India Photographic Tour

 Tour Itinerary

Day 1: SYDNEY/MELBOURNE – DELHI

This morning we leave Australia flying with Singapore Airlines. For travellers departing Sydney, SQ212 departs at 8:55am, arriving in Singapore at 2:15pm. For travellers departing Melbourne, SQ238 departs at 11:30am, arriving in Singapore at 4:20pm.

Our connecting flight SQ406 departs Singapore at 5:10pm, arriving in Delhi at 8:10pm local time. After clearing customs we will be met by our guide/driver and transferred to our hotel.

Overnight at Royal Plaza Hotel, Delhi.

Day 2: DELHI (B/L/D)

We commence our first day with a tour of Old Delhi.  Old Delhi was an ancient walled city.  Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in 1650 switched the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi.  Shah Jehan, who possessed an exquisite talent, particularly in architecture, created the seventh city and in the process brought about Delhi’s glorious renaissance.

We will drive past the Red Fort, Shah Jehan’s symbol of power and elegance, built behind red sandstone walls. Its main gate (Lahore Gate) faces Chandni Chowk, the perpetually congested avenue heading west.  It is filled with twisting lanes, small streets and crowded bazaars.  We will also visit Raj Ghat, the memorial site of the Mahatma Gandhi and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India.  We will then enjoy a short rickshaw ride in Old Delhi.

After lunch proceed to visit New Delhi. New Delhi was designed and built by the British in the 1920’s. It’s a city of wide boulevards impressive government buildings, green parks and gardens. In 1911 King George V announced the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

Lutyens designed an imperial city which had palatial-sized buildings set amid broad tree-lined avenues punctuated by Mughal style gardens, complete with fountains and shallow pools. You will visit two monuments from Delhi’s past – Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar.

Our drive also takes us along the ceremonial avenue, imposing India Gate, President’s Palace and Parliament House.  At the end of the tour, you will be taken back to your hotel.

Overnight at Royal Plaza Hotel, Delhi.

Day 3: DELHI – AGRA (B/L/D)

This morning we depart early for Agra, stopping briefly to visit the Tomb of Akbar the Great. We then continue to Agra where we enjoy lunch before checking into our hotel.

After lunch we visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb, often referred to as the “baby Taj”.  Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 represents the transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture – primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations, as in Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and Akbar’s Tomb in Sikandra – to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay – most elegantly realized in the Taj Mahal.

If time allows we will visit nearby Chini-ka-Rauza.  Chini-ka-Rauza is considered a milestone in Indo-Persian architecture, as it is the very first building in India that has been exclusively decorated by glazed tile works. The most distinctive feature of the tomb is the colourful tiles or chini, from which the mausoleum gets its name. The tomb is rectangular in shape and is constructed mainly of brown stone. The walls of the tomb are adorned with inscriptions and coloured tiles that give a distinctive look to the structure.

As the sun begins to go down, we will continue along this northern bank of the Yamuna River to a spot directly opposite the Taj known as the Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) where we watch the sun go down over the river and the Taj Mahal.

Overnight at the Crystal Sarovar Premier Hotel, Agra.

Day 4: AGRA (B/L/D)

This morning it’s an early rise as we travel to see the morning light on the Taj Mahal, and also to avoid the crowds that come later in the day.

After lunch we visit the Agra Fort and its Jasmine Tower, an exquisite octagonal turret from which the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan would watch the workmen’s progress on the Taj Mahal.  Views of the Taj Mahal from the Fort are amazing. Late afternoon we will go for a walk around the suburb near the hotel, where there will be plenty of opportunities to photograph the locals going about their business.

Overnight at the Crystal Sarovar Premier Hotel, Agra.

Day 5: AGRA – JAIPUR (B/L/D)

This morning we will have an early departure from Agra in order that we can visit Fatephur Sikri before travelling on to Jaipur. Fatehpur Sikri – an epic poem in red sandstone was larger than London in its day, however was abruptly abandoned when the wells went dry. About 95km’s before Jaipur we take a short detour to visit Chand Baori, one of the largest and most beautiful stepwells in the world.

Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital of Rajasthan state. The kingdom of Jaipur was originally known as Amber, which was also the name of its ancient capital (situated eleven kilometres from Jaipur). Its history can be traced backed to the 12th century. In the 1720’s Sawai Jai Singh II, began to build the new city of Jaipur. The city turned out to be an astonishing well-planned one based on the ancient Hindu treatise on architecture, the Shilpa Shastra. Different streets were allotted for different professions such as potters, weavers, dyers, jewellers and bankers. Jaipur has a variety of manufacturing industries. It is especially known for its arts and crafts, jewellery, enamel work, hand-printed fabrics and stone sculptures.

Late afternoon we visit the ornate Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) before enjoying a casual a walk around the city’s busy commercial and historical centre.

Overnight at Mandawa Haveli, Jaipur.

Day 6: JAIPUR – PUSHKAR (B/L/D)

This morning we visit Amber Fort, regarded as one of the most famous forts of Rajasthan.  The structure has four different parts, each with a separate entrance.  The main entry to the fort is through the ‘Suraj Pol’ or Sun Gate which opens up into the main courtyard.  A very famous attraction here is the ‘Magic Flower’, a fresco carved out of marble.

We then proceed to Pushkar, location of one of the world’s largest and most famous camel fairs.  For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional festivals, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle, and visited by over 400,000 farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan.  We will have a day and a half to explore and photograph what will certainly be a kaleidoscope of colour and hive of activity.

Overnight at Pushkar Palace, Pushkar.

Day 7: PUSHKAR (B/L/D)

Today will be an intensive day wandering and photographing the Pushkar camel festival.  There will be plenty to photograph, from the countless camels strolling across the sands of Rajasthan to the gathering of livestock and horses, men with their large colourful turbans and an assortment of facial hair, and woman dressed in traditional attire and adorned head to toe with exquisite jewellery.

The festival was initially devoted to the trade of camels, sheep, horses and cows, in which their owners use all their persuasive skills to make a sale.  The festival also attracts stalls selling colourful clothing and jewellery, tattoo shops, juggling acts and fire dancers.  This is going to be a day to remember.

Overnight at Pushkar Palace, Pushkar.

Day 8: PUSHKAR – JODHPUR (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we commence our drive to Jodhpur. Jodhpur is called the “Blue City” because of the blue painted houses, originating from times when the Brahmin caste owners painted their homes this colour.

The highlight of this afternoon will be a guided tour of the famous Sardar markets and the old city of Jodhpur.  We will wander around the streets and markets, weaving our way through and around hustling and bustling Jodhpurians as they finish their busy day. A great way to finish our day.

Overnight at Ajit Bhawan, Jodhpur.

Day 9: JODHPUR (B/L/D)

This morning we visit Mehrangarh Fort, a perfect location for viewing and photographing the “blue” city.  The tower fort known as Mehrangarh rises 120 metres above the plains.  On a clear day one can even see the fort of Kumbalgarh which is 124 kilometres away.  We will be able to explore the splendid palaces located in the fort, noted mainly for their exquisitely carved sandstone latticework.  There is also an interesting museum within the fort with its collection of royal heirlooms ranging from superb antique weaponry to elephant howdahs of different types to ornate cradles for royal babies.  Another exhibit depicts various styles of turbans worn in Rajasthan – with about a hundred of them on display.

Afterwards we visit Jaswant Thada, a white marble memorial built by Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.  The monument, in its entirety is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble.  These stones are extremely thin and polished so that they emit a warm glow when the sun’s rays dance across their surface.  Within this cenotaph, there are also two more tombs.  The Jaswant Thada is a traditional cremation ground of Jodhpur rulers.  The grounds are also comprised of exquisitely carved gazebos, a beautiful multi-tiered garden, and a small lake.

At the end of the day we will enjoy a casual walk through the streets of the “blue” part of the city before returning to the city centre and hotel.

Overnight at Ajit Bhawan, Jodhpur.

Day 10: JODHPUR – VARANASI (B/L/D)

After breakfast we will be transferred to Jodhpur Airport for our flight to Varanasi via Delhi.  Our Jet Airways flight (2552) departs at 11:20am and arrives in Delhi at 1:00pm.  After a 2-hour layover, our Jet Airways flight (745) departs at 3:10pm and arrives in Varanasi at 4:30pm.  On arrival, we will be transferred to our hotel.

Varanasi is also known as “Benaras”, and is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India. Situated on the banks of sacred river Ganges, Varanasi has been a centre of learning and civilisation for over 2000 years. Besides being a pilgrimage centre, it is considered as an auspicious place to die, ensuring an instant route to heaven. Apart from Hinduism it is also an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists as it was at Sarnath (10 km from Varanasi) that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment. One of Varanasi’s claims of fame is that it is the only city in Asia with three Universities.

