February 24 - March 15, 2022
Explore the heart of India and its famous wildlife reserves and national parks as you seek beautiful birds, magnificent tigers, and a multitude of other mammals. Soak in India’s wildlife for six days in the vast Ranthambhore National Park and five days in the biodiverse Bandhavgarh National Park. Our comprehensive trip visits cultural marvels at the famous Taj Mahal and the Khajuraho Monuments en route from Ranthambhore to Bandhavgarh. You will also visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur, a unique wetland wildlife preserve where you will walk and ride in rickshaws around the bunds (embankments). While our focus is on tigers, you will have lots of opportunities to see other wildlife!
- Search for tigers and their prey, including Indian gazelles (chinkara), four-horned antelope (chowsingha), chital, nilgai (blue bull) in parks famous for wildlife: Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh.
- Enjoy primates, such as rhesus monkey and northern plains gray (Hanuman) langur.
- Photograph sunrise at the Taj Mahal and spend a morning among the famous Khajuraho temples.
- Experience India by 4×4 jeep, private bus, train, 4×4 vehicle, and rickshaw!
- Soak up the hospitality of India’s friendly people while staying in lovely accommodations.
Itinerary Updated: August 2020
|Feb 24–25||Travel to Delhi, India.|
|Feb 26||Arrive in Delhi, India.||Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport||B, L, D|
|Feb 27||Five-hour train ride from Delhi to Ranthambhore National Park, famous for its tigers.||Vivanta Sawai Madhopur Lodge, Rajasthan||B, L, D|
|Feb 28–Mar 4||Game drives in Ranthambhore National Park in open jeeps, each accompanied by one of our resident guides.||Vivanta Sawai Madhopur Lodge, Rajasthan||B, L, D|
|Mar 5||Five-hour drive to Keoladeo National Park, situated next to Bharatpur.||The Bagh, Bharatpur||B, L, D|
|Mar 6||Morning wildlife watching in Keoladeo National Park, then drive to Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.||The Gateway Hotel, Agra||B, L, D|
|Mar 7||Sunrise at the Taj Mahal! Mid-morning nine-hour train ride to Khajuraho.||The Lalit Temple View, Khajuraho||B, L, D|
|Mar 8||Morning at Khajuraho temples, then drive in our 4x4 vehicle to Bandhavgarh National Park.||Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh||B, L, D|
|Mar 9-12||Spend the mornings and afternoons game driving (one afternoon you will have a bird walk as the park is closed that day) by open jeeps.||Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh||B, L, D|
|Mar 13||Last morning game drive in Bandhavgarh. Drive four hours to Jabalpur, and then fly to Delhi.||Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport||B, L, D|
|Mar 14||Flights homeward.||B|
|Mar 15||Arrive home.|
Our Trip Leaders
Sunil has 15 years of experience as a naturalist, including Bharatpur where he lives, Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Ranthambhore, Kanha Jungle Lodge, and many others. He earned his master’s degree and is a member of Life Line for Nature Society, the Bombay Natural History Society, World Wildlife Fund for Nature India, and the Guide Association of Keoladeo National Park. He participates in mammal censuses, non-native plant eradication, such as water hyacinth removal, and in vulture surveys. He is a wonderful teacher with a great personality.
Gail is a naturalist of the best kind–self-taught through a lifetime in the field fueled by a deep passion for wildlife. Her attention to trip details and individual desires ensures that each Cheesemans’ traveler has the experience of their dreams. Gail has a true spirit for conservation that drives her actions on many issues, both local and worldwide. Together, Gail and Doug make a team of remarkable ecologists who seek to inspire others to enjoy and conserve the Earth’s wild landscapes.
Doug leverages his expertise gained during 35 years of teaching ecology and zoology at De Anza College to offer travelers a unique learning experience in wildlife-rich regions of the world. Doug and Gail have led over 70 trips to Africa, especially to Tanzania and Kenya, since 1978. They also led many trips to all corners of the globe including the Antarctic, South America, Australia, and Asia. A love of photographing wildlife behavior and giving college-level lectures to interested groups adds to his accomplishments.
