By Jonny Bealby
August 07, 2019
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Jonny Bealby is a member of Travel + Leisure’s A-List, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Jonny, you can contact him directly at jonny.bealby@wildfrontiers.co.uk.

Day 1: Arrive in Delhi

When you arrive, you will be met by your local guide at the airport and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon with your guide, you will explore the charming historical part of Shahjahanabad, offering a cultural overview of Old Delhi. Take a step back in time as you enter Shahjahanabad, where you start with a fascinating walk through the alleyways of Chandni Chowk. You will walk past old crumbling havelis, some of them dating back to the 17th century, see the vibrant street food stalls, visit the famous Jama Masjid mosque with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes, and wander through colorful markets, including the spice market, considered to be the largest in Asia. From the back streets and bazaars, continue on to the imposing Red Fort, or Lal Qila, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It's considered one of the most important buildings of Mughal architecture from that period. After the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel, with rest of the evening at your leisure. For dinner tonight, head to the gorgeous and award-winning restaurant, Indian Accent. The creation of the master chef Manish Mehrotra, Indian Accent puts an inventive contemporary twist on Indian cuisine.

Stay: The Claridges Delhi  

Day 2: Delhi to Gwalior

Early this morning you will be transferred to the train station in Delhi, where you'll be accompanied to your seat on the train. The train journey from Delhi to Gwalior takes about three hours. When the train arrives at Gwalior, you will be transferred by private vehicle from the station to your hotel. Later this afternoon, with your guide you will explore the imposing hilltop fort of Gwalior. An impressive structure towering over the city, it is only when you come close that you'll see the blue and green patterns of peacocks, elephants, and tigers on it. Enclosed within the fort is the Mansingh Palace, once home to the Hindu ruler and his eight wives, with circular towers and intricate design work. Outside the fort you will visit the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law Temples — they are intricately designed and dedicated to the gods Vishnu and Shiva, respectively. After the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel, with rest of the evening at your leisure. For dinner tonight, we recommend the restaurant Silver Saloon restaurant in Usha Kiran Palace, known for its regional Maratha specialties. 

Stay: Taj Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior

Day 3: Tour of Gwalior 

Enjoy the morning exploring this small, friendly, and bustling city. In the central square there's an array of different architectural styles and influences to see before heading through the narrow, teeming lanes and through the various markets, where you can spot locals having henna tattoos applied or jostling for lassis. This is a relaxed tour taking in the local community and it is done at your own pace. Next, continue to Jai Vilas and Scindia Museum, an opulent palace built in 1874. Wonderful and bizarre antiques fill the rooms of this palace, including beautiful cut glass furniture and a grand dining room table with model railway tracks and a silver train that carries brandy and cigars for guests after dinner. After the exploring the Jai Vilas Palace and before returning to your hotel, the guide will take you to visit the tomb of Tansen and the tomb of Ghaus. Tansen was a famous 16th-century classical musician and singer and founder of the Gwalior Gharana school of music. In the gardens of his tomb, there is an ancient tamarind tree, from which singers still believe if you pluck a leaf from the tree and chew it, it will give you the vocal skills of Tansen. For dinner tonight, we recommend the charming restaurant in Deo Bagh hotel, set in the 17th-century heritage wing of the property.

Stay: Taj Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior

Day 4: Gwalior to Bhopal

This morning you will transferred by a private vehicle to the local train station where you will be accompanied to your seat on the train. The train journey from Gwalior to Bhopal takes four and a half hours. On arrival in Bhopal, you will be met at the station and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel. This afternoon, you'll explore Bhopal’s old city and historical sites with your guide. Echoing the magnificence of Lahore, Peshawar, and old Delhi, the streets of the old town are a colourful labyrinth of narrow alleys and noisy bazaars, spectacular mosques and exquisite palaces – albeit in a shocking state of repair. Nowhere is this more evident than the extraordinary Taj Mahal, a palace built in the 19th century. You will also be able to visit various other palaces and mosques, including the towering Taj-ul-Majid mosque, the largest in the country. After the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel, with rest of the day at your leisure. For those who would like a full day of sightseeing, we recommend exploring the museums of Bhopal and the striking Moti Masjid, the oldest mosque of Bhopal. For dinner this evening, we recommend the restaurant Under the Mango Tree. This charming restaurant is set under an ancient mango tree in the central courtyard of the hotel. It's considered one of the best restaurants in Bhopal, and is known for its barbecued meats and breads baked in clay ovens.

