India is a land of great culture and diversity; myths, legends, sacred rivers, religious icons and spiritual pilgrimages. This amazing photographic experience is carefully designed allowing you to visit India’s impressive monuments and temples while gaining the opportunity to really discover the people who make this magical country a unique and special place.
Held each November during the full moon, India’s Pushkar Fair and Asia’s largest camel and livestock market provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness and photograph the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional festivals. A sleepy holy town where pilgrims come to bathe in the sacred Pushkar Lake in order to “wash away the sins of a lifetime” turns into a riot of colour as villagers from near and far gather together to buy, sell and celebrate.
The fair is a mass of stalls selling glittering necklaces, bangles, intricate silver ornaments and crafts from across Rajasthan, as well as the paraphernalia associated with the camels themselves including saddles, colourful beads, woven and embroidered saddle-straps. This is a wonderful way to capture the vibrancy of Rajasthan and there is a wealth of photographic opportunities, with the barren desert providing a stunning backdrop to elegantly dressed, preened and perfumed camels and their equally stylish owners.
Our journey begins with a flight from Delhi to Jodhpur, on the edge of the Thar desert. The town is dominated by a massive fort, topping a sheer ridge right in the middle of town. Jodhpur is affectionately referred to as the ‘Blue City’ because of the indigo-coloured houses lining the fascinating winding streets of the old town. These can be seen from the ramparts of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, which looms high above the buzzing city.
We then travel to the golden city of Jaisalmer which rises like a mirage from the flat expanses of the Thar Desert. The thick walls of the fort enclose a maze of narrow streets. Our time here will provide an excellent insight into a way of life seemingly little changed for centuries and we are sure to capture some amazing images.
Our luxury encampment at Manvar is an ideal base from which we explore Indian desert life and surrounding Bishnoi villages amidst a landscape of breathtaking beauty.
We also visit Rajasthan’s capital and largest city, Jaipur. The ancient and exquisitely beautiful city offers us wonderful Indian architecture including magnificent carved arches, marble columns and the striking Hawa Mahal palace with its intricately carved jali screens.
Our journey would not be complete without travelling to Agra, home to the sophisticated elegance of the Taj Mahal. The change in colour of the white marble at sunrise and sunset is amazingly beautiful. We have plenty of time to photograph the beautiful attire of the Indian people who are visiting the monument and explore the Taj from alternative vantage points.
Day 2: 22nd October – Delhi.
Arrive Delhi. Here we are met and transferred to our hotel. We have time to relax and recover from the international flight and enjoy dinner together. Overnight hotel. (D)
Day 3: 23rd October – Delhi.
After breakfast we begin our guided tour of New and Old Delhi. Delhi is a city that has moved forward with the rest of the world while having its roots firmly planted deep into the past. Home of the capital of India, Delhi is the fusion of eight former capitals under different rulers of India. The historic architectures of Delhi are the majestic Red Fort, the towering Qutub Minar, the unique Jama Masjid and the Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, it is along the wayside, within bazaars and at almost every curve in Delhi, that there are fascinating ruins of tombs, palaces and mosques, unnamed and unmarked waiting to be explored. Today is a great way to start our tour sightseeing and photographing the monuments and people in Old & New Delhi. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 4: 24th October – Delhi to Jodhpur. After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight to the blue city of Jodhpur (11:00 / 12:10). Upon arrival we will check in to the hotel. In the afternoon we’ll have a guided tour of the Blue City. Set on a steep rocky outcrop, Jodhpur’s fort provides an outstanding vantage point overlooking the sprawling blue and whitewashed houses scattered below. The Meherangarh Fort, or ‘Majestic Fort’, is one of the most impressive in Rajasthan. We’ll visit the massive fort, royal palaces, the armory and Jaswant Thada – the Royal Crematorium. Overnight Jodhpur. (BD)
Day 5: 25th October – Jodhpur.
In the morning we will have the opportunity for sunrise photography of the amazing Blue City.
There will be free time in the afternoon before exploring and photographing another part of the city. Overnight Jodhpur. (BD)
Day 6: 26th October – Jodhpur to Jaisalmer.
After breakfast we drive through a desert landscape to Jaisalmer, stopping along the way for any photo opportunities. We may arrive in Jaisalmer with enough time to take a quick look at the Jaisalmer Fort, with its exquisite carving on yellow sandstone. The Golden City of Jaisalmer rises like a mirage from the flat expanses of the Thar Desert. The thick walls of the fort enclose a maze of narrow streets. Our time here will provide an excellent insight into a way of life seemingly little changed for centuries and we are sure to capture some amazing images. At sunset we’ll move from the fort to the outskirts of town to photograph a golden sunset at the nearby Cenataphs. Overnight Jaisalmer. (BD)
Day 7: 27th October – Jaisalmer.
