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Northern India & the Himalayan Foothills

Tour Code: IND29

A 17-day classic birdwatching and wildlife holiday visiting Bharatpur and the Himalayan foothills of northern India.

17 days from £3495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £2995 SRS: £795


Northern India offers some of the finest birdwatching in Asia, spiced with the additional thrill of seeing such magnificent mammals as Indian Elephant and Tiger. The itinerary for this perfect introduction to Indian avifauna begins at Bharatpur Reserve in Rajasthan before moving to the picturesque surroundings of Corbett National Park and then finally higher into the Himalayan foothills as we visit the former hill-station of Nainital. Over 300 bird species are likely during this holiday including waterbirds, raptors and a splendid range of Himalayan specialities augmented by winter visitors from Siberia. An equally impressive variety of mammals includes Indian Elephant, Tiger, Nilgai, Sambar and Spotted Deer whilst an historical perspective is provided by sightseeing diversions in Delhi and Agra, home of the fabulous Taj Mahal.

  • Perfect introduction to birdwatching in India
  • Storks, herons & wildfowl… to laughing-thrushes, babblers & forktails
  • Great Black-headed Gull, Olive-backed Pipit, Red-flanked Bluetail & Siberian Rubythroat
  • Ibisbill, Lammergeier & Wallcreeper amongst highlights
  • Chance of Tiger in Corbett National Park
  • Plus Indian Elephant, Nilgai, Smooth Otter and various deer & monkeys
  • Superb scenery, including the Western Himalaya from Nainital
  • Sightseeing tours of Delhi & Agra including the Taj Mahal
  • Elephant-back safari in Corbett National Park
  • Reptiles, including Gharial & Mugger Crocodiles plus huge Rock Pythons
  • Expertly escorted by a British or Indian Naturetrek naturalist

Food

All included in the tour cost, except for main meals in Delhi. Allow £30.

Accommodation

A mixture of comfortable hotels and simple tourist lodges, most with private facilities.

Gharial (Kalid Pasha)

Gharial (Kalid Pasha)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Delhi

Day 2 Delhi

Day 3/6 Bharatpur

Day 7 Agra; drive Delhi

Day 8/11 Corbett

Day 12/15 Nainital

Day 16 Delhi

Day 17 Fly London

The marshes, forests and Himalayan foothills of northern India must surely represent most birdwatchers’s dream holiday destination, combining as they do the mystic appeal of the east with a stunningly varied avifauna. The itinerary for this exciting tour is acknowledged as providing the classic Indian birdwatching tour and by concentrating on three main centres, allows plenty of time to absorb the range of different species evident with each change in elevation. The frustrations of travel in this vast country are also kept to a minimum.

Our tour begins in the capital city, Delhi, but even in the densest urban areas of India, birds are rarely absent and the circling clouds of Black Kites over the city are an astonishing sight for European eyes. The outskirts of the city offer an excellent chance to gain an introduction to Indian birdlife and it is easily possible to see 80 or more species at Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary, where we spend our first day.

Keoladeo Reserve at Bharatpur in Rajasthan is one of the most outstanding wetland areas in Asia and we will spend four days exploring this paradise for birds. Here we will find jheels crowded with huge numbers of wildfowl and waterbirds, savannah inhabited by dry country birds, and patches of forest frequented by woodpeckers, barbets, minivets and many other woodland birds. Turning our attention skywards we will see clouds of storks, eagles and vultures soaring on the thermals over the marshes and during our walks we will frequently meet these raptors, perching tamely in waterside trees causing endless identification headaches. Every corner of this relatively small reserve is full of interest and after we have savoured the initial spectacle of the geese, ducks, storks and herons that crowd the wetlands, we can devote time to looking for wintering flycatchers and northern visitors such as Olive-backed Pipit, Siberian Rubythroat and Dusky Warbler. Elsewhere Dusky Horned Owls peer down from bulky stick nests, Painted Snipe bob at the edges of swampy pools and nightjars perch motionless in their day-time roosts. Although we may find nearly 200 bird species during our stay, not all the attractions are ornithological and other Bharatpur residents include huge Rock Pythons, Nilgai, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Smooth Otters and even the rare Fishing Cat.

