The itinerary that follows is a blue print for the journey we will share. But never underestimate the element of surprise waiting just around the corner.
Welcome to amazing India! Upon your arrival in the Delhi airport and transfer to your hotel by the airport representative. The day today is perfect for you to relax and prepare for the exotic journey from tomorrow.
A SPECTACLE WORTH A MILLION SHOTS!
You will be transferred by morning train journey to our luxury tented camp in Pushkar where I will wait for your arrival. I am excited to welcome you not only to India but to the famous Pushkar Horse and Camel Fair. Pushkar has been the inspiration for three photographic books I am currently working on.
It is rich in photographic opportunities that will convey both the historical and cultural essence of India.
I have been five times and I never seem to take the same photograph twice. Everywhere your eyes turn you will find a sea of tents sailing under the vast desert sky. Here they house their horses proudly displaying banners of all colors imaginable.
Not only will you have the opportunity to photograph herds of camels walking towards you or racing horses kicking up dust as they fly through the desert sand but you will find countless opportunities to take beautiful portraits. Turbans and shawls of every color and design are the standard garb while welcoming smiles invite you in.
“I adore Pushkar. I wake early and walk to the fairgrounds in the dark catching a local chai along the way. Even after having attended the fair many times I still remain excited about the possibility of joining you on one of the mornings to explore with you the extraordinary spectacle.”
Our moments with monuments
On this day we will take the morning train which will reach Agra by early noon. In Agra I will join everybody else and let the expert local guide do all the talking about the immense Mughal monuments. We will have lot of fun having ourselves in the frames of the finest old buildings like the Tajmahal. We will be visiting the Taj in early morning light the next day.
“A photo-op with Taj Mahal in background is an absolute must in an India Tour wishlist”
Our time for some exotic shopping
Our drive to Jaipur will have three very beautiful stops. The first one will be the Fatehpur Sikri ruins which is a huge abandoned city made entirely in one colour which is the Red Sandstone. The second stop will be the stepwell of Abhaneri which is a marvellous specimen of ancient water conservation technique of India. The deep well has countless series of small little steps in perfectly symmetrical fashion leading all the way down to the water level. The locale is very beautiful and we might be lucky if there is a group of colourfully attired Rajasthani ladies somewhere in the scene. Our third stop before Jaipur will be the beautiful Naila village. The village is the source of many textile wonders which Jaipur is famous for. The villagers here are involved in various embroidery arts and silver brocade works. The most amazing work is the ‘Aari Taari’ which is a painstaking needle work of inserting silver threads in fine fabrics, the resultant effect is the perfectly glittering sheer fabric. Even in our next two days in Jaipur, we will take out some time to visit the Sanganer Town. Sanganer is the leading center in the world for the block printed textiles. The block print work is responsible for making many textile brands of Jaipur very famous in the world. We will also visit the Anokhi textile Museum in Amber. Needless to mention, our textile trip in Jaipur will be felt complete only after we spend loads of our time in the famous bazaars of Jaipur.
Jaipur is a city I have truly come to love. Jaipur is incredibly friendly, bustling, busy, and always inviting. Within the wall that surrounds the heart of this old city exists a honeycomb of countless shops and bazaars chock full of everything from handicrafts to flowers to spices to bangles and bracelets and everything in between. It is a cornucopia of delight for shopping and photography. One could easily spend the entire day on one street and never tire of this visual feast. The markets are open every day and just a quick tuk tuk ride from our hotel.
“After numerous trips to Jaipur, I have also collected a pocketful of great places to dine, discover and indulge. Famous shops like Anokhi, Gem Palace, Amrapali ,Cottons and Fabindia are not to be missed. Cafes, local restaurants and the best place to get a mango lassi.”
Capturing the Indian life in Mukundgarh
In our drive today we will clearly know that we are entering Shekhawati as we pass through towns bustling with street bazaars and facades of old houses with colourful frescoes on lime plastered walls. These old houses with magnificent entrances and doorways and delicate looking balconies are known as havelis, the traditional mansions of India.
We will be staying at one such restored haveli, Mukund Haveli, my favorite place in India.
“ Our stay here will be an engrossing affair of lavish dinners, magical surroundings,cooking lessons, and our unusual photographic adventures.”
We will travel by car to enjoy a charming town with both photographic and shopping delights. Magic awaits our return to the haveli and a gourmet meal in a spectacular setting. In our other days here we will have time to catch the local fabric dyers at work early in the village, see more of Shekhawati to photograph some of the most beautiful frescoes and even visit a beautiful stud farm. There will be a Yoga and even cooking lesson at the haveli and I will enjoy photographing all of you! Cocktails and hor’doerves in the garden and dinner by candlelight in the courtyard.
TO CAPTURE A LIFE UNTHINKABLE ANYWHERE ELSE. DEV DEEPAVALI ILLUMINATIONS.
We will drive to Jaipur airport to fly to Varanasi. Saving the best for last. I first visited Varanasi on my second trip to India. It was all that I imagined India to be. Mystical, magical, mesmerizing. A photographer’s dream of the vibrant, exotic and enchanting. For me there is little that compares to the ethereal vision of pilgrims bathing in the Ganges as the sun rises over the river.
But visiting Varanasi during Dev Diwali compounds the excitement one hundred fold. Dev Diwali in Varanasi is the most magical experience I have ever known. Pilgrims arrive by the thousands to celebrate under the full moon. The city becomes a festival of lights as the entire river bank is bathed in candlelight. Hundreds of boats gather amidst floating candles on the water while music and fireworks fill the sky.
“I have been many times to this wondrous city and have come to discover great places to find special treasures. There is a wonderful oil/perfume shop that is a photographic experience in itself. I look forward to many wonderful meals together in Varanasi where we can share our excitement and experiences.”
After our last day in Varanasi we will be flying back to Delhi for our journey’s end. Once again, the days in India have gone by too quickly. It will be sad to say goodbye but it is my hope that as you head home on this day, your lives will have been enriched by what we have felt, shared and photographed together.