"Lions and tigers and birds, Oh My! Travel through colourful Rajasthan and the western state of Gujarat, discovering India’s rich cultural heritage"
From Bharatpur, a bird-lover’s paradise, to rare and endangered big cats at Ranthambore and Sasan Gir National Parks, you’ll enjoy some totally amazing wildlife-watching whilst also getting the opportunity to see some of the country’s best cultural and historical sights. Your tour begins in truly spectacular fashion, with a visit to the Taj Mahal. The incredible architecture on display at this ‘New7Wonder of the World’ provides a stunning contrast to the wild natural beauty that follows on this trip.
Enjoy some world-class birdwatching at Keoladeo Ghana National Park, home to over 360 different bird species, and on to the famous Ranthambore National Park. With the largest population of tigers in the whole of India, this is one of the best places in the world to observe majestic tigers in the wild. The next highlight is a two-night stay in India’s sublime Pink City, colourful Jaipur. Few other places in India boast such an extraordinary array of glittering palaces, impressive forts and beautiful gardens. After this brief city adventure, your focus returns to nature as you enter Gujarat. Visit the unique salt flats of the Rann of Kutch, followed by Sasan Gir National Park, home to the last remaining Asiatic lion population.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Delhi: Arrive at Delhi’s international airport and receive a traditional ‘Swagat’ (welcome) from Active India’s representative before transferring to your hotel. The rest of the day is free!
Delhi – Agra: After breakfast proceed to Agra for some sightseeing – visit Agra Fort, which blends Rajput and Mughal influences in its architecture and can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. Next, take a ‘bucket-list’ trip to see the incredible Taj Mahal; this magnificent white-marble monument symbolises the eternal love of the 5th Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in the 16th century BCE. A visit to this ‘New7Wonder of the World’ never fails to leave a visitor totally captivated. In the evening, explore the Agra’s vibrant bazaar.
Bharatpur: Take a morning drive to the small town of Bharatpur, stopping by at Fatehpur Sikri en-route. Built with red sandstone, this impressively well-preserved citadel was once an Emperor’s capital, but was abandoned eventually due to lack of water. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your leisure.
Bharatpur – Ranthambore: The World Heritage-listed Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur is home to a huge variety of bird species including egrets, coots, storks, owls, eagles and harriers to name but a few. In total, there are over 360 different species of birds here. In the morning, take a rickshaw ride into the park for some excellent bird-watching – a real treat for wildlife enthusiasts! In the afternoon, continue to Ranthambore National Park.
Ranthambore: Enjoy two game drives into the jungle today as you try to find the elusive tiger. Rise early for your first safari into the National Park, which is one of the best places in the world to view these animals in their natural environment and has the largest population of tigers in the whole of India. Return to the hotel for a relaxing lunch, before heading out on your second safari in the afternoon for yet more fantastic wildlife-watching.
Jaipur: Drive to India’s ‘Pink City’, Jaipur. Rajasthan’s colourful capital has a rich cultural heritage; also known as ‘The City of Victory’, it is brimming full of impressive forts, glittering palaces and beautiful gardens. Explore Jaipur’s bustling bazaars in the evening to get a taste of the atmosphere.
Jaipur: Drive to the ancient capital of Amer after breakfast. Visit the hilltop Amber Fort before proceeding to City Palace, which blends Rajasthani and Mughal architecture perfectly. Continue to Jantar Mantar, a fascinating 18th century Solar Observatory that can measure time to within two seconds using the movement of the sun. Finally, visit the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), and admire its five-storied pink sandstone façade.
Ahmedabad: Take a morning flight to Ahmedabad. The sixth-largest city in India, Ahmedabad has several ornately carved historic monuments including the Rani Mosques and a step-well at Adalaj. It is also home to many interesting museums and art galleries. Visit one of the world’s best textile museums, the Calico Textile Museum, and admire its excellent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century. Next, pay a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram near Vadaj. The former residence of Mahatma Gandhi, who founded it in 1915, it is now the biggest tourist attraction in the city.
Zainabad: Drive from Ahmedabad to the small town of Zainabad, where you’ll visit the Modhera Sun Temple. Built by King Bhimdev in 1026-27, the main temple (or the Sanctum Sanctorum) was designed in such a way that, during the summer solstice, the rays of the rising and setting sun fall exactly onto the bejewelled statue of the Sun god.
Rann of Kutch: Take a jeep safari into the Rann of Kutch, a large area of salt marsh located in the Thar Desert. Travelling through the marsh on safari is a totally different experience! In the evening, go on a village tour to explore the local area further.
Bhavnagar: Continue your tour into Bhavnagar, the ‘cultural capital’ of the Saurashtra region and Gujarat’s fifth-largest city. A stay in this city is a great opportunity to learn more about vibrant Gujarati culture.
Bhavnagar - Sasan Gir: Admire the library of Gandhian books and photographs at Gandhi Smriti, a memorial that provides fascinating glimpses into the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It also has a wonderful collection of art objects representing the culture of the Saurashtra Region. Later, drive to Sasan Gir.
Sasan Gir: Get up-close and personal with wildlife with two adventurous game drives into the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. This park is the sole home of pure Asiatic Lions, and is one of Asia’s most important protected areas. Gir has around 2,375 distinct fauna species including approximately 38 mammals, 300 birds, 37 reptiles and more than 2,000 insects. The park’s carnivores include: Asiatic Lions, Indian Leopards, Bengal Tigers, Sloth bears, King Cobras, Jungle Cats, Striped Hyenas, Golden Jackals, Indian Mongoose, Indian Palm Civets and Ratels.
Hingolgarh: Hingolgarh Bird Sanctuary is a heavenly green oasis within the arid plateau of Saurashtra. Sprawling over a forest area of around 650 hectares, the sanctuary’s grassland and scrub forest habitats allow it to provide a home for a unique variety of wildlife including Chinkara, Mongoose, Wolves, Hyenas and Jackals. Some local people have even reported leopard sightings, although this hasn’t been officially confirmed. The sanctuary is rich in birdlife, with around 230 different species, and is also home to 19 species of snake!
Ahmedabad: Return to Ahmedabad and take the afternoon to explore the city at your leisure.
Mumbai: Transfer to the railway station to catch the morning train to Mumbai. You’ll arrive at your hotel late in the evening.
Tour Concludes: Check out of your hotel and transfer to the international airport for your onward flight.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person (on a double sharing basis)
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- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- All accommodation
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- 1 x Rickshaw ride at Bharatpur
- 2 x wildlife safaris at Ranthambore (including Park entrance, forest guard and vehicle charges)
- 2 x wildlife safaris at Sasan Gir by Jeep (including Park entrance, forest guard and vehicle charges)
- 1 x wildlife safari at Rann of Kutch by Jeep (including Park entrance, forest guard and vehicle charges)
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.