After pausing for a day to admire the Moghul splendours of the Red Fort and Taj Mahal at Agra, we travel back to Delhi then into the forested hills and wide river valleys of the Corbett National Park which was named after the famous hunter-turned-conservationist, Jim Corbett. Indian Elephants, Wild Boar and herds of deer browse the vegetation in this superbly scenic reserve, the latter providing prey for a healthy population of Leopards and Tigers. We will search by jeep for these elusive predators, although the abundance of ground cover provides plenty of hiding places to conceal somnolent big cats during the daylight hours and sightings are always a bonus. Easier to find are the rare fisheating Gharial Crocodiles which occur along the fast-flowing Corbett rivers, sharing this habitat with Blue Whistling-thrushes, Plumbeous Redstarts and White-capped River Chats. Mysterious Ibisbills descend from the higher mountains to spend the winter months on some of these rivers and Wallcreepers are often to be seen probing for insects in the crevices of riverside boulders. At Corbett, our base is a comfortable hotel just outside the park boundary, where we are free of the prohibition on walking that applies inside the reserve and can more easily enjoy the superlative birdwatching.

Our final destination takes us deeper into the Himalayan foothills to spend four nights at the hill resort of Nainital. The increase in elevation to over 2,000 metres will bring a new selection of birds, including representatives of such typical Himalayan families as laughing-thrushes, forktails and accentors, plus wintering gems from the north like the Red-flanked Bluetails, which can often be found in our hotel garden. If conditions permit, the icy peaks of the western Himalayan mountains may be observed from a ridge above the resort, evidence of our proximity to this most impressive of mountain ranges which exert such influence on the avifauna of the region.

At the end of our stay in this most idyllic of locations we return to Delhi but, before reaching the capital, we have one last natural history treat as the road crosses over the sacred River Ganges and we may be rewarded by views of the rare Gangetic Dolphin in the waters below the bridge. A fine conclusion to a tour which provides a staggering variety of birdwatching and natural history encounters.

We currently don’t have any images for this tour. If you have any suitable image you would like published then please email us.

Ms R. A.
Herfordshire
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This was another excellent trip, especially the days in the Himalayan foothills (where it was not cold!)...Thank you for organising yet another fantastic holiday. This was our 12th trip with Naturetrek, and we are looking forward to the next one!
Mr. G
South Africa
I have travelled on business and holiday to 59 countries on all 7 continents and can honestly say that this trip to India was one of my greatest adventures yet....Taj Mahal and the Himalaya made the trip a great all round opportunity to tick three 45year old Bucket List items in one trip.
K.L.
Wiltshire
I would like to emphasize how excellent the 2 guides were...Harish a brilliant and extremely knowledgable bird spotter. He found some as if by magic as I doubt if any of us would haev seen them without him.
I.N.
Hertfordhsire
I have to say that I cannot fault Naturetrek on any aspect, and cannot think of anything negative to say or constructive to add. The way that we were dealt with, especially when I was taken ill on holiday (thankfully short lived) was exemplary. Please pass on our thanks to Lester and Harish for their contribution in making our holiday so memorable. I would have no hesitation in recommending Naturetrek to anybody who will listen and look forwarded to travelling with you again.
I.N.
Hertfordshire
I have to say that I cannot fault Naturetrek on any aspect, and cannot think of anything negative to say or constructive to add. The way that we were dealt with, especially when I was taken ill on holiday (thankfully short lived) was exemplary. Please pass on our thanks to Lester and Harish for their contribution in making our holiday so memorable. I would have no hesitation in recommending Naturetrek to anybody who will listen and look forwarded to travelling with you again.
D. & J F.
Surrey
(Trip leader, Tika) Outstanding!
A.W.
Lancashire
14 (days) were in heaven... the hotel in Delhi, both building and service, were exquisite... Paul Jepson (leader) was excellent... we had wonderful sightings of a tiger on our elephant trip.
D. & M.W.
Lancashire
We have just returned from N. India and wish you to know that it was one of the best holidays we have ever had. Of course, the paramount ingredient is the quality of the leader, which was excellent.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Fri 10th November 2017 - Sun 26th November 2017

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£3495

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2995 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: India

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Tour Reviews

This was another excellent trip, especially the days in the Himalayan foothills (where it was not cold!)...Thank you for organising yet another fantastic holiday. This was our 12th trip with Naturetrek, and we are looking forward to the next one!
Ms R. A. , Herfordshire

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