In the morning we plan to photograph Jaisalmer Fort at sunrise and then explore the alleyways of the fort where one third of the population of the old city lives. This will provide an excellent insight into a way of life seemingly little changed for centuries. The fort contains many ornate havelis and several Jain temples which we will explore and photograph.
In the afternoon we will drive to the fascinating desert village and golden dunes of Khuri. The sand is sculpted by the wind into smooth curves and ripples, and the sunset over the sand dunes is truly breathtaking.
At Khuri Village we will experience the hospitality that is so much associated with Rajasthan. The local villagers are known for their friendliness and we will visit their simple mud homes with earthen floors and no electricity or running water. The warmth of the people is a unique and it’s a personal way to experience Rajasthani culture. Here the women walk two kilometres to the well and carry the water home on their heads. We will also explore the desert on camel back and photograph the scene at sunset. Overnight Jaisalmer. (BD)
Day 8: 28th October – Jaisalmer to Manvar.
Today we wake up early to photograph sunrise over Gadisar Lake then return to our hotel for breakfast. After breakfast we drive to Manvar where we check into the permanent tents located in the heart of the Great Indian Thar Desert. Sunset jeep safari. Overnight at the Manvar Desert Resort (Tented Camp). (BD)
Day 9: 29th October – Manvar.
A leisurely day to explore and photograph the desert and local Bishnoi villages. Manvar (symbolizing desert hospitality in the local dialect) blends with the beautiful surrounding landscape and is an ideal base to explore Indian desert life. Manvar Tented Camp is situated in the midst of the Thar Desert, a rare sanctuary of pristine beauty, tranquility and solitude. We enjoy a camel or jeep safari to local villages in the middle of the desert. In the evening we will enjoy a cultural performance of dance and music under the stars. This is an ideal opportunity for learning how to photograph in low light. Overnight Manvar Desert Resort (Tented Camp). (BLD)
Day 10: 30th October – Manvar to Luni.
After breakfast we will begin our drive to Luni. Along the way visiting Bishnoi Villages, where centuries old traditions are still followed. We may witness an opium tea ceremony, a ritual which is given to honoured guests as a sign of respect and to welcome them. We will then drive to Luni where we will spend the night at the Fort Chanwa hotel, Luni. Overnight Luni. (BD)
Day 11: 31st October – Luni to Pushkar.
After breakfast we drive to Pushkar. On arrival we will check into our hotel. After lunch we begin our explorations of Pushkar. The lowing of cattle, the swirl of skirts, the whorls of red dust, moonlight skimming off the lake and the silhouette of camels against the dusky sky – this is what Pushkar is all about. Also famous for being the only place in India with a separate temple dedicated to Brahma. Though a quiet place through the year, come November it comes to life with the advent of the annual cattle fair. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 12: 1st November – Pushkar.
We have a full day to concentrate on photographing the Pushkar fair. The annual Pushkar Fair, in the heart of Rajasthan attracts thousands of pilgrims and always coincides with the full moon. Exploring the massive sand dunes, we join jugglers, acrobats, storytellers, magicians, and musicians who mix and mingle among the turbaned Rajputs and their brilliantly jewelled wives. Their tents cover the dunes as far as the eye can see. There is also time to photograph the town with its sacred lake, 400 Brahma temples, and 52 Hindu bathing Ghats and bustling bazaar. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 13: 2nd November – Pushkar to Jaipur.
In the morning we will return to the Pushkar Fair to ensure we have as many images and memories as possible of this spectacle. We will then drive to Jaipur (3 hours). Arrive Jaipur and check into our hotel.
The people of Jaipur are very colourful, and a late afternoon walk through the bazaars is like a walk through history and will provide many interesting photo opportunities. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 14: 3rd November – Jaipur.
Dyed pink by Maharaja Man Singh II to welcome the Prince of Wales in 1876, this capital of Rajasthan, is one of the most well-preserved cities of historic importance in India, crammed with historic buildings, forts, palaces and other monuments.
In the morning we will visit and photograph Amber Fort, a 16th century hilltop fortress north of Jaipur. We will visit the palace and its many intricate chambers and hallways, which has breathtaking views of the Jal Mahal (Water palace) below.