Ansar specializes in wildlife photography and guides many wildlife tours in northern and eastern India and in Bhutan. He is an expert on India’s birds and mammals. Ansar was born at Bharatpur and comes from a family of foresters who have worked in the Keoladeo National Park for two generations. Many of his photographs have appeared in magazines and books. He is also active with Life Line for Nature Society, a Bharatpur-based nonprofit working towards the welfare and conservation and wildlife and nature.
Mohan Singh Solanki
Mohan turned his childhood passion into a flourishing profession. He graduated from University of Rajasthan in India and was awarded Naturalist Guide's title from the Government of Rajasthan’s Department of Forest and is an approved tourist guide from Government of Rajasthan Department of Tourism Art and Culture. Using his vast knowledge of flora and fauna he has birded and guided all over India for more than 15 years, including Keoladeo National Park.
Born in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, Vishnu is a professional naturalist and ornithologist who has led trips throughout India since 1989. He has an extensive knowledge of both flora and fauna and spent a month leading a trip with Gail and Doug Cheeseman in 1989 covering Central, Eastern, and Western India. He wrote a book with his brother, Colonel Shyam Singh, on the birds of Bharatpur and is a member of Bombay History Natural Society (BHNS).
A glimpse into our journey
Arrive in Delhi, India
Upon arrival Delhi, India, our local agent will transfer you from the airport to the hotel. If you would like to arrive earlier, we can arrange divergent airport transfer and extra nights.
Train ride to Ranthambhore National Park
Enjoy a big breakfast at the hotel before you transfer to board a train for the five-hour ride to Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, where you will spend the next five days looking for tigers and other wildlife.
Game drives in Ranthambhore National Park
Feb 28–Mar 4
Ranthambore National Park is famous for its tigers, as it’s one of the best places in the country to see these majestic predators in the wild. The varied topography of the park is home to many mammals, including predators like jackal, mongoose, sloth bear, and leopard, but the main attraction is tigers. Surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravali hill ranges and located near the outer fringes of the Thar Desert, Ranthambore offers the best of the desert lands.
Drive to Keoladeo National Park
After checking out from the hotel, head out for five-hour drive to Bharatpur situated next to the World Heritage Site, Keoladeo National Park. Your hotel is on 12 acres in a 200-year-old former maharajas heritage garden with abundant bird life.
In the afternoon, you’ll head for the marshes of Keoladeo Ghana National Park, its official name. Keolade is the ancient Hindu temple in the center of the park, and Ghana refers to the dense forest of former times. Before becoming a national park, former maharajas protected the marshlands in the late nineteenth century, when it was created for duck hunting. Most of India’s wildlife reserves were once hunting reserves and this was the best duck hunting reserve until it became a national park where hunting was prohibited. You’ll ride in rickshaws around the bunds (embankments) to the best places for observing birds and mammals. Look for sambar, nilgai, and chital (spotted deer) in woodlands, grasslands, and in the shallow waters of the wetlands. If the weather is right, large Indian rock pythons come out of their underground hiding places to sun themselves.
Morning in Keoladeo Nation Park and drive to Agra
Spend your last morning in Keoladeo National Park observing wildlife. Take rickshaws around the bunds (embankments) to the far reaches of the park with stops along the way for great photography, where you may find darters, cormorants, ducks, geese, egrets, eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and dozens of other birds. After lunch, drive two hours to Agra.
Sunrise at the Taj Mahal and train ride to Khajuraho
Get up early to arrive at the Taj Mahal for sunrise – the most magnificent, stunning time of day with less people and fantastic photo opportunities. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved consort Mumtaz Mahal, this mausoleum is pure white marble. More than 20,000 people worked on the buildings and grounds, combining Persian, Turkish, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles, taking 22 years to complete! It is truly one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The surrounding grounds are home to Eurasian hoopoe, purple sunbird, green bee-eater, several species of doves, and other birds. Return to the hotel for a late breakfast before catching a train for a nine-hour journey to Khajuraho.
Khajuraho temples and drive to Bandhavgarh National Park
Khajuraho is known not only for its temples’ symmetry and design, but also for the intricate and erotic carvings on their walls, which are among the most creative examples of Indian architecture. Only 22 of 85 temples built between 950 and 1050 during the Hindu dynasty of the Chandela Rajputs remain today. Carvings depict griffins, nymphs, beasts, revolting demons, gods in cosmic evolution, fear, doubt, jealousy, ardent love, and consummate passion to name a few. Many of the temples are dedicated to the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The most magnificent, the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, is dedicated to Lord Shiva, representing Chandela art at its zenith.
