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Explore India’s Golden Triangle and volunteer with Wildlife SOS

Visit 3 iconic Indian cities, then connect with nature with game drives, and volunteering with Wildlife SOS, supporting sloth bears and elephants


13 Days

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Explore India’s Golden Triangle and volunteer with Wildlife SOS

Tour Information

Trace India’s famous Golden Triangle on this fascinating eight-day tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, followed by an immersive experience into its wildlife conservation efforts through Wildlife SOS.

This tour combines the excitement of exploring India’s vibrant cities with the serenity of its natural habitats, providing an educational and enriching journey. From the bustling streets of Delhi to the tranquil forests of Ranthambore, the tour ensures a close relationship with nature while contributing to the preservation of India’s wildlife.

Taj Mahal, Agra
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This journey generates:

Where will this journey take you?

Begin in vibrant Delhi and explore the city by rickshaw and metro. Travel to romantic Jaipur to wonder at the pink-hued architecture and 18th-century observatory. Get a little respite from the bustle with a rural heritage stay at a family-run farm retreat before two days of wildlife and cultural exploration in the Ranthambore National Park. Then head to Agra where you’ll encounter the iconic Taj Mahal and the city’s incredible fort.

After the adventure of a lifetime, spend five days immersed in the experience of a lifetime volunteering with Wildlife SOS at their Elephant Conservation and Care Centre and Agra Bear Rescue Facility, helping to care for the rescued elephants and sloth bears.

Overall, this tour combines adventure, cultural immersion and wildlife conservation, making it a sustainable and enriching experience for participants.

Journey Overview

Day 1 – Arrival in Delhi
Day 2 – Exploring Delhi
Day 3 – Delhi to Jaipur by train
Day 4 – Discovering Jaipur, the capital of Royal Rajasthan
Day 5 – Jaipur to Ranthambore by road
Day 6 – Exploring Ranthambore National Park
Day 7 – Ranthambore to Bharatpur by train and Agra by road
Day 8 – Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal
Days 9-12 – Volunteering with Wildlife SOS
Day 13 – Agra to Delhi by train

What’s included?
  • Accommodation: 12 nights
  • Tour meals: 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners
  • All meals at Wildlife SOS
  • Transport and transfers: arrival transfers in Delhi and Jaipur, train journeys from Delhi to Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur to Bharatpur, and Agra to Delhi, and transfers from Jaipur to Ranthambore, and from Bharatpur to Agra
  • City tours in Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra
  • Game drives in Ranthambore National Park
  • Volunteering activities with Wildlife SOS
What’s not included?
  • International flights to and from India
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Pre-registration, late check-out, day use at hotels other than specified
  • Meals and drinks other than those specified in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Hotel/airport porterage
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as medical expenses, mini-bar, laundry, room service etc.
Optional activities (at own expense)
  • Tour of Jaipur local market
  • Pink Tuk Tuk Tour
  • Guided visit to Ranthambore Fort 

How is this tour sustainable?

Environmental awareness and action: this tour supports local communities and conservation efforts through sustainable accommodations, eco-friendly transportation, and direct involvement in wildlife preservation activities.

Supporting the local economy: by staying in locally owned hotels and participating in community-driven projects, you contribute to the local economy and the protection of India’s natural heritage.

Wildlife conservation and protection: by volunteering with Wildlife SOS, participants contribute to wildlife conservation. Wildlife SOS focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating elephants, sloth bears, and other animals, and this hands-on involvement helps raise awareness about the importance of protecting these species and their habitats. The collaboration between Wildlife SOS and the Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) promotes cruelty-free tourism, ensuring that the tour doesn’t exploit animals or engage in illegal trafficking of wildlife.

Educational experience: this tour provides an educational journey by combining vibrant city exploration with natural habitats. Participants learn about India’s diverse cultures, heritage and wildlife conservation efforts.

