India/Bhutan trip report, Nov/Dec 2014
My husband and I made our first trip to India and Bhutan in Nov/Dec, 2014. Our primary interest was to observe and photograph tigers in the wild. We were also interested in other mammals, birds and some cultural sights.
Manas National Park, 2 ½ days. The jungle there is very thick, making it rather difficult to see wildlife. In addition the wildlife in the area took a severe beating during social unrest in Assam, particularly in the late 1980’s-1990’s. We saw Indian 1 horn rhino, elephant, barking deer, macaque, capped langur, water buffalo (said to be some of the purest, not inbred with domestic buffalo), sambar deer, gaur, wild boar, hog deer.
We stayed in the Musa lodge, very close to the park entrance. We found it very comfortable and the food was excellent, we recommend them.
Bhutan. Most of our time here was centered more on cultural sights. We did spend 3 days in Phobjeka valley watching/photographing black necked cranes.
India part 2
After a week in Bhutan we returned to India. This part of our trip was organized by Manoj and Harsh Vardhan at IGT, Individual and Group Tours (www.ourindiantours.com). They were very helpful in planning the trip, arranging it exactly as we wanted, at a reasonable price. We will definitely contact IGT again if we decide to make another trip to India. I highly recommend them to anyone visiting India, but particularly to anyone interested in wildlife, mammals or birding.
Harsh guided us on a short tour of Delhi, showing us Humayu’s Tomb and several other places of interest. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. He is very involved in Indian wildlife, particularly birding (www.birdfair.org). He was also very knowledgeable about the cultural sights. We enjoyed spending the afternoon with him, he is a true asset to wildlife in India and it was a pleasure talking to him. We only talked to Manoj by telephone and email, but he was also very knowledgeable about wildlife in India. We felt IGT was very important in the success of our trip. We were particularly impressed with the drivers and guides they arranged for us. All were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.
New Delhi and Agra, 1 ½ days. The main focus here was seeing the Taj Mahal. It is definitely worth a visit.
The Red Fort, Agra
Bandhavgarh National Park 2 ½ days.
The favorite part of our trip- finally tigers! We stayed at the Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge. Very comfortable, nice location right next to the park, excellent food, friendly staff, we recommend it. Our guide here was K D Kargeti, he was excellent. He was very enthused about spotting wildlife, very good at bird identification and all-around nice guy, a pleasure to spend time with.
We saw langur, sambar deer, spotted deer, barking deer and wild boar and logged over 50 species of birds. Our main effort was in looking for tigers. We were very fortunate to find a pair of tigers that were willing to spend their day near the road, giving us many photo opportunities! We spent several hours with them in the morning, we returned in the afternoon and had another hour with them (time spent in the park is strictly regulated, we were not allowed to stay inside the park all day). We took hundreds of photos and had a wonderful time!
Keoladeo National Park. 1 afternoon and 1 morning. Here we met another 1st rate guide, Satya Bhan (specifically lined up for us by IGT). Satya is an excellent birder, helping us identify about 100 species of birds in just an afternoon and a morning in Keoladeo. We really enjoyed our time with Satya, he was very happy and excited whenever he spotted a more unusual bird and that made it particularly fun for us. We had cloudy weather which was not good for photos, but we had a great time anyway. In addition to the birds, we saw Nilgai, golden jackal, great grey mongoose, spotted deer, macaque, wild boar and pythons.
A note about driving in India- DON’T DO IT! Traffic is crazy there. We generally drive ourselves on trips, but were very grateful we had experienced Indian drivers here. There are basically no rules- just a giant game of chicken!
Every mode of transport uses the road
Traffic on the way to airport in New Delhi
When I think back about India, I remember the beautiful colors, friendly people and excellent food in addition to our wonderful experience with the tigers.
Posted 30 August 2015 by Susan Andelt
Location: India, Bhutan