Best Trips ~ Best Value!    888.875.9453

Northern India: Tigers and Taj

Tiger Northern India contains some of the world’s most impressive wildlife and cultural spectacles.

Famous Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur is renowned amongst birdwatchers and wildlife photographers worldwide. A fabulous array of herons, storks, cranes and wildfowl awaits us. Imperial and Spotted Eagles hunt over jheels inhabited by Purple Swamphens, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and improbably tall Sarus Cranes. Woodlands are home to Long-tailed Nightjars, Dusky Eagle Owls and Siberian Rubythroats and other attractions in this remarkable wetland include Porcupines, Jackals, magnificent Rock Pythons and the graceful Jungle Cat. Only a short distance from Bharatpur lies one of the most beautiful works of man, Shah Jahan’s love immortalized in marble, the incomparable Taj Mahal. Rajasthan’s beautiful Ranthambore National Park will keep us enthralled with its rich and abundant mammal fauna including that ultimate predator – the Tiger! A magnificent eleventh century fort overlooks forests, lakes and grasslands inhabited by Blackbuck, Blue Bull, Wild Boar, Sambar, Sloth Bear and a rich variety of birds.

An extension takes us 7500′ up into the Himalayan foot hills at Nainital where we can savor a completely new set of birds as well as magnificent views of the high Himalaya, and then down to the lovely Kosi River and Corbett National Park where the variety of birds and mammals is quite extraordinary. These legendary locations can be savored from the comfort of some superbly located lodges and hotels, allowing us to enjoy and photograph India’s classic wildlife at our leisure.

Focus: Birds, Mammals, Culture, Photography, Scenery, Butterflies

The India tour, with great views of birds, mammals, and iconic palaces as well as Rajasthan culture was easily the most memorable of some dozen overseas trips we have taken in the past few years.”

– Frank & Pat S., India Jan 2008

plum-headed-parakeet-600x220-BINNS-IMG_6758-copy-copy

  • Tour Cost
  • Number of Days (Length of Tour)
    15 days / 14 nights  - Rajasthan only
    22 days / 21 nights  - Rajasthan & Nainital, Corbett extension

     

    Dates & Cost

    November 22 - December 6, 2016 - Rajasthan only
    approx $5,600.00 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Delhi

    November 22 - December 13, 2016 - Rajasthan & Nainital, Corbett extension
    approx $7,600.00 for the full trip, based upon double occupancy from Delhi.

     

    Single Supplement
    If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to get a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $985.00 will be assessed for Rajasthan and additional $350 for the extension.

     

    What is Included / Not Included
    Included in the cost are all accommodations, meals, transportation, entrance fees and service of the leader(s) and local guides, from Delhi.

    Not included in the cost is the airfare to Delhi, visa, travel insurance, camera fees at some sites, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.

     

    Deposit
    $500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form

     

    How to Book
    In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.

     

    Final Payment
    Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date

  • Itinerary
  • Brief Itinerary:

    Day 1: Arrive Delhi

    Day 2: Jaipur

    Day 3: Jaipur; transfer to Ranthambhore

    Day 4-7: Ranthambhore

    Day 8: Ranthambhore; transfer to Bharatpur

    Day 9-12: Bharatpur

    Day 13-14: Transfer to Agra; Chambal

    Day 15: Agra; transfer to Delhi; end of main tour

    Extension:

    Day 16-17: Naintal

    Day 18-19: Kosi River and vicinity

    Day 20-21: Corbett National Park

    Day 22: transfer to Delhi; evening flight back to US

     

    Itinerary: Rajasthan

    Day 1: Evening flight arrival in Delhi.

     

    Day 2: Delhi to Jaipur
    Transfer by road to Jaipur. On our way we will get our first experience at some of the more common and exotic species that make up this part of the world. In the afternoon we’ll explore some of the cities showcase Rajasthani architecture with visits to the fantastic Palace of the Winds and Observatory.

     

    Day 3: Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur
    This morning we’ll visit the spectacular Amber Fort on the outskirts of Jaipur where we ride elephants to the main courtyard. After lunch we drive to Sawai Madhopur, situated near Ranthambore Reserve, and our base for the next 5 nights.

