Central India, encompassed almost entirely by the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, has perhaps more incredible surprises for the traveler than any of the other better known regions of India. Strategically important as the gateway to the south, this vast region with its lush valleys, fertile plateaus and rugged forest covered hills remains for most travelers Terra Incognita.
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Sheltering amongst its jungle covered hills and picturesque valleys are great brooding forts, astonishingly well preserved medieval cities, superb handicrafts, textiles and tribal art - layer upon layer of history stretching back to the dawn of human history.
The best of all - virtually all of these treasures are unknown and safe from ‘development’, set in some of the most magnificent scenery in the entire subcontinent. For the hard knot of Central India is formed by the rough-hewn and picturesquely eroded mountain ranges of the Vindhya’s and the Satpura with the Sacred River Narmada flowing serenely between them.
The superb Kaafila mobile camp allows a select few – those who have a yen to break free of the rutted paths and explore the secret places of the Earth away from the crowds – to access these incredible remains in considerable luxury and in the company of genuinely knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides.
On this itinerary you will begin with one of India’s most astonishing ruins – the once invincible fort of Kalinjar where the Great God (Mahadeva) Shiva conquered death and defined Time. It is a vast mountain eyrie brooding romantically over a lush tranquil plain with a small town crouched at its feet.
In its ruined splendour, you will find some of the most magnificent and evocative architecture and sculpture anywhere of a quality that beggars the more mundane offerings of travel brochures. Not far from your private, Royal camp is another atmospheric hill fort – Ajaigarh which makes for an active morning hike. You’re beautiful, luxury camp is set at the edge of the Panna Tiger Reserve buffer zone and offers some superb nature hikes, fishing, cycling and photographic opportunities in the idyllic little villages that dot the landscape.
From here you travel to Panna to the delightful Sarai at Toria hotel to explore the Panna Tiger Reserve and the world heritage temples of Khajuraho.
Then to Chanderi awash with historic monuments that stand witness to the tumultuous but enriching history of the past 1000 years. The town is a veritable index of medieval north Indian architecture stretching form the time of the Imperial Guptas of the 4th century AD to the advent of the British in the early 19th century. And yet Chanderi remains a bustling, thriving market town overlooked by the remains of its magnificent past. Chanderi is also home to some of the most beautiful hand woven textiles in India.
But the Kaafila itinerary isn’t all monuments and people and wildlife safaris. Your luxury camps will be set in some of the most picturesque locations imaginable. Rugged hills, jungles and clear streams alternate with gentle, tranquil farmlands and pretty villages where you will always have the opportunity to walk, bird watch or just relax and revel in your surroundings.
Breathe deep the clear, crisp air of winter. Once merchant caravans threaded their way through the hill passes and jungle fastnesses of this stunningly beautiful country. Today you will access this Old India with your own caravan – the luxurious tents and expert guides of Kaafila that will allow you a glimpse of an India that has elsewhere been submerged by the globalizing anonymity of the 21st Century.
You can always add Kaafila onto the new and beautiful Jalakara on Havelock Island or even add on the Maldives – perhaps staying on a private yacht or at a beautiful lodge.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore – Dream – Discover - Mark Twain - You can view clips of some of our own favourite discoveries here.
- Utterly designed and tailored around you and your requirements
- Totally unique every time you travel with us
- The very best hand picked guides which can make the difference between a good and an outstanding holiday
- Established over 27 years ago we have been around longer than most
- Our specialists come from, have lived in or travelled extensively in the regions we cover
- Unparalleled knowledge provides you with the best possible experience
- Philanthropy is our philosophy
- Our founding principle is to always ‘put something back’
- An amount from each holiday is donated to our selected conservation and humanitarian charities
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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