Incredible India Photo Tour 2018

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Best of Rajasthan, Naguar cattle fair, Thar Desert Experience, Varanasi, and Tiger Extension

January 22 – February 5, 2018

15 days/18days

India Photo Tour 2018

 THE ADVENTURE

Possibly the most romantic state in India, Rajasthan is famous for its striking exotic desert landscapes, legendary cities resplendent with stunning forts, and vibrant festivals. It is steeped in tales of chivalry, honor, warriors and royalty.

In contrast to the opulent palaces of breathtaking grandeur, Varanasi, the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Janish, as well as the oldest city in India, is amongst the most fascinating photographic destinations in India.

Our 15-day life-enriching journey, built around the famous Nagaur cattle festival, takes us through classical Rajasthan, along the back roads to rural villages for a more intimate experience, out to the picturesque Thar Desert for a mystical adventure, and along the Ghats of the sacred Ganges River.

Naguar Cattle Fair -Boasting over 100,000 camels, cattle and horses, magnificently garlanded with vibrant accessories and paint to attract buyers, the Naguar Cattle Fair is one of the biggest in India, yet happily overlooked by tourists and photographers who visit Pusknar. Unique to this fair is the Mirchi Bazaar (red chili market) — the largest in India — with colorful displays of wooden items, iron crafts and camel leather accessories, all available for trade. Throughout the fair, our cameras will be fixed on a sea of bright saris and colorful turbans engaged in multi-cultural performances: fire dancers, traditional dancers, camel races, musicians with traditional instruments, turban tying competitions and more. This festival alone will fill your hard drives with exotic imagery.

Rajasthan India Photo Tour

Majestic Thar Desert – More than a place, the majestic Thar Desert is an experience. One must spend a few nights under canvas in this surreal landscape and wander through the exotic, cascading sand dunes with the camel herders. Photographing the camel trains along the ridge of the dunes at sunset is breath taking.

Jaisalmer – A city of intricately carved buildings, facades, Jain temples, and elaborate balconies, Jaisalmer rises out of the heart of the Great Indian Desert, and is home to the oldest living fort in the world. The lively markets and vibrant street scene make this city a memorable photo destination.

Jodhpur – In the heart of Rajasthan, known as the blue city, Jodhpur is home to the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the grandest sights in India. This is a romantic city of narrow alleyways, crooked streets, spice markets, sari vendors, vibrant bazaars and filled with historic mystery. A visit here would not be complete without an aerial view of the “blue city.”

Mandawa – Known for its ancient famous havelis adorned with painted frescoesMandawa is located in the semi-arid historical region of Shekhawati. Here one comes to understand the ancient faded grandeur of a magical time in history. Nearby are authentic Rajasthani villages.

Varanasi – Virtually unchanged for hundreds of years, Varanasi is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Janish, and the oldest city in India. It has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Pilgrims come to the Ghats lining the Ganges River to wash away a lifetime of sin in the sacred water. Elaborate prayer and candle ceremonies are held along the banks every evening. During the day, these same banks are filled with Sadhus and pilgrims performing cleaning rituals. Running from the river to town is a labyrinth of alleys called Galis, strictly for pedestrians as they are too narrow for traffic.

Tiger extension– Following Incredible india is the opportunity for 4 guest to join Shivang Mehta and Piper Mackay on a quest to search for the highly endangered legendary tigers in their natural wild habitat. Shivang is one of the top wildlife photographers in India and is sponsored by Canon as one of their mentors in India. Piper and Shivang have photographed side by side, during the past few migration seasons,  in the renowned Maasai Mara in Kenya.

 India Tiger Photo Tour

Piper Mackay has teamed up with Jassi Oberai, a talented Indian photographer, whose camera has taken him through the length and breadth of India. Together, they have crafted this colorful India itinerary that will immerse you in the culture beyond the surface of the iconic locations. Sharing a love of dramatic light, Piper and Jassi will create dynamic photographic opportunities, leaving time for you to roam independently for lively street photography, with an emphasis on storytelling. This is why a few lunches and dinners are purposely not included, giving you the freedom and flexibility to explore.