     

    Day 4-7: Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
    While not guaranteed Ranthambore’s tigers are frequently encountered in broad daylight. We have given ourselves a fine opportunity of seeing and hopefully photographing them with four days in the park. Impressive numbers of Sambar and Spotted Deer also graze these grasslands and are sometimes joined by Indian Gazelles. Other mammals we may encounter are Brown Mongoose, Golden Jackal, and Sloth Bear. Other cats are here too: Jungle Cats can sometimes be seen stalking sandgrouse or doves in the grasslands in the beautiful evening light. Leopards sometimes saunter across the tracks, particularly in the steep and wooded hills surrounding the hugely impressive Rajput fort of Ranthambore, which overlooks the park's main lake. Langurs frequent the battlements whilst overhead Bonelli's Eagles and Crested Serpent Eagles soar. Peacocks swagger through these open woodlands and above them Small Minivets, White-bellied Drongos and Blossom-headed Parakeets perch in fruiting trees, often in company with groups of Indian Tree-pies and Yellow-legged Green Pigeons. Stork-billed Kingfishers, their huge dagger-like bills making them look top-heavy, hunt along small rivers inhabited by Mugger Crocodiles and the secretive Brown Crake.

    Outside the park are arid grasslands, which are home to Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Indian Courser and the Bengal Fox. At Lake Soorwhal we can find a rich variety of birds and herds of the rare Blackbuck. This is a superb birdwatching site with the possibility of flocks of Demoiselle Cranes, White Pelicans and lots of waders including Great Thick-knee and Small Pratincoles.

     

    Day 8: After a morning visit to the lovely 11th century Ranthambore Fort we take the early afternoon train to Bharatpur, where we’ll be based at the beautiful Bagh for 6 nights.

     

    Days 9-12: Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur
    Bharatpur is one of the most important wetlands in the world and its abundant wildlife is very approachable making this paradise an absolute mecca for wildlife photographers. Early mornings are quite magical as mists rise from the water-lily bedecked jheels, obscuring the legs of a stately Blue Bull as it stands by a row of Jamun trees, these covered in the ghostly shapes of numerous Painted Storks - this is what Bharatpur is all about! Black-necked Storks stand nearly five feet and taller still are Sarus Cranes, which move solemnly through sedge beds, looking skyward as flocks of Common Cranes descend noisily from the sky. Cormorants, Darters and Comb Duck are all common, and stunning Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas decorate the Sapan Mari Jheel. Brightly colored kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers flash past Babul trees overhanging pools where Purple Swamp-hens congregate.

    Amidst the adjacent forest dotted by pools, Bluethroats, Orange-headed Ground Thrushes, Indian Grey Hornbills and Coppersmiths inhabit the nearby cover as do roosting Long-tailed Nightjars, confident in their beautiful cryptic camouflage. Spotted Owlets roost in the garden and we'll hear the deep hoarse hoots of Dusky Horned Owls while Collared Scops Owls peer down at us from their roosts. Raptors really are exceptional here, with Imperial Eagle, Spotted Eagle, Red-headed Vulture and the ubiquitous Crested Serpent Eagle all-featuring. Dry lands offer yet another selection with Sirkeer Malkoha, Yellow-wattled Lapwing and the beautiful Red Avadavat, whilst beautifully patterned Rock Pythons bask in the sunshine. Bharatpur is also fantastic for mammals. Sambar and Blue Bull will be sighted daily whilst boisterous groups of Wild Boar splash in the shallows. We will likely hear the eerie calls of Golden Jackals before seeing our first one. Rhesus Macaques argue noisily in Kadam trees and Common Grey Mongoose wander along the paths as if they own them!

    On one day we’ll make a full day excursion to Bund Bertha where we have a good chance of seeing the rare Indian Skimmer. Great Thick-knees and Asian Openbills can usually be found along the shoreline and an assortment of thrushes and warblers in the scrub and woodland vegetation.

     

    Day 13: Bharatpur to Agra
    Today we drive to Agra with an en-route visit to Fatehpur Sikri, the magnificent fortified city that was the capital of the Mughal Empire for a brief period. Later we visit the vast Agra Fort whose red sandstone ramparts protect wonderful pavilions of such intricate workmanship and mosques and audience halls decorated with ornate pillars inlaid with jasper and lapis lazuli.

     

    Day 14: Chambal
    Boat ride on the Chambal River for Black-bellied Tern, Indian Skimmer, Gharial and Gangetic Dolphin.

     

    Day 15: Agra to Delhi
    This morning we visit the Taj Mahal, the zenith of Mughal architecture and one of the most fabulous monuments in the world. This magnificent building is an experience not to be missed. Along the Yamuni River are Black-bellied Tern and River Lapwings. After lunch we’ll return to Delhi.

     

    - For those that are ending the tour, you will have a late evening return flight.

     

    - For those continuing on the extension to Nainital & Corbett, we will be taking the overnight sleeper train from Delhi to Kathgodam.

