2014 Tours‎ > ‎

North India Birding and Wildlife

The Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur including  Chambal River, Bharatpur & Ranthambhor Tiger National Parks 

November 25 - December 4, 2014

Tour Leader:  Kelly Sekhon assisted by local birding experts

Tour Highlights

Led by Kelly Sekhon on his 9th India nature tour, you will travel on a 10 days tour of DelhiAgra and Jaipur visiting the historic sites these cities are famous for. The tour includes birding and wildlife experiences in the well known Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Ranthambhor National Tiger Reserve and the National Chambal River Sanctuary. The variety of bird and animal life, in addition to cultural sites that you will see, will truly be amazing.

  • Ranthambhor National Park – birding and tiger spotting in one of India's foremost tiger sanctuaries
  • Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary (Bharatpur) – Rajasthan's home to 400 plus species of birds. and both a Ramsar and a World Heritage site
  • Chambal River Sanctuary - 250 species of birds and a birdwatcher's paradise; ideal habitat for migratory and resident birds
  • DelhiAgra (Taj Mahal & Fatehpur Sikri) and the Pink City of Jaipur in Rajasthan

National Chambal Sanctuary

National Chambal Sanctuary on the River Chambal is a refuge for the rare and endangered gharial crocodile (Gavialis gangeticus) and the rarer Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica). The 400 km stretch of crystal clear water also supports Marsh Crocodiles, Smooth Coated Otters, 6 species of Terrapins/Turtles plus 250 species of birds. A birdwatcher's paradise, the Chambal riverbanks are the ideal habitat for migratory and resident birds. Because of the unpolluted waters of River Chambal, this is most reliable spot to see the rare Indian Skimmer. Other birds seen here include Greater Thicknee, Comb Duck, Brahmani Duck, Bar-Headed Geese, Spoonbills, Herons, Kingfishers, Fishing Eagles, Flamingos, Pelicans, Cormorants, and Partridges.

The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Jaipur (Rajasthan)

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s best known buildings. Called "A dream in Marble," the Taj Mahal was built by ShahJehan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal. Construction by a work force of 20,000 men from all over Asia started in 1632 and the tomb was completed in 1653. Marble was brought from Makrana near Jodhpurand precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pearl were carried to Agra from PersiaRussia,AfghanistanTibet and China
Agra Fort lies on the bend of the River Yamuna, almost in the heart of the city. It was built by Akbar as his citadel from 1565 to 1573 in the finest Mogul architectural style. The fort was successively occupied by three great Moguls-Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jehan, each of whom made significant structural contributions to this complex.

Agra is also known for local handicrafts, including gold and silver embroidery, marble inlay and fine leather goods. Birding in the gardens of the Taj Mahal and overlooking the river Yamuna is good as well.

Keoladeo Ghana (Bharatpur) National Park

Keoladeo Ghana National Park, popularly known as Bharatpur is India's best known bird sanctuary. This 28.7 sq. kms mixed wetland, woodland, grass and scrub is home to 400 plus species of birds. Keoladeo is both a Ramsar and a World Heritage site. Bharatpur is geared for birding like few places in the world. A day's birding can bring forth 150 + species.

A first time visitor is bound to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of waterfowl and waders which congregate on the shallow marshy lakes of Bharatpur. Winter is the best time to visit the sanctuary when Palearctic migrants join the resident birds. An average day can still throw up many rare and threatened species like the Solitary Lapwing, Indian Courser, Imperial, White-tailed, Greater and Indian Spotted Eagles, Darters, Black-necked, Painted and Asian Open-bill Storks. The 20 species of ducks, innumerable waders and raptors, water-seeking birds and approachable passerines all add to make Keoladeo a true birder's paradise.

New Delhi and Surrounding Areas

Although a city of probably over 14 million people Delhi has a remarkable number of interesting sites for birding within its boundaries. It has a bird list of over 450 species making it, after Nairobi in Kenya, probably the second richest city in the world for birds. In spite of the population density there is a surprising number of green open spaces, some are well-utilised parks but others closely approximate to the natural vegetation which once occupied the rocky ridge that runs through the centre of the city. In addition many roads are well lined with a variety of well-established trees and the more affluent housing colonies have small gardens.  Striking is the number of winter visitors and passage migrants, for Delhi is well positioned on the north-south flowing Yamuna river on one of the major Asian flyways.

Banks of the Yamuna and its associated wetlands are the most productive places. During peak periods over 150 species in a day is possible. The area is justly famous for huge duck and goose flocks with up to 20000 of 20 species. There is a huge roosting winter gull flock of up to 10000 birds which is dominated by Black and Brown-headed Gulls but usually with a few Pallas’s, Yellow-legged, Heuglin’s and even Armenian. In addition a wide range of wetland species including most of India’s herons and egrets and many migrant wader species can be seen.

