India: Taj, Tigers & Temples Safari – a client review

Douglas Mullen

29 Mar 2019

Last October, NWS client Doug set off on his India safari to see the Taj, tigers and temples.

India has always intrigued me, but for some reason, I  travelled to many other places in the world before considering a visit. After having a fantastic trip to Madagascar with NWS, I asked them to set me up with a trip. Since travelling solo is so expensive, I asked a long term buddy to come along. I never realized that it was only going to be for the two of us instead of a group! All through the trip we were in a small van, with the same friendly driver and different, excellent guides that had expertise for each area. It was great!

We began our trip flying into New Delhi, where we were met with a NWS representative. 

After getting a good night's sleep, we went for a walking tour of New Delhi. It was organized chaos, but wonderful! People, cows, tuk tuks, and monkeys everywhere! People were extremely friendly with food and produce were everywhere. 

What impressed me the most was how kind the vendors were. They offered their wares, and did not pressure you to buy anything. It was a great experience.

We toured the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid Mosque (where 20,000 are given free food every day), and the beautiful Qutab Minar tower. Walking the streets anywhere in the country was perfectly safe.

On day two we traveled to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. The crowds were surprisingly small, and we were able to see everything at our own pace. The sunrise was breathtaking.

On Day three we took a train to Ranthambore National park to see the Bengal tigers. As usual, throughout the trip we stopped to tour another grand Palace (Fatehpur Sikri) made of vibrant red sandstone.

Ranthambore National Park was a unexpected surprise, as we had heard that it was way over crowded. Not So!! The number of visitors each day is strictly controlled, and only lodge vehicles can enter. We stayed in a beautiful Khem Villas lodge for two nights and several park trips. Wildlife was everywhere - especially several bird species and deer. It is a photographers paradise! 

Each day we got within a few yards of Bengal tigers, especially one female with two cubs. They were totally unafraid of people. We watched them for almost a hour.

Our next stop was Jaipur City, and its spectacular Amber Fort. The Jan Mantar observatory was fascinating, with the biggest sun dial in the world! A morning walk through the wholesale flower market, where tons of marigold blossoms and orchids are brought from surrounding farms for daily sales was something I will always remember.

An evening visit to a huge pawn shop made buying gifts for the folks back home really easy. Everything (including beautiful bedspreads) were easily shipped home.

Next we travelled to Bera to see leopards. We stayed at the Bera Safari Lodge for three nights, and each trip to the boulder mounts produced leopards and excellent pictures and videos.

What I consider the highlight of the trip was an unscheduled trip to a local village near Bera. The villagers main source of income is raising cattle, goats, and crops for milk, meat, and food. The villagers were friendly, happy and we loved talking with them! They strongly believed that life for their beautiful children would be much better.

I have been all over the world, and there a few places I think I need to go back to. But there is a lot more of India I want to see! There is no doubt I will do it with Natural World Safaris (I am going to Costa Rica with them next January!).

All photos were taken with the full permission of the individuals photographed.

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