Your main transportation will be on a comfortable climate controlled coach where everyone will have two seats with plenty of room for camera gear, but we will also venture out on Rickshaws, Tuk Tuks, jeeps in the desert, camels on the dunes, and boats on the Ganges. Your accommodations will range from Grand Raj Castles to luxury safari tents in the Thar desert to village accommodations along the Ganges River. These accommodations are so rich in cultural atmosphere as to be a photographic destination in their own right.

Fascinating, adventurous, dramatic, India is filled with wonderful hospitality and a plethora of photographic opportunities, which can also be emotionally and physically draining. Yes, we will be shooting in the thick of the action, which is why we have taken great care in choosing comfortable accommodations and transportation to relax, recharge, and recover from the of the day’s excitement. We have also included all tips, which can be a daunting task in figuring out who should be tipped and constantly trying to exchange currency for small notes. We have also limited this trip to only 10 participants for better group dynamics and more personal photographic help from the leaders. The tiger extension is limit to only 4 participants.

“I have done a lot of photo expeditions throughout the world, primarily with National Geographic. This was the best organized trip that I’ve been on, and I came out of it with more great photos than I’ve gotten from any other trip. I would do another trip with Piper in a heartbeat. “ –  Eric Stoen 

Rajasthan India photo tour

 THE DETAILED ITINERARY 

Day 1, Jan 22, 2018 – Arrive Delhi

Upon arrival into Delhi, you will be met and greeted by our representative and privately transferred to the hotel. Arrival can be anytime on January 22, 2018. Your room will be ready by 14:00. If you arrive early, we will be happy to request an early check-in. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Accommodations: JW Marriot Aerocity

Day 2, Jan 23, 2018 – Delhi/Mandawa

Rise early this morning for a warm cup of coffee and tea, while you dream of the exotic journey that lies ahead. The group will meet for breakfast and have an orientation with Piper and Jassi.

After breakfast, we will drive to Mandawa, stopping in route for lunch and any spontaneous photographic opportunities. In the late afternoon, we will wander through the streets of this ancient artistic city, visiting the lively vegetable market and getting into the rhythm of mystical India.

This evening, we will dine at the castle, where we will be welcomed with a traditional dance performance.

Accommodations: Castle Mandawa – BLD

Day 3, Jan 24, 2018 – Mandawa

This morning, we will continue to explore this unique city, which looks like an outside art museum, filled with ancient famous havelis adorned with painted frescoes. Lunch is flexible, so you may have the freedom to continue to enjoy the colorful street life, enjoy the local cuisine, or take advantage of the wellness spa at the castle and shake off any jet lag.

In the afternoon, we will hop in jeeps and safari through the back roads to visit the authentic Rajasthani village culture.

Dinner at the castle

Accommodations: Castle Mandawa – BD

 

Day 4, Jan 25, 2018 – Mandawa/Nagaur
This morning, you will have the option of a sunrise village visit, street shooting, or rising slowly. After breakfast, we will head toward Naguar and the famous cattle fair. Lunch will be in route.

We will be in the heart of the action, staying at the Aagrman Delux tented camp. Our stylish printed Indian canvas tents will have ensuite bathrooms with hot water (morning and evenings) and electricity in the evenings to charge all your batteries.

In the afternoon, Jassi will take us on a walking orientation tour of the huge cattle market, boasting thousands of camels, cattle, and horses, magnificently garlanded with vibrant accessories and paint to attract buyers. Throughout the fair, in a sea of bright saris and colorful turbans, you will find multi-cultural performances, fire dancers, traditional dancers, camel races, musicians with traditional instruments, turban tying competitions and more. The entertainment continues well after sunset.

Accommodations: Aagrman Camp – BLD

Day 5, Jan 26, 2018 – Nagaur
You will have the entire day to witness this fascinating, old traditional Indian festival, feeling as though you’ve stepped back in history. Few photo opportunities can match the volume or diversity of this incredible event. Wandering slowly through the chaos will allow you to soak it in, raise the camera slowly, and create quality images.

Accommodations: Aagrman Camp – BLD

Day 6, Jan 27, 2018 – Nagaur/Thar Desert 

Take advantage of first light at the fair or sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy the ambience. After breakfast, we head to the majestic Thar Desert. Following such an authentic traditional event, we want to whisk you into the surreal beauty of the desert for an intimate experience with the camel herders, camel trains, and visits to the herders’ villages. We will have lunch in route, stopping for any impromptu photo opps.

