Day 1: Arrive in Delhi and settle into your hotel. Stay one night at The Imperial New Delhi on Bed & Breakfast Basis.
This evening, dinner will be arranged at one of the capital’s best fine-dining restaurants.
Day 2: Start early and fly to Khajuraho by private jet. You will be met on arrival and taken to the stunning 10th and 12th century temples renowned for their intricate rock carvings and erotic sculptures. Later, you will be driven (about 2 hours) by private vehicle to an exclusive campsite in an idyllic spot where private mobile tents will be set up for you. The drive is lovely through forest and farmland.
Stay at the Kaafila Kalinjar Camp for three nights on Full Board Basis.
Time permitting you can do a short walk before returning for sundowners, bath and dinner.
Day 3: Enjoy a full-day exploration of one of India’s greatest hill forts – Kalinjar, which lies about an hour’s drive from the campsite.
Once considered the most strategically important fort in Central India – and indeed the gateway to India’s rich and rugged heartland – Kalinjar is dramatically set on the top of a vast curving escarpment of the northern Vindhyan Range. Its history is lost in time for well before it became a bastion of power, this was the abode of ascetics drawn to its powerful brooding and isolated location, cut off from the world by tiger haunted jungle. Kalinjar’s settled history can definitely be traced to the time of the Imperial Gupta’s of the 4th Century AD and it contains fascinating sets of temples, mosques, shrines and palaces embellished with water tanks and springs.
To access some of the best sculptures requires walking through jungle paths and along the rampart walls – enjoying superb views over the lovely rural countryside at the base of the hill. Picnic lunch will be arranged in a quiet, lovely corner of the fort. Return to camp by sundown.
Day 4: Today, you will visit the fort of Ajaigarh – another atmospheric and fascinating hill fort – which offers a wonderful and invigorating walk rewarded with some fine views and interesting old temples and sculptures set picturesquely in the middle of dense teak forests where there is every chance of seeing tracks of leopards. On the way to the fort we could stop in the lovely little village near the campsite and spend an hour with the friendly and welcoming residents who are delighted to show their homes and share their stories. It’s all extremely photogenic.
There is no motorable road up to the fort and you do need to be reasonably fit to explore this particular complex. After lunch, you will be taken to the town of Ajaigarh situated at the foot of the hill. Return to the camp by early evening.
Day 5: You will have an early start today as you are driven by private vehicle to Panna where you will stop at the interesting ‘Scottish’ mansion that belongs to Rani Divya Singh and her husband Raja Keshav Pratap Singh. Divya is a scion of the ruling family of Panna and Keshav is a descendant of one of the land-owning aristocracy. Have breakfast with this charming and interesting couple with their insights of the history of the region as well as the current state of affairs since both of them are deeply involved in local politics.
Later, you will be driven about 45 minutes to the lovely Sarai at Toria lodge situated picturesquely on the banks of the pristine Ken River.
Stay at Sarai at Toria for three nights on Full Board Basis. This charming lodge with just eight independent cottages is owned and run by Raghu Chundawat - a renowned conservation biologist whose ten-year research on tigers in Panna National Park is the only long-term ecological research project on tigers undertaken in India till date, and his wife Joanna Van Gruisen – a well-known wildlife photographer and film maker.
In the afternoon you will go out on a private game drive into Panna Tiger Reserve which has witnessed the most successful tiger re-introduction programme anywhere in India.
Day 6: Enjoy an early morning private game drive in Panna Tiger Reserve. In the late afternoon, explore the countryside around the lodge for birdwatching as well as to experience the unhurried and simple rural life.
Day 7: Enjoy a boat ride on the picturesque Ken River, which is excellent for birdwatching. In the afternoon, enjoy yet another private game drive in the national park.
Day 8: Today is a long but interesting drive through the delightful countryside of Bundelkhand (about 6 hours). Stop for picnic lunch at the very imposing Baldeogarh Fort which occupies a craggy outcrop on the edge of a large lake. By late afternoon, you will arrive at your exclusive campsite near the historic town of Chanderi.
Stay at Kaafila’s Chanderi Camp for three nights on Full Board Basis.
Protected by its hill-top citadel, the town of Chanderi clusters around the base still enclosed within its old walls although the newer developments have spilled well beyond. Inside the walled town you will find a haven of medieval architecture still in everyday use – old mansions, temples, mosques, shrines, ceremonial gateways and bustling bazaars.
Day 9: Spend the day exploring the town, visiting some beautiful structures like the Jama Masjid, the looms of the skilled weavers who create the famous Chanderi textiles, the many and varied monuments that litter the landscape around the town redolent of its colourful and eventful history – like the tomb of the tragic princess Shahzadi begum, the imposing remains of what was once the seven-storied Kaushak Mahal palace, and the beautiful and serene graveyard of the Sufi teachers.
In the evening your guide will walk you through the walled town dominated by the fort evocatively lit up. The walled town of Chanderi is full of beautiful heritage like the Raja Rani Mahal (twin palaces), the Untsaar or camel mounting stables, several temples, mansions and step-wells; all of it relatively clean making it a joy for a relaxed wander or some serious photography.
Day 10: Enjoy a full-day excursion to Deogarh. The landscape, especially along the Betwa River is beautiful and the area is teeming with migratory and indigenous birds during winter. Spend a few hours exploring the densely forested fort with a significant collection of 9th century AD Jain temples and the Dashavatar Temple at the base of the fort which is estimated to have been built between 425 and 525 AD – one of the earliest examples of stone sculpture in India. In the late afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on the river looking for water birds.
Day 11: Early morning, you will be driven by private vehicle to Bhopal (4 hours). Fly to Agra by private jet and enjoy a tour of Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. Your visit to the Taj Mahal will be timed so that you can see the beautiful monument at dusk.
Stay one night at the luxurious Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel on Bed & Breakfast Basis.
Day 12: Time-permitting, you can enjoy yet another visit to the Taj Mahal, this time to view it in the magical early morning light at dawn. Later, you will be flown to Delhi by private jet in time to connect to your international flight home.
This extraordinary journey starts from US$27,935.00 per person based on a minimum group size of four travellers. This is merely a sample itinerary and it is entirely possible to customise it according to your specific requirements and interests. The indicative cost does not include the international flights.
Jet aircraft images are for illustrative purposes only and are indicative of the types of aircraft used for these journeys which is dependent on the number of travellers in the party.