Magnificent Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India, nicknamed the "Heart of India" due to its geographical location. Madhya Pradesh is the second largest Indian state by area and the fifth largest state by population with over 75 million residents. Madhya Pradesh is home to ten national parks, and five five of them are declared tiger reserves. As per the recent results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation - 2018, Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers, a whopping 526 individuals! In this tour, we will travel through one of the most gifted state of India in terms of wildlife. We will be covering three of the best national parks and tiger reserves of the state, and arguably, of the entire country. Our journey will start from the national capital city of Delhi. After spending a while in the capital and exploring the rich heritage offerings of the city, you will take an overnight train to Jabalpur, one of biggest cities of Madhya Pradesh. After getting off at Jabalpur, your road journey would kick-off. The first stop of this trip would be Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Being a comparatively smaller in area, the park boasts the highest density of tigers in the world! Spending a few days in the company of few of the most legendary tigers of India, we will move south to the next park on the list, Kanha Tiger Reserve, the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh. Today, the entire reserve forest stretches across 2,000 sq. km, and is the home to immense diversity. Kanha is the motivation behind the forest depicted in the famous novel by Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book. The barasingha, or hard-ground swamp deer is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. It was very close to extinction when a successful breeding program and conservation practices at Kanha brought the animals back from the brink. After a few days in this pristine wild forest of central India, we will move on to the final destination of this trip, the Pench Tiger Reserve. Pench is on the southern boundary of the state, and is one of the best managed parks in India. With some beautiful landscape, and wildlife and birdlife population. By the end of this trip, you could expect some of the most stunning wildlife on your camera sensors and in your hearts. Ranging from the ferocious and fearless royal Bengal tiger and dhole (or Indian wild dog), to the calm and timid barasingha and barking deer, you will see one of the best of the wildlife India has to offer!
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 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!
Half-day Delhi exploration and overnight train to Jabalpur
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 you will be trying to cover all you could. 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 will have an evening AC express train to Jabalpur. By 5, you will be at Nizamuddin Junction Railway Station in east Delhi, and from there you’ll depart on a 15 hour long journey. Dinner will be served on the train itself.
Jabalpur to Bandhavgarh
You’ll reach Jabalpur today at around 8 in the morning. Jabalpur is a bustling city, one of the biggest of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Your IWS Guide will coordinate everything and you need not worry about anything. You’ll have breakfast in one of the oldest and most legendary coffee houses of India. Thereafter, you will head out on a 4 hour long drive to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Reaching Bandhavgarh by lunch time, you’ll check in to your resort, have lunch, and relax for the rest of the day. You can walk around the property with your IWS Guide and you can spot some beautiful birdlife of Bandhavgarh. From the next day you will be having your safaris into the park.
Morning and evening safaris into the park
Day 4, 5, 6
You will be having morning and evening safaris into the park area, into different zone each time. Your IWS Guide will be deciding the zones depending upon the best chances of sightings of the striped big cat. The timing and duration of the safaris vary depending upon the season and the time of sunrise and sunset, and your IWS Guide will communicate the same to you prior to your safaris. Your day would typically start from early morning safari, breakfast inside the park, get out before noon, freshen-up and relax in the day time, have lunch, head out to the evening safari, return back from safari post-sunset, then have the evening at leisure.
Transfer to Kanha and evening safari
Today, you will check out early in the morning at dawn, and drive south to Kanha. You will have breakfast enroute, You will reach Kanha by noon, and check-in your resort, lay back and relax after your long drive. After lunch, you will head out to your first safari into the beautiful Kanha Tiger Reserve.You’ll return from the park post-sunset, and have the evening at your leisure.
Morning and evening safaris into the park
Day 8, 9
You’ll follow a similar drill as Bandhavgarh, early morning and evening safaris into the park. Your breakfast will be inside the park itself. Lunch and dinner will be in the resort. You will see rare and elusive wildlife such as barasingha, Indian muntjac (barking deer), gaur (Indian bison), hyena, jungle cat, langur monkey, leopard, Indian tree shrew, sloth bear, and obviously the royal Bengal tiger, and so much more.
Morning safari and drive to Pench
Today will be your last game drive into Kanha, and post lunch, you will be moving out and driving west to Pench, your final destination for the trip. You will reach Pench after nightfall, and check into your resort, and have the rest of the evening at leisure. You safaris would start the next day onwards.
Morning and evening safaris into the park
Similar to the last parks, you will be going in for back to back morning and evening safaris into the reserve forest. Overnight stay at wildlife resort just outside the park boundaries.
Day 11, 12
Morning safari and fly back to Delhi
After the last and final early morning safari of the trip into the park, you will have lunch and leave for Nagpur airport, which is 3 hours away by road. On reaching the airport, you will take the late evening flight to Delhi. On reaching the capital after almost half a month of extreme wilderness adventures and in the company of the national animal and national pride of India, you will be dropped off at your place of preference in the city by your IWS Guide, and he will bid you adieu after completing an epic jungle excursion you will remember for the rest of your life.
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.