INDIA

PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR

November 4 - 13, 2019

Nov 22 - Dec 1, 2020

VARANASI (add-on)

November 13 - 17, 2019

December 1 - 5, 2020

Travel, Street, People, and Landscape Photography

Includes

  1. -10 or 14 Days

  2. -Only 4-8 Guests

  3. -Photographer | Guide

  4. -5 Star Hotels

  5. -Breakfasts + 5 Meals

  6. -Local Guides

  7. -Local Transportation

  8. -Domestic Flight

  9. -Airport Transfers

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PHOTOGRAPHY ADVENTURE VACATIONS

Pushkar Camel Fair

Delhi, Jaipur, Pushkar Camel Fair and more

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Witness camels, musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats and snake charmers.

India Pushkar Camel Fair Photo Adventure Vacations – Inspire, Create and Learn.

The photographic extravaganza which the Pushkar Camel Fair presents, defies description. An endless array of kaleidoscopic images which will keep appearing in front of your eyes like moving frames. Temple dancing, beautiful gypsy dancers, brilliantly dressed tribal women, snake charmers, folk singers, classical musicians, magicians, acrobats, arts and crafts, decorated & bejeweled camels, Marwari horses, bazaar, rustic ambience, beauty pageants for camels, racing contests, spectacular sunsets, sunrises, hot air balloons, evening prayers, young children dressed as Gods & Goddesses, and more.

The fair attracts an astonishing 50,000 camels. It's a fascinating and peculiar sight, and a great opportunity to witness a traditional style Indian festival. The original intention behind the Pushkar Camel Fair was to attract local camel and cattle traders to do business during the holy Kartik Purnima festival, held in Pushkar around the full moon in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. The camels are dressed up, paraded, shaved, entered into beauty contests, raced, made to dance, and traded. A huge carnival is held, with an array of musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and carousel rides to entertain the crowd. The sand dunes around the holy city of Pushkar appear infested with camels as far as the eye can see and the population of Pushkar swells to over 200,000 people, with an influx of pilgrims & camel traders.

India bristles with a mind-stirring mix of landscapes and cultural traditions. Your journey through this intoxicating country will blaze in your memory long after you've left it’s shores. Spirituality is the common thread that weaves it’s way through the vast and complex tapestry that is contemporary India. The multitude of sacred sites and time-honored rituals are testament to the country's long, colorful, and sometimes tumultuous, religious history.

The moment you start to think you’re right on the precipice of unravelling one of India's deep mysteries, she has an uncanny way of reminding you that it would take more than just a few lifetimes to do so. Indeed, demystifying India is a perpetual work-in-progress. And that is precisely what makes the country so deeply addictive. The constant exploration. The playful unpredictability. And knowing that, just when it's least expected, you can find yourself up close and personal with moments that have the power to alter the way you view the world and your place in it.

This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity, so that you not only go home with images to be proud of, but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.

In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas and great fun. We cannot think of a better country to express your creativity than India.


 PHOTO ADVENTUREAbout.html


Group Size



4-8 Guests


Experience | Difficulty



Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers

DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras

Busy schedule

Travel by private air-conditioned car, train and mini-van

Minimal elevation changes and lots of walking

(non-photographers also welcome)


Photographer | Guides



Laurie Cohen  |  November 4-13/17, 2019

Laurie Cohen  |  November 22 - December 1/5, 2020


Weather | Sun



November - Temps 82/55 F  28/13 C  Sunrise 6:34 | Sunset 5:36 (17:36)


Includes



Travel, landscape, people and architecture photography

Professional photographer | guide

Photo walks & discussions

Small group size (4-8 guests)

5 star hotels

Breakfasts + 5 meals

Local guides in every city

Domestic R/T flight

Airport transfers

All Entrance fees

Local transportation


Accommodations



Delhi - The Imperial or similar

Pushkar - The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa or similar

Jaipur - ITC Rajputana or similar


Travel Information



Arrival & Departure Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, India (DEL) - Transfer time 50min

Our adventure begins at 3 PM on the first day and ends at noon on the last day.

Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality. Go to Visa Map to find out.


