India Tiger Quest Photo Itinerary
Day 1: Delhi, India
Arrive in New Delhi and transfer to the Taj Mahal Hotel. One of the most distinguished addresses in India’s capital, this elegant hotel ensures a comfortable transition to India as you settle in for the next two nights. The evening is at leisure with dinner on your own—try one of the hotel's many fine restaurants, or inquire with the concierge for nearby suggestions.
Day 2: Discovering Old Delhi
India’s capital offers a spellbinding introduction to the country—not to mention quite a contrast to the wilderness and wildlife we will soon be encountering. Explore and photograph Old Delhi on a half-day guided tour as we embark on a rickshaw ride that reveals the many layers of its complex and captivating history. We take a stroll through the bylanes, including bustling Chandni Chowk Market, and visit Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque and the architectural magnum opus of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Built in the mid-17th century, the stunning creation is constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble, with a vast inner courtyard that can hold 25,000 people. We also visit Bangla Sahib, one of the country's most revered Sikh temples. The complex is associated with Guru Har Krishan and includes the main temple, a school, a sacred water tank and a large community kitchen that generously prepares over 10,000 free meals each day, known as langar, all cooked by volunteers using donated ingredients from Sikh farmers. This evening we gather with our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner and overview of our photo safari ahead.
Day 3: Jaipur / Ranthambore National Park
This morning we transfer to the Delhi airport for our short flight to Jaipur, known as India’s stately “pink city” for the trademark stone from which it is built. From Jaipur, we travel by road to Ranthambore National Park and our luxurious 5-star tented accommodations that are inspired by the opulent caravans of the royal families. We spend the next four nights surrounded by tranquil gardens, forest and grasslands that are the domain of the Bengal tiger, staying in utmost comfort within excellent proximity to the park. After a quick
Days 4–6: Ranthambore National Park
The former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park offers India’s best opportunity to observe and photograph tigers in the wild, at this time of year. Tucked between the rugged Aravalli and Vindhya hills, the reserve is a broad swath of jungle scrub bordered by steep, rocky ridges and highland plateaus dotted with lakes. The dry, deciduous habitat generally makes it easier to spot tigers here than in other locations where the vegetation is more dense and lush.
We head out in our safari vehicles early in the morning, usually before dawn. In contrast to African wildlife, the animals in India take work to find. Tigers tend to remain under the cover of trees and bushes, hiding from their prey and finding relief from the heat. Because their striped coats
At the same time, we look for myriad other wildlife. In addition to tigers, healthy populations of spotted deer, nilgai, jackal, jungle cat, sambar, chinkara gazelle, wild boar, langur monkeys and rhesus macaques thrive here, as do sloth bear. The park is also home to a sizable number of leopards, though they are shy and tend to stay in higher, more inaccessible areas. More than 300 bird species inhabit the reserve, ranging from crested serpent eagles to paradise flycatchers, peacocks
Day 7: Sawai Madhopur / Delhi / Depart
This morning we transfer to the railway station for our return train journey to Delhi. Day rooms are available to us in Delhi before we transfer to the airport for flights home.
Physical Rating: Easy to Moderate
In order to participate in this trip, you must be able to walk unassisted at a steady pace for at least one mile over uneven terrain, climb a short ladder to get into and out of our safari vehicles, and tolerate daily excursions in extremely hot conditions. Although we avoid the hottest part of the day during our outings, note that temperatures can be very high and may exceed 110°F. Activities include a city walking tour that could be as long as three miles, walking with luggage through crowded airports and train stations, and walking on sometimes dark and uneven paths at our accommodations. Wildlife drives in the park take place on very rough and bumpy dirt roads with many ruts and potholes, in extremely dusty conditions. Travelers with back problems or other health issues that could be exacerbated by such conditions should take this into consideration. The trip also involves very early morning starts (before dawn) and long days filled with activities, which can be very tiring, especially in the heat.