A journey across the Kipling landscape bringing alive the characters of the Jungle book. We end our journey going back in time to the pre-historic era while we witness rock shelter paintings at Bhimbetka, a heritage-walk in the old city of Bhopal and the great Stupa at Sanchi.
Arrive Mumbai today and board the domestic flight to Jabalpur (2 hours)
Arrive Jabalpur where you are met and transferred to Kanha National Park (176 km/4 hours), the drive east taking you east through the plains of central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh, formerly the Central Provinces. The seemingly endless scenery is dominated by villages and farmland, small towns, everyday sights and curiosities.Check in to your hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Considered by many to be India’s finest wildlife reserve, Kanha National Park is spread over 940 sq km low rugged hills, wide valleys, extensive tracts of sal forest and expansive, grassy meadows which add up the make it the quintessential central Indian jungle. Eulogised in the writings of two legendary foresters, Dunbar Brander and Frank Champion, in the early 20th century and later in George Schaller’s epic book, The Deer and The Tiger, Kanha gained national park status in 1955 before coming under the aegis for Project Tiger – now renamed as the National Tiger Conservation Authority – arguably one of the world’s most successful conservation projects that brought the tiger back from the brink.
Quite appropriately, Kanha sustains large populations of tiger and the more elusive leopard. Kanha’s other star is the hardground barasingha, a species of swamp deer endemic to this area; one endangered, it has established a relatively stable population. Dhole, the fearsome red-coated wild dog, hunts in well- organized packs and frequent areas where deer, their preferred prey, feed during the day.
More adapted to the hills although visible often when feeding at the forested periphery of the grasslands is the spectacular gaur, largest of the world’s wild oxen. Herds of the beautiful spotted deer abound here, seemingly moving in unison with the omnipresent flocks of langur monkeys that move overhead and act as an early warning system as predators approach. Kanha has about 260 species of resident and migratory birds of which grassland and woodland species are prominent.
Game drives into the park are arranged early morning and mid afternoon. Led by an expert naturalist, they are of about three hours duration each time. In between these drives, there is time to go on guided nature walks and visit nearby villages populated mainly by indigenous Baiga tribals who haves coexisted with wildlife and forests for centuries
Early morning Game Drive in Jungle along with a picnic breakfast in the park. We return to the hotel by noon. Lunch at the hotel and we proceed towards Pench.
Drive to Pench takes 4 hr. and 30 mins and we cover 200 kms.
Arrive in Pench and check in to the hotel. Dinner and overnight
Pench National Park is another of the quintessential central Indian jungles beautifully evoked by Kipling, the two great British era foresters Champion and Dunbar, and the renowned scientist George Schalller who authored the classic study – The Deer and The Tiger – on predator-prey relationships. Managed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), successors to Project Tiger, Pench is original Kipling country which inspired the legendary author’s classic, The Jungle Book, and its unforgettable characters.
Pench is among the newest NTCA-managed wildlife reserves, enhancing the overall size of key areas allocated to vital tiger habitat all over the country. Located in the undulating terrain of the Satpura Hills and rained by the Pench River, its relatively small 759 sq km area is home to one of the last great stands of mighty teak forest. These hills were once known as the Seoni forest and it was here that Kipling chose to locate the story of the wolf boy, Mowgli, and the Seoni wolf pack who adopted him. Its ecosystem supports a rich and diverse array of wildlife. While tiger and leopard, both abundant in umbers here, are the most sought after, equally impressive species are dhole, the wild dog that hunts in packs and is one of the most feared predators along with the wolf and striped hyena; gaur, largest of the world’s wild oxen; nilgai, a large and ungainly antelope; sambhar, the largest of Asian deer. About 240 species of resident and migratory birds have been recorded.
Early morning and mid afternoon safaris, of about three hours duration each time, are led by expert naturalists.
Early morning Game Drive in Pench National Park. We will have a picnic breakfast in the park and return to the hotel by noon. We then leave for Satupua driving across the beautiful countryside of Madhya Pradesh along the Satpura ghats. The drive takes 5 hrs and 30 mins and we will aim to reach Satpura by sundown. We will have lunch on the way at Gateway, Madhya Pradesh tourism.
We arrive by 6.30, check into the Hotel. Dinner & drinks by the pool. Overnight at the hotel.
One of the principal natural features of the Narmada basin is the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, an area of 4,926 sq km set on the highlands of Pachmarhi and Satpura that reach an altitude of 1,220m. The Sapura is an ancient mountain range running West to East, parallel to the Vindhyas to its north – in between them flows the Narmada. A geographical oddity because it drifted into isolation when the Himalaya was separated from the Western Ghats, it is home to some floral and faunal specimens that are endemic to those areas, known as the transition point between India’s western and eastern forests, Satpura’s wilderness spreads over an area of just 524 sq km although packed into this relatively small area are rugged hills rising from 300m to 1,350m, prime teak and sal forest and magnificent mammal and bird life. The park is particularly notable foe tiger, leopard, sloth bear and wild dog. Safaris by jeep and boat, and on foot are expertly guided by the lodge’s team of professional naturalists. The bird list has a mix of resident and migratory species, including passage migrants that use the Central India flyway early autumn and spring.
Early morning Game Drive in Satpura Tiger Reserve with picnic breakfast. Post the drive we leave for Bhimbetka which is on the way to Bhopal. Lunch will be packed and carried along.
Drive from Satpura to Bhimbetka will take 3hr and 30 mins (150 km). Here we will have a guided tour of the rock shelters, which have paintings dating back to the pre-historic era, more than 10,000 years from now.
We now head to Bhopal which will be a drive of 40 mins and check in to the Hotel. The evening is at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel.
Bhopal is the state capital of Madhya Pradesh, formerly the Central Provinces. It was a pre 1947 princely state and that aura lingers, as it was home to the Pataudi dynasty whose scion, the last Nawab of Pataudi was an Oxford blue and India’s cricket captain. A major human tragedy a little over thirty years ago have the city unfortunate adverse publicity. Bhopal today is a fairly sedate city of government office and institutions.
A day’s excursion is made north of the city to Sanchi (116 km roundtrip/1.5 hours drive each way plus stops at sites) to see the tGreat Stupa, one of the most magnificent of Indian antiquities along with the Ajanta and Ellora caves and the city of Varanasi. commissioned during the 3rd century BCE by the Emperor Ashoka, it is the oldest stone structure and perhaps the most precious relic in Buddhist art. In the immediate vicinity are the4th-5th century CE Gupta Era rock-cut temples crowned by the gigantic statue of the god Vishnu in his boar incarnation ,and Vidisha where the 110BCE Heliodorus Pillar marks the visit of the Greek ambassador from Taxila.
Post breakfast we leave for a Heritage tour of the Old City of Bhopal, the kingdom of the Begums (Queens) of Bhopal. We return to the hotel for Lunch and leave for the airport and depart Bhopal for your onward journey.
We look forward to welcoming you to slow travel in the Indian subcontinent,
imaginatively and meticulously designed just for you.