The Forsyth Trail

The Forsyth Trail

Discover the heart of India and the magnificent forests which inspired Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Follow the footsteps of pioneer James Forsyth and explore the tranquil hill station of Pachmarhi. Get to know the forest communities, enjoy jungle walks and take a thrilling jeep safari into Pench Tiger Reserve. This unforgettable holiday leads you through the very heart of rural India.

The Forsyth Trail

Walking with your own local guide in the forested hills of the region that inspired Kipling’s Jungle Book, you gain insights into the life of forest communities during your stays in guesthouses and tented camps.

Tour Highlights

  1. Walking and wildlife discovery
  2. Forest villages and hillstation
  3. Jeep safari in tiger reserve

Itinerary

Mumbai – Pipariya – Pachmarhi – Dehlia – Chopna – Sakata – Nagpur – Mumbai 

Day 01: Arrive in Mumbai
You arrive in Mumbai, amid all the heat, colour, noise and energy you would expect from the world’s sixth most populous city. At the airport you are met by a driver and taken to Hotel to relax and freshen up before being taken to Mumbai CST railway station to catch the overnight train. Night 1: on the overnight train to Pipariya.
Day 02: Arrive Pipariya – Pachmarhi (60 kms – 01 hrs)
After breakfast in Pipariya, it's a 90-minute drive to Pachmarhi, where you can relax and acclimatise over a leisurely lunch. In the afternoon, you may wish to explore the colourful bazaars of this verdant hill-station, the highest point in Madhya Pradesh and formerly a Victorian summer retreat. You stay two nights in a comfortable guesthouse.
Day 03: Pachmarhi
In the morning you meet your guide to discuss the forthcoming days, after which he will take you to visit the five rock-cut Buddhist temples known as the Pandav Caves. These five caves were hewn out of the rock by Buddhist monks, and probably date from the 9th-10th centuries AD. The façades of each are adorned with columns, pilasters and simple carvings. They are named after five brothers of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, and give their name to the town – ‘Panchmarhi’ means ‘five caves’. Another excursion will take you to the atmospheric Jata Shankar cave temple – a natural cave in a deep ravine which serves as a Hindu shrine to the God Shiva.
Day 04: Pachmarhi – Dehlia ( 05 hrs walk )
Leaving Pachmarhi, you set out along the Forsyth Trail, named after an Indian Army officer, Captain James Forsyth, who explored the region in the 1860s and helped establish conservation of the forest. Offering wonderful views, the trail initially winds its way down through the teak, sal (a hardwood tree native to the Indian subcontinent) and bamboo forest of the core zone of the Satpura Tiger Reserve along good forest paths with some steep descents. After approximately five hours, you reach Dehlia, an attractive forest check-point, where you will find a comfortable campsite, hosted by the local communities, set up on the banks of the Dhudhar River.
Day 05: Dehlia
Today, you can enter the forest with your guide, who will point out the local flora and fauna which includes myriad species of birds and many mammals including deer, monkeys and even big cats; or you can simply enjoy time round the camp and by the river.
Day 06: Dehlia – Chopna ( 03 hrs walk)
Leaving Dehlia, you follow flat sandy tracks and paths along the fringes of the Satpura National Park, with further opportunities to spot more of the abundant wildlife along the way. The forests here are home to over 240 species of birds, including the fabulous paradise flycatcher – the state bird of Madhya Pradesh. Arriving at the pretty forest village of Chopna after 3 hours, you stay in tented camp, again managed by the local community.
Day 07: Chopna
Today morning we ride through a different tea plantation through the country side around Limbuguri Tea Estate. Return to Bungalow for lunch. Post lunch visit Barekuri Village (10 Km / 20 min) to see a small group of Hollock Gibbons and later drive back to Dibrugarh. Night in Heritage Chang Bungalow.
Day 08: Chopna – Sakata (250 kms _ 05½ hrs)
With a day here, you can immerse yourself in local village life, getting to know your hosts. Cattle are seen as a status symbol and there are many cows and water buffalo in the surrounding area, plus goats which are kept for milk. A huge variety of fruit and vegetables are grown here – including lemon, papaya, jack fruit, mango, banana, pomegranate, custard apple, guava, pumpkin, cabbage, tomato, onion, chilli, tamarind, coriander, pulses and rice – so you can expect delicious home-grown vegetarian food at each meal. You also have the chance to explore the forest, where you may see antelope, deer, flying squirrel, wild boar or jackal. Your guide will also point out any pugmarks and signs of tiger you hopefully come across.
Day 09: Sakata – Pench ( 70 kms )
After lunch, transfer by road to Karmajhiri village on the edge of Pench Tiger Reserve core zone, via Rukhad forest for a game drive. Evening wildlife safari by gypsy jeep (3hrs) in Pench core zone. You may spot bluebull, sambar and spotted deer, jackal, wild dog, hyena, langur, gaur, wild boar and abundant birdlife; and, if you are lucky, sloth bear, leopard or the mighty tiger. Spend a night in park accomodation on the edge of the core zone.
Day 10: Pench - Nagpur ( 80 kms ) – Mumbai ( overnight train)
Early morning jeep safari in Pench, return to Karmajhiri for lunch. Road transfer from Karmajhiri to Nagpur (2 ½ hours). Dinner in Nagpur before overnight train to Mumbai.
Day 11: Mumbai departure
Arrive in Mumbai, transfer to airport for return flight to back home.
  • Best Season: September – April
map of Nawabs of Lucknow

The highlights of this trip

Unique Forest Community

Enjoy unique insights to the Satpura and Pench tiger reserves and forest village communities through our pioneering partnership with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department. In Satpura the Gond people, the forest dwellers, provide a unique and privileged insight into forest life.

Hill-Top Heaven of Pachmarhi

Explore the tranquil hill-station of Pachmarhi, set at 1,305m, the highest point in Madhya Pradesh. Relax in a pleasant hotel, discover ancient caves and enjoy fine views down the forested valley below.

Walking in varied landscapes

Relish the excellent highland, sub-tropical climate, ideal for walking, rightly described by travel writers as a walking and trekking paradise. Walk far from the crowds along the Forsyth trail in the Satpura Tiger Reserve re-established along the original route taken by Captain Forsyth in 1857 when exploring the region with the Bengal Lancers.

  • Adventure 85% 85%
  • Local Experiences 90% 90%
  • Wildlife 60% 60%
  • Landscapes 90% 90%

I saw over 50 species of birds, especially around the Chopna tents.

“it was a wonderful experience; the highlight was probably the time we spent in Chopna village, everyone so open and accepting of my presence. I did see plenty of footprints and dung from tigers, leopards, wild boar and porcupine, but of the animals themselves alas nothing.”

Sandy Murray – Dublin, Ireland

The Forsyth Trail walk gave us a real sense of achievement.

“The Forsyth Trail walk gave us a real sense of achievement and the camping facilities were as luxurious as could be. After seeing so much evidence of big cat activity, sighting three tigers in Pench was awesome; watching the sun set there to a soundtrack of jackal calls as they massed for the hunt will stay with me forever. “

Marion & Samy – Paris, France.

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