This 13-day itinerary is designed to maximize your chances of thrilling experiences with the Bengal tiger. You'll explore multiple natural habitats in the rural heart of India, including the deciduous forests of Kanha National Park and some of the country's most beautiful and pristine wildlife reserves. The trip is topped off with visits to the Taj Mahal, the city of Fatehpur Sikri, and the extraordinary Khajuraho temples.


  • Catch a glimpse of the elusive Bengal tiger
  • Find animals like leopards and sloth bears on safari 
  • Visit the iconic Taj Mahal and the Red Fort of Angara
  • Take an overnight train to Jabalpur, an authentic Indian experience 

Brief Itinerary 

Day Highlights


Day 1 Arrive in Delhi Delhi
Day 2 Delhi City Tour & Train to Ranthambore  Sawai Madhopur
Day 3 Morning & Evening Game Drives in Ranthambore Sawai Madhopur
Day 4 Visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park Bharatpur
Day 5 Guided Wildlife Tour  Agra
Day 6 Tour the Red Fort of Agra & Overnight Train to Jabalpur Overnight Train
Day 7 Arrive in Jabalpur, Transfer to Kanha National Park Kanha
Day 8 Morning & Evening Game Drives in Kanha National Park Kanha
Day 9 Drive to Bandhavgarh National Park Bandhavgarh
Day 10 Morning & Evening Game Drives in Bandhavgarh Bandhavgarh
Day 11 Transfer to Khajuraho  Khajuraho
Day 12 Morning Temple Visit & Afternoon Train to Delhi Delhi
Day 13 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Delhi

Wooden windchimes with musical bells for sale at Dilli Haat, an outdoor handicraft bazaar market in New Delhi India
Wooden windchimes at Dilli Haat, an outdoor handicraft bazaar market in New Delhi

Welcome to Delhi, the capital of India! Upon arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your accommodation. Think of Delhi as two distinct cities: Old Delhi, founded in the 17th century, and New Delhi, established in the early 20th century by the British. Old Delhi offers an exotic vibe with bustling streets and historical monuments spanning several kingdoms and empires, and sprawling New Delhi offers international hotels, wide tree-lined avenues, and foreign embassies. 

If you're feeling energized, you could visit Dilli Haat, an outdoor craft market bazaar selling handmade souvenirs from all 29 of India's states. The bazaar is also home to various food stalls selling tasty regional cuisine.

Day 2: Delhi City Tour, Train to Ranthambore 

India's architecture is influenced by many ethnic and religious groups, the influences of which are seen in the well-preserved ruins
The Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi

Today you have a half-day sightseeing excursion in Delhi. Visit the walled city of Old Delhi—crowded and full of activity, it's an excellent place to view the architectural influences of the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort

Stop in at Jama Masjid, a beautiful mosque from the 17th century, then take a walk through the famous Chandni Chowk, a typical Indian market abuzz with activity. Finish the day with a stop at the Rajghat memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, known as the '"Father of the Nation." You'll also drive past the Presidential Palace, and the Secretariat Buildings and down the impressive Rajpath to the India Gate.

Later this afternoon, you'll transfer to the railway station to board the train to Sawai Madhopur, a small town in Rajasthan that has gained popularity for its proximity to Ranthambore National Park. 

Day 3: Morning & Evening Game Drives in Ranthambore

Black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus) perched on branch in Ranthambore national park
A tiger family in Ranthambhore National Park

Today you'll have two game drives into the park to try to catch a glimpse of one of the elusive tigers. Head out early in the morning—one of the best times to catch a glimpse of these secretive animals—for your first safari into the National Park. Ranthambore has one of the largest populations of tigers in India, and your experienced guides know the best locations with the highest possibility of seeing the tigers. 

After the drive, you'll return to your accommodation for breakfast and a free morning before returning to the park for your second safari drive later in the afternoon.  

Day 4: Visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park 

A Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is a common sight in the park. You are likely to see many species of birds on this day of the trip. 
A great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is a common sight in the park

In the morning, drive to Bharatpur to visit the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a vast bird sanctuary and former royal game reserve in the north Indian state of Rajasthan. It is home to egrets, ducks, coots, storks, kingfishers, owls, eagles, and harriers, among others. Years ago, the Maharajah ("Prince") of Bharatpur diverted water from a nearby irrigation canal and used the created habitat to organize hunting parties for his guests. In 1956, it was converted into a bird sanctuary and is now home to over 360 species. 