Stay: Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal

Day 5: Sanchi and Udayagiri Caves Tour

This morning you will be driven in your private vehicle north to Sanchi to visit the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist stupas and the beautiful rock cut caves of Udayagiri ("Risen Mountain"). Sanchi is one of most iconic Buddhist sites in the country and is even featured on the country's currency. It’s a complex of Buddhist stupas, carvings shrines, pillars, monasteries, palaces, and temples that all date back to the 1st and 2nd century BC. The monuments are set in tranquil gardens with large trees overlooking the beautiful countryside, and as you walk around the sites you will hear parrots and birds and see monkeys jump from tree to tree. Udayagiri is an archaeological-historical site 10 miles north of Sanchi. Udayagiri is famous for a series of rock-cut caves and temples dating back to the Gupta Period (350-550 CE), a formative era for Hindu religious ideas. One of India's most important archaeological sites, the Udayagiri hills and its nearly 20 rock-cut caves are protected monuments. After exploring Sanchi and Udayagiri, you will be transferred back to your hotel, stopping off en route at the Tropic of Cancer for photo opportunities. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.  

Stay: Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal

Day 6: Bhopal to Satpura National Park via Bhimbetka Palaeolithic Caves

You will be collected from your hotel by your driver and transferred by private vehicle to Satpura National Park, stopping at the Bhimbetka rock shelters along the way. These caves are a UNESCO World Heritage site and may have been inhabited as early as 30,000 years ago. There are over 700 different caves, and the rock art contained within them is thought to be some of the oldest in the world. If you are interested in temple architecture, then we highly recommend a short detour to visit the 11th-century Bhojpur Temple. This Shiva temple has the largest Shiva lingam, or sacred stone, in the country crafted out of a single rock. Afterward, continue to your lodge in Satpura.

Stay: Reni Pani Lodge, Satpura  

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Day 7: Satpura National Park

Spend the morning and afternoon on a private game drive exploring the forests of Satpura National Park. The landscape is rugged with narrow gorges, deep ravines, and dense forests, and supports a vast number of mammals including the tiger, leopard, and bison. This unique park has a varied habitat and terrain and offers a magical, off-the-beaten path wildlife viewing experience without the crowds.

Stay: Reni Pani Lodge, Satpura  

Day 8: Satpura Pachmarhi Trail

Rise early this morning to depart the Reni Pani Jungle Lodge at 6 a.m. You will be driven to Pachmarhi, a lovely hill station, which is nestled in the mountains of Satpura. Arrive at 9:30 am to begin your trek. The trail starts with a descent from where you will see the landscape transform from sal to trek forests until you reach the point known as Kanchighat, where you will stop for a picnic lunch beside a forest stream. During the hike today, you will have chance of spotting a multiple of bird species that include, red-whiskered bulbuls, Indian nuthatch, oriental white-eye, the common tailorbird, and Indian yellow tit, among other species. After lunch you have the option of taking a dip in the stream. The hike ends at Dehelia camp, which will be your campsite for the night. The exclusive campsite is located on the banks of the Denwa River, along a picturesque sandy beach on and a good spot to see the Indian giant squirrel.

Stay: Satpura Under Canvas, Satpura National Park

Day 9: Satpura Pachmarhi Trail

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, start your 10-mile hike for the day. The trail is partly along the banks of the Denwa and then enters into a pristine woodland habitat. It takes you through the different natural habitats and landscapes of Satpura — through lush forests, passing along high sand banks, past narrow waterways, and along high plateaus with stunning views of the beautiful scenery, including the confluence of the Denwa and Bainganga rivers. There may be portions when you will need to wade through knee-deep water.

Stop for a picnic lunch at the Jhela camp, then continue along the Denwa riverbed and through dry deciduous woodland towards Manakachar, where Reni Pani's exclusive tented camp will be your stop for the night. Enjoy sundowners as you watch the sunset this evening and listen to the sounds of the jungle.

Stay: Satpura Under Canvas, Satpura National Park

Day 10: Satpura to Bhopal

This morning after a relaxed breakfast, walk a short distance to the road head, where you will be met by your car and driver and transferred to Reni Pani Jungle Lodge. After an early lunch, you will leave the lodge and transfer to Bhopal city. The journey takes about three and a half hours. You will have rest of the evening at your leisure.

Stay: Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal

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Day 11: Bhopal to Mumbai to Goa

Early this morning you will be collected from the Jehan Numa Palace and transferred to Bhopal Airport for your flight to Goa via Mumbai. On arrival in Goa, you will be met by your local guide and taken to the Ahilya by the Sea.

Stay: Ahilya by the Sea, Goa   

Day 12: Goa

Spend the day exploring the more interesting and hidden parts of Goa with your guide. Start the morning at the vibrant Mapusa market before continuing to the capital, Panaji, to experience the bustling fish market, which offers wonderful photo opportunities. Head to the famous Hospedaria Venite restaurant for lunch. This atmospheric restaurant serves some of the best Goan and Portuguese food in Goa. After lunch, your guide will take you to explore the historical Portuguese Mansion Homes of Goa, before returning to your hotel.

Stay: Ahilya by the Sea, Goa   

Day 12: Goa

This is a free day to explore the area. For dinner, we recommend Mum’s Kitchen to try to regional Goan and Konkan specialties. 

Stay: Ahilya by the Sea, Goa 

Day 13: Goa

Another free day to explore area.

Stay: Ahilya by the Sea, Goa 

Day 14: Depart Goa

Today you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred in your private vehicle to the international airport for the flight home.

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