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$, $$, Family, 21 Days

Discover India’s most spectacular and rare wildlife, see some of the country’s most remarkable monuments and try India’s most refined cuisine on this tour of the west and northeast.

Stop 1: Ahmedabad

Begin your journey with a local flight from Mumbai or Delhi to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where you can sample some of the best cuisine in India. Be sure to try puran poli, a wheat flatbread filled with sweet chickpea dal; khichdi, a rice and dal porridge eaten with yogurt, ghee and spicy pickle; and homemade chaas, or buttermilk. Visit Bhadra Fort, a walled city from the 15th century, and the medieval Sidi Bashir Mosque to see architectural history, and check out the Calico Museum of Textiles to see five centuries of Indian fabric and weaving.

Stop 2: Gir National Park

Fly to Rajkot or drive seven hours to Gir National Park, the only remaining habitat of the Asiatic lion. Hire a Jeep and a guide who can take you to the best places to spot lions and other species in the park. Stay in a nearby lodge or sleep safari-style in appointed tents.

Stop 3: Little Rann of Kutch

For a completely different experience in nature, head to the salt marsh that is home to the Indian wild ass, the Little Rann of Kutch. You can also see many species of migratory birds, the Indian wolf and the desert fox.

Stop 4: Vadodara

Hire a car for the 275 kilometer journey to Vadodara, the cultural heart of Gujarat. Visit Laxmi Vilas Palace, built by the city’s royal family in the late 1800s, and Sayaji Baug, the largest park in western India with a zoo, planetarium, two museums and gardens on 113 acres of land: This is a great place for families. Take a day trip to Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a World Heritage site where you can see fortresses, temples, mosques and palaces dating from the eighth to 14th centuries.

Stop 5: Ajanta Caves

Travel 6.5 hours by car to Ajanta Caves, Buddhist monuments dating back to the second century BCE that are considered some of the finest examples of ancient Indian art.

Stop 6: Ellora

Next ride to nearby Ellora, where you can see one of the largest rock-cut temple cave complexes in the world, containing Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monuments. Stay in the nearby city of Aurangabad, replete with hotels for any budget.

Stop 7: Mumbai

Fly from Aurangabad to Mumbai, and stay in a mid-priced hotel in the Fort or other regions downtown. From here you are steps away from the Colaba shopping district, Kala Ghoda Arts District and Marine Drive, where you can walk along the water. Visit the Gateway of India, a stone arch monument built by the British raja in 1924. Mumbai is great for kids, with many theme parks geared especially toward them.

Stop 8: Kaziranga National Park

For a taste of a completely different region of India, fly from Mumbai to Tezpur, Assam, to visit Kaziranga National Park, one of the world’s most spectacular wilderness areas and home of the Indian rhinoceros. Here you can also see elephants, wild water buffalo, Bengal tigers, swamp deer and leopards, in addition to several species of brightly colored birds.

Stop 9: Assam Cruise

Next take a downstream cruise on the Brahmaputra River to Guwahati, stopping to see the lush beauty of the region and taste life in Assamese villages. On your trip you’ll see stilted houses in rich marshland. Don’t fail to visit Majuli, one of the world’s largest river islands, where you can enter white-painted monasteries where monks perform a traditional dance with drums called Matia Khora. Also enjoy the tea plantations, where you can sip traditional Assamese tea. It’s a family expedition to be remembered.