Overnight at Ramada or Rivatas Hotel, Varanasi.

Day 11: VARANASI (B/L/D)

Early this morning we travel to the Ghats and undertake a boat ride at dawn down along the Ganges. The activity at this time of day is fascinating and the light along the ghats is spectacular. After the boat journey, we take a short walking tour prior to returning to the hotel for breakfast. Later in the morning we visit Sarnath where Buddha preached his first sermon – this area is one of India’s holiest sites.

After lunch we travel to the Muslim area of Varanasi, where they specialise in the weaving of silk scarves.  Later in the afternoon we return to the Ghats area to do some more amazing street photography and portraits of the colourful characters.  We then return to the Ghats to the see the evening prayers being performed with burning lamps cast on the river’s surface, known as the “Aarti” ceremony.

Overnight at the Ramada or Rivatas Hotel, Varanasi.

Day 12: VARANASI (B/L/D)

This morning we return to the ghats at sunrise. You’re more than welcome to arrange your own boat for this morning or you can join us on an extended walking tour along the length of the ghats – this will allow you to see up close what you witnessed from the boats yesterday morning.

After lunch we’re planning to do a special photo shoot of the coal haulers.  Coal is transported to Varanasi by train, at which time it is manually unloaded from the carriage, then manually loaded onto a truck the following day.  This will be an amazing opportunity to photograph something away from the typical tourist scenes.

Overnight at the Ramada or Rivatas Hotel, Varanasi.

Day 13: VARANASI (B/L/D)

Today is Dev Diwali or Dev Deepawali, the festival of lights of the Gods, honouring the victory of Lord Shiva over the demon named ‘Tripurasur’.  Varanasi, turns into one of the biggest tourist attractions during this festival, attracting thousands of devotees from different parts of the country and abroad, come to witness this breathtaking sight.

We rise early to make our way down to the Ganges where devotees bathe before lighting lamps in the honour of Goddess Ganga.  It is believed that the Gods descend to Varanasi on this auspicious occasion to take a dip in the River Ganga, so expect thousands of devotees bathing in their colourful attireThis is then followed by the largest and most spectacular “Ganga Aarti” show with 24 Brahmin Priests. The main ritual takes place after seeing the moon rise, at which time the steps of all the Ghats along the River Ganga are illuminated by thousands of lamps.  Celebrations continue throughout the night.

Overnight at Ramada or Rivatas Hotel, Varanasi.

Day 14: VARANASI – DELHI – SINGAPORE (B/L)

The Dev Diwali celebrations continue this morning, concluding at 10:52am.  For those wanting more, there’s the option of returning to the Ghats one final time, otherwise you may wish to sleep in and relax after the long night of festivities.  It’s now time to prepare for our long journey back home.

After lunch we will be transferred to the airport for our flight back to Delhi.  Our Jet Airways flight (742) departs at 5:00pm and arrives in Delhi at 6:20pm.  Our international flight with Singapore Airlines (SQ403) departs at 10:10pm.

Day 15: SINGAPORE – SYDNEY/MELBOURNE

The Singapore Airlines flight arrives into Singapore at 6.40am. For travellers returning to Sydney, SQ211 departs at 9:40am, arriving in Sydney at 8:30pm. For travellers returning to Melbourne, SQ207 departs at 7:45pm, arriving in Melbourne at 6:10pm.


This tour is being run jointly run by Malcolm Fackender of Spotlight on Asia and Glynn Lavender of Creative Photo Workshops. All tour arrangements will be made through our partner Wildlife Safari Consultants.

The cost of this tour is made up of two components:

(1) International Airfare – Between now and the time of travel, special fares will be released and it is our intention to monitor these and advise you when they become available.

(2) The Tour cost – The early-bird discounted price of AU $6195 per person applies until 30th June 2017. The full tour price is AU $6695 per person twin share.

*   Any variations in fees will be passed on in full to participants.
** Subject to change prior to ticket issuance (due to weekly variations in Taxes and Surcharges).

Conditions

  • Surcharge may apply if minimum tour size is not met.
  • Pricing and itinerary subject to change without prior notice.
  • Any unused services are non-refundable.
  • Deposit required to secure booking and cancellation penalty may apply.
  • All participants are required to take out comprehensive travel insurance as a condition of the tour. The travel insurance should cover you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to Australia. Proof of adequate insurance is required as a condition of the tour. If you arrive without a policy, you will be required to purchase one prior to departing Sydney.
  • It is also advisable to make relevant arrangements for your insurance to cover your luggage and camera equipment.