In the afternoon we will visit the City Palace, which is still inhabited by Jai Singh’s descendants and is a superb fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. A city within a city, it includes the Govind Deo Temple, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory and the Maharaja’s museum with his personal collection of weaponry, miniature paintings, royal attire and jewellery. On the periphery of the Palace stands the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, an elaborate pink sandstone façade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 15: 4th November – Agra.
After breakfast drive to Agra, possibly stopping en-route to visit Fatehpur Sikri, a masterpiece of Muslim architecture built by Emperor Akbar in 1568 as his capital. The town’s palaces, courts and other monuments are a perfect example of the fusion of Hindu and Mughal architectural styles. According to one account, the red sandstone city was abandoned 14 years later due to water scarcity. Salim Chishti’s Dargah or tomb in the Royal Mosque is another major draw; it continues to attract pilgrims in large numbers who come here to have their wishes fulfilled.
We will check into our hotel and then head out for evening photography, possibly of the Taj Mahal from across the river or a walk through the many bustling bazaars. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 16: 5th November – Agra to Delhi.
Before breakfast we will visit the Taj Mahal for sunrise. Built as a monument of eternal love by Shah Jahan to his bride Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal looks amazingly graceful from almost any angle. It was built over a period of 20 years by 20,000 labourers and craftsmen and displays superb craftsmanship. The close up detail of the Taj Mahal is as exquisite as the overall architectural design, with semi-precious stones and beautiful patterns covering the marble surface. We will have time to explore the grounds and photograph the ever changing light on the Taj.
We then return to our hotel for breakfast and then set off on our drive to Delhi stopping along the way. In the evening we will enjoy a celebratory meal having completed a fascinating Indian journey. Overnight hotel. (BD)
Day 17 : 6th November – Depart Delhi.
Transfer to international airport for your flight home. (B)
The day-to-day schedule should be taken only as a general guide. A variety of factors, including adverse weather conditions, difficulty with transportation and politics can lead to enforced changes. Because of this it is not possible to guarantee that any of our holidays will run exactly according to the planned itinerary. The trip leader will make any changes, which are necessary.
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
*Hotel accommodation on a twin share basis (unless single has been requested) for the nights listed in the itinerary.
*All meals as specified – meals from dinner on day 2 (arrival day in Delhi) to breakfast on day 17 (departure day from Delhi) included.
*Airport transfers on arrival and departure.
*All internal transport as the itinerary.
*Domestic flight – Dehli – Jodhpur.
*English speaking Indian guide.
*Professional photographer Simon Watkinson, including photography tutorials and feedback sessions.
*Entrance fees to sightseeing / monuments where applicable.
*Medical examination (if required) & vaccination costs.
*Personal expenditure, bar bills, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
*Porters, guides & other tips.
*Meals not specified.
*Personal clothing & equipment.
*Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond World In Focus / Classic Journeys control.
*Anything not specified in the Cost Includes section.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £895.00
Hotels we will be using (or similar if not available):
Delhi -on arrival
Hotel Ajit Bhawan
Hotel Fort Rajwada
Fort Chanwa Luni
Hotel Pushkar Palace
Delhi -prior to departure
All meals included as specified.
Most hotel restaurants usually provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, continental, Indian and traditional cuisine. Please ask the staff if you have any specific request, especially regarding flavours and spices, as they will do their best to adjust menus accordingly and cater for your tastes.
*India is the world’s largest, oldest, continuous civilisation.
*India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.
*India invented the number system. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.
*There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country.
*Chess was invented in India.
*India has the second largest pool of Scientist and Engineers in the World.
*India is the largest English speaking nation in the world.
*India is the only country other than US and Japan, to have built a super computer indigenously.
*India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
*One of the largest employers in the world is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.
*India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. *Christopher Columbus, attracted by India’s wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
*The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.
*The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world’s largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million (USD) to the temple everyday.
*Varanasi was called “the Ancient City” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C. It is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
Mostly hot, dry and sunny. From April to June is the hottest season, with temperatures ranging from 32°C to 45°C. From July to September the temperature drops slightly but humidity increases making it very uncomfortable, 90% of the rains occur in this period. In October through to December, after the rains, the average maximum temperature is 33°C to 38°C with the minimum between 18°C and 20°C. Winter or the cold season is from January to March (10°C to 27°C). Early morning and evenings can be cold in November through to February.
EASY CULTURAL TOURING: Most of this tour involves overland travel in comfortable vehicles. Some of the roads in India are poorly maintained and sections will have potholes. Early starts are normal. Some of the sightseeing involves easy walking.