Day 5: Guided Wildlife Tour 

The incredibly well-preserved complex of Fatehpur Sikri will delight travelers fascinated with art and history 
The well-preserved Fatehpur Sikri complex

In the morning, pay another visit to the bird sanctuary with a local naturalist. In the afternoon, drive to the city of Agra via Fatehpur Sikri, a majestic monument built with red sandstone. This impressive and well-preserved citadel became Emperor Akbar's capital in 1571 but was deserted after 14 years due to water scarcity. The buildings are still well-preserved, and worth a visit.

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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Tour the Red Fort of Agra & Overnight Train to Jabalpur

The Red Fort of Agra, a stunning architectural display of the Rajput and Mughal architectural styles
The Red Fort of Agra

At sunrise, visit the Taj Mahal, which stands on the southern bank of the Yamuna river. This stunning monument symbolizes eternal love, and its beauty never fails to impress first-time visitors. Nearby is the imposing Red Fort of Agra, which exhibits a blend of the Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. The afternoon is free for individual sightseeing or visiting the bazaar, where you can see the famous marble inlays produced by the descendants of the artisans who worked on the Taj Mahal.

In the evening, board the overnight train to Jabalpur.

Day 7: Arrive in Jabalpur, Transfer to Kanha 

Adolescent tigers like to play by chasing each other, the birds around them, or anything else that moves
A male chital, also known as the spotted deer, relaxes in the shade during the afternoon heat

Arrive in Jabalpur early this morning before continuing your drive to Kanha National Park. Created in 1974, Kanha covers approximately 750 square miles (1945 sq km) of diverse terrain with grasslands, plateaus, and rocky escarpments, providing a home to several species of wildlife. Tigers, leopards, bison, many species of deer, monkeys, and many birds roam freely within its wild spaces. Your afternoon is free to relax and soak in the atmosphere or visit the nearby village.

Day 8: Morning & Evening Game Drives in Kanha National Park

A male chital, also known as the axis deer, or spotted deer, relaxes in the shade during the afternoon heat.
Female Bengal tiger in Kanha National Park

Today, take two jeep safaris into the park: one early in the morning before the heat of the day and the second in the afternoon after lunch. 

Day 9: Drive to Bandhavgarh National Park

Tigers are mostly solitary, and live their lives separately from each other, except for mating and raising cubs. Even thought this cub looks grown, she still has a lot to learn from her mom, and will stay with her for several years before leaving to establish her own territory.  
This tiger cub will stay with her mom for several years before leaving to establish her territory

Early this morning, make the drive to Bandhavgarh National Park. Bandhavgarh is home to a wide variety of rare and endangered animals, including the insectivorous sloth bear, the impressively large gaur (the largest living bovine native to India), the majestic sambar deer, chital, wild pig, and a wide variety of birds. The park also has the highest Bengal tiger density in the world, so keep your eyes peeled for signs of tracks. Like in Kanha, most game drives in Bandhavgarh are also undertaken by Jeep.

Day 10: Morning & Evening Game Drives in Bandhavgarh

Although tigers are at the top of most visitor's viewing list, they are by no means alone in the park- many wonderful species calls these national parks home. 
A sloth bear in Bandhavgarh National Park

Today, following the rhythm of the other mornings, take your first game drive early in the morning for the chance to see a variety of wildlife species. After lunch, you'll make another foray into the park. Besides tigers, you may also catch a glimpse of the leopards that have a large breeding population in this national park.

Day 11: Transfer to Khajuraho 

Most of the temples were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty, and their carvings suggest a high level of religious tolerance
Kandariya Mahadev Temple at Khajuraho

This morning is your transfer to Khajuraho, a small town located in the Bundelkhand region (Chhatarpur District) of Madhya Pradesh. Famous for groups of unique Hindu and Jain temples, these temples comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their beautiful rock carvings. Behind the village, the Vindhya mountain range forms an incredible backdrop. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax and explore.

Day 12: Morning Temple Visit & Afternoon Train to Delhi

The intricate and erotic carvings on the temples are unparalleled in their detail
A temple and garden in the historic city Khajuraho

In the morning, you'll visit both the western and eastern groups of temples. There were originally nearly 100 separate temples built between 950 and 1050 CE, each dedicated to a different deity. Today, only 20 of these temples still exist, and are considered the finest in India for their unmatched workmanship and intricate details.

In the afternoon, transfer to the Jhansi railway station for the train to Delhi. 

Day 13: Depart

Foot and automobile traffic on the road leading up to the India Gate in Delhi in the evening 
The road leading up to the India Gate in Delhi at dusk

Make your way to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to board your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Safari & Cultural Tour of Northern India - 13 Days
Map of Safari & Cultural Tour of Northern India - 13 Days