Birds, Tigers and the Taj
Delhi - Agra - Bharatpur - Ranthambore - Delhi
9 nights, 10 days
Experience two of the crown jewels of India, the magnificent Taj, and the gorgeous striped big cat, in this carefully crafted and curated tour to make sure that you get to please both the history buff and the wildlife junkie in you! In this relatively short tour, we offer to take you around on an incredible journey through the cultural heritage of India as well as through the natural heritage. The places which we will be covering in this tour is the national capital of Delhi, the city of the Taj, Agra, and the tiger heaven of Ranthambore. This trio would give you a great feel of the urban India, as well as the wild side of it. Delhi has an immensely rich heritage, and has seen rise and fall of countless dynasties. Walking through the lanes of this city is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. After spending a couple of days in the capital, we will move to the city of Agra, having a similar historic feel as Delhi. Agra, the city of Taj, is also a city of immense historic significant, is dotted with monuments and buildings of international fame, including the splendour Taj Mahal. After spend a couple of days exploring the city and all of its offerings, we will move to a birder’s paradise, Bharatpur, where we’ll spend a couple of days inside the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. The park is home to a massive number of resident and migratory birds, and many herbivores. After exploring the beautiful forest of Bharatpur, we will move to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, the land of tigers. Ranthambore is arguably one of the best places to see the royal Bengal tiger in all of its glory. Morning and evening safaris into the reserve forest will get us as close to the wildlife as it gets. After completing numerous safaris in this beautiful park, we will move on back to Delhi, thus completing the triangle of Tigers and Taj!
This is how your trip will go about
Arrival in Delhi
Upon your arrival in Delhi airport/ railway station, you will be met by one of our tour IWS Guides. He will take you to your hotel, and en route, he will explain to you in detail the plan. He will stay with you for the entire duration of the trip and he’ll make sure you have a hassle-free and smooth experience! The rest of the day will be at leisure, and you can recover from your journey and prepare for the travels ahead!
Your IWS Guide will meet up with you early in the morning and you’ll kick off your adventure now. Delhi has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some amazing monuments and places of historic and religious significance. You’ll be taken around by your IWS Guide and we will be trying to cover all we can. You’ll eat some of the best food in this part of the world, and you’ll sense flavours we guarantee you would never have imagined existed. After a soul-filling day exploring the city, you’ll return to your hotel room by evening, when you can relax and unwind.
Transfer to Agra
You’ll be met by your IWS Guide in the morning again, and after a half day of exploration of the city and having your lunch, you will move on to your next destination, the city of Taj, Agra, which is a 5 hour drive away. We will reach there by evening and the rest of the day will be at leisure.
We’ll get up extra early before the rest of the city and head out to the Taj Mahal, and try and catch the first morning light hitting this stunning piece of architecture. This makes for some of the most beautiful photos you’ll capture during the trip. After exploring the Taj for a few hours, get back to the hotel, freshen up, get some food in our system, and head over to the other offerings of the city. Rest of the day will be spend sightseeing in the city. After a full day of exploring Agra, you’ll get back to your rooms by evening, and you’ll have the rest of the evening at leisure.
Transfer to Bharatpur
Similar to Delhi, you will be spending half of the day exploring Agra further, and post lunch, you’ll drive down to Bharatpur. It is a short drive from the city of Agra, and after checking into our rooms, you’ll go into the park and spend the evening in the company of some very elusive and rare avians of the Indian subcontinent. Shortly after sunset, you will get out of the park and go to your hotel, where you can relax and unwind.
Today, you will spend your full day exploring the beautiful forest of Keoladeo, spotting and photography the rarest migratory and resident birds of this park. You will go around on rickshaws, which are the best way to experience the park. Cycling enthusiasts can also rent a cycle at the gate and go around biking all around. Since the forest lack any major carnivore, it is very safe to go around even on foot! Not something you can say for the other Indian park. After a day exploration with experienced naturalists, you will head back to your room at sunset as the jungle activity start to cool down.
Transfer to Ranthambore
You will wake up early in the morning and get into the park before sunrise, since that is when the birds are most active and the light is beautiful for photography. After a few hours of spotting the beautiful birdlife and wildlife of Keoladeo, you will return to the hotel for breakfast. After that, you’ll pack up and transfer to Ranthambore National Park. It is a long day of driving and you’ll only make it to your resort by evening. There your IWS Guide will give you a brief about the park and what all you can expect to see over the next 3 days of safari. Post that, you have the evening to your leisure, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the wilderness around you.
Safaris into the park
Day 8, 9
Over the next few days, you’ll be going for back-to-back morning and evening safaris into the various zones of the national park. The timing for the safari changes as per the season, and you’ll be instructed regarding the same the day before by your IWS Guide. During the safari, you will see some of the finest diversity and wildlife this part of the world has to offer.
Transfer to Delhi
After your fifth morning safari into the park, you’ll get back to your resort, have freshen up, have breakfast, pack-up and then drive back to Delhi, thus completing the triangle! You’ll be dropped at your hotel/ airport. You IWS Guide will bid you adieu for your journey thereon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Doubts? Continue reading! We have answered few of the common questions in the minds of travellers. If this doesn't answer it, feel free to get in touch any time through mail or call!
What kind of a traveller does this expedition cater to?
We have designed this trip keeping in minds the needs of every kind of travel enthusiast. You need not be a hardcore wildlife buff or a super-dedicated wildlife photographer to enjoy this trip. Like all the other IWS itineraries, this one aims to get you close to the wilder and unexplored side of India, and you would enjoy it irrespective of the category of traveller you fall into!
Will be have someone who will accompany us during the trip?
Yes! We will a lot you one of our IWS Guides who will travel with you and coordinate everything during your travels, from taxis, to hotel rooms, from safari timings and zones, to interaction with the locals. He/she will have it all laid out properly for you so that you don't have to get into the hassle of logistics and enjoy your travels to the most!
What camera equipment is optimal for photography during this trip?
For the camera body, any D-SLR would be great. Ideally, something with a high burst rates of around 6fps and above (for those high speed action shots) and decent ISO performance (since we will be getting the best shots at either dawn or dusk) would be better. For bigger mammals, a lens with a reach of 400mm would be ideal. For smaller mammals and birds, 600mm would be just perfect. If you wish to exploit the stunning nightsky for some astrophotography, don't forget that fast wide-angle lens! And oh! Don't for get extra memory cards and hard drives for dumping the thousands of amazing shots you will be capturing!
I am not an expert wildlife photographer. Would I still be able to enjoy this trip?
Most certainly! The cameras we have today are smart enough to get you some great shots even in Auto mode. However if you do wish to learn about the finer nuances of the art of photography, do let us know beforehand. We have a special IWS Guide who is an expert photographer and has taken several photography workshops. He will certainly help you to kick your photography skills up a notch!
How will we be travelling between the stops?
The mode of travel between locations would depend upon the distance and the quality of roads or trains available. For road transfers, you will be taken around in AC MPVs. For rail transfers, we would prefer berths in 2nd Class (two-tier) AC express trains. Choice of airlines for even further away destinations would depend solely upon your timing and convenience.
What kind of vehicle will be taking us into the park during the safaris, and is it safe?
The safari vehicle is a standard open top 4x4 gypsy modified to suit the different type to terrains of Indian forests. Because of being open from all four sides, the gypsy does give a feeling of being exposed to the wilderness, but it is absolutely safe, and there has been no cases where the animals has tried to attack a vehicle unless it is provoked or harassed.