Once again, to immerse ourselves in this experience, we will stay at the Prince Desert tented camp in the desert. Our stylish printed Indian canvas tents will have ensuite bathrooms with hot water (morning and evenings) and electricity in the evenings to charge all your batteries.

In the late afternoon, we will mount the camels and ride them into the dunes for sunset and sundowners. You will have dynamic photographic opportunities to capture the camels racing along the top of the dunes with the herders. We have planned an enchanting evening full of surprises. In the stillness of the desert, you may hear the local Rajasthani music creating an incredibly romantic atmosphere.

Accommodations: Prince Desert – BLD

Day 7, Jan 28, 2018 – Thar Desert

We will rise early and, in the quiet of dawn, head back to the dunes for a sunrise shoot and to spend time with the herders, learning about their livelihoods. After breakfast, we will have time to converse about photography, the creative aspects of storytelling, and review our images from the first few days.

Midafternoon, we will hop in the jeeps and safari across the desert to the villages of the camel herders, a special opportunity for more than a glimpse into their traditional lives. In the evening, we will be treated to cultural performances of dance and music under the stars, an incredible opportunity to play with slower shutter speeds for a dramatic effect.

Accommodations: Prince Desert – BLD

Day 8, Jan 29, 2018 – Thar Desert/Jaisalmer
This morning, you will have the option of a sunrise village visit or photographing the stunning landscape of the Thar Desert. After breakfast, we have a short drive to Jaisalmer with plenty of time to stop for impromptu photographic opportunities. It would not be unusual to run into a wedding or celebration.

We will stay in a boutique hotel in the heart of this enchanting city. After lunch, we will head out to explore the vibrant street scene filled with color, merchants selling bright cloth, embroidery, jewelry, and leather goods. You will find tailors, barbers, and women scurrying through the streets, taking care of their daily responsibilities. We will also visit Patwon Ki Haveli in the heart of town. It was built by the rich merchant, Guman Chand Patwa & his sons, whose business stretched between Afghanistan and China. It is the most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaislmer Havelis and is virtually the showpiece of Jaisalmer’s legendary architectural wealth.

Dinner will be flexible and on your own, so you may have the freedom to continue with your exploration of this fascinating area, dine on the town, or relax at the hotel with a rooftop view of the city.

Accommodation: Garth Jaisel/Kila Bhawan – BL

Day 9, Jan 30, 2018 – Jaisalmer

This morning, you may rise early and take advantage of the stunning sunrise view of the city from the roof of your hotel. After breakfast, we will visit the Jaisalmer fort.

Lunch will be flexible and on your own to enjoy in the town or at the hotel.

In the late afternoon, we will again venture out into this enchanting city.

Accommodation: Garth Jaisel/Kila Bhawan – BD

Day 10, Jan 31, 2018 – Jaisalmer/Jodhpur

We will have a sunrise shoot of the Gadisare Lake and walk through the city in early light.

After breakfast, we will drive to Jodpur, having lunch in route.

Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan and is dominated by the massive Merhrangarh Fort topping a sheer rocky ridge, also known as the blue city. In the afternoon, we will cruise through the crooked narrow streets by Tuk Tuks. Dinner will be flexible and on your own, so you may have the freedom to continue with your exploration of this fascinating area, dine on the town, or relax at the hotel

Accommodation: – Ajit Bhawan-  BL

Day 11, Feb 01, 2018 – Jodhpur

We will rise early this morning and climb to a rooftop to photograph a sunrise aerial view of the famous “blue city.” We will return to the hotel for breakfast and then visit the impressive Mehrangarh Fort, set on a 37m-sandstone hill built by Rao Jodha in 1459. We will also visit Jaswant Thada, an architectural landmark of Jodhpur, a cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in the year 1899 AD in memory of Maharaha Jaswant Singh II. Lunch will be on your own at leisure.