If you are interested in joining this tour, please contact us for further details.

With over a billion people, and being the seventh largest country in size, India is a country of many personalities. From bustling cities to simple villages, the vibrant colours of India are like a kaleidoscope for the camera.  Its lively bazaars, rich culinary traditions, spirituality, unique wildlife and world famous monuments are sure to appeal to every photographer.
Why not come and join us on an amazing photographic journey of India, one in which you are sure to find enriching, inspiring and unforgettable.

Highlights

  • Dehli, India’s second most populous city and home of the nations capital.
  • Agra and three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, and popularly known as the Pink City.
  • Pushkar, and the world famous camel festival.
  • Jodhpur, also known as the Blue City, an apt name as most houses in the old city are shades of blue.
  • Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India.
  • Dev Diwali, the festival of lights of the Gods in Varanasi.

Details

  • Duration: 14 days total.
  • Departure date: 22nd October 2017
  • Because of the special nature of this tour, the number of participants will be limited to 12.
  • Price: Early-bird price is AU $6195* per person twin share for land only content until 30th June 2017. Full price is AU $6695* per person twin share for land only content.
  • We will make every effort to match up single travellers who wish to travel at twin share rates. For anyone requiring a single room, there may be an additional charge of AU $1500.
  • International airfares are expected to be as low as AUD$1139**, however this will vary depending on when the booking is made.

Included

  • The complete tour as per itinerary, domestic airfares within India and any domestic airport and Airline taxes & charges, arrival/departure transfers, in country ground transport by private air-conditioned vehicle/s with driver/s and fully escorted by two experienced professional Australian photographic tour leaders and local guides. All meals as specified in the itinerary (B/L/D) and admission, rides and still camera fees.

Not included

  • International Airfare, India Visa (Approximately AUD$95), personal travel insurance (requirement of joining tour), meals not indicated in program, additional beverages such as soft drinks and alcohol, activities during free time, laundry, items of personal nature, tips and gratuities, excess baggage fee.

International Flight

  • The cost of the international flight is additional to the land content.  It is highly recommended that your return flight be booked with Singapore Airlines so as to facilitate in the coordination of transfers on arrival and departure.  Travellers arriving on another airline or at a different time will incur a surcharge to cover additional transfer costs.

 


Your Tour Leaders.

Malcolm Fackender Profile

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Malcolm Fackender is an award-winning Australian travel and commercial photographer specializing in small group photographic tours. With more than 30 years in the photography industry, Malcolm initially focused primarily on nature photography, however has broadened his photographic interests over the years to encompass many other genres, including travel and landscape photography.

Since 2007, Malcolm has led photographers of all skill levels on 29 small group photographic tours throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania.  Being a natural educator, Malcolm regularly conducts workshops as well as educational and inspirational talks at various photographic clubs throughout Australia.

Malcolm believes that photography is a cycle of continuous improvement from a technical, hardware and creative perspective and, as such, perpetually continues his own growth as a photographer.

Website & Social Links:

Website: malcolmfackender.com

Social Media:

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Glynn Lavender Profile

Glynn Lavender, owner of Creative Photo Workshop is well known both in Australia and the USA for his 30+ year involvement in the photo industry and brings his passion for teaching photography to every event.

Glynn’s goal is to cut through the technical jargon of photography and get to the heart of what’s important – capturing great images everywhere we go and every time we pick up our camera.

Glynn’s ability to share his knowledge and empower Workshop attendees to reach their goals is well known and many working professional photographers consider Glynn their mentor and part of the reason for their success.

With nearly a thousand Workshops under his belt Glynn’s experience shines through at every event and he willingly shares everything – there are no ‘trade secrets’ at his events.

Glynn is heavily involved in the photographic industry worldwide as Vice President of the Digital Imaging Marketing Association and several Photo Marketing Association committees.

Creative Photo Workshops is Australia’s most dynamic photographer training companies running events in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Website & Social Links:

Website: creativephotoworkshops.com.au

Social Media:

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Images taken from past tours


Download program in PDF format here.

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Download e-brochure in PDF format here.

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More tour images can be seen here.

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Spotlight on Asia