Toehold Home > Photo Travel > Tiger Central: Bandhavgarh – Kanha

Bandhavgarh-Kanha Tiger Photography Tour

Tiger Central

She emerged from the bush like a spectre, walked with the authority of a colonel and sat like a Tagore poem in earthly form. You were left a sitting duck.

Before this you hadn’t seen anything remotely as big that was also throbbing with aesthetic perfection and charm. Something inside you has been lit. Your life has just changed and you know you’ll never be the same again.

For you’ve just enjoyed the singular sight of a tiger in the wild.

Tour Highlights

  • 4 nights and 7 safaris in Bandhavgarh and 3 nights and 5 safaris in Kanha
  • An authentic wildlife experience in the two most celebrated Central Indian forests
  • An excursion planned and executed to perfection
  • Possibly excellent photo opportunities of tigers and other attractions of Central India
  • Beautiful landscape photographs of scenic environs
  • Extensive photography assistance both on and off the field
  • Plenty of natural history and post-processing learning with Toehold’s renowned Skippers
  • A fun and highly interactive environment without barriers

Photo Gallery

Upcoming Departures

Photo opportunities maximised

Led by ace photographers

Immense experience

Hands-on assistance on and off the field

Image reviews and presentations

Photography gear on rent

Expert Advice

Want to tailor-make your own tour?

If you are not looking for a fixed group-departure, we can tailor-make a Personalised Vacation for you to suit your dates and travel needs – all with a great price match!

Photo Gallery

How Is It?

Two of the best havens of the national animal of India and other wildlife.

At the heart of Wild India, the Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves have come to be not merely two of the best havens of the national animal, but the very bywords of it. They are the tiger capital of the world.

Here, the tiger is not merely a wild cat, but an obsession that dominates the psyche of the local and the visitor alike. It is the very spirit of the place, and it lives in every pore of the jungle and every heart that dwells around it.

From the resort chef to the whispering wind in the trees, on every lip is the five-letter synonym for beauty. For the tiger in these parts is not a mythical ghost around which stories are woven for vicarious pleasure, but a strikingly real creature that can be watched, observed and enjoyed firsthand, for real.

And that is why here, when a tiger spots you, it is eminently possible to spot it back.

Read more

Equal to the allure of the celebrated tenant is the splendour of its home. And in the winter, the maiden dons her best gown of the year.

Sublime misty dawns clear the fog off your mind and the nip in the air warms you up to the tingling anticipation of what lies ahead. As the first sunrays filter through the canopy and the curtain of mist raises, the Eden is unveiled in all its grandeur.

It is something of a lavishness that envelops your senses as you progress in your quest through the verdant landscape that truly encapsulates the essence of tiger-land. The grasses of the emancipating meadows, just having showered in the dewdrops that still cling to their lanky bodies, glow with freshness, while the sheltering woods throb with the promise of many a wonder that they keep in their mystical folds.

What You Will See and Photograph:

The iconic tiger among various mammalian and avian species.


An intoxicating mix of history and natural history sings a soulful tune in this timeless land. Set around a haunting 2000-year-old fort believed to have been gifted by lord Ram to his brother Lakshman (leading to the name Bandhavgarh, meaning ‘brother’s fort’), the 437km2 park is as much an archaeological goldmine as an ecological gem.

Halfway up the eponymous fort, an astounding monolithic sculpture of a reclining lord Vishnu oversees the wild affairs unfolding on the lower slopes where the star protagonists play out their everyday roles unwittingly as they live their charmed lives.

An undercurrent of magic envelopes as you snake your way through the hallowed alleys of the tourism zone, where the great tigers Charger, Sita and B2 once reigned supreme. Presently you will be smitten by their able descendants, who grace this mythical landscape like beautiful relics left behind by a fantastical kingdom.

Although the iconic tiger is very much the main course in Bandhavgarh, the side dishes are aplenty.

