Be part of a photographic journey like no other and explores the beauty, wonder, history and sights of India! This magical country has long been shrouded in exotic mystery, with a blend of colours, culture and cuisine unparalleled throughout the world. This small group tour will be led by a Master Photographer and take in the best that Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore and Jaipur have to offer.
This amazing tour also includes the Holi festival. The Festival is a once-a-year event renowned for fun and ubiquitous colour powder. It is one of the best occasions to experience India at its happiest and we'll be throwing ourselves into this hilarious festival of colours, which is also famous for its craziness, and amazing photographic opportunities.
This 12 day/11 night tour is the perfect opportunity to travel with like-minded photography enthusiasts, explore an incredible country, learn more about the arts of travel, landscape and street photography and capture amazing photographs of your journey. For the non-photographers accompanying us, additional sightseeing tours and activities will be available during photographic portions of the trip.
Day 1: Delhi
Meeting-assistance upon arrival & Welcome with flowers before transfer to hotel for overnight stay.
As the capital of India, Delhi is the third largest city with a population of approximately 18 million. Its strategic location along the north-south, east-west route has given it a focal position in Indian history and many great empires have been ruled from here. The monuments and ruins of these are scattered throughout the city, often cheek by jowl with modern structures and high rise towers.
Delhi is split into two main sections; Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi is the area defined by the old city wall and is a maze of small alleyways and side streets. Old Delhi's bazaars are legendary; today the great wholesale bazaars of Chandni Chowk still retain a souk-like quality. Their narrow streets are lined with shops, whose goods spill out onto the pavements. New Delhi is characterised by the city's growth under the British colonial rule with the grandeur of 19th -century buildings and wide, tree-lined boulevards.
Day 2: Delhi
Today you will enjoy a full day of sightseeing starting in Old Delhi where you will visit the Red Fort before walking through, savouring the ambience of the oriental, crowded bazaar. Afterwards, continue to India's largest mosque, Jama Masjid followed by Raj Ghat & Gandhi Museum.
Afternoon visit to Akshardham Temple: - The magnificent Akshardham Temple in Delhi has been constructed under the patronage of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and was inaugurated on November 7, 2005. Tour the massive mega Akshardham Temple Complex and explore an amazing world of Indian culture ornate with 20, 000 statues, floral motifs, arches and exquisitely carved pillars.
Day 3: Delhi – Mathura
After breakfast set out for New Delhi Tour, including Parliament house, India Gate, Humayun Tomb, and Qutub Minar,
Humayun’s tomb; An UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most magnificent tombs built in Delhi during the Mughal rule, the Humayun’s Tomb is an excellent example of Persian architecture. Constructed out of red sandstone, the Humayun’s Tomb was the first ever-garden style tomb to be constructed in India.
Qutab Minar; The Qutub Minar is a towering 73 meter high tower built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1193. The tower was built to celebrate Muslim dominance in Delhi after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu ruler. Apart from the tower, the Qutub Minar complex comprises of the Quwwat-us-Islam Mosque (the first mosque to be built in India), a 7 metre high iron pillar, the tomb of Iltutmish, Ala’i-Darwaza and the Ala’I Minar.
In the afternoon you will drive to Mathura, which will be our base for next two days to celebrate Holi celebrations. This is a great event to take some stunning colourful images.
Late evening enjoy Holika Dahan in Mathura.
Holika Dahan: On the eve of Holi, typically at or after sunset, the pyre is lit, signifying Holika Dahan. The ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil. People sing and dance around the fire. People also perform parikrama of fire.
Days before the festival people start gathering wood and combustible materials for the bonfire in parks, community centres, near temples and other open spaces. On top of the pyre is an effigy to signify Holika who tricked Prahalad into the fire. Inside homes, people stock up on colour pigments, food, party drinks and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other regional delicacies.
Day 4: Mathura
You will spend the days taking some amazing images of the Holi celebrations in nearby villages and temples.
Day 5:Mathura – Agra
Commence the drive to Agra, home to the world famous Taj Mahal. Agra rose to fame in the mediaeval period as the capital of the Mughal Empire and was beautified with gardens, waterfalls, bathhouses and canals. In modern times, the city of Agra houses a thriving carpet industry. Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel.
Later visit the tomb of Idmad-Ud-Daulah a Mughal mausoleum often described as “jewel box” and sometimes called “Baby Taj”. The tomb of Idmad-Ud-Daulah is often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal.