In the late afternoon, we will walk through the romantic “Old Blue City”, filled with narrow alleyways, Hindu culture, and vibrant ambiance, a street photographer’s paradise. We will take a break for high tea atop a local house, while admiring the blue city and all its fortresses.

Accommodation: – Ajit Bhawan- BD

Day 12, Feb 02, 2018 – Jodhpur/ Delhi/Varanasi

We will have an early breakfast and transfer to the airport to connect with our flight to Varanasi via Delhi.

Virtually unchanged for hundreds of years, Varanasi is the oldest and holiest city in India, situated on the banks of the Ganges River. It has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Pilgrims come to the Ghats lining the Ganges river to wash away a lifetime of sin in the sacred water. Hindus believe one graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Elaborate prayer and candle ceremonies are held along the banks every evening. During the day, these same banks are filled with Sadhus and pilgrims performing cleaning rituals. Running from the river to town is a labyrinth of alleys, called Galis, too narrow for traffic.

Location, location, location. We will stay right on the banks of the Ganges River, along the Ghats and palaces built by Hindu Kings. After a long day of travel, you can enjoy an evening strolling along the banks near our hotel, getting in the rhythm of this magical place.

Accommodation: Suryauday Haveli-Riverview room – BLD

India photo tour 2018

Feb 03, 2018 – Varanasi

We will rise early this morning, board our boat, and enjoy the rising sun along the banks of the Ganges. We will pass along the Ghats to experience the early morning rituals of the Hindus. Every morning, numerous people come to bathe in the holy river, offering sweets, flowers, and holy water to the Sun God, believing they will be freed from the circle of rebirth.

After breakfast, we will have time to converse about photography, the creative aspects of storytelling, and review images. You can also freely stroll along the banks of the Ganges, and lunch will be at your leisure.

After lunch, you can drive to Sarnath, one of Buddhism’s major centers in India, where Buddha gave his first Sermon after attaining Nirvana. In the late afternoon, we all meet again to wander around the narrow streets and alleys. In the evening, we will board our boat and head to the Aarti prayer ceremony that happens along the banks of the river. This is always a highlight!

Accommodation: Suryauday Haveli-Riverview room – BD

Feb 04, 2018 – Varanasi

We will again rise early for a boat ride along the Ghats. There is so much to experience, absorb, and process the first morning that repeating this is a must!

After breakfast, we will have time to converse about photography and review images. Lunch will be at your leisure, with plenty of time to relax and rest for the evening or jump back into the action.

In the afternoon, we will, once again, hit the streets in Varanasi, but this time, we will race through the narrow streets and alleyways with traditional rickshaws, an experience of a lifetime and a great opportunity for motion blurs. In the evening, we will board our boat to head to the Aarti prayer ceremony.

Accommodation: Suryauday Haveli-Riverview room – BD

Feb 05, 2018 – Delhi

On our last morning, at sunrise, along the banks of the Ganges, we will have a special photo shoot with the Sadhus.

After breakfast, you will have time to pack up and relax.

After lunch, we will head to the Varanasi airport for our flights back to Delhi. On arrival, you will be transferred to the International terminal to board your fight home or continue your journey to photograph the exotic Tigers of India.

BL

Included

  • 14 nights accommodations
  • 3 in-country flights, Jodhpur to Delhi to Varanasi and Varanasi to Delhi
  • Meals + tips, as noted on the itinerary –B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
  • Comfortable climate controlled coaches with qualified drivers including tips
  • All local transport-Tuk Tuks, boats, Rickshaws, camel rides, jeep safari, etc + tips
  • Entrance fees to Naguar cattle fair
  • Entrance fees to monuments and forts listed in the itinerary
  • Camera fees for two cameras at monuments and forts listed in the itinerary
  • Airport transfers
  • All local guide including tips
  • Bus drivers including tips
  • All modeling fees with tips as listed in the itinerary
  • Sundowners in the Thar Desert
  • English speaking guides
  • Bottled drinking water 2 bottles per day in transport vehicles
  • Two professional photographer leaders

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal purchases (including shopping, spirits, laundry, internet fees, phone calls, etc)
  • Accommodations before or after the tour

The Price

The price of the incredible India Adventure is USD $7,495.00 based on double occupancy.

