Asia + The Middle East Central India Seek the majestic tiger, stay in luxury tented camps, cultural sightseeing, private guiding Imagine the cultural depth and variety of Rajasthan without any crowds; add rich and diverse wildlife with unspoiled landscape… and you have India’s Next Big Thing. If you like to be ahead of the curve, this region – which spans the enormous state of Madhya Pradesh as well as the tribal areas of Chattisgarh and the little-known coastal state of Orissa – is a must. We recommend that you go sooner rather than later. Of course, while being under-developed has many benefits, it also means that you’ll need the help of insider knowledge to be sure of getting the best from your luxury trip. The standard and style of accommodation, while nowhere near the luxury of Rajasthan, is developing rapidly but sensibly and we have discovered some real gems on our recent visits. Wildlife itineraries, too, need to be well thought out and managed and, with the knowledge that comes from being old Africa hands, cazenove+loyd is very well placed to provide the best experience possible. All itineraries are individually designed, but as a guide, we can arrange a ten day holiday to Central India (not including flights) from £2200 per person. Stories Places to Stay Highlights Location Stories As every one of the holidays we create is truly tailor-made, all of our clients come back with different and interesting stories. We love to hear from our clients on their return to find out about their most memorable moments. Our Destination Experts are also always travelling to our extraordinary destinations and every trip allows us to refine and add value to our clients' future experiences. In Search of the Bengal Tiger No one is fond of an early morning start, but to be woken up with a fresh cup of tea at 5am before heading out on a safari is perhaps one of the most exciting ways to start the day. On my most recent trip with c+l, I spent 2 nights in Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh, Central India. Find out more Exploring the ‘City of Joy’ Destination Expert Auriole Potter recently visited the bustling city of Calcutta in Western Bengal and shares her unique experience and recommendations for anyone visiting this amazing city. It was everything she imagined India to be and more... Find out more The Washing Ghats A highlight of Janet's trip was when one morning when she was woken by the sound of murmured voices and gentle beating. When she traced where the sound was coming from she was delighted to see the embankment of the Ghats thriving in activity, from women washing their bright saris to the children playing before school. Find out more GETTING AWAY FROM THE TOURISTS John Doyle spent his time in Jaipur staying at Alila Fort. He fell so in love with the hotel he spent a whole morning exploring it. Finding the vegetable garden, where many of the ingredients were grown of the previous night's dinner and taking in the smells of the jasmine gardens, he instantly felt at home. Find out more Places to Stay At cazenove+loyd, we have no vested interest in the hotels, lodges, boats, trains and tented camps which we select. We only choose what is right for a particular client. We visit each destination in our three regions on a regular basis and have detailed conversations with our clients on their return so our choices are continually refined. Here are just four c+l reviews. This is by no means a prescriptive list, but hints at what we look for and value in places to stay. Taj Baghvan, Pench National Park Taj Baghvan is one of our favourite places to indulge our senses when on safari in Madhya Pradesh. 12 sumptuous and incredibly charming cottages surround a central pavilion to create a boutique jungle masterpiece. The best part, and the central focus, is the intricate handicrafts and retro-chic furniture which have all been carefully selected to… Find out more Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar This enchanting 18th century fort is charmingly situated high above the banks of the sacred Narmada River in Maheshwar. Its small number of individually designed rooms; atmospheric dining courtyards and friendly staff make the whole experience of staying here unique to the region. Find out more Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai With its unforgettable views overlooking the Gateway to India and the Arabian sea, the Taj Mahal Palace is undoubtedly one of our favourite hotels in India and as Mumbai's original landmark hotel; it stands as one of Mumbai’s most timeless and historical structures in its own right. Find out more Taj Vivanta, Aurangabad Taj Vivanta provides a peaceful base; set within five acres of landscaped gardens, it has a relaxed atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of this busy city. Although the rooms are simple, they are spacious and modern with balconies overlooking the large outdoor swimming pool. Find out more Highlights For over 20 years we have been creating the best luxury tailor-made holidays, we know our countries inside and out and really know how to get under the skin of each one and the best way to experience them. Exploring Mumbai with a specialist guide Mumbai – the fashion capital of India. A perfect place to discover India’s rich tradition of design and come face to face with today’s cutting-edge designers, brands and fashion houses. With a package designed exclusively by cazenove+loyd, get below the surface of this multi-billion dollar industry. Find out more THE MUMBAI DABBAWALAS Mumbai – the fashion capital of India, is the perfect place to discover India’s rich tradition of design and come face to face with today’s cutting-edge designers, brands and fashion houses. Find out more The Tiger Reserves This is a rare chance to see one of the world’s great cats, in the wild. For me there are few experiences like this, and I truly believe that the right sort of tourism is the way to help save this majestic threatened species. Find out more GUIDED TOUR OF MUMBAI India’s business and arts metropolis, home of Bollywood and the heartland of entrepreneurial India. You come here to soak up the culture not sight-see. There is an almost tangible buzz, this is the land where Indians come to make themselves. Find out more Khajuraho Temples These 25 sandstone temples, spread over an area of 8 square miles, are over 1,000 years old. They capture figures in the most extraordinary positions, still as busy today as they were when their actions were set in stone all those years ago. Find out more Temples of Mandu The temples of Mandu, belong to a ruined city of Hindu temples and forts dating back over 1000 years. These temples and forts contain some of the finest examples of Afghan architecture in India. What’s more they are well off the beaten track so you may find you have a temple completely to yourself. Find out more Gwalior Fort Known as’ The Gibraltar of India’, this is one of India’s biggest forts, standing on a granite outcrop 100m above the ancient city below. Visitor numbers are low, so not only can you enjoy its intricate carvings and original blue and yellow ceramic tiles (not seen anywhere else in India) but you can do so in glorious peace. Find out more Show All Location We know Central India better than most. The possibilities are endless and ever-changing. On the map below, we have plotted some of our current favourite places to stay, some c+l highlights and a few pertinent client stories. And you can see if there is a team member travelling in that particular country and link through to them and what they are up to, so you can get them to call you on their return. Best time to visit Central India Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Best time to go Best visited between October and March, this part of India gets very hot outside of these months and, as most visit this part of India for cultural sightseeing, whilst possible to visit it is not advisable. There is a reason why the British retreated to the hill stations and away from the plains in the Monsoon Season. With good domestic flights from the main cities, you can combine a visit to Central India with either the North or the South of the country. Meet the Team Asia + The Middle East Venetia Chris Penny Florence Auriole We'd love to hear from you Our well travelled Destination Experts have extensive first hand knowledge of their destinations and can open doors that others simply can’t.