Tigers & Temples of India

Don & Norma Cooper

16 Apr 2014

India Tiger Safari Trip Report

My wife and I, both well into retirement were in South Africa several months ago and whilst visiting a friend she talked about a trip to India she had recently taken, showed us some photographs and we knew we had to go too. This would be a double first for us, first time to India and first time with NWS, but on return from SA we ignored friends’ warnings about upset tummies, telephoned NWS and entered into a different world of holiday planning.

We used our friend’s itinerary as a basis and with Arabellas’ guidance and infinite patience modified it many times, including bringing it forward a year until we were happy. The amount of pre departure information that arrived was impressive and very useful. We were informed that the arrival terminal in Delhi airport would be noisy, busy and chaotic, and it was, but the moment we entered we were greeted by the local representative who took control of our luggage trolley and guided us outside to our waiting taxi. From that moment until our luggage which had surprisingly got heavier was placed on the check in scales by the local rep at Mumbai airport eleven days later everything went just as smoothly and always on time.

The morning after our arrival we were driven to Agra and the Taj Mahal. No matter how many photographs one has seen of this incredible monument, the first sighting you get of it through the archway of the Tower gate was breath-taking. Just having the two of us and our excellent guide was a huge bonus, it meant we could find a quiet spot and just sit and look and talk.

By train the next morning, (an experience I wouldn’t have missed for anything) to Jhansi and then driven to Khajuraho for a threesome conducted tour of the 1000 year old temples and their ‘wealth of sensuous and erotic sculptures’, almost as perfect as the day they were carved. Our guide on entering the sight warned us not to try any of this at home - at our age he must have been joking.

Next day by car to our superb Safari Lodge and Bandhavgarh Nation Park and during our afternoon safari a female tiger came out of the trees and strolled down the road for about 100m. just in front of us scent marking trees and bushes, and no other vehicles in sight!! This early sighting was a huge bonus because we spent the next three safaris to the park being leisurely shown by the lodge naturalist all the park’s many other wonderful sights and attractions, far too many to list.

Then on by car to a very different but still superb lodge at Kanha National Park, one of the largest in India. Our driver, a naturalist was also the owner and developer of the beautiful lodge site and was passionate about the park, and dismissive of people who only went to see and photograph tigers. When again we said we had seen one, what else can you show us we had a delightful two days with him, and not another sight of a tiger. No matter how good your guide and tracker, luck plays a more important part in a sighting.

Then by car and ‘plane to Mumbai as the locals still prefer to call it for two nights at the sumptuous Taj Mahal Palace (thanks Arabella).

We had arranged for a guide to show us the sights the next day. The shock came when she left us a message saying she would meet us in reception at 5am. She was delightful, knowledgeable and from our meeting until 6-30 pm we had a superb fun day seeing this town warts and all.

There is so much more to see and do on this tour than just Temples and Tigers. We enjoyed India so much we would love to return and explore other parts but it would have to be with NWS. We still can’t believe it went without a single hitch, never had that before. The only thing we wished we had done differently was to add another day in Delhi to have a guided tour, but that’s just guiding the lily.

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Don and Norma embarked on a tailor-made tigers and temples safari to India, like this one designed by our very own Sales Manager, Arabella Worthington. To design your own safari or book, please click the button below to send us some quick details and get started.

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