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Jackals and jungle cats cross paths with pleasing regularity, the now rarefied species of vultures, including the red-headed, long-billed, white-rumped and Egyptian variety, which thrive here, constitute a heartening sight overhead, and a rich variety of other avian life gladdens the keen birder, of which lesser adjutant stork, Malabar pied hornbill, blue-bearded bee-eater and white-rumped shama are notable, and Asian paradise flycatcher and stork-billed kingfisher yield particular delight, while white-eyed buzzard and honey buzzard are surprisingly common along with the nearly ubiquitous changeable hawk-eagle and crested serpent eagle. Indeed Bandhavgarh is a smorgasbord of the choicest riches.

But the park’s biggest draw is the unparalleled opportunity it offers to observe tiger behaviour for sustained periods of time. Tracking the known individuals by territory and movement, the extraordinarily skilled guides and drivers yield intimate photographic opportunities and unique insights into the private world of the enigmatic big cat, when, adorned by resplendent winter coats, they look their stunning best.


Named after the village that once existed in its midst, it’s easy to see why the park served as Kipling’s inspiration to create Jungle Book. For this vintage 1900km2 sal and bamboo forest can turn a banker into a poet within a night, especially in the winter, when the picturesque habitat dazzles with peak vivacity. And when the mist lifts its curtain, there come into view an astonishing 300 species of birds and a long list of mammals sharing their address of residence.

A land of astonishing biodiversity, Kanha hosts the world’s only surviving population of the glamorous hard-ground swamp deer or barasingha (literally ‘twelve antlers’), who bedeck the grasslands as they adorn their crowning glory with grass, to win a date. Also in visible attendance are the ponderous gaur, who are the world’s largest wild cattle, and look it too. Occasionally, the sight of a sloth bear making a surprise diurnal appearance can shoot your heart rate from seventy to double in two seconds.

Lurking on the sidelines plotting to consume the above are the tiger’s adversaries, the literally dogged but endangered Indian wild dog or dhole, and the masterfully elusive leopard who may not change his spots but does on occasion shed his diffidence to compete with his larger cousin for viewership share.

And now that you know a lot of what could fill your plate, your highly accomplished Toehold Skippers will leave no leaf unturned to help you experience the magic of tiger-land in all its glory.

Featured Blog

Glossary of Bandhavgarh Expressions

Bandhavgarh’s human inhabitants are articulate and imaginative with word usage, so there are many words and phrases endemic to it. Here’s the beginner’s pocket-glossary to the commonest of them in regular circulation.

Tour Itinerary

Please note: The Tour starts at Bandhavgarh after 12 noon on 4 December and ends at Kanha after breakfast on 11 December. You may choose to join only the Bandhavgarh or the Kanha leg if you wish, but we recommend you join the full Tour to make the most of the experience.

Transfer from and back to the nearest airport or railway station, and between Kanha and Bandhavgarh, will be at an additional, actual cost. Toehold will provide assistance in cab-pooling but please talk to us for further help and specific needs.

4 December 2019, Wednesday

You arrive in Bandhavgarh and check in to our comfortable resort at various times in the day depending on your travel schedule. Ahead of a scrumptious dinner and a round of mutual introduction, our Skipper will brief the group on the natural-history features and tourist rules of the park and set the tone for the Tour. Then we retire for the night in warm anticipation of the exciting time ahead.

5 December, Thursday

After an early wakeup call opens the day, we reach the park gate at the soonest possible, with the view of being the first to enter for the all-exciting first safari. This will allow us to look for pugmarks and other fresh signs of any tiger movement to track the big cats, and also put us in a vantage position for viewing and photography, should a tiger materialize. Tigers are at their most active during the early hours of dawn and late hours of dusk, so we seek to utilize the first hour of the ride to the most.

As we acquaint ourselves with the topographical features of the park, a dash of beginner’s luck can yield the coveted sight of a tiger early on the trip, kicking the event off to a rollicking start, but even if feline fortune doesn’t shine through, the beauty of the park is bound to enthrall us with plenty of time remaining on the Tour to see and photograph the principal object of our pursuit.