     

    Days 16-21: Extension to Nainital & Corbett
    To complete your sampling of Northern India's fabulous and varied wildlife our extension takes us by train into the foothills of the Himalaya and high into the hill station at Nainital, where we’ll be based for 2 nights. The panorama of great Himalayan peaks (including 26,000 foot Nanda Devi) away to the north is quite astounding and the birdwatching is excellent too with Lammergeiers and Himalayan Griffon Vultures soaring over the convoluted landscape. Various laughingthrushes and accentors are on the agenda and in woodlands are some of the glorious jewels of these hills such as Golden Bush Robin, Fire-capped Tit, Red-flanked Bluetail and the immaculate Red-billed Blue Magpie. In Nainital's parks, gardens, meadows and pine forests we can see Black-headed Jay and the stunning Great Barbet whilst brilliantly colored Slaty-headed Parakeets are abundant.

     

    From Nainital we head back downhill to the wonderfully situated Den (formally the Quality Inn), where we'll spend two nights here and two at the basic Dhikala compound in Corbett as we explore the Kosi River valley and Corbett National Park.

     

    This is a fantastically rich area. Fabulous White-crested Laughing Thrushes will wake us with their maniacal laughter whilst Pallas's Fish Eagles and Mountain Hawk Eagles patrol the skies above the Inn. Both Tawny and Brown Fish Owls roost in trees down by the Kosi River where beautiful White-crowned and Plumbeous Water-Redstarts as well as the stunning Spotted Forktail live. Wintering Wallcreepers are not uncommon here and there is always the chance of an Ibisbill! Jungle Cats, Leopards and Tigers are all possible here and inside Corbett, where the supporting cast includes Hog Deer and birds such as the gorgeous Green Magpie, elegant Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, an amazing variety of woodpeckers, bulbuls and drongos and the rapacious Collared Falconet, itself no bigger than a sparrow. By the unspoiled banks of the Ramganga River we can watch the Gharial, a prehistoric-looking fish-eating croc, whilst strident Himalayan Crested Kingfishers patrol the banks.

     

    Day 22: On the last day we return to Delhi by road, crossing the Ganges en-route. Late evening return flight back to the US.

  • Accommodations
  • A variety of accomodations, all with ensuite facilities, with the majority being good and comfortable. On the extension, the rooms at Dhikala in Corbett are more basic. Standard international hotels in Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Nainital. For those on the extension, there is an overnight train on the first night with sleeping bunks in shared compartments.

     

     

  • Additional Info
  • Birds of IndiaRecommended Field Guide:

    Birds of India

    (Princeton Field Guides, 2nd edition, 2012)

    by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp

     

     

     

    This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our safari.

     

    You will need to get a Visa to enter India. This will need to be applied for in the US and prior to our trip.

     

    Transportation:

    Most of our transport will be by an air-conditioned minibus. The travel times between location can be long and we break the journey where appropriate. As one might expect traffic in the cities can be seem like rush hour at all times of the day! The longest journey will be on the last day of the extension, when it may take the better of the day, with stops, to get from Corbett to Delhi. In Ranthambhor Tiger Reserve and Corbett National Park we will be using a mixture of Jeeps and Cantars. Both are open topped vehicles.

     

    We have two train rides - Sawai Madhophur to Bharatpur, and for those on the extension an overnight train from Delhi to Kathgodam.

     

    Walking:

    On the main tour, most our our walking should not be strenuous. At Keoladeo National Park there may be walks of 2-3 miles. On the extension, being in the foothils of the himalayas, you can expect more strenuous hilly conditions at an altitute of 4000-7500 feet.

     

    Weather: 

    The weather on the main tour should be ideal; daytime temperatures in the 70's and 80's with no humidity and little chance of rain. However, mornings, especially on game drives when we are in an open-top moving vehicle will be chilly. On the extension, conditions will vary, but overall expect cooler temperatures, 50's-70's, being winter in the foothills. Around Nainital, being the highest in elevation that we get, there is always a chance of snow at this time of year.

  • Species Lists
  •  

    List of SPECIES SEEN on NORTHERN INDIA trips  -  2000-2015

     

     

    Ibisbill-BINNS-IMG_1122-copy

    The much sought-after Ibisbill is found at higher altitudes in the Himalayas (10,000 ft and above) inhabiting slow moving streams and rivers.

     

    This unique wader, about the size of an avocet, is the only species in its family. It uses its curved bill to probe under gravel and river rocks for aquatic insects and small fish.

     

    During the winter months Ibisbill move down to the foothills which is where we look for them along the Kosi River and adjacent Corbett National Park. They blend in perfectly amongst the light colored river rocks.