I am very happy that my first major impression of India was the right one for me. Now I say to everyone: if you want to see India, do not stop in the big cities first, but go straight to the station and take the train to a National Park like Bandhavgarh, not less than a day away.
Relax in the train. Then sleep well in a middle-range lodge. An air-cooled room will be OK, you don't want the air conditioning to interfere with your acclimatization.
And go to a game drive in the early morning. In Bandhavgarh, the forest teems with about 12000 deer.
The spotted deer is the main support of a healthy tiger population. We had 5 tiger sightings in three days, 4 of them were real photographic opportunities. The tiger seems to move slowly, but it is striking how fast it really is, if you try to take a good picture. A very demanding subject photographically for both photographer and equipment. What is great is that the tiger almost always prefers to stay uphill from people, so taking pictures from a vehicle usually does not produce bad perspective, a so frequent problem with other animals.
There was also a lot of other life to observe: sambar drinking and bathing at water holes, serpent eagles preying on lizards and snakes, peacocks displaying, monkeys with their babies, wild boar digging...
After three days in the park, we were prepared to face any impressions we had to get next - and we invariably got the best ones from anything. From the rain of the starting monsoon in Puri, from the life as it is around Taj Mahal, from the crowded Khajuraho bus ride with local children sitting on our knees. Maybe I can give a glimpse of some of these impressions in my other past and future posts (1 2 3).
Of course, if you are never impressed by wildlife, you can always put something else on your itinerary instead, India is full of mountains, backwaters, beaches, ancient ruins or whatever you like - just don't be afraid to go deep into the country.