Lunch will be followed by the second safari at around 02:30 p.m. Afternoons are great for bird-watching, and while we wait for tigers to start moving, we have a great time photographing some of the winged attractions of Bandhavgarh, which may include white-rumped shamas, red jungle fowl and greater adjutant storks. Meanwhile your Skipper will constantly monitor the situation and strategize with the guides and the drivers to maximize tiger sighting opportunities.

Should a tiger encounter materialize, our Skipper will do everything in his strength to put you in the best possible position for viewing and photography.

After hopefully a fruitful excursion, we return to the resort for a cup of tea and later meet for a session of ChitraTantra followed by dinner and shuteye.

6 and 7 December, Friday and Saturday

For the next two days, we follow the same schedule as on Day 2, with variations in strategy and approach if and as required. Our Skipper will always be thinking a step ahead and will collaborate with the drivers and naturalists to take strategic decisions both proactively and driven by circumstances, in an effort to achieve a rewarding time.

Every day, our morning safari will last for a full four hours, allowing us to get to know the jungle intimately. After our return from the safari and a brief repose, we meet for an interactive session of CharchaaLoka, where our Skipper will impart a wealth of useful photography tips, tricks and techniques. Intriguing and interactive, this discussion is bound to open your eyes to many new things you can try on the rides to come.


8 December, Sunday

After a final throw of the dice in the way of a morning safari and breakfast, we check out and depart Bandhavgarh for our next destination, Kanha, reaching and checking in to our lodge there in the evening after stopping en route for lunch.


8 December, Sunday

After a final throw of the dice in the way of a morning safari and breakfast, we check out and depart Bandhavgarh for our next destination, Kanha, reaching and checking in to our lodge there in the evening after stopping en route for lunch.

9 December, Monday

It’s time for our first safari in Kanha, and our primary interest here will be more than just the tiger, so we seek to photograph the hard-ground barasingha, gaur and hopefully wild dogs if we are fortunate, and enjoy the magnificent meadows and sal forests. Kanha’s male tigers have a reputation for spending a great amount of time in the open in the winter and if luck prevails, we might have our best sightings of male tigers here.

Following our maiden foray into the park, during which we will have packed breakfast during a break, we return to camp and rest and then meet just before lunch for the Tour’s first interactive ChaayaChitra session. These unique Toehold sessions, which are highly fruitful and great fun, are reported by earlier participants to be as enjoyable as the safaris themselves and are likely to entertain as much as educate you.

Immediately after lunch, we set out for the afternoon safari, and later in the evening, having spent a noteworthy day replete with exploration, photography and frolic, enjoy a scrumptious supper before hitting the sack for the night.

10 December, Tuesday

This day we enjoy morning and afternoon safaris following the same schedule with variations in strategy and approach if and as required. Our Skipper will always be thinking a step ahead and will collaborate with the drivers and naturalists to take strategic decisions both proactively and driven by need, in an effort to achieve a rewarding time.

The morning safari in Kanha lasts for a full five hours, allowing us to spend ample time tracking tigers and enjoying the other beautiful wildlife. The winter light is spectacular in the mornings and tigers are seen for a longer time in the open than in the summer — conditions that we’ll hope to use to make great images. Packed breakfast will be taken during a break in the safari at a designated place. No sooner will we have returned from the morning safari that it’s time for lunch and the afternoon safari. In the evening we enjoy an interactive session before dining and retiring.

11 December, Wednesday

After a final morning safari, we check out of the lodge and drive back to Nagpur (or Jabalpur, depending on your travel plan), and return home thence to excitedly share memories and images with your family and friends.

Please note: The Tour starts at Kanha on 8 December, 2019 and ends after breakfast on 11 December.

Transfer from and back to the nearest airport or railway station, and between Kanha and Bandhavgarh, will be at an additional, actual cost. Toehold will provide assistance in cab-pooling but please talk to us for further help and specific needs.

Cost and Terms


INR 83,300
  • Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation


INR 1,65,100
  • Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation

Toehold Patrons

INR 81,800
  • Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation


Only Bandhavgarh
INR 49,000
  • Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation


Only Kanha
INR 36,500
  • Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation

All prices above are excluding taxes. 5% GST would be applicable.

