Tour Overview - Birds, Taj and Tiger Tour
Northern India arguably has one of the richest diversities as well as cultural landscapes to offer. It also hosts the most Iconic animal, the Tiger and is blessed with the marbled mausoleum, the Taj Mahal, which is by far one of the most remarkable monumental wonders known to man. Our visits here include the famous Ranthambore National Park to spot the elusive striped cat.
While, places like Nainital, Corbett, Bharatpur and the Chambal River are ideal birding hotspots that will leave you with glued to your binoculars for the entire tour.
Detailed Itinerary - Birds, Taj and Tiger Tour
On arrival at the airport our representative will meet you. He will hand over the travel related documents and transfer you to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Sultanpur National Park is an outstanding birder hub as it’s a refuge for many residents as well as scores of migratory birds. Located on the fringe of New Delhi in the state of Harayana, the park encompasses semi-arid areas as well as wetlands. Our morning here is a perfect way to start our journey across northern India as you will encounter a wide array of species such as the Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintails, Red Crested and Common Pochards, Grey Headed Swamphen, Red-naped Ibis, White-Tailed Lapwing, Bar Headed Goose, Painted and Black-Necked Storks and the Greater Flamingos.
Around the wetlands, you have a well-wooded area where one can spot the Spotted Owlets, Yellow Crowned Woodpecker, Purple Sunbird’s, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Bluethroat, Red Breasted Flycatcher, Eurasian Hoopoe and even the Red Avadavat.
Raptors too grace the land, with the likes of Marsh Harriers, Indian Spotted Eagles and Osprey for the catch of the day. The park also has its fair share of mammals such as Nilgai (the Bluebull), Golden Jackals, Jungle Cats and Indian fox. Post Lunch, we will depart for Okhla Bird Sanctuary. Here, there’s a chance of finding the Yellow-Bellied Prinia and the Striated Babbler. There’s also a good chance of seeing many of the species that we have may have already seen earlier in the day. After experiencing the abundance Delhi has to offer, we return to the hotel to call it a day.
After breakfast, we will leave for Corbett National Park. On Reaching, we will check into in the Forest Rest House, which is located in the pristine part of the National Park, better known as Dhikala. Post Lunch, we will head out on our drive. The forest here has grasslands, woodlands and a river flowing through it. This attracts species such as the Western Osprey, Hen Harrier, Black Francolin, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Lesser Coucal, Plum Headed Parakeets, Crested Kingfisher, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, Greyback Shrikes and Golden Headed Cisticola. The national park is teeming with mammal life as well such as Rhesus Macaque, the Indian Elephant, the Grey Kangur, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Yellow-Throated Martens, the Barking Deer or the Indian Muntjac and the elusive striped at better known as the Tiger. Post our evening drive; we will return to the rest house for supper and some rest.
We will continue to bird and look for mammals during our morning jeep birding & tiger safari. The park also has Blue Bearded Bee Eaters, Blue Throated Barbet, White bellied Drongo and Jungle Mynas. Around the rest House there a good chance of seeing Kalij Pheasants, Ashy Bulbul, Black-throated Thrush, Himalayan Rubythroat, Yellow-eyed Babblers and Yellow Breasted Greenfinch. In the evening post-lunch, we will head out for the evening safari drive to try and see some of the species that we may have missed out.
In the morning we will make our departure for the Kosi River. It is here that you will find many different species. The clear mountain streams inhabit birds such as the Crested Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, the Brown Dipper. The river banks also support species as the spectacular Ibisbill and the Wallcreeper. The jungle in this area also hosts species like the Blue Bearded Bee Eater, The Great Hornbill, Common Green Magpie, Black-Chinned babbler and the Slaty Woodpecker. Our trails here also support the Brown-Headed Barbet, Grey Capped Pygmy, Streak Throated, Grey Headed and Fulvous Breasted Woodpecker, Golden Fronted Leafbird, Red-breasted Parakeet, Bar Winged Flycatcher Shrike, the Long Tailed Minivet, White-Throated Fantail and the Velvet Fronted Nuthatch. We return to our accommodation for some dinner and rest.
At Nainital, we have ample time to explore the avifauna of this jaw-dropping region tucked in the Himalayan foothills. We will seek birds such as the Cheer and Koklass Pheasants. Apart from these, there are several other birds in the area that include Himalayan Bluetail, Streaked Laughing Thrush, Yellow Browed Tit, Eurasian Crag Martin, Striated Prinia, Himalayan Bluetail, Streaked Laughing Thrush.
We also have chances of seeing the Himalayan Goral which is a species of the mountain goat. In the coniferous forests, we will search for the Rufous Sibia, and Green Backed Tit, India White Eye, Oriental Turtle Dove, Nepal House Martin and the Yellow-Bellied Fantail.
The forest also hosts species such as Blue Throated Barbets, Speckled Piculet, Mountain and Himalayan Bulbuls, Tickell’s Thrush, Maroon Oriole, the Bar-Tailed Creeper and the Fire Breasted Flycatcher. Raptors too can be seen overhead, flying along the ridges. If we’re lucky, we might see the Cinereous Vultures and the Bearded Vultures. Post birding, we will return to our accommodation for dinner and rest.
After a morning of birding and breakfast, we will depart for Agra. On arrival, we will check in to the hotel for a night’s rest.
