Sacred Places and Natural Beauty of Madhya Pradesh
15 days from £3695 per person
Despite being one of India's most rural states, Madhya Pradesh is the cradle of Indian civilisation with a strong Hindu-Buddhist culture, abundance of historical sites and plethora of wildlife unrivalled throughout the subcontinent. After an exploration of Delhi, fly to Bhopal and visit the ancient Buddhist sanctuary of Sanchi. From here drive to the nearby Raj hill station of Pachmarhi, a bird lover's paradise, and then continue onto Satpura - one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. End with a relaxing stay at the beautiful Ahilya Fort located high above the serene Narmada River.
The Great Stupa at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India, built in the 3rd century BC. This impressive, historical building was constructed over relics of the Buddha himself.
Pachmarhi hill station in the Satpura Range is an excellent place to see wildlife, birdlife and an amazing array of plants. The forest is well known for its medicinal herbs.
Mandu is a ruined fortress city on a rocky outcrop. The city is celebrated for its excellent architecture. The crenelated wall includes 12 gates, palaces, mosques and temples.
Day 1 Depart the UK
Today depart the UK on the British Airways flight to Delhi. (N)
Day 2 Arrive Delhi
Arrive into Delhi and stay for two nights at Le Meridien New Delhi. Alternatively upgrade to the Claridges Hotel or the Imperial Hotel. Delhi is India's capital and a city of two halves. Old Delhi - the heart of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries - is an historic district of grand mosques, majestic forts and crumbling monuments. In contrast New Delhi, with its large government buildings, wide tree-lined avenues and pretty white-washed bungalows was purpose-built in the 1930s by the British as a colonial capital and remains the epicentre of Indian political power. (N)
Day 3 Delhi to Bhopal – by air
This morning fly to Bhopal and stay for two nights at the historic Jehan Numa Palace Hotel. Alternatively upgrade to the Jehan Numa Retreat. Capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal's mix of parks and palaces is in direct contrast to the frenetic old city's large mosques and bustling narrow alleyways. Prior to independence Bhopal was ruled by a succession of forward-thinking Muslim women and the city quickly modernised with the establishment of an early postal system and comprehensive rail network. (B)
Day 4 Bhopal – visit Sanchi
Today visit Sanchi. This is the oldest surviving Buddhist sanctuary in India and was once the principal centre for Buddhism in the country. Sanchi is defined by its Great Stupa, arguably India's finest Buddhist structure and one of the subcontinent's oldest remaining religious monuments. The stupa sits at the heart of an evocative complex of temples and monasteries all of which are in different states of repair. Later return to Bhopal and visit the Taj-ul-Masjid mosque, Jama Masjid and Shaukat Mahal. (B)
Day 5 Bhopal to Pachmarhi – 200kms
Leave Bhopal and drive to the pretty hill station of Pachmarhi which was once the summer capital of the Central Provinces during the British Raj. A sleepy town of graceful bungalows and stone churches, Pachmarhi retains a distinctive colonial atmosphere. Located in the heart of the Satpura Hills, the area around the town has a rich biodiversity and a staggering array of bird-life not commonly seen elsewhere in central India. Stay three nights at the Rock-End Manor. (B/L/D)
Day 6 Pachmarhi
Starting at Duchess Falls, take a guided morning walk to Mount Rosa. Passing waterfalls and rock-paintings, this is an ideal opportunity to encounter the flora and fauna in the areas around Pachmarhi. It is not uncommon to see tiger and leopard tracks as well as a wide range of bird-life including the black eagle and honey buzzard. In the afternoon visit the man-made Pandav Caves, protected monuments, which potentially date to the time of the Emperor Ashoka and end the day at Dhupgarh to enjoy sunset. (B/L/D)
Day 7 Pachmarhi
Today undertake a gentle 8kms walk in the sal forests outside of Pachmarhi. Beginning at Jatashanker Cave, there will be further chances to view some of the local wildlife including barking deer, gaur, tree shrew, sambar, the malabar giant squirrel and numerous vulture roosts. (B/L/D)
Day 8 Pachmarhi to Satpura – 60kms
Walk to the butterfly garden at Panarpani on a trail where fresh tracks of tiger, leopard and sloth bear are often seen. On a good day, over fifty species of butterfly can be seen in the garden and is a must for any butterfly enthusiast. After lunch, continue to Forsyth’s Lodge, Denwa Backwater Escape or Reni Pani Jungle Lodge for a three night stay. A relatively new reserve, Satpura National Park is spread across mountains of the same name. Uniquely, Satpura is also the only tiger reserve that permits walking safaris which are led by trained local guides. (B/L/D)
Day 9 Satpura National Park
Day 10 Satpura National Park
With a back drop of plateaus and hills which form the highest part of the Deccan, the huge Tawa reservoir protects the entire northern flank of the park and affords the perfect habitat for a plethora of bird species which the area is home to. The thick forests of this unspoiled reserve also provide some of the finest tiger habitat in the subcontinent and, although these wonderful animals are present in good numbers, Satpura is home to a host of other rare species including sloth bear and leopard. (B/L/D)
Day 11 Satpura to Maheshwar – 380kms
Today drive to the small town of Maheshwar and stay three nights at the delightful Ahilya Fort. One of central India's best kept secrets, a stay at Ahilya Fort is something to be remembered. Largely constructed in the late 17th century, this converted fortress has changed little and continues to hold a commanding position high above the banks of the sacred Narmada River. Rooms are comfortable and charmingly furnished and there are many nooks and crannies to explore. (B/L/D)
Day 12 Maheshwar
Explore the fort and walk down to riverside and beautiful ghats to witness the timeless daily rituals of the local villagers. The town is revered by followers of Lord Shiva and there are numerous shrines and temples that line the river's bank. Maheshwar is also known for its Maheshwar saris and are a thriving local industry. (B/L/D)
Day 13 Maheshwar – visit Mandu
Today visit Mandu. Perched in a dominant position astride part of the Vindhya ranges, Mandu is an architectural masterpiece of understated Islamic style with many fine buildings spread over the site. With a history dating back to the early 6th century AD, Mandu's heyday was during the medieval period under the Pathan sultans whose rule ushered in a period of peace and prosperity. Rightly famed for its Islamic architecture, explore Mandu's many palaces, mosques and mausoleums. (B/L/D)
Day 14 Maheshwar to Indore – 90kms
Indore to Mumbai – by air
Today leave Maheshwar and transfer to Indore Airport for the flight to Mumbai where you will stay overnight at the Leela Kempinski Hotel close to the international airport. One of the world's great cities, Mumbai has grown from a small group of islands to India's economic powerhouse and gateway to the world. Still growing fast, Mumbai is a combination of old and new, the chaotic and the peaceful, which draws visitors back time again to what is a most vibrant, bustling and human of cities. (B)
Day 15 Mumbai to the UK
Today transfer back to Mumbai Airport to catch the British Airways flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
KEY: N = No meals B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
- International flights from the UK
- Domestic flights
- Private car with English speaking driver
- Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
- Hotel accommodation and taxes
What's not included
- Cost of visas
- Travel Insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
Guide to Price
The price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request
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