Toehold Patrons: Customers who have participated in at least three previous Toehold Photo Tours.

What’s Included?

  • Twin-sharing accommodation in comfortable rooms unless single occupancy purchased at extra cost
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and hot beverages (coffee and tea)
  • All entry fees, guide fees and safaris

What’s Not Included?

  • Any airfare
  • All applicable taxes
  • Transfers from the nearest airport or railway station and back
  • Transfer between Bandhavgarh and Kanha
  • Lunch en route from Kanha to Nagpur/Jabalpur
  • Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours or extra meals ordered
  • Insurance, laundry and phone calls
  • Bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Camera fees if any (participants will be advised of the estimated fees in advance)
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Anything that is not included in the inclusions list

Payment Terms

  • At least 50% of the Tour fee as booking amount (not refundable)
  • Remainder of the Tour fee before 10 July 2019

Cancellation Fees

  • 50% of the Tour fee on or before 14 July 2019
  • 100% of the Tour fee on or after 15 July 2019

Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Toehold Photo Travel vs Vacations

While Toehold Photo Travel is one of our most popular offerings, we work as a travel agency without bringing the photography guide element in to your travel. In short you would be using our travel experts service to just plan the vacation and execute it.

  • Unlike a Photo Travel experience, your Vacation is completely personalised.
  • The dates, style of travel, class of hotels and lodges, destinations, everything is tailor-made to suit your custom requirement.
  • A Skipper or a photography guide doesn’t travel with you to guide you unless you decide to take our customised and guided photo travel experience.

So take advantage of the immense experience and field knowledge that we bring in to your Vacation’s planning without having to pay for our time and costs. Plus, we don’t charge an additional fee for our time and travel planning services.

Who should participate in this Tour? Are there any eligibility criteria?

Anybody interested in nature, wildlife and/or photography and is above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian) is welcome on this Tour.

I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible?

Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold’s eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, to make the most of the Tour, you should be conversant with at least the basics of photography. If you are not, we recommend you sign up for an Art and Science of Photography Workshop first.

Can I join only the Kanha or the Bandhavgarh part of the Tour?

In order to maximize your chances of a productive time, we strongly recommend that you sign up for the full Tour, but if you so wish, you can participate in either of the parts of the Tour. Please see the Cost and Terms section for the price for the partial Tours.

What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?

For tigers and other mammals, a telephoto zoom lens in the range of 70 to 200mm/300mm or 100 to 400mm works very well. If opting for a fixed (‘prime’) lens, the 300mm focal length on a cropped sensor body with a 1.4x extender (‘teleconverter’) is the best compromise, although lenses of longer focal length can be used to good effect as well, especially on ‘full-frame’ bodies. For birds, a lens with a focal length of at least 400mm is essential. A wide-angle or normal zoom to capture landscapes or creative perspectives of wildlife is recommended. And since the light conditions in Indian jungles can often be challenging, an image-stabilized lens and a camera body that performs well at high sensitivities are boons. However, if you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Visit our Rental Store to see what we offer. What’s better, you enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired on our Photo Tours!

How many people can I expect to share my vehicle with on safari?

Our Photo Tours are designed to provide you sufficient space for comfortable photography without being excessively taxing on your pocket, so you can expect a maximum of three other people (including the participants and the Skipper) apart from the driver and the mandatory forest department guide.

How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours?

Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge-sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.

How sure are you about photographing wildlife on this Tour?

Considering the meticulous attention to timing we pay while scheduling Tours and the local expertise we leverage, we believe that it would be extremely unfortunate if our sightings and photography were unsatisfactory. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment, we do not claim that sightings of specific species are guaranteed.

Why aren't onward and return journeys included on this Tour?

Since participants of our Tours travel from various parts of the country by different modes (road, rail and air) as per their individual preferences, it works best to originate Tours from the destinations. We, however, provide all the assistance you need in arranging your logistics.

Reviews by Tour Participants

Interested? Make a Booking Enquiry

It’s easy. Call us on 1800 1200 901 (Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.) or simply fill this form, and we’ll get back to you like the whirring wind.

Bandhavgarh frame