TIGERS AND TEMPLES
India is an ancient land rich in culture, history and an exotic wildlife habitat. Come experience it all on this two week adventure that will bring you to thousand year old temples and into the vast wilderness in search of the mighty tiger. Upon your arrival in New Dehli, the capital city of India we will head off to explore the Unesco world heritage site of the Khajuraho Temples.
The group of temples at Khajuraho testifies to the culmination of northern Indian temple art and architecture of the Chandella dynasty who ruled the region in the 10th and 11th centuries CE. The temples were said to have been spread across 20 square kilometres and there were around 85 temples in the 12th century. Today there are only 23 temples including one partly excavated structure distributed over an area of 6 square km in a picturesque landscape, that have survived the ravages of time and destruction by invaders and marauders.
Built in sandstone, each temple is elevated from its environs by a highly ornate terraced platform, on which stands the body, whose sanctum is topped by a tower. The temples of Khajuraho are known for the harmonious integration of sculptures with their architecture. All surfaces are profusely carved with motifs depicting sacred and secular themes. Sculptures depicting acts of worship, clan and minor deities, and couples in union, all reflect the sacred belief system. Other themes mirror social life through depictions of domestic scenes, teachers and disciples, dancers and musicians, and amorous couples. While they are famous for their erotic sculptures, it comprises only 10% of several thousand carvings and artworks.
A mere 25kms from Khajuraho is Panna Tiger Reserve. The Reserve spanning 1,5981.sq km is a dry deciduous forest which is a critical tiger habitat located in Vindhya Hill in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This land is characterized by extensive plateaus and gorges, mesmerizing waterfalls, naturals and archaeological splendours, legends & cultural richness. The Ken river , which flows through the Reserve from south to north, is home to the Gharial and Mugger, and other aquatic fauna and is one of the least polluted rivers. It is one of the sixteen perennial rivers of Madhya Pradesh and is truly the life line of the Reserve. The Ken river offers some of the most spectacular vistas to the visitor as it meanders for some 55 km through the reserve.
Panna was declared a tiger reserve in the 90s under Project Tiger. By the turn of the century, Panna had around 40 tigers. Shockingly, by 2009, every single tiger had been hunted down owing to rampant poaching and illegal mining. Only two tigresses survived. An outcry triggered the Tiger Reintroduction Project, and thanks to the efforts of dedicated officials and conservationists, the big cat made a strong comeback. In just 10 years, the tiger count at Panna went up to 52 and now stands at 70 tigers. This conservation success story of Panna is the first ever successful tiger reintroduction and rewilding program in the world. Panna has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a site that will serve as a lab to test innovative approaches to eco-conservation and sustainability.
The biodiversity of Panna consists of the Tiger along with leopard , wild dog, wolf , Indian Striped hyena, caracal and smaller cats. The Sloth bears abound in the the rock escarpments and undisturbed valleys. The wooded areas are dotted with sambar deer – the largest of Indian deer, chital and chowsingha. The avifauna comprises more than 200 species including a host of migratory birds. Several varieties of snakes, including the python and other reptiles are found in Panna.
Bandhavgarh National Park is situated in the vindhya hills in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Bandhavgarh, with an area of 105 square kilometres (41 sq mi), was declared a national park in 1968 and then became Tiger Reserve in 1993. The Parks landscape varies between steep ridges, undulating, forest and open meadows. Famed as the land of tigers. This is one the best places to visit if you want to spot the Royal Bengal Tiger. The park has a large breeding population of leopards, and various species of deer. Apart from the tiger population, the area is also rich in biodiversity. More than 30 species of mammals, 260 species of birds, 70 species of butterflies, reptiles and insects are found in the region. The flora of the region comprises majorly evergreen Sal forests, mixed forests and grasslands. More than 500 species of plants are found in the forest area. The lush vegetation of the park attracts several birds and ornithologists
The Maharaja of Rewa captured the first white tiger in this region in 1951. He domesticated this male white tiger and was also able to successfully breed white tigers and export the cubs to other countries. As a result, all white tigers in captivity today are the same tiger’s descendants.
Bandhavgarh dates back to 2000 years ago and has great historical significance also which is evidenced by the presence of the Famous Bandhavgarh fort, various Caves, Rock paintings and carvings inside the Protected Area. The National Park gets its name from the ancient Bandhavgarh fort.
About your leader….
Anuradha (Anu), is an erstwhile IT-marketing professional, who has work for renowned IT companies like NIIT and MIcrosoft. She gave up, as the lure of being out in the wilderness paled in comparison to a high flying corporate career. Quitting her job gave her greater flexibility to pursue photography fulltime and over the years, she has travelled extensively across various wilderness domains, documenting natural history moments.
Anu has been a Canon brand ambassador,in the past, championing women in the field of photography. She has delivered several training sessions for canon as well as several prestigious institutions. She also conducts wildlife tours in Indian and several other Asian & African destinations.
Anu contributes her photographic and written works to photography and nature magazines, books and online platforms. She has authored the recently published Official Coffee Table book of Corbett National Park, India’s and Asia’s 1st National Park, a place she considers to be her second home. While she loves to travel and shoot for its simple pleasure and for the joy of being in the moment, awards and accolades have not eluded her, she has been honoured by Sanctuary Asia, International Nature Namur, Golden Orchid International, National Biodiversity Authority Photography Awards, Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests, PEFC International, UNESCO to name a few.
$1,700 single supplement
- All airport ground transfers
- All domestic flights
- Accommodations for the entirety of the tour
- All meals except at New Delhi Hotel and Khajuraho
- Expert guiding experience by local guides
- 10 safaris at Pana
- 10 safaris at Bandhavgarh
- Photography mentoring
- Park fees