The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there may be as few as 3,200 royal Bengal tigers remaining in the wild. India has established four national parks - Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Panna - to protect valuable habitat critical for the tigers' survival.
Big Five Tours Expeditions has incorporated one or more of India's national parks into its tours. From its Kipling Collection, the 16-day Tigers & Temples program features an exploration of Bandhavgarh National Park, with a stay at Mahua Kothi lodge, a joint venture between Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces and & Beyond (formerly known as CC Africa).
Much like a classic African safari, guests set out on early morning and late afternoon jungle excursions, interspersed with time for relaxation in the heat of midday. Guests explore this richly diverse ecosystem in the company of a trained naturalist in a specially designed, open 4x4 safari vehicle in search of the wildlife of central India. This is also one of the few places where guests have the rare opportunity for a truly amazing adventure - going on safari on the back of an elephant.
Big Five's 16-day Tigers & Temples tour starts at $14,750 per person, land only, double occupancy. It includes accommodations as mentioned in the itinerary, most meals, ground transportation, sightseeing and entrance fees, English-speaking guide, internal flights, Big Five's 24-hour White Glove Service guest assistance, and complimentary trip interruption insurance. Big Five can also customize an itinerary that includes all the parks.
Although tiger sightings can never be guaranteed, the park supports one of the highest numbers of tigers in India. Its hilly, open terrain includes large grassland meadows that offer good opportunities to spot one of these magnificent animals. Dense jungle and grasslands make this one of the most beautiful parks in India.
The national parks also have impressive rosters of other animals, including spotted deer, wild boar, wild dogs, sloth bear, Indian fox, wolf and jungle cat. Hundreds of bird species also thrive here such as fish eagle, plum-headed parakeet and Asian paradise flycatcher.