Backroads of Rajasthan, India Jan 5 - 20, 2016
The wealth of photographic opportunities, the choice of lodging and the opportunity to attend a local fair make this a wonderful photography trip offering. The trip fee is all inclusive which includes airport transfers, photography fees and, lodging and food as well as gratuities to all support staff. As always, we will try our best to provide two group critiques on the big screen. Jeremy will be offering his stellar photo direction in the field. Our tour guide on this trip will be Delhi based Abhishek Hajela who is also a professional photographer. I have had the pleasure of doing a trip with him in 2012 and the group really liked him. Both myself and Jeremy have been to many of the places on this itinerary and are very excited about this trip. It has all the makings of a real photographic/travel adventure!
After an overnight in New Delhi we will fly off to Udaipur. Known as the Venice of India it sits on shimmering Lake Pichola with the Aravalli Hills surrounding it. Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake are beautiful man made lakes and are excellent vantage points to shoot from. Rajasthan royal rulers built architecturally significant palaces that are now museums and we will explore the massive City Palace complex as well as the Bagore Ki Haveli and have a sunset shoot from the high above Monsoon Palace. Photographing bathers, clothing washers and local people in the Ambrai Ghat and the ghats that dot the city are wonderful photography opportunities. The ancient bazaar and imposing white Jagdish Temple with its intricate architecture and carvings will be photographed. A night shoot of the lights on City Palace on our way back to the hotel will cap a day. This friendly, easy to navigate city is a joy to aimlessly wander in and independently capture images.
Our next destination will be Rawla Jojowar. The drive form Udaipur to Rawla Jojawar is 93 miles and three hours. This is the real, untouched, little visited Rajasthan and the real India. The country side around Jojowar boasts rocky hills and scrub forests as well as the picturesque Aravilli Hills in the east. The camel herding Rabari people populate this area. We will take a jeep trip to visit them and photograph them in their homes and villages. The group will also take the one hour local train and mingle with the turban wearing tribesman. Rawla Jojowar photoshoots will also include village shoots and possibly an early morning cattle milking and going to pasture shoot. We will spent time photographing rural villages in close proximity,
We will then make the two hour and 80 mile drive to the blue city of Jodhpur. The old city is a mosaic of narrow alley ways, crooked streets, a vibrant bazaar selling everything form spices to saris and inhabited by some really friendly people. Street photography will be the order of one day while in Jodhpur. The Ghanta Ghar, historic clock tower will be our main landmark for those wandering off. The Brahmin blue cubes stretch out for six miles towards the 16th century city wall. We will climb to a rooftop for an early morning photo shoot and encounter the local tradesmen who cut hair, clean ears and perform their form of dentistry in the open. The omelet men in this city will cook us our breakfast. The massive Mehrangarh Fort overlooks the city and we will photograph it as well as the Jaswant Thada mausoleum.
From Jodhpur we will drive for five hours and 155 miles to Bikaner where we will attend the annual Bikaner Camel Fair. This local event includes camel racing, fireworks, camel judging, tug of war contests and is not similar to the well known, camera laden, tourist infused commercial camel fair that many foreigners flock to. While in Bikaner the group will photograph the Karni Mata Temple with its 20,000 black rats. The rat temple is tended to by the Depavats family who are devotees and live in the temple permanently. The Bikaner Fort and local street scenes will also be photographed. With the camel festival going on the city will be populated with people from all over India and be very colorful.
Our last destination is Mandawa a three hour and 120 mile ride away. This town has been referred to as the open art gallery of Rajasthan because the mansions (havelis) that dot the city are all lavishly painted. It is a small town of 20,000 and easily photographed. Murals in the Thakurji temple include soldiers being shot form the mouths of cannons. An ancient step well still being in use and the main market are photography opportunities of significance. We will have a farewell dinner in Mandawa.
Our last journey will be back to New Delhi which is six hours and 160 miles north. The group will have use of shared day rooms in a hotel near the airport as most flights onward are usually a little after midnight.
Day 1: Monday, Jan 5 — Arrive Delhi
On your arrival in Delhi, you will be met by your tour representative who will escort you to your hotel. (Hotel check-in time is from 1400 hrs). Overnight at Ibis Delhi Airport Hotel
Day 2: Tuesday, Jan 6 — Delhi to Udaipur
Today after breakfast, you will be transferred to Delhi Airport to board your flight to Udaipur. Depart Delhi by Spice Jet SG 2633 at 11:20 am Arrive Udaipur at 12:35 pm. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Later in the evening you will proceed for a Boat Ride on Lake Pichola.