Single supplement is USD  $1,695.00

If  you are a  solo guest that is willing to share accommodations we will do our best to match with a roommate of the same gender, but if we are not able to match you with a roommate the single supplement will be charges. If you request single accommodation on your registration the single supplement will be applied.

A USD $1,500.00 Non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration to secure your spot. You may purchase travel insurance that will refund your deposit. Travel guard.com is excellent.

Payment Terms

  • USD $1,500.00 non-refundable deposit to confirm your place on this photo tour
  • 2nd payment of USD $2,500.00 is due July 15, 2017
  • Final payment/balance is due November 24, 2017
  • We highly recommend trip and cancellation insurance. Travel guard.com is excellent. You can insure your deposit and increase your insurance as you make parents.

REGISTRATION 

If you are excited to join the Incredible India/Bangle Tiger Extension  adventure, we must receive both your esign registration form and your deposit/s to confirm your spot.

1. Click this link to access the e-registration form. At the end of the form you will be asked to confirm your email address, which will complete the registration. A copy of your registration will be emailed to you and to Piper Mackay Photo Safaris.

2. Use the button below to  make your  deposit. You do not need to have a Paypal account to use this payment service




What follows is an incredible SARARI EXTENSION to photograph the exotic endangered Tiger – The Tiger extension is SOLD OUT– please inquire – if we have enough interested we will consider a pre-tour tiger extension. 

Exclusive Bangal Tiger Extension

If one comes all the way to India they should definitely go on a quest to photograph the magnificent Bangal Tiger. The largest and most impressive cat in the world, few other animals evoke such a feeling of Awe. Ranthambore national park adds a certain mystical aura with its rocky terrain, back drop of historical monuments and ruins, variety of wildlife, and over 300 species of birds. We have obtained special photography access, by permit, to access all areas of the reserve to ensure your best chances of photographing this magnificent cat.

There will only be two photographers per jeep,  each with a professional wildlife photographer. Shivang Maehta has spent thousands of hours in the wildlife reserves throughout India and he is sponsored by Canon as one of their mentors in India. Piper and Shivang have photographed side by side, during the past few migration seasons,  in the renowned Maasai Mara, Kenya.  This extension is only open to 4 participants so don’t wait to grab a spot!! 

Itinerary

Feb 05, 2018

We will be met at the airport and escorted to the railway station. We will have first class seats in an air-conditioned car. This is the quickest way to travel to Ranthombore, part of the experience, and filled with more photographic opportunities.

Accommodation: Ranthombore Kothi – D

Feb 06-7, 2018

 This morning we will rise early, have a quick breakfast, and go on Safari in search of the majestic Bangle Tiger. Ranthomore is also home a variety of species such as; Gaur (Indian Bison) sloth bear, palm civet, wild dog, sambar deer, barking dear, muntjac (barking deer), nilgal antelope, wild boar, Asiatic jackal, Bengal fox, ratel, grey mongoose, striped hyena, jungle cat, and over 300 species of birds. If we are extremely lucking we may even be able to spot a leopard. We will have 2 full days in Ranthombore

Accommodation: Ranthombore Kothi –BLD

Feb 08, 2018
We will have one last morning on safari before returning to the resort for breakfast and then to the railway station for our journey back to Delhi. We should arrive in Delhi by 6:30 PM. Your international flight can be book for departure after 10PM –B

  • Included
    3 nights accommodation
  • Meals as noted on the itinerary
  • 2 photographic leaders
  • all park fees and permits
  • RT train tickets Delhi-SWM – Delhi in AC 1 class coach
  • Transport form to and from railway stations
  • Gratuities for drivers

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal purchases (including shopping, spirits, laundry, internet fees, phone calls, etc)
  • Accommodations before or after the tour

The Price

The price of the Bangal Tiger Extension  is USD $2,895.00 based on double occupancy.

Single supplement is USD  $500.00

If  you are a  solo guest that is willing to share accommodations we will do our best to match with a roommate of the same gender, but if we are not able to match you with a roommate the single supplement will be charges. If you request single accommodation on your registration the single supplement will be applied.

A USD $1,000.00 Non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration to secure your spot. You may purchase travel insurance that will refund your deposit. Travel guard.com is excellent.