HEALTH & FITNESS REQUIREMENTS
The pace is considered easy and should enable anyone in good health to participate. While there are no specific physical requirements, it is important that travellers are in good health, have a positive attitude, a sense of humour and a spirit of adventure. Tours can consist of early starts, some long days or climbing into vehicles. The transport provided is the best available for the area and type of terrain being visited but be prepared for some lengthy journeys, bumpy dirt roads or the occasional delay. The amount of walking involved in this trip varies.
Most of the sightseeing and exploring the cities will be on foot in order to take photographs. We carry a basic first aid kit but recommend that each person carry their own personal first aid kit including any prescription medication they require; a suggested contents list will be provided on booking in the country information dossier. We also provide details of the recommended vaccinations needed.
You will need a DSLR with lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (70 – 200mm or longer), a laptop computer loaded with Adobe Lightroom. Additionally we strongly recommend a back-up device such as an external hard drive.
Suggested Camera Body: A 35mm SLR camera system with interchangeable lens will allow you to get the best shots in most conditions.
Suggested Lenses: A wide angle (16 – 35 mm or 24 – 105 mm or similar) and a telephoto (70 – 200mm or 100-300mm or similar) are very useful. Skylight / UV filters protect your lens.
Filters: A polarising filter is essential for landscapes. Optional ND filters x 4 and x 8.
Batteries, Memory & Storage: Bring spare batteries (2 or 3), battery charger, travel adapter, sufficient memory cards and an external digital storage device.
Camera bag: Preferably a backpack type.
Lightweight tripod: of a professional quality.
Miscellaneous: A brush for cleaning your lens and air blower are important and your camera and lens need to be in protective cases. Shutter release cable.
Laptop Computer: loaded with Adobe Lightroom if you wish to process images on tour.
Casual clothing is the order of the day. Hard wearing, easy to wash travel clothes are ideal. You may wish to pack one set of slightly smarter clothes to wear at the hotels. Laundry service will be available at all the places we stay. During the day you will need a wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses. Lightweight, comfortable walking shoes are advised for throughout the holiday and for sightseeing.
PASSPORT & VISA REQUIREMENTS
You will require a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into India; British Nationals also require an Indian entry visa, which should be obtained prior to departure.
From August 15th 2015, Britons are one of 113 nationalities who will be able to apply for India’s ‘e-Tourist visa’, making the process of obtaining correct entry documents cheaper and quicker. UK passport holders are able to apply and pay for an online visa using the Indian government’s tourist visa website. Follow this link for the official Indian e-visa home page.
Please read the instructions carefully as the procedure must be followed exactly, especially details regarding the size and background of photographs.
If you prefer to have the help of a visa agency in obtaining your India visa, Travcour UK have proved to be very helpful and efficient.
Insurance is essential and is a condition of booking that you have adequate travel insurance cover. It is very important that you obtain insurance cover against the usual risks associated with travel, from the time of booking your holiday until the time you return home. Please ensure that your insurance provides adequate protection against the two major concerns: medical/repatriation expenses while abroad and cancellation/curtailment charges in the event that you, a travelling companion or a close relative fall ill either before or during the tour. For trekking holidays your travel insurance must contain evidence of satisfactory cover for repatriation and helicopter rescue.
World In Focus and Classic Journeys do not provide any advice on travel insurance. Classic Journeys is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine Ltd. who are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Campbell Irvine is a specialist travel insurance broker. The comprehensive policy they issue provides 24-hour medical emergency assistance and covers altitude and all adventurous activities undertaken on our holidays. For single-trip policies, the insurance provides cover for both UK and worldwide residents at very competitive rates. In addition an annual policy is available to United Kingdom residents.
To obtain insurance cover visit the insurance section of the Classic Journeys website and follow the links to the Campbell Irvine Ltd. website. Alternatively contact the Classic Journeys office and they will send you details and an application form.
We require confirmation of your insurance, the policy number and 24-hour emergency telephone number who ever you take insurance with.
All World In Focus clients will be required to complete a Classic Journeys Booking Form and booking will be subject to acceptance of the Classic Journeys Booking Conditions.
Please click here to access the Classic Journeys online booking form >>
For more information please email Tammy >> at the World In Focus office and she will arrange for Classic Journeys to get back to you. Otherwise you can also call Ann of Classic Journeys directly on 07858 410677 or email Ann >>
We look forwards to welcoming you in India!