The Holi Festival -- India 2020
March 3 - 16, 2020
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India is a photographer's paradise. Everywhere you look -- literally -- there are great images to take. The people are striking, and some of the best portraits ever taken were captured in India. The architecture is magnificent, the festivals are out of this world in terms of color, excitement, and action, and the landscapes are beautiful. This itinerary carefully designed by Jim includes the amazing Taj Mahal, the desert state of Rajasthan (famous for its incredible color), and the outrageous festival of Holi where color reigns supreme. In the desert at Jaisalmer, you'll photograph a camel train silhouetted at sunset on endless sand dunes, and in Jaipur, you'll see and capture a fairytale pink palace. We stay in 4 and 5-star hotels, so at the end of each great shooting day, you'll be able to relax in luxury.
Day 1, March 3, Tuesday.
Leave your home city such that you arrive in Delhi on this day. Upon arrival in Delhi (airport code DEL), you will be met by a local representative and transferred to our hotel. Rest and recover from the long flight and acclimate yourself to the local time zone. Overnight Oberoi Maidens Hotel (5-star).
Day 2, March 4, Wednesday.
Following breakfast, we spend the day photographing Old Delhi. We visit the iconic locations of the Red Fort, Chadni Chowk -- an unbelievable cluster of hundreds of shops, amazing color, great faces, and narrow alleys -- and the Chawadi Bazaar and spice market with more color and a mind-boggling diversity of old mansions, food stalls, mosques, and more. After lunch, we photograph the ancient minaret Qatah Minar, Humayun's Tomb (a stunning work in architecture), and we end with a beautiful Sikh temple. Overnight Oberoi Maidens Hotel (5-star).
Day 3, March 5, Thursday.
After an early breakfast, we board an 8:10 am departure of a high-speed train and arrive in Gwalior and arrive three hours later. We check into our hotel, have lunch, and then we visit the remarkable Gwalior Fort. This has existed at least from the 10th century, but indications within the huge architectural wonder indicate it may have been built as early as the 6th century. It is now an archeological museum. Within the fort are temples, monuments, a palace, and galleries testifying to the intriguing history associated with this massive and artistic structure. Overnight Gwalior.
Day 4, March 6, Friday
We drive this morning to Agra. Upon arrival, we check into our hotel and have lunch. In the afternoon, we go to the Mehtab Bagh Garden (nicknamed the 'Moon Garden') to photograph the world's most famous tomb, the Taj Mahal. We see it from the backside which offers a stunning view. The garden is laid out in perfect symmetry and alignment with the Taj, and it was intentionally built as an integral part of the original design of the Taj Mahal during the construction period of 1631 to 1635. We then head back to the hotel and overnight at the Double Tree by Hilton (4-star).
Day 5, March 7, Saturday
We get up early this morning to photograph the Taj Mahal at sunrise from the classic viewpoint. We'll shoot from many angles, and in addition, there are scores of beautiful Indian ring-necked parakeets flying around the grounds of the Taj. You'll want to bring a long lens to capture thes stunning green birds. We then return to the hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon, we photograph the 16th century Agra Fort, a remarkable work in architecture that took 4000 laborers eight years to complete. The fort houses numerous impressive structures, and Jim will arrange to have a model pose for us amidst the columns and arches. We then proceed to a small village near the Yamuna River for great photography of people, and then we return to our hotel. Overnight at the DoubleTree by Hilton (4-star).
Day 6, March 8, Sunday
We drive to Vrindhavan this morning. After checking into our hotel, we have a few hours at leisure to download photographs or rest. In the late afternoon, we'll visit one of the most photogenic temples in India, Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir. The ornate temple is is paradise for wide angle photography. This evening, twilight photography in this city is especially beautiful.
Day 7, March 9, Monday
We spend today in Vrindhavan and Mathura, the epicenter of the Holi Festival. We will position ourselves to take advantage of the best vantage point to photograph the ultra wild event. Everyone is throwing colored powder and water on everyone else, and it is indeed a scene of mass chaos. Photographically, it is an astounding event. Be prepared, though, to cover your head, face, mouth, eyes, and camera as protection from the powder and water. Jim will give you advice about what you need to do this. The density of people is unbelievable, so expect to be pushed, shoved, and crowded like never before. Enduring this is part of the experience, though, and you'll never forget it. Plus, your pictures will be amazing. Later, we drive back to Vrindavan and overnight at the Nidhivan Sarovar Portico (4-star).
Day 8, March 10, Tuesday
We have another astounding day at Holi. More colorful faces, colored water being thrown everywhere, and a carnival atmosphere the likes of which you've never experience. Bring a lot of flash cards because you'll need them! Overnight at the Nidhivan Sarovar Portico (4-star).
Day 9, March 11, Wednesday
We have an early breakfast, and then we head west into the heart of Rajasthan to Jaipur, know as the Pink City. En route we stop to photograph the famous imperial city of the Mughal Dynasty, Fatepur Sikri. Built by Akbar from 1571 to 1884, the architectural grandeur of this deserted city is magnificent. This is a great opportunity to work with wide angle lenses as well as HDR. Before reaching Jaipur, we photograph a monkey temple to take closeup shots of long-tailed macaques. In Jaipur, we check into our hotel and have dinner. Overnight in the Alsisar Haveli Hotel (4-star).
Day 10, March 12, Thursday
Our first photographic subject this morning is the famous Palace of the Winds, Hawa Mahal. Built in 1799, it has 953 windows on the outside walls. The honeycomb-shaped and beautifully carved windows allow breezes to blow through the palace, making it a perfect retreat during the summer heat. We then visit the magnificent Amber Fort. The fort presents a fascinating blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. It was built using red sandstone and white marble. Jim will arrange one or two models for us to photograph with stunning architectural backgrounds. After lunch, we spend time walking in the streets of Jaipur to photograph the locals in this remarkable city. Overnight in the Alsisar Haveli Hotel (4-star).
Day 11, March 13, Friday
Our morning is free today for more photography or shopping for souvenirs, and then we transfer to the airport to board flight SG 2981 at 3:25 pm for Jaiselmer in the western portion of Rajasthan. This is the heart of the Thar Desert. We arrive at 4:40 pm and transfer to our hotel.
Day 12, March 14, Saturday
We get up early today for a sunrise shoot at Gadisar Lake. Beautiful pavillions carved in traditional Indian style look beautiful in the golden lighting, and the reflections in the lake are wonderful. Following this, we return to the hotel for breakfast, and then we shoot part of the old spice route in the old city of Jaisalmer. After lunch, we drive to classically beautiful dunes of the desert to photograph models in the sand and camels walking on a crest in front of the sunset. If you want, you will also have the opportunity to ride a camel. Overnight Fort Rajwada Hotel (4-star).
Day 13, March 15, Sunday
We have breakfast in the hotel, and then we transfer to the airport to board a flight for Delhi. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel and overnight. At twilight, we will photograph the Lotus Bahi Temple, a masterpiece of stunning curves and lines. Overnight Pride Plaza Hotel (5-star).
Day 14, March 16, Monday
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport to board our homeward flight, knowing we captured outstanding pictures in one of the most photogenic countries in the world.
TOUR COST: $5760. Includes all lodging based on double occupancy, all breakfasts, all dinners, all ground transportation including airport transfers, flight from Jaisalmer to Delhi, private AC vehicle throughout, services of a local English-speaking guide, models Jim hires at various locations, camel ride and dune photography in Jaisalmer, two bottles of water per day for each guest, Wifi in the vehicle, and photo instruction and critiques on demand.
Not included: International and domestic airfare, travel and medical evacuation insurance, lunches, beverages, and items of a personal nature.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1060