What better way to end your day in Udaipur than enjoying a picturesque boat ride along Lake Pichola? Watch the lake glimmer during a beautiful sunset as you pass Udaipur’s illuminated skyline dotted with mansions. Admire stately palaces on the lake's islands and learn about Udaipur’s culture and history from your knowledgeable guide.
Marvel at the glimmering lake, the mountains and the city against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. Along the way, see historical landmarks dotted along the shore such as the City Palace Complex and the picturesque Ghats -- steps leading down into the water that locals use for bathing. Overnight at Ram Pratab Palace B,L,D
Day 3: Wednesday, Jan 7 — In Udaipur
Today after breakfast, we will proceed for a city tour of Udaipur. We will start the tour with a small walk to the Jagdish Temple, which is in the city center; we will probably witness the Morning Prayer ceremony here.
Udaipur was founded in 1568 as the capital of the old Mewar state; it was the only Rajput stronghold to uphold its Hindu allegiance in the face of Muslim invasion. From the late 16th century, peace brought about an era of renaissance in the arts and encouraged the building of beautiful palaces around the lake which culminated in the City Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in the world. Undoubtedly the most romantic city in Rajasthan, and perhaps the world, Udaipur is situated 200 miles southwest of Jaipur. The city is built around Lake Pichola and has inevitably been dubbed the ‘Venice of the East’. Two island palaces, Jagniwas and Jagmandir, sit on the lake - the former is now the luxurious Lake Palace Hotel. The majestic City Palace towers over the lake and is bedecked by balconies, turrets and cupolas.
We will also visit the City Palace, built in 1725, which houses the Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal - studded with glittering Belgium Mirrors, Moti Mahal and the Palace of Lord Krishna all of which are ornately decorated.
After the city palace we will have lunch at a local restaurant before we proceed for a walking tour in this beautiful city. Overnight at Ram Pratab Palace B,L,D
Day 4: Thursday, Jan 8 — In Udaipur
We will start our day with the visit to the local market, which is ideal place to shoot in the morning light.
Today we will also visit the famous and old Eklingji and Nagda Temples, which dates back to 4th Century AD.
Eklingji, a temple dedicated to the patron deity of the Udaipur Royal house, situated 15 miles from Udaipur. As with all sacred buildings in the region, it is built entirely of white marble. The roof is decorated by hundreds of circular knobs and a lofty tower crowns the whole. To this day, the Maharana of Udaipur, who is the Diwan of the temple, makes it a point to visit it every Monday.
Nagda, believed to be established by Nagaditya, the fourth Mewar King. There are several temples here dating from the 4th century AD, ancient rock edicts, stone inscriptions and simple prehistoric shrines at which the Bhils still worship during the Mahashivratri festival in February. The Sas-Bahu (mother in law/daughter in law) temple dates back to the 11th century and is famed for its beautiful carvings. Adbhutji is an old Jain temple named after a somewhat odd statue of a Jain saint seated within. "Adbhut" means, quite literally — peculiar.
We will also visit the near by villages. The evening is free to explore the city on your own. Overnight at Ram Pratab Palace B,L,D
Day 5: Friday, Jan 9 — Udaipur to Rawla Jojawar (93 Miles, 03 Hrs drive)
This morning after breakfast we will start our drive to Rawla Jojawar enroute visiting the Jain Temples of Ranakpur.
The renowned Jain temple at Ranakpur is dedicated to Tirthankara Adinatha. According to the local legend Dharma Shah, a local Jain businessperson, started construction of the temple in the 15th century following a divine vision. The temple honors Adinath, the first Tirthankar and founder of the Jain religion. The town of Ranakpur and the temple are named after the provincial ruler monarch, Rana Kumbha who supported the construction of the temple.
After the visit to this beautiful temple, we will have lunch at a local restaurant before proceeding to Rawla Jojawar. The evening is free to walk around and explore the town at your own pace. Overnight at Rawla Jojawar B,L,D
Day 6 & 7: Saturday, Jan 10 & Sunday, Jan 11 — In Rawla Jojawar
The next two days we will spend capturing the real, untouched, little visited Rajasthan and the real India.
The countryside around Jojawar boasts rocky hills and scrub forests as well as the picturesque Aravilli Hills in the east. The camel herding Rabari people populate this area. We will take a jeep trip to visit them and photograph them in their homes and villages.