Just south of Delhi, the ruins of Tughlaqabad Fort and surrounding area are rich in dry country species. Characteristic birds include Black-shouldered Kite, Jungle Bush-quail, Indian Bush Lark, Indian Robin, Large Grey Babbler and Long-billed Pipit as well as up to four species of Shrike. Painted and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse are also found in small numbers.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Delhi

You will be met and transferred to your hotel for overnight stay. Hotel Star Grand Villa / Shanti Palace.

Day 2 - Delhi
Morning birding in and around Delhi. Afternoon depart for a half day city tour. Overnight in Delhi. Breakfast.

Day 3 Delhi - Chambal River Sanctuary
 to Chambal early in the morning. Afternoon boat cruise with naturalist guide to see Indian skimmer, black-bellied tern, flocks of migratory waterfowls, cranes such as common, demoiselle and sarus, fish-eating crocodile and the marsh mugger, Gangetic dolphin and turtles. Overnight stay at the Chambal Safari Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. 

Day 4 - Chambal River Sanctuary
Full Day in the Chambal Sanctuary area with an excursion to the Sarus Crane Sanctuary. Overnight stay at the Chambal Safari Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  

Day 5 - Chambal Sanctuary - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Bharatpur
Morning drive to 
Agra and visit the Taj Mahal. Lunch followed by drive to Fatehpur Sikri.  Afternoon drive to Bharatpur. Evening birding in the wetlands of Bharatpur. Overnight stay at Hotel Kadamb Kunj. Breakfast.

Day 6 - Bharatpur
Full day of birding in 
Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Bharatpur) on foot and on bicycle rickshaws with birding guides. The birds to expect here are the Indian Courser, Sarus Crane, Dusky eagle Owl, Large tailed nightjars, Common Pochard, Great white Pelican, Greylag and Bar headed Geese. Breakfast.

Day 7 - Bharatpur - 
Ranthambhor National Park
 to Ranthambhor National Park stopping en route at Bund Baretha for birding. Afternoon birding outside the Ranthambhor National Park. The birds that one can expect in the resort area are grey francolin, sirkeer malkoha, painted sandgrouse, Indian courser, yellow-wattled lapwing, southern grey shrike, Isabelline wheatear, desert wheatear, variable wheatear, ashy-crowned sparrow lark, greater short-toed lark, blue rock thrush and common buzzard.  Overnight stay at Tiger Moon Resort. 
Breakfast and Dinner.  

Day 8 
Ranthambhor National Park
Morning and afternoon tiger watching safaris within 
Ranthambhor National Park in open vehicles. You have the option of either going to the park for tiger-tracking or visiting the 1000 year old fort overlooking the National Park. Overnight stay at Tiger Moon Resort. 
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. 

Day 9 - Drive to Jaipur
Morning drive to Jaipur. Full day sightseeing of Jaipur city. Overnight stay at Hotel Shahpura House in Jaipur. Breakfast.

Day 10 - Drive to 
Delhi - departure
After breakfast, drive directly to 
Delhi airport to connect flight back to home or transfer to a Delhi
 hotel if you are connecting to the next part of the tour. Breakfast.

Tour Leader 

Kelly Sekhon has several years of experience both as tour organizer and field trip leader. He has successfully led eight natural history tours to India and Nepal - to the remote Kinnaur region of the western Himalaya in 1996; to Assam and Sikkim in eastern India in 1999 and 2000; to the National Wildlife Parks of North, South and Eastern India including Rajasthan in 2003, 2006 and 2008, a nature trek to the alpine Valley of the Gods in the Indian Himalaya in 2004 and finally, a nature hike through the foothills of the Annapurna mountains in Nepal in 2011.

Tour Price

C$ 1850 for the land part of the tour (including meals mentioned in the itinerary). Price does not include international airfare. The expected low season return airfare from Vancouver to Delhi is $1600. Fares change often and a precise figure will be available 2 months prior to travel. Airline and airport taxes and fees are extra.

Tour Booking Info

Tour will be limited to a maximum of 12 participants to ensure close interaction with the accompanying naturalists and have the benefits of a close knit small group. Early booking is essential.

The last date for booking your place on these tours will be September 15, 2014. A completed Booking Form together with your Tour Deposit must be received by us prior to this date. Please contact us for more information.

Click HERE to send us an e-mail or Phone Kelly at 604-526-9091

Click HERE to download a PDF copy of the Booking Form

Tour Extensions 

Rajasthan and Gujarat - November 11 – 25, 2014 (Click HERE for itinerary)

Kerala and South India - December 4 - 17, 2014 (Click HERE for itinerary)