Day-1: I met my guests early in the morning at the Airport exit gate in New Delhi from where we straightaway left for Agra. After a five-hour drive, we checked in at the Utkarsh Vilas close to the majestic Taj Mahal. The hotel staff was ready with a hot meal post which the guests went back to their room to rest. In the evening, we were joined by local guides who took us on an extensive guided tour of the Taj Mahal. After enjoying India’s most famous monument, the guests did some shopping for souvenirs and gifst. We returned to the hotel for an awesome dinner.
Day-2: After checking out early in the morning, we left for for Chambal (Dhaulpur) for the morning Boat Cruise. An early morning boat-ride at the Chambal is one of the best birding experiences one can get. The Chambal River is one of the country’s most beautiful and least polluted river of India. Not only did we spot large colonies of the rare Indian Skimmer, and Black-bellied Tern, but we also saw large flocks of migratory waterfowl. My guests managed to capture some amazing photos of Common, Demoiselle and Sarus Cranes. We also got beautiful views of Marsh Crocodiles (Muggers),
Ghariyal (Fish-eating Crocodile), and a few species Turtles. Unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to spot the highly endangered Gangetic River Dolphins.
After the boat cruise, we were back on road as we continued on to Bharatpur. We arrived in the afternoon, after which we ate a sumptuous lunch and rested. At around 3PM, we went for a round of birdwatching outside the Keoladeo National Park, as our time was limited.
Day-3: On day three, we reached the Keoladeo National Park (or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) before sunrise with our cameras and some packed food and water. Though there are various options for the tourists to explore the Sanctuary, birders usually explore the sanctuary using bicycles or cycle rickshaws. This mosaic of grasslands, woodlands, swamps, and wetland offers more than 200 species of birds, 30+ species of mammals, and several species of snakes! Most of the birds here are the hundreds of aquatic birds that fly here in the winter months. We spent half a day here in the company of Sarus Cranes, Spot-billed Pelicans, Bar-headed and Greylag Geese, many ducks, Egyptian Vulture, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Shikra, waders, wagtails, warblers, and more. After a half-day birding, we returned to the hotel for lunch and to check out. It was time to drive to the land of the Tiger – Ranthambore. We arrived at the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in the evening and checked in
to a typical Rajasthani Welcome at the Ranthambhore Heritage Haveli. This was our den for the night.
Day-4: Today we explored Ranthambhore National Park with two safaris, one early morning and another post an early lunch. We began the day early reached the park gate as per the opening timings so we could catch an early glimpse of the tiger. Our first Tiger spotting happened with the rising Sun amid the song of the birds as the majestic animal came for its first drink of the day at the Soorwal Lake. The tourists not only filled their camera with various poses the Tiger threw at us but also many species of birds that the Soorwal Lake is famous for. Post lunch during the evening Safari we visited the ruins of the Ranthambore Fort. But we could not spot a Tiger during this time, so decided to visit again in the coming days. However, we did manage to get sightings of the other animals of the forest: Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, as well some awesome species of birds including the Rufous Treepie, Indian Eagle-Owl, Brown Fish Owl, and more. By the time we were done with this, the day had come to an end and it was time to head back to the lodge. Our dinner comprised of a finger-licking good Rajasthani Meal done to and after that we hit the bed exhausted after our long day.
Day-5: On this day, we took a final early morning Safari at Ranthambhore and checked out by around 11am
to drive down to Jaipur. By the time we reached Jaipur it was already late afternoon, so after lunch
and some rest, we decided to explore the city a little. After spending a lovely evening exploring the walled city markets and sampling some of the local food, we came back to the Umaid Haveli for
dinner and overnight stay.
Day-6: This day was reserved for a full-day tour of Jaipur with some of the local guides. The walled heritage city of Jaipur, with its enchanting old bazaars, havelis, forts, and pink-hued buildings is full of romance and royal charm. There is so much to see in Jaipur but the best way to explore it is being on the roads, soaking up the sights and sounds of this bustling city. Visiting the old heritage sights like City Palace, Hawa Mahal, various havelis and old palaces that have now been converted into luxury hotels, gives you a glimpse of its erstwhile grandeur. The stunning Amber Fort Palace established in
1592 by Man Singh I is a sight to behold. The narrow lanes of the charming bazaars in the walled city are full of color and beckon you to buy handcrafted souvenirs, paintings, textiles, blue pottery, traditional jewelry, bangles etc. Every lane is a veritable treasure of some artistry, tie and dye art, gem cutting, and polishing, leather work, bangle making. You can see it all here. We also take you to a very interesting resort away from the city where the ambiance transports you to a traditional Rajasthani village where you can enjoy a traditional meal, local folk dance and music performances, puppet shows etc. After enjoying a full day exploring the sights and sounds of Jaipur, we returned to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day-7: After our days in Rajasthan, it was finally time to return to Delhi. After an early breakfast at 7am, we started on our road journey. After lunch at our hotel, I took our guests for a half-day tour of Delhi. Some important places worth visiting in Delhi include the Humayun’s Tomb, the Jantar Mantar, the
Bahai temple, the Qutab Minar, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Raj Ghat, India Gate. The local guides and I covered as much as possible.
Day-8: Sadly, it was time to bid adieu to our guests, some of whom had now become good friends. Our tour ended on a happy note with hugs and exchanges of contact details…and a promise to meet again.