The group will also take the one-hour local train and mingle with the turban-wearing tribesman. Rawla Jojowar photoshoots will also include village shoots and possibly an early morning cattle milking and going to pasture shoot. We will spend time photographing rural villages in close proximity. Overnight at Rawla Jojawar B,L,D
Day 8: Monday, Jan 12 — Rawla Jojawar to Jodhpur (80 Miles, 02 Hrs drive)
This morning we will start our drive to Jodhpur, commonly known as the blue city. On the way we will visit small villages. The evening is free to explore the town on your own. Overnight at Pal Haveli B,L,D
Day 9: Tuesday, Jan 13 — In Jodhpur
We will start early this Moring for a great photo-shoot, we will walk in the small lanes and alleyways to witness the morning activities. We will also climb to a rooftop during this photo shoot to have an aerial view of the blue city. After the photowalk, we will return to our hotel for breakfast and a brief break.
This afternoon we will visit the impressive Mehrangarh Fort, which is set on a 37m-sandstone hill built by Rao Jodha in 1459. From the top of the fort one can get a bird’s eye view of the old city to the Jaswant Thada, an imposing marble cenotaph built in 1899 for Maharajah Jaswant Singh II, and smaller memorials to other Maharajahs of Jodhpur. Overnight at Pal Haveli B,L,D
Day 10: Wednesday, Jan 14 — In Jodhpur
We will start the day with a walk around in the city center and the later half of the day is free to relax or a small photo critique session. Overnight at Pal Haveli B,L,D
Day 11: Thursday, Jan 15 — Jodhpur to Bikaner (155 Miles, 04 Hrs drive)
This morning after breakfast, we will start our drive to Bikaner where we will attend the annual Bikaner Camel Fair. This local event includes camel racing, fireworks, camel judging, and tug of war contests.
On the way to the Bikaner we will also visit the Karni Mata Mandir or the Rat Temple with its 20,000 black rats. The rat temple is tended to by the Depavats family who devotees and live in the temple permanently. The temple is famous for its white rats, which are treated as sacred and given protection in the temple.
On arrival at Bikaner, you will be assisted in check-in at your hotel with rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight at Lakshmi Niwas Palace B,L,D
Day 12: Friday, Jan 16 — In Bikaner
Today will be the opening ceremony of the annual Bikaner Camel festival, which will be a great event for photography. The city will be populated with people from all over India and be very colorful. January is just the right month for a desert spree, and Bikaner just the right place to see the ships of the desert. In the camel country Bikaner, these desert leviathans pull heavy cartloads, transport grain and even work at the wells.
The Camel Festival begins with a colorful procession of bedecked camels against the red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh Fort, the festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the grounds, followed by the best breed competition, the tug-of-war contest, camel dance, acrobatics, etc.
We will spend most of the day in and around the festival. Overnight at Lakshmi Niwas Palace B,L,D
Day 13: Saturday, Jan 17 — In Bikaner
We will spend the entire day covering this colorful and beautiful camel festival. Overnight at Lakshmi Niwas Palace B,L,D
Day 14: Sunday, Jan 18 — Bikaner to Mandawa (120 Miles, 03 Hrs drive from Bikaner)
This morning we will start our drive to the last destination of our trip – Mandawa, this town has been referred to as the open art gallery of Rajasthan because the mansions (Havelis) that dot the city are all lavishly painted. It is a small town of 20,000 people and easily photographed.
This afternoon we will begin our Photowalk in this beautiful and calm town. Overnight at Vivaana Hotel B,L,D
Day 15: Monday, Jan 19 — In Mandawa
We will spend the entire day walking and visiting the near by villages. Mandawa is a paradise for street photographers!
This evening we will have our last photo critique session followed by the farewell dinner. Overnight at Vivaana Hotel B,L,D
Day 16: Tuesday, Jan 20 — Delhi (160 Miles, 06 Hrs drive from Mandawa)
Today after breakfast, we will head back to Delhi. The group will have use of shared day rooms in a hotel near the airport, as most flights onward are usually a little after midnight B,L,D
END OF THE TOUR
Photograph the camel racing, tug of war, fireworks and pageantry at the Bikaner Camel Festival.
Early morning shoot on a roof top of the fabled blue city of Jodhpur. Wander the narrow alleyways capturing
day in the life images. Afternoon shoot of the massive Mehrangarth Fort which overlooks the city.
Capture images in Mandawa which is called an open air art gallery. Lodge at a historic heritage hotel.
Shoot the lavishly painted havelis in this small town.
Capture the essence of rural Rajasthan. In Rawla Jojawr we will photograph early morning cattle milking,
take a one hour local train, a jeep trip and mingle with the red turban wearing tribal people. We will photograph the Rabari people herding their camels.
Photograph the Karni Mata Mandir temple. This temple houses 2,000 rats
Jan 5 - 20, 2016
Includes all meals
Single supplement: $650