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Wild Western IndiaJanuary 8, 2014 - January 26, 2014
Priced from: $11,980
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Jan 8 - Jan 9 USA / Mumbai, India
Depart on your independent flights to Mumbai. Transfer to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
January 10 Mumbai
This morning travel to Elephanta Island to see the extraordinary Hindu and Buddhist rock-cut stone sculptures in the Elephanta Caves, dating back from the 5th to 8th centuries. A tour of Mumbai this afternoon includes visits to the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales Museum, and Kamla Nehru Park before ascending the slopes of Malabar Hill for a panoramic view and visit to the Hanging Gardens.
January 11 Mumbai / Diu / Gir National Park
After a leisurely breakfast board our flight to Diu and then drive to Gir National Park. The park is best known for its incredible wildlife, including the rare Asiatic lion and leopards. Check in to The Gateway Gir Hotel, our home base for three nights.
Jan 12 - Jan 13 Gir National Park
While at Gir National Park, enjoy morning and afternoon safaris, punctuated by lunch at the hotel. Embark on safaris in search of Asiatic lions and leopards, as well as the four-horned antelope, Indian gazelle, spotted deer, hyena, jackal, and more.
January 14 Gir National Park / Velavadar National Park
After a final, early morning safari, depart for Velavadar National Park. Arrive late in the afternoon and check in to the Blackbuck Lodge for dinner and overnight.
January 15 Velavadar National Park
Spend a full day exploring this diverse park. The colorful avian cast includes larks and sandgrouse, as well as the largest known harrier roost in the world, where you have the opportunity to witness the over 2,000 raptors that return here to sleep after hunting all day.
January 16 Velavadar / Dasada
This morning drive to Dasada, located outside the Little Rann of Kutch. Along the way, visit the world famous Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary. The Rann of Kutch is a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the Arabian Sea and is now a vast plain of salty clay. After an introductory exploration of the area, enjoy dinner at Rann Riders, Dasada, your home for the next three nights.
Jan 17 - Jan 18 Little Rann of Kutch
During the morning and late afternoon both days, set out on safaris to seek out the park’s wildlife, including khurs, white-footed desert foxes, golden jackals, and wolves, plus myriad birdlife—birds of prey, bustards, sandgrouse, and more. Return to the lodge for lunch each day, followed by a visit to nearby tribal villages.
January 19 Dasada / Siana
After breakfast emabark on a full day drive to Siana, stopping for lunch at Palanpur Palace near Mt. Abu. Upon arrival, take a short camel ride into Siana Camp, your base for the next two nights. Conclude the day with a night-time desert safari in search of elusive nocturnal wildlife including desert hedgehogs, Indian porcupines, and striped hyenas.
January 20 Siana
Today, enjoy both morning and early evening safaris in the desert by jeep or on foot to seek out the region’s birds and mammals, including the elusive leopard. You also have the opportunity to walk through a local village.
January 21 Siana / Jodhpur
After breakfast and an early morning safari, set off for Jodhpur. Here you have the special opportunity to eat lunch at a local family’s home. Then visit the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort. This afternoon check in to the luxurious Umaid Bhawan Palace; part hotel, part personal residence of the Maharaja, the palace boasts superb architecture, delightful rooms, and extensive gardens.
January 22 Jodhpur / Phalodi
After a morning of sightseeing in Jodhpur, make the short drive to Phalodi which has become famous for its proximity to Khichan, the wintering grounds for demoiselle cranes. The smallest crane in the world, this gathering is an awe-inspiring wildlife spectacle with as many as 9,000 gathering each winter. Upon arrival in Phalodi, visit the local wetlands in search of cranes, ducks, and shorebirds, followed by dinner and overnight at our haveli-style hotel, the Lal Niwas Palace.
January 23 Phalodi / Khichan / Mihir Garh
Make an early visit to the village of Khichan to watch and photograph the famed demoiselle crane gathering. After their early morning feeding, the cranes all settle on the sand dunes beyond the village and as they turn to face the sun, their black chest feathers contrast magnificently with the blue winter sky. Return to the Lal Niwas Palace for an early lunch, then depart for Mihir Garh, stopping at the Osian Temple on the way. Arrive as darkness falls on our luxurious desert oasis, at the wonderful Mihir Garh (sun fortess), for a two-night stay.
January 24 Mihir Garh
Rise early to enjoy beautiful views of the desert from our “fort.” After breakfast set off by jeep to visit the photogenic local communities and for one last wildlife safari in search of Indian gazelles. Enjoy a picnic lunch out in the desert.
January 25 Mihir Garh / Jodhpur / Mumbai
After a morning walk and a leisurely brunch, drive to Jodhpur to board our flight to Mumbai. In Mumbai transfer to day rooms at Taj Lands End and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, followed by dinner and late night or very early morning flights homeward.
January 26 USA
Arrive in the USA and connect with homeward flights.