Explore the wildlife, culture and history of India on our quintessential Taj, Temples and Tigers holiday. Catch a glimpse of the magnificent Royal Bengal tiger, marvel at ancient temples at Khajuraho, discover the Mughal era monuments of Delhi and soak in the beauty of the Taj Mahal.
You are greeted at the airport by a Holxo Holidays Facilitator and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check-in.
After breakfast, the thrill of discovery awaits as you explore New Delhi with the guide: see the war memorial, India Gate, the impressive palatial sized buildings of Rajpath and President’s House, designed and built by the British in the 1920s. Watch or participate in Kar Sewa at the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the most prominent Sikh house of worship, in Delhi built in 1783. Kar sewa, a form of selfless service, is considered a privilege and high honour for every Sikh. The Langar (think soup kitchen) prepared by gursikhs who work there and by hundreds of volunteers, is offered to everyone, regardless of race or religion. Humayun’s Tomb, a magnificent structure in red sandstone and white marble is one of the finest examples of a garden tomb and is a precursor to the Taj Mahal. Don’t miss Isa Khan’s garden tomb nearby, within an enclosed octagonal garden, considered the earliest example of a sunken garden in India – a concept later developed at Akbar’s Tomb and at the Taj Mahal. The Red Fort, (only from the outside) is a beautiful red sandstone monument built in 1648. Visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Take a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, a colourful and bustling market of Old Delhi. A Jain Temple, a Hindu Temple, a Church, and a Sikh Gurudwara Sis Ganj are all within a short walk from each other. Climb to the rooftop of one of the ancient buildings in the heart of the spice markets. From here you get an amazing view of Old Delhi and a peek into the architecture and lifestyle of locals, many of whom have lived here for generations.
After breakfast, check-out from your hotel and join your chauffeur for the drive to Agra. Along the way you will stop at the SOS Elephant Sanctuary near Mathura. The visit to the sanctuary usually takes about an hour and a half, after which you will stop at Sikandra, the location of the tomb of Akbar, India’s greatest Mughal Emperor. The tomb of Akbar the Great is an important Mughal architectural masterpiece built in the 16th century. Akbar himself planned his own tomb and selected the site for it. He started the construction and, after his death, his son Jahangir completed the construction in 1613. The impressive tomb is a fascinating architectural achievement and the great gateway to the monument has a large number of inlaid patterns that are timeless in their beauty. After your exploration of Emperor Akbar’s tomb you will proceed to Mehtab Bagh, which is a 500-year-old Mughal garden located across from the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River. Watch the sunset on the world’s most beautiful monument from the gardens. From here you will be driven to your hotel and assisted with your check-in.
Enjoy a visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal at sunrise – the best time to see it during most of the year! Due to it being more expensive for Indian tourists at that time, and the early hour, the massive monument and its surrounding Mughal gardens are a lot less crowded than in the afternoon. As the rising sun’s rays illuminate the precious stones inlaid in the marble, they will gleam momentarily as the marble’s color changes. Return to your hotel after this and enjoy breakfast. You are assisted with your check-out a little while after breakfast and driven to visit the first red sandstone fort of North India, the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1565 by India’s greatest Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar. Its royal audience halls, immense stone courtyards, marble mosque and the private royal chambers give us a glimpse of the grandeur of the Mughal Empire.
Later, you are driven to Agra airport, where you are assisted with boarding the afternoon flight to Khajuraho. You are greeted upon arrival at Khajuraho airport and driven to your hotel, where you are assisted with your check-in.
Start your guided tour of the Eastern Group of the Khajuraho Temples, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khajuraho. Almost no other tour company takes their guests to the Eastern Group as they spend 12 hours on the next day traveling between Khajuraho and Agra. These magnificent examples of Jain and Hindu religious art were mostly constructed well over a thousand years ago. Although the Eastern Group of Temples has less explicit erotic sculptures, especially in the Jain Temples, the structures and their incredible sculptures are well worth the visit. You have the option (on direct payment) of attending the sound and light show at the western group of temples in the evening – it is hard to understand and not of high quality.
Explore the awe-inspiring Western Group of Temples at Khajuraho. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed about a thousand years ago. Thousands of extremely detailed stone sculptures adorn the facades of these temples, and the subject matter includes some very explicit erotic scenes. The sophisticated design and building techniques that were used in the creation of these temples and the detailed artistry of the sculptures cannot be described in words – you have to experience them personally to grasp their impact.
You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel and we recommend that you get a packed lunch from your hotel for the upcoming journey. Join your chauffeur for the five-and-a-half-hour drive to Bandhavgarh. Arrive at Bandhavgarh and you are greeted by your jungle lodge’s staff.
Enjoy morning and afternoon safaris into the park on these days. Between safaris, you can enjoy walks through the village next to your lodge and indulge in other activities available at the lodge. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is relatively high. There are a large number of sloth bear and wild boar, and the possibility of spotting leopards and tigers is very good. The park is also densely populated with animals like the chital (Spotted Deer), sambar (Barking Deer), nilgai (Blue Bull), and chausingha (Four Horned Antelope). A large variety of different species of birds is also found here. The ramparts of the Bandhavgarh Fort provide a home for vultures, blue rock thrushes and crag martins. The terrain is rocky, with hills rising sharply from the swamps and surrounding a densely forested valley. The most imposing of these hills is Bandhavgarh, which is bounded by great cliffs of massive rock. The 2000 year old Fort stands on the top of this hill.
There is a temple at the fort that can be accessed only on foot and with prior notice to the authorities; however, this permission can be hard to get. Scattered throughout the Park, particularly in the area around the fort, are numerous caves containing shrines with ancient Sanskrit inscriptions, some of which date back as far as the 1st century.
You are at leisure in the morning to enjoy the facilities at the hotel. Check-out from your hotel and join your chauffeur for the drive to Jabalpur airport to board the evening flight to Delhi. You are greeted at the Delhi airport by the Holxo Holidays Facilitator and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to the city centre for last minute shopping. On time transfer to International Airport in order to connect flight to your home.