We always suggest that you start with Central India’s cultural sites, as there truly are some wonders to behold. The Hindu and Jain temples at Khajuraho are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and famed for their erotic sculptures. The 10th century site rivals the likes of Bagan and Angkor Wat, and the carvings are executed in exquisite detail.
Don’t miss the neolithic rock paintings at Bhimbetka, or the impressive Bateshwar Temple citadel. In Gwalior, the red sandstone fortress and Sahastra-bahu Temple are remarkable. Jahangir Mahal is a palatial backdrop to exquisitely manicured lawns and the complex of the riverside chhatris and temples in Orchha conjures wistful fairytale daydreams in the mind.
In terms of wildlife watching, the highlight of Central India is the Bandhavgarh National Park. Bandhavgarh’s concentration of tiger is amongst the highest in India, and there are significant numbers of nilgai, gaur, Indian wolf, sambar deer, and striped hyena as well.
Combine Bandhavgarh with time at the Kanha Tiger Reserve to maximise your chances of wild tiger spotting. Kipling based The Jungle Book on this landscape and its animal inhabitants, so keep your eyes peeled for the creatures which inspired not only Sher Khan but also Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa, and the monkey tribe.