Date: 20 November to 6 December 2023
Welcome to Southern India – dramatically different to its counterpart in the north. Its wide-open spaces make for a verdant backdrop to the region’s diverse history, landscapes and people. Be immersed in the South’s ancient, medieval and more recent colonial history; visit tiny villages, larger townships and vibrant cities. Observe locals as they go about their day and welcome you with a wide smile. See a plethora of wildlife in world-class Nagarhole National Park, and enjoy cruising the tranquil backwaters of Kerala on a slow but majestic houseboat. If you appreciate your food, the dishes from this part of the world are outstanding, comprised of many different cuisines from the various areas of Southern India.
The central Indian forests have inspired many writers over the centuries including Kipling and Forsyth, to name a few. Amidst the thrill of tracking predators such as big cats on game drives, the contrast in habitat and a mixed variety of vegetation in the three different parks add to the diversity of flora and fauna. Exploring these well-kept tiger reserves we’ll take canoes on the river, jeep safaris, and walks inside the core of the jungle. This journey will allow the traveller to get a deeper insight into the central Indian wilderness at the heart of India – the popular, well-explored Kanha that features on every wildlife enthusiast’s list, the Pench corridor that forms a continuum with Kanha, and the offbeat Satpura National Park that is emerging as a veritable sanctuary for wildlife today.
Beyond north India’s kingdoms and culture, Central India’s jungles and South India’s temple trails – there are a few detours for the discerning traveller; Along this way, one can tap into the urban pulse of Bangalore, retrace the history and traditions of Mysore, learn about the adventures of a saint who started coffee cultivations in India, capture the wildlife of Kabini and Wayanad in your cameras, smell the flavours of Mopilah cuisine at Thalassery and unwind in the tropical beaches of Neeleshwar.
For wildlife-lovers, nothing is as alluring as the big cats of India. The Royal Bengal tiger once roamed freely across the Indian subcontinent, but trophy hunting and habitat destruction have endangered populations, which are restricted to a few areas, today. Gir in the state of Gujarat is the last refuge for the Asiatic lion, offering a chance to glimpse these rare creatures in the wild. The land of leopards and shepherds – Bera’s unique habitat that allows the elusive big cat and the Rabari community to co-exist. Walk on the wild side with the kings of the jungle! Come with us, as we peel back the different layers of India for you. Wherever you venture from, you will find something that touches your heart in India.
In a country of a billion and a half and still counting, Ladakh is one of those rare places where people are few and far between. While high passes and spectacular mountains dominate the region, it is also a place that speaks of the thousands of years that travellers, craftsmen, religious dignitaries and nomads have come upon. A jewel in the crown of India, Ladakh not just amazes with its landscape and people, but also hides unique Wildlife. While many passes make up for what it is and what it means grammatically, yet experiencing a place like this is bound to leave every traveller breathless both spiritually and by altitude.
Most people visit the desert state of Rajasthan for its imperial heritage; beautiful palaces, historic forts, regal Havelis or mansions, and it is indeed, a resplendent route to journey on. Yet who built these grandiose structures, who immortalised battle stories in song and dance, who told stories of the ancient feudal lords, and who sustained these fiefdoms of old? With this itinerary, you can retrace the dustier routes that the riches of ancient feudal kingdoms travelled by, to hear the history from the folk who’ve borne it to present-day.
Assam is the tale of a river that romances with the lands. The River Brahmaputra carves itself through expansive grasslands and rice paddy fields and contains an array of remarkable river islands. Home to the one-horned rhinoceros, many mammals and exotic birdlife, the state exhibits stories of successful conservation. A land that has always been welcoming and open to novelty, Assam’s culture is fashioned from many unique traditions that seeped into its ethos with the passing of time. While you start your trip with the jewel of Kolkata, you slowly slide away into the simple, unhurried cultural landscapes of Assam. Welcome to the land of lahe, lahe – meaning slowly, slowly in Assamese.
Most ancient civilisations trace its origins to river valleys. The fertile plains and perennial water supply lured the nomadic herdsmen to settle down, cultivate the land, and the surplus produce led to the establishment of cities, societies, priestly sects and empires. The Gangetic valley has the rare claim of having seen the rise of three major faiths: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. As you trail along the plains of the majestic Ganges, trace the legacy of those almost-forgotten empires and the tenets of three faiths, echoed by mute monuments, and re-enacted through timeless traditions.
Date: 31 March – 21 April 2023
Highlights of this fabulous tour include retracing India’s Mughal and colonial eras on a historic trail through Delhi; reliving Mowgli’s days in the Kanha and Pench forests with glimpses of the wildlife featured in the Jungle Book films, and viewing Central India’s incredible wildlife on jeep safaris and/or canoe on the Denwa River on the fringes of Satpura National Park. We shall step back in time on a trail of Lucknow’s landmarks that attest to its regal past, and watch the blush of sunrise over the Taj Mahal – one of the world’s seven wonders. For an exclusive glimpse into India, this itinerary offers a perfect mix of history, culture and wildlife.
Tamil Nadu bears witness to a rich history of empires and dynasties, each left their mark in stone temples – the state’s major attractions. One can trace the history and the evolution of architecture, dance and music by studying temple motifs, and the age-old traditions and rituals continue to this day – making for a lively, cultural experience. From Tamil Nadu’s sandy beaches to its forested mountains, from temple towns to its tea plantation hill stations, Tamil Nadu can offer a plethora of travel options. In this itinerary, delve into the traditions and trades that allowed ancient kingdoms and colonial powers to vie for lands and commerce in Southern India.