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An intimate small group journey featuring behind-the-scenes wildlife experiences and once in a lifetime encounters.
Destinations > India > Conservation Collection: North India
25 Mar & 04 Nov '23
North India offers a wealth of wildlife riches from the great Himalayas to the vast Gangetic Plains.
On this twelve night itinerary we'll visit four very different wildlife areas, each offering its own iconic species and special experiences. From the Himalayan foothills and rivers to the dry jungles of central India, possible wildlife highlights include the big cats, Sloth Bear, Gharial, Indian Wild Dog, and many more species.
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The TreadRight Foundation is proud to endorse our inaugural Conservation Collection. These meticulously crafted itineraries are designed for curious travellers who share our passion for protecting people, wildlife and planet.
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Stay in unique, hand-picked accommodations that are evocative of your destination
Enjoy safaris and guided walks in some of India’s premier wildlife destinations
Each day you will be led by experienced guides to make the most of your experience
Discover the unique culture of this fascinating country
Back to India Tours
Set in a remote Himalayan valley on the Ramganga River, Vanghat is a charming lodge that is intimately involved in the local community and environmental programs.
We will meet Ram Pratap and Anu Singh Dilon, who together run the Mela Kothi – Chambal Safari Lodge, and are involved in a range of local conservation projects focused on the unique wildlife and people of the Chambal River.
We will visit the Wildlife SOS Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura. The Centre was established to rehabilitate abused and exploited captive elephants and is now home to over 20 rescued elephants.
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On arrival in Delhi we will be met and driven to our nearby hotel. The remainder of our first day is at leisure.
Depart Delhi after an early breakfast for the drive to Corbett, India’s oldest national park.
The park is renowned for the wide variety of habitats and, as a result, remarkably varied fauna. Over 50 species of mammal and nearly 600 species of birds have been recorded here.
This afternoon there is an option of exploring the forest surrounding the lodge on foot with a lodge expert and attune your senses to the sights, smells and sounds of the jungle. There is also a good chance to come upon larger mammals such as spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer and even a leopard or tiger. (B)(L)(D)
Today we will explore different zones within the park, taking in a wide variety of habitats and wildlife. Corbett is also home to remarkable birdlife, and we will seek out mixed feeding flocks which may include barbets, hornbills, flycatchers, green pigeons, woodpeckers and many others. The grounds of our lodge are also excellent for birdlife. (B)(L)(D)
We may have an opportunity for those who wish to take a guided walk through the buffer zone forest around our lodge.
After breakfast, we’ll venture towards a stretch of the Kosi River, where we can search for river birds, such as cormorants, different species of kingfishers, waders such as red shanks, and the beautiful wallcreeper which winters here. During the winter months this stretch is also home to the migrating ibisbill – a spectacular Himalayan species which is much sought after by birdwatchers.
We’ll then continue a short distance into the Himalayan foothills to Vanghat, our home for the next few days.
This special, secluded place is at one with the wild river valley surrounds and reaching it is an adventure in itself. Inaccessible by road, we will embark on a mile hike, a river crossing by raft and another short hike to reach our accommodations. This remote riverside lodge in the ravines adjoining Corbett Tiger Reserve and is a great example of sustainability. The simple cottages draw on local design and construction techniques, the staff are drawn from nearby villages, and the lodge supports important projects in health, education and wildlife research in the local community and beyond.
This afternoon we walk along the Ramganga River, home to remarkable birdlife including fishing eagles, forktails, vultures, and fish owls. (B)(L)(D)
Today we’ll explore some of the local trails from Vanghat on foot. Local guides will lead us as we seek out some of the special Himalayan foothills wildlife, for which the lodge is famous. Mammals regularly sighted include smooth-coated otter, barking deer, and the agile goral, a cliff-dwelling goat-antelope, and elephant also move through the area. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we will enjoy a final nature walk from the lodge before we travel onwards to Fort Unchagaon, on the Gangetic Plain.
After the first war of Independence in 1857, Fort Unchagaon was gifted by the British regime to a loyal landlord, Raja Gursahai Singh. The present incarnation of the home dates largely to the early 1930s. Learn of the colonial and pre-colonial history of the area, and explore the property’s grounds, and surrounding farmlands for insights into rural Indian life. (B)(L)(D)
After a leisurely start we continue south through the rural countryside of the Gangetic Plain to Mela Kothi - Chambal Safari Lodge. This is one of north India’s most charming wildlife lodges, family-run by passionate conservationists. The lodge works to protect the unique environment of the Chambal Valley and the grounds are an oasis for local wildlife, particularly birdlife including several species of owls.
Later we have the option to either relax at the lodge, take a nature walk, or visit the nearby temple town of Bateshwar. Situated on a crescent bend of the Yamuna River, Bateshwar is home to more than 40 temples of varying architectural styles, all dedicated to the glory of Shiva. (B)(L)(D)
The Chambal River is one of the few ‘unholy’ rivers in north India, which ironically has helped it survive relatively untouched and unpolluted. This morning we begin our exploration of the National Chambal Sanctuary with a boat ride along the river seeking out some of the wildlife that call this rugged isolated area home.
We are likely to see several of the remarkable and endangered gharial, as well as marsh mugger crocodiles and the Indian skimmer with its extended coral red bill.
In the afternoon, we’ll continue by jeep into the ravines, where Indian fox and striped hyena can be found.
This evening we’ll meet Ram Pratap and Anu Dillon Singh, the husband-wife team who were instrumental in the creation of the lodge and continue to run it as well as retain an active role in local conservation efforts. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast we depart for Agra, where we will visit the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation Center. We will volunteer for the day and learn of the incredible work that Wildlife SOS are doing to treat and rehabilitate rescued captive elephants from all over India, particularly those being used illegally and commercially under deprived conditions. In their sanctuary, elephants receive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and a safe, caring living environment for those unable to be returned to the wild.
Later we’ll visit the sublime Taj Mahal. This stunning white marble mausoleum was raised on the banks of the Yamuna River by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 1630s, in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. A World Heritage Site, it is described by UNESCO, as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we transfer to Agra’s railway station to board the Shatabdi Express to Bhopal.
Bhopal is the capital city of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The city carries a unique culture and tradition largely due to its rulers, which for generations were women. The Nawab Begums of Bhopal ruled between 1819 and 1926, and were dynamic and charismatic rulers. A cosmopolitan culture took root under the peaceful rule of the Begums. (B)(L)(D)
Our final destination is one of India’s finest national parks, Satpura.
The afternoon is at leisure before we embark on a safari at dusk to seek out some of the nocturnal denizens of these forests, which may include owls, nightjars, civets and maybe the rare rusty-spotted cat which is sometimes seen in the park buffer zones in the evenings. (B)(L)(D)
Our exploration of Satpura National Park continues today with two safaris. To enter the park, we cross the majestic Denwa River to board our safari jeeps, watching for crocodiles, storks and other water birds as we cross.
Chances of sighting special species such as Asiatic wild dog, sloth bear and tiger are good, but we will explore the park in search of all of its wild inhabitants. (B)(L)(D)
This morning we will explore the forest on foot. This is one of the few parks allowing walking safaris, so this is a unique and exhilarating Indian experience. It also offers a chance to focus on some of the smaller but no less fascinating inhabitants of the Indian jungles, from reptiles and insects to birds and squirrels.
After lunch, we’ll return to Bhopal, stopping en route at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhimbetka - where dramatic outcrops are home to ancient rock art that dates back 10,000 to 30,000 years. From Bhopal, we fly to Delhi where our journey ends. If you would like to extend your journey, speak with one of our destination specialists. (B)
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