Public transportation: using public transport supports sustainable travel practices and by exploring by rickshaw and travelling by train during this tour, the environmental impact is reduced.

Wildlife and cultural exploration: the two days spent in Ranthambore National Park allow participants to appreciate India’s natural beauty and observe wildlife in their natural habitat. This fosters a deeper connection with nature and encourages conservation efforts.

Conservation of India’s built heritage: Whilst providing cultural enrichment, visiting the monuments featured in this tour also emphasises the importance of preserving historical landmarks and their surroundings.

Sustainability challenges

Infrastructure and facilities: many tourist destinations in India lack the necessary infrastructure to support sustainable tourism. This includes inadequate waste management systems, limited access to clean water and insufficient public transport options. The monuments visited during this tour have better infrastructure facilities, such as wheelchair accessibility, access to clean water and waste management systems. The accommodations featured on this tour have implemented a range of initiatives such as installing solar energy and water recycling plants, cutting single-use plastics and providing water refills.

Environmental degradation: popular tourist spots often suffer from environmental degradation due to over-tourism, deforestation, pollution and wildlife disruption. The Government of India is ensuring that no tourist spots suffer due to environmental degradation. For example, at monuments in Agra, food items, pens, markers and other gadgets (except mobiles and cameras) are not allowed inside the premises.

Awareness and education: both tourists and local communities often lack awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism. Education about eco-friendly practices and their benefits is crucial but challenging. However, through the efforts of India’s Government, all stakeholders are becoming more aware of these issues. For example, local governments are setting up water refill stations at monuments and railway stations to reduce single-use plastic.

Cultural sensitivity: tourism initiatives may sometimes clash with local customs or face resistance from communities. India’s Government and local organisations are working hard to implement sustainable practices that respect and integrate with local cultures and traditions.

Funding and investment: sustainable tourism often requires significant initial investment in eco-friendly infrastructure and technology but securing funding for such projects can be a major hurdle. The hotels featured on this tour have made their own significant investments, such as Aamghati, which has its own water recycling plant, and Khas Bagh, which has installed solar and rainwater harvesting.

Transport: Getting around in India is an experience and using public transport is considered an integral part of any Sustainable Journey. Within India’s cities, and in your free time, you’ll have the opportunity to use the local transport services. However, due to the distance involved on day 5 (and lack of train service) and on the guided tours, private transportation in an AC Toyota Innova Christa is provided. The balance between the need for reliability, comfort and providing a consistent, high-quality experience against the environmental impacts typically associated with transport has been carefully considered and the carbon outputs of all journeys are calculated.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Arrival in Delhi

    Welcome to India!

    Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be greeted at the airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

    India’s capital and major gateway to the country is a bustling metropolis, successfully combining the ancient with the modern. Amidst its ever-spiralling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy.

    Your accommodation, The Claridges, is a certified sustainable hotel offering a luxurious yet eco-friendly stay.

    Spend the evening at your leisure, relaxing and acclimatising to the vibrant atmosphere of India’s capital. Dinner can be taken in the hotel – with seven restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice – or at a local restaurant of your choice. Recommendations can be given.

  • Day 2 - Exploring Delhi

    After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will collect you at 9am for a full-day city tour of Old and New Delhi.

    In Old Delhi, you’ll visit historical landmarks such as the 17th century Jama Masjid, ride a rickshaw through the narrow, winding lanes of colourful Chandni Chowk, stop for a photo opportunity in front of the Mughal Empire’s opulent Red Fort and visit Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.

    Your guide can recommend a local restaurant for lunch (at your own expense).

    In the afternoon you’ll head into New Delhi where you’ll drive past the Presidential Palace, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys, The India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war, and a drive along the Rajpath past the Parliament House. Afterwards, you’ll visit Qutab Minar, the 12th century victory tower built by a slave king and the prototype of all minars (towers) in India. You’ll also visit the 16th century Humayun’s tomb, a precursor to the Taj Mahal.

    Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure. Dinner can be taken at the hotel or a restaurant of your choice. Recommendations can be given.

  • Day 3 - Delhi to Jaipur by train

    You will be met at the hotel and transferred to the train station (with a packed breakfast) early this morning, as you will board the Ajmer Shatabdi train to Jaipur, departing New Delhi at 6.10am and arriving in Jaipur at 10.40am.

    The “Pink City” of Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan province and was the first planned city in India. Known for its arts and crafts, jewellery, hand-painted fabrics, and stone sculptures, it is renowned globally for its coloured gems and is considered by many as the craft capital of India.

    On arrival you can take a Pink Tuk Tuk Tour, visiting landmark sites such as the colourful Moti Dungri Ganesh Mandir, the historic Tripolia Gates and the Chaura Rasta market. In the evening you could join a two-and-a-half-hour walk to discover the Evening Bazaar, Cuisine, and Crafts of Old Jaipur, observing artisans in their workshops whilst mingling and talking with the locals and sampling some of the region’s culinary delights. Both tours are optional and at your own expense.

    Alternatively, spend the day at leisure, exploring the local markets at your own pace, or head straight to the Khas Bagh where you will be staying for the next two nights.

    The Khas Bagh is a family-run farm retreat tucked away in the Aravali hills, just a stone’s throw from the 12th century Amber Fort. This heritage property is built on the lines of a medieval-style haveli with open courtyards and verandahs, all hand-crafted by local craftsmen, providing an authentic Rajput experience. The family have implemented a range of measures to reduce their carbon footprint such as installing solar and rainwater harvesting, composting, providing refillable drinking water and driving a farm-to-table concept from their organic kitchen garden.

    Dinner can be taken at the hotel or a local restaurant of your choice (at your own expense). Recommendations can be given.

  • Day 4 - Discovering Jaipur, the capital of Royal Rajasthan

    After breakfast, set off to explore the yellow-hued Amber Fort that served as the medieval capital of the Kacchwaha Rajputs until the 18th century. One of Rajasthan’s finest hill-top forts, this architectural marvel, constructed of red sandstone and marble, is particularly noted for its Sheesh Mahal pavilion (Palace of Mirrors) and Sukh Niwas, where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace.

    In 2013, Amber Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the group “Hill Forts of Rajasthan”.

    Continue to the City Palace, an impressive complex of palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art, and carved doorways. Visit Jantar Mantar, the most famous of five observatories in India, built by Sawai Jai Singh II, the 29th Kachwaha Rajput ruler of the Kingdom of Amber. You will also view the façade of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), a high-screen wall with nearly 900 jharokhas (latticed windows).

    Recommendations for lunch will be provided along the way, and you can have dinner at the hotel or a local restaurant of your choice.

  • Day 5 - Jaipur to Ranthambore by road

    After breakfast, you will depart the Khas Bagh and be driven to Ranthambore where you will check in at the Aamghati Wildlife Resort for the next two nights.

    On arrival, there will be time for an optional guided visit to the ancient ruins of Ranthambore Fort. Built by the Chauhan rulers in the 10th century its strategic location made it ideal to keep the enemy at bay.

    An architectural marvel, the fort includes many attractions within its premises, such as the Toran Dwar, Mahadeo Chhatri and Sametonki Haveli. The Lord Ganesha temple is a major attraction, and the presence of a mosque and temple within the fort precincts bears testimony to the secularity of the Rajput kings. The panoramic views of the surrounding National Park alone make this a worthwhile visit and you should try to catch the sunset here.

    The fort opens from 6:00am to 6:00pm and is free for all. However, to make the most of your visit, it’s worth booking a guided tour (at own expense).

    Both lunch and dinner can be enjoyed at the Aamghati Wildlife Resort, which is located close to the National Park entry gates. This eco-friendly lodge is committed to sustainability and conservation, and strives to minimise its impact on the environment.  It is powered by renewable energy sources, works closely with local organisations to protect and preserve the natural habitats of the National Park, grows its own vegetation, and has installed a water recycling plant.

