The Central Provinces
The Central Provinces - 12 days/11 nights
The forested state of Madhya Pradesh also retains some of the most pristine environments in the country. Many of its towns and villages are dependant on narrow single-track roads for contact with the outside world - which makes it a wonderful place to visit if you are looking for something more than overtly touristy circuits. Accommodation, though not luxurious, is comfortable.
Ancient temples, forts, palaces, and wildlife parks - this itinerary has it all. The massive, nearly 3 km fort at Gwalior is a formidable structure richly embellished with carvings. Within it shelters some outstanding temples and palaces. Datia is another fort that is not to be missed. Together, both these forts reveal some of the finest aspects of Rajput architecture. Not too far away at Orcha and the World Heritage Site of Khajuraho show you the best of the ancient North Indian style of sculptural temple architecture.
Should the Bandhavgarh National Park fire your enthusiasm, an extension to Kanha National Park, if you have an additional three days time.
price on application
Bandhavgarh National Park is closed during the Monsoonal months of July to September.
Cost Includes: Accommodation for 11 nights including one overnight train journey, breakfast daily with full board in Bandhavgarh, transfers, excursions and sightseeing with English speaking guide in an air-conditioned chauffeur driven car, 2 visits to the Taj, 5 game drives with naturalist in Bandhavgarh, monument entrance fee, porterage, mineral water in car, welcome dinner with Indian music in Delhi, train travel in air-conditioned first class sleeper as per itinerary.
Hotels Superior : Oberoi Maidens (superior) Delhi, Mansingh Palace (standard) Agra, Central Park (deluxe) Gwalior, Amar Mahal (standard) Orcha, Holiday Inn (standard) Khajuraho, Tiger Trails (standard) Bandhavgarh, Ashok Country Resort, Delhi Deluxe (upgrade to): Intercontinental (deluxe) Delhi, Taj View (superior Taj facing) Agra, Usha Kiran Palace (superior) Gwalior, Orcha Resort (standard) Orcha, Taj Chandela (standard) Khajuraho, Churat Kothi (tents) Bandhavgarh, Radisson, Delhi Luxury (upgrade to): Imperial (heritage) Delhi, Amarvilas (deluxe room with Taj facing terrace) Agra, Taj Chandela (junior suite) Khajuraho, Radisson (day room) Delhi
Day 01 Arrival
Reception and welcome at Delhi airport followed by transfer to hotel.
Day 02 Delhi
The afternoon's sightseeing introduces you to the different faces of the capital –contemporary Indian, Raj relic, conservative Hindu, Mughal …
Day 03 Delhi
Visit the bustling lanes of Old Delhi after touring the austere beauty of the Red Fort, seat of Mughal power until the 1857. On the way back, stop at the tranquil gardens of Raj Ghat dedicated to the ‘Father of the Nation' Mahatma Gandhi.
Day 04 Delhi – Agra
The early morning express train takes you to Agra. Check into the hotel before your first visit to the Taj and the numerous other attractions the city offers. Return to the Taj to see the setting sun touch it with gold.
Day 05 Agra – Gwalior
An early start to the day will get you to Gwalior in time to enjoy an afternoon's sightseeing. Gwalior Fort, which overlooks the town and now houses a school, is a lovely sight in the evening.
Day 06 Gwalior – Datia - Orcha
En route to the scenic town of Orcha on the banks of the Betwa stop at Datia, The sprawling palace is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture.
Day 07 Orcha – Khajuraho
Leave Orcha after early breakfast to explore the Khajuraho temple complex in the afternoon. There is also a sound and light show at the temples in the evening that is well worth attending.
Day 08 Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh
Check in for three nights at the Bandhavgarh National Park.
Day 09, 10 Bandhavgarh
Track the leopard, wild dog, jackal, deer and the Royal Bengal Tiger. Birdwatchers also have wonderful opportunities to view rarely seen avians.
Day 11 Bandhavgarh – Delhi
A last elephant ride into the park before you transfer to Katni to take the overnight train back to Delhi.
Day 12 Departure
Day rooms have been booked for you to relax until it is time to transfer to the airport for your flight out.
I had attempted to obtain tickets for the Palace on Wheels (POW) from a specialist rail tour company in the United States, only to be informed that the ticket allocation has been exhausted on the date we wanted to travel. I incidentally mentioned this to Andre as part of a broaderPeter Bermingham