At sunrise, we shall proceed to visit the famous white marble mausoleum, The Taj Mahal, which was built in the middle of the 17th century by the Moghul emperor Shah Jehan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed in 1652, skilled artisans from Persia, Turkey, France, and Italy and some 20,000 laborers worked for 17 years to build this edifice.
After a relaxed breakfast, we will check out of the hotel. We then proceed to visit the red sandstone called the Agra Fort which stands like a crescent on the banks of Yamuna River, enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls, with a 12- meter moat between them. Three successive Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jehangir, and Shah Jehan – helped create this massive structure which contains Hindu and Muslim architecture. [The Taj is closed on Friday].
Later drive, we will travel to Bharatpur, 55kms, which is a 1-1.5-hour drive. On arrival, check into the lodge. After lunch, we will proceed for an evening of bird watching at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
These diverse habitats are home to over 350 species of birds. Every year, thousands of migratory waterfowl that visit the park during the winter for breeding. The sanctuary is one of the richest avifauna hotspots in the world and is known for nesting of resident and migratory birds. Our overnight stay is in Bharatpur.
The day is meant to explore the riches of this amazing national park; one can travel by cycle carts called rickshaws or even tread by foot. Scanning the ponds, you will be amazed by the sheer number of species. Here, we are to find the likes of species such as the Bar Headed Goose, the Garganey, the Northern Pintail, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Eurasian Coot, Spoonbills, the Indian Spot-Billed Duck.
Common and Pied Kingfishers hovering over the water, the skulking Black Bittern, Purple Herons, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, and the tallest flying bird in the world, The Sarus Crane. Around the trails, we are also likely to see Citrine, Yellow and White Browed Wagtails while swallows such as the Wire Tailed will be seen flying overhead. Bharatpur is a phenomenal place to spot a variety of raptors too. Chances of seeing the Eastern Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, the Steppe and Indian Spotted Eagle are of special interest. There are also spectacular sights of Marsh Harriers swooping down to catch a waterfowl.
The Scrub and Woodland area of the park has species such as the Yellow Crowned Woodpecker, the Black Rumped Flameback, Indian Grey Hornbill, Greater Coucal, Brahminny Starling, Marshall’s Iora, the White Eared Bulbul, Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher, the elusive Siberian Rubythroat and the Isabelline Wheatear. There are specific roosting sights of the Dusky Eagle Owl, Spotted Owlet and Large Tailed Nightjar. The park also boasts mammals such as Nilgai, Golden Jackals, Spotted Deer, and many little Five Striped Palm Squirrel. You even have sights of reptiles such as the Indian Rock Python, Flap Shell Turtles basking in the sun. Post birding, we head back to our accommodation for rest.
After breakfast, we leave for a day visit to Chambal 120 Kms, 3 hrs. drive. Head out for birding on the Chambal river. The National Chambal Sanctuary is a 400 km protected stretch of the river. A boat safari is a duration of two-three hours ride down the River Chambal, drifting past Gharials basking on the sandbanks, Marsh crocodiles and Turtles basking on the rocks with a wealth of birds fluttering around. Here we are likely to see the endangered Indian Skimmers, Black-bellied and River Terns, Ruddy Shelducks, Small Pratincole, Laggar Falcon perched high on the cliffs, Short-toed Snake Eagle, River Lapwing, Great Stone Curlew, Egyptian Vultures soaring in the sky and possibility of Indian Eagle Owl’s roosting high up on the ledges. The river also has the endangered Gangetic Dolphin, which if we’re lucky, they might grace us with their presence. We return to our Accommodation at Dholpur for night’s rest.
We drive from Dholpur to Ranthambore. Where we will check in to our lodge and get ready for our Afternoon Jeep Drive. Ranthambhore National Park has an area of 400 sq. Km which encompasses rocky hill crests that descend to open valleys between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. Dotted with water pools and fruiting trees, the park gets its name from the thousand-year-old fortress, which looms above the forest. Well known for the diurnal activity of tigers, Ranthambhore is a very special and unique place where a natural present meets a historical past. Sambar, Cheetal, Chinkara, Nilgai and Langur. The elusive leopard and tigers are found in this reserve with tourists standing a very good chance of seeing tigers during the safaris.
The primary objective to be in Ranthambore is the Tiger and being a park with a great density of the elusive cat, we have a very good chance of seeing one here. Apart from the big mammal, Ranthambore has a great variety of birds as well. Here, we could possibly encounter species like the Painted Spurfowl, Jungle and Rock Bush Quail, the uncommon White-naped Woodpecker, Indian Scops Owl, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Alexandrine, and Plum-headed Parakeets, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Sirkeer Malkoha, Common Iora, White-bellied Drongo, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, the active White-browed Fantail, Grey-breasted, and Rufous-fronted Prinias and Yellow Throated Sparrow. While we’re driving about, there are raptors we could see overhead like the Bonelli’s Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian Vulture, Pallid Harrier and Shikras that perch on top of branches within the forest.
On this day, after an early morning tiger safari in Ranthambore, we will catch a train back to New Delhi. On checking in, we will have a day of rest at the hotel.
This is where we conclude the tour. The morning is free for leisure activities, and later we will transfer to International airport to board a flight back home or to an onward destination.