  • Day 6 - Exploring Ranthambore National Park

    Early this morning you’ll meet a local naturalist who will take you out for morning and afternoon shared jeep safaris to explore the diverse wildlife and scenic beauty of Ranthambore National Park.

    This former royal hunting ground of the Maharajahs of Jaipur is home to a large population of Bengal tigers as well as leopards, sloth bears, deer, and marsh crocodiles. You’ll also see Padam Talao, the largest of the many lakes in the park, known for its abundance of water lilies and great variety of aquatic birds. The grasslands, meadows and lush woods of Ranthambore host several interesting bird species and there are villages close by that also make for an interesting cultural trip of rural Rajasthan.

    You will return to the resort for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with time to relax in between.

  • Day 7 - Ranthambore to Bharatpur by train and Agra by road

    You will depart Aamghati Wildlife Resort early this morning, with a packed breakfast, and be transferred to Sawai Madhopur Railway Station for the train to Bharatpur, where you’ll be met on arrival and driven to Agra.

    During your drive, you’ll visit a former seat of the Mughal dynasty, the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri. Glowing red under the sun, the deserted red sandstone city was built by the Great Mughal Emperor, Akbar, as his capital and palace in the late 16th century.

    Upon arrival in Agra, you’ll have a guided visit of the imposing Agra Fort. Approachable through two imposing gates and constructed of red sandstone, the citadel was built by Emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573. Encircled by a moat, this dramatic city within a city was the palace of three emperors, each of whom made significant contributions to its wonderful architecture of inner buildings – a combination of Persian (Islamic) and local Hindu styles.

    Lunch recommendations will be provided along the way and tonight you’ll be staying at the Tajview, an EarthCheck Platinum certified hotel offering splendid views of the Taj Mahal, which is less than 2 miles (3km) away. Dinner can be taken at the hotel (their Sky Deck would be a great choice) or a local restaurant of your choice (at own expense).

  • Day 8 - Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal

    Early this morning, you will be taken with your guide to experience the Taj Mahal at sunrise, a sight to behold as the marble monument glows with the first light of day. On the inner walls, jewel-like stones create beautiful designs in white marble. The Mughals perfected the art of embedding semi-precious stones into marble and the Taj is the finest example of this special process called pietra dura.

    After watching this spectacle, you will return to the Tajview hotel for breakfast. Later, you will transfer to the Volunteer House of Wildlife SOS, where you will spend the next five days volunteering with their caregivers, assisting in various conservation activities, learning about their impactful work and supporting the rescued elephants and sloth bears.

    Dinner will be provided at Volunteer House.

  • Days 9-12 - Volunteering with Wildlife SOS

    The hands-on experience you will have over the next few days will provide you with a much deeper understanding of wildlife preservation and the challenges faced.

    Wildlife SOS is strongly committed to the ethical treatment of animals, therefore direct contact with the animals in the facilities is not a part of the volunteering programme. Only trained Wildlife SOS staff can interact directly with the animals. However, you will be observing the animals from close proximity when helping the carers go about their duties, which may include:

    • Food preparation and distribution
    • Cleaning and maintenance of the enclosures
    • Bear and elephant routine observation
    • Making enrichment experiences such as hammocks, honey logs and fodder balls
    • Gardening, plantation and nursery maintenance and development
    • Organisation of facility resources
    • Facility-wide mechanical assistance, painting and plumbing maintenance work

    You will also accompany the elephants on their evening walk.

    Accommodation and all meals are provided at Volunteer House.

  • Day 13 - Agra to Delhi by train

    Sadly, this amazing Indian adventure has come to an end. After breakfast you will be transferred to Agra railway station for your train back to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, you’ll be met and transferred to the airport where you will be assisted with the departure formalities for your onward flight.

    Safe travels!

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