After lunch, embark on the five-hour drive to Bandhavgarh, stopping to look for some waterbirds alongside a lake. Arrive in time for dinner at your lodge.
Search for wildlife in Bandhavgarh National Park
Much less visited Bandhavgarh National Park is full of fascinating historical monuments and wildlife. Because of the heat during this time of year, the tigers tend to gather at the water holes. With hills, valley, rivers, marshes, and meadows, the vegetative biodiversity in Bandhavgarh is unique. Tigers are the keystone species, but 34 mammal species, 260 bird species, and 70 butterfly species also call it home. The temples in the park also have tenth century rock carvings of the incarnations of Vishnu and among the temple rocks you may find blue rock-thrushes, crag-martins, and other birds.
You’ll spend the mornings and afternoons (one afternoon you will have a bird walk as the park is closed that
day) game driving by open jeep with a break in the middle of the day for walking, lunch, and rest. You’ll depart early enough to be at the national park gates when they open at dawn. While we cannot guarantee that you’ll find tigers each day, you will spend as much time in nature to increase your chances! You may find Indian gazelles (chinkara) grazing in the grassland areas with four-horned antelope (chowsingha), and nilgai (also known as blue cow and blue bull – the largest of the Asian antelopes). Rhesus monkey and the northern plains gray (Hanuman) langur are common in the park. The birding around the lodge is outstanding with parakeets, hornbills, minivets, leafbirds, flycatchers, and others. Where allowed, you will get to take walks.
Morning game drive and drive to Jabalpur
Spend the last morning on a game drive in the park, enjoy a late breakfast, and then embark on a four-hour drive to Jabalpur, stopping for lunch on the way, and then fly to Delhi.
Transfer to the airport for flights homeward.
Explore the heart of India and its famous wildlife reserves and national parks.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$11,750|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except for one-way flight from Jabalpur to Delhi), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$2,500|
|Second||April 30, 2021||$2,500|
|Final||September 30, 2021||Remaining Balance|
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $2,150 per person ($2,000 per person is for the pre-purchased, non-refundable and non-transferable game drives in Ranthambhore and Bandavgarh and Jabalpar to Delhi flight); $150 per person of the cancellation fee can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.
- All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
- Transfers between the Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport hotel and the Delhi Airport on February 26 and March 14.
- Accommodations for the nights of February 26 through March 13.
- Meals from breakfast on February 27 through breakfast on March 14.
- One-way flight from Jabalpur to Delhi; non-refundable and non-transferable.
- Transportation by private bus in Delhi, Ranthambhore, Bharatpur, and Agra.
- Game drives by 4×4 jeep in Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh; non-refundable and non-transferable.
- Train tickets from Delhi to Ranthambhore and from Agra to Khajuraho.
- Purified or bottled water during meals and in your hotel room.
- Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
- All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Round-trip airfare is approximately $850 to $1,500 between the US and Delhi, depending on origin.
- Passport and visa fees.
- We can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
- Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $22 to $25 per participant per day for February 26 to March 13 with our four resident guides (about $352 to $400 total per participant).
- Emergency medical and evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.
Temperatures generally range from around 70°F at night to 110°F during the day. Although most days will be hot, it can be cool and breezy in the early morning. Although it is the dry season, rain is possible
Most days consist of early mornings, game drives on uneven roads, and full days in nature that require good energy levels. Most walking is optional and around lodge grounds between game drives. Transportation between locations range between four and nine hours. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
Unless listed as included, airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Delhi, India (DEL) on February 26. Depart from Delhi, India (DEL) on March 14.
Flights we book for you: The one-way flight from Jabalpur to Delhi is included in the trip cost.
All lodges have air conditioning.
On game drives in the parks, you travel in open, six-passenger 4×4 jeeps that provide 360° viewing and excellent photography opportunities; we’ll have three participants in each vehicle sharing with one of our resident guides, a park ranger, and a park driver. In Keoladeo Ghana National Park you’ll have the opportunity to travel in a rickshaw. Between parks and cities travel by private bus, train, plane, or 4×4 vehicles (during our bumpy ride from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh).
Read our current Terms and Conditions.