wetland) of Kutch is believed to have been shallow sea.

Day 24. Little Rann of Kutch – Ahmedabad – New Delhi

Morning game drive at Little Rann of Kutch and later drive to Ahmedabad to board a flight to New Delhi to arrive in the evening. Meetings and assistance on arrival at New Delhi and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at New Delhi.

Day 25. Fly back home
Transfer to international airport at appropriate time for flight back home.


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