Our visit also includes Agra Fort, situated on the west bank of the Yamuna River and built by Emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573. Its imposing red sandstone ramparts form a crescent along the riverfront and encompass an enormous complex of courtly buildings, ranging in style from the early eclecticism of Akbar to the sublime elegance of Shah Jahan. The barracks to the north are British additions from the 19th-century.
Village Experience: Kachhpura provides an insight into the local culture and rural life of the region. Glimpses of traditional lifestyle of the villagers are seen through few elders smoking hookah, shoe making, local village gym, visit to a typical community household (living area, cooking area, religious area, etc). The streets are adorned with brightly coloured small houses with elaborate doorway and niches, which were used for lighting the house with candles or diyas historically. The walls are painted with Sanjhi art associated with the Braj culture of the region done using natural colours like terracotta, lime etc. The village school situated near courtyard is also a major attraction for tourists.
Day 6: Agra
Early this morning pay a visit to view the Taj Mahal in all its glory as the sun is rising. The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631.
Return to your hotel for breakfast.
We then enjoy a day of exploring local markets and villages around Agra, with an emphasis on Street Photography
Day 7: Agra – Ranthambore
We drive for Ranthambore visiting Abhaneri Step en route.
On reaching this village, you will see Step Well (Chand Baori), which is considered as one of the largest and deepest step wells in India. It was constructed in the 9th century and has 3500 narrow steps in thirteen stories and is hundred feet deep. Next you will visit Harshat Mata temple, which is regarded as the goddess of happiness who spreads joy to the entire village. Visiting this temple takes you back to the glory of medieval India. The ruined images in the temple indicate that this temple was actually dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Upon arrival in Ranthambore National Park, one of the prime examples of Project Tiger's conservation efforts in Rajasthan, transfer to hotel.
The forest around Ranthambore was once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur and is one of the largest national parks in Northern India. Ranthambore National Park is renowned for its tiger population; however you may also come across other wild animals such as leopard, nilgai, Wild Boar, Sambar, hyena and Sloth Bear. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure.
Day 8: Ranthambore
Today you will enjoy an early morning and a mid-afternoon Exclusive Jeep safari around an estimated area of 400 sq. km of game reserve.
Please note: Photo ID is required when visiting the Park. Please ensure you bring your passport to gain entry.
Day 9: Ranthambore - Jaipur
After breakfast you will drive to Jaipur, known as the 'Pink City' for the colour of the buildings in the old town. Some parts of the road are very rough so the journey takes most of the afternoon.
Jaipur was founded in 1727, as Mughal power within India was declining. The Maharaja Jai Singh then moved his capital from Amer Fort down onto the plain below. The city is now the capital of the Rajasthan State and commonly called the ‘Pink City’ because of the pink paint on the buildings in the old city area. This was apparently done to imitate the magnificent, red sandstone buildings of the Mughals, and in an attempt to impress the Prince of Wales when he visited Jaipur in 1876. Upon arrival in Jaipur.
Rest of the day at Leisure.
Day 10: Jaipur
Start today with a brief photo stop at Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), tourists are unable to enter the building so you will be able to view it from the busy street opposite.
Later you will visit the Maharaja's City Palace former Royal residence; part of the building has been converted into a museum, while the Royal family of Jaipur still uses the remaining sections of the palace. Outside the gate to the Maharaja's City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. The observatory has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
Day 11: Jaipur
After breakfast we will visit Amer Fort or 'Amber Fort' as the British called it. Erected in 1799 by the Sawai Pratap Singh, Hawa Mahal was built so that the veiled ladies of his harem could observe, unnoticed, the lively street scenes below. After you arrive at the base of Amer Fort, you will take an elephant ride / Jeep ride that will take you all the way up to the entrance. Inside the fort you will visit the Jag Mandir or the Hall of Victory, which houses the famed Sheesh Mahal.
Afternoon visit Sanganer, Sanganer is a small township situated approximately 16 kilometres away from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Known for its famous handmade paper industry and the textile printing industry, Sanganer is very famous for Jain pilgrimage services. The handmade paper industry is famous all over the country, and is known to manufacture supreme quality handmade paper. Floral and block prints are also a specialty with the Sanganer block printers and artisans. The idea behind the handmade paper industry was initiated by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1728. Apart from the flourishing industries, Sanganer is also known for its medieval ruins and primeval temples that are deeply rooted in the culture and heritage of the settlement. Some of the main tourist attractions at Sanganer are the Jain temples-the most prominent one being the 'Shri Digambar Jain Temple', the paper and print industries, and the remnants of a bygone, regal era. The Jaipur Airport is also located in Sanganer.
Day 12: Jaipur
Transfer to Jaipur Airport for your flight to Delhi where you stay in Transit for onward journey.