This tour is for the bird and wildlife connoisseur. Begin at the National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, the home of the endangered gharial (small crocodile) and the red–crowned roof turtle. Visit Agra and the Taj Mahal before spending two nights at Bharatpur to enjoy the amazing bird life at the Keoladeo National Park. Drive ahead to Ranthambore Park in Rajasthan, one of the best places for tiger viewing.
Travel overland to Jarar to arrive there by late afternoon. Jarar is a working farm on the fringes of Chambal National Park and its owner-managed hospitality features comfortable accommodations, good food and wildlife viewing with a difference.
Created to conserve Gangetic river dolphin, gharial and marsh crocodile (now seen in encouraging numbers), the 1235 sq km park stretches 400 km along the river that is bordered by spectacular ravines on either side. Early morning and afternoon boat safaris are made on the river, with close range sightings of mammals and birds that delight the conservationist and photographer. A magnet for birdwatchers are the 300 and more resident and migratory species sighted on the river and farm, with rarities such as the Indian skimmer frequently seen. The Sarus Crane Conservation Area begins at the edge of the farm. A most rewarding excursion is made to the Patna Bird Sanctuary (160 km roundtrip), a tiny wetland with the most astonishing bird density.
Early morning excursion to Sur Sarovar (45 minutes drive each way). Better known as Keetam Lake, it is an excellent deep water reservoir known for duck and pelican sightings. In the afternoon, drive to Bharatpur (54 km/1.5 hours plus stops), visiting Fatehpur Sikri along the way.
Merely 29 sq km in size, Keoladeo Ghana is known to the world as one of its premier wetland reserves, a haven for over 400 species of migratory and resident birds. Expertly guided walks and boat excursions, water levels permitting, can sometimes let you see up to 150 species in a day. The periphery of Keoladeo Ghana should not be overlooked as species not found in the Park can provide some wonderful surprises.
After a final morning of bird watching, travel by the afternoon train to Ranthambhore National Park (daily except Sundays).
The 392 sq km Ranthambhore National Park, under the aegis of Project Tiger, is perhaps India’s most famous and photogenic. Situated at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges, its dominant features are the steep-sided hills and cliffs straddled by the gigantic fortress that look over seasonal lakes, grassland and sparse forests. The relative lack of undergrowth enhances wildlife viewing. The lakes are the focal point of activity, where large congregations of animals gather during the peak early morning and late afternoon feeding hours, and this becomes more pronounced when all but the largest lakes remain during the transition from winter to spring and summer. Birdlife is prolific, with over 350 species recorded, and particularly good for raptor sighting. The National Geographic epic, “Land of The Tiger”, was filmed here over two decades ago.
Depart Ranthambhore for your onward destination.