Helpful Links



> The Imperial Hotel New Delhi - by Michael Chinnici

> Indian Women and their Love Affair with the Saree - by Renu Choundhary

> 6 Amazing India Photo Adventures - by Michael Chinnici


Price



INDIA “PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR” 10-DAY PHOTO ADVENTURE

Photo Adventure Vacation | November 4-13, 2019:  $7,695

Photo Adventure Vacation | November 22 - December 1, 2020:  $7,995


INDIA “VARANASI” 5-DAY EXTENSION

Photo Adventure Vacation | November 13-17, 2019:  $3,995

Photo Adventure Vacation | December 1-5, 2020:  $4,395


Single Supplement:  $1600 (Pushkar Camel Fair)  $600 (Varanasi)


(Optional) Early Arrival Hotel Room:  $420

(Optional) Late Departure Hotel Room:  $420


Deposit:  $1000


CLICK TO CONVERT CURRENCY




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*All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in boutique hotels in the 4-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels which offer cultural, historic and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. Breakfast is included only if included in our room rates.






PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR 10 DAYS


Day 1 | Delhi

Upon meeting at our hotel in Delhi, we will enjoy group introductions and discuss the days ahead. We will discuss our individual photographic styles, preferred subjects, techniques and level of experience. We will talk about what to expect over the coming days, and how to achieve our photographic goals. In the evening we will celebrate with a “Welcome Dinner” at one of our favorite Indian restaurants in Delhi. (D)

Day 2 | Delhi - Kathputli Colony - Anand Parbat

Today we will spend a full day focusing on street, people and portrait photography in the Kathputli Colony. “Kathputli” literally translates into “Puppet”. A colony, which inspired Salman Rushdie’s award winning book, “Midnight’s Children”. This artists colony houses close to 3500 families including acrobats, magicians, puppeteers, storytellers, folksingers, painters, dancers and musicians. They are active artists who have been keeping the streets of Delhi alive with their performing art for over five decades. The colony is located in one of Delhi’s biggest and oldest slums, called “Anand Parbat”. These performers come from 14 states including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, They belong to diverse communities such as Adivasis, Muslims, Yadavs, Balmikis, Kushths, Nats and Bagris, among others.

These artists are ambassadors of Indian culture who perform at international events, and accompany Indian diplomats and bureaucrats overseas. Aziz Khan, whose rope trick made it into the Guinness Book of World Record in 1995, referred to his art as “their lifestyle and their identity”. Kathputli Colony is trying to hold on to these disappearing symbols of Indian culture and heritage that once adorned the courtyards of the Royals.

After breakfast we will head out to the colony where we will get “up, close and personal” with various artists, photographing them as they are performing in their home environment. We will walk the narrow lanes of the colony looking for amazing opportunities in this artist’s hub, including their humble homes. As is often the case in India, we can expect an army of curious and adorable children to follow us everywhere, begging us to take their photos, which will no doubt lead to amazing on-of-a-kind opportunities.

PWA Exclusive: After lunch we will be treated to an incredible opportunity with a portraiture session deep in the slum, using a temporary old styled studio, complete with a back-drop, lights, etc. Imagine a Puppeteer, Fire Eater, Acrobat, Magician, Folk Dancer and Musician lining up for a one-on-one session. Complete with traditional costumes, make-up and props. In the evening we will return to our hotel for dinner. (B)

Day 3 | Delhi - Jaipur (Flight) - Pushkar

We begin our day with a morning flight to Jaipur (the Pink City) followed by lunch and a drive to the Pushkar Camel Fair. Pushkar has a magnetism all of it’s own, and is quite unlike anywhere else in Rajasthan. It’s a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town and devout Hindus should visit at least once in their lifetime. The town curls around a holy lake, said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower. It also has one of the world’s few Brahma temples. With 52 bathing ghats and 400 milky-blue temples, the town literally hums with regular pujas (prayers) generating an episodic soundtrack of chanting, drums, gongs, and devotional songs. Pushkar is world famous for it’s spectacular camel fair, which takes place in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika (October/November). The town will be jam-packed with tribal people from all over Rajasthan, pilgrims from all over India, and filmmakers and tourists from all over the world. For our first day in Pushkar, we will relax and wander around at our own pace. We cannot think of a better place on earth to just absorb the sights, sounds, aromas and tranquility than this location. It is the ideal place to relax and to just become acquainted with the wonderful people here.

This afternoons focus on the fair will be Rakia camel traders, cattle & other domestic livestock traders, buyers, Marwari horses and their breeders, and of course, decorated camels, and sunset.

After check-in we will head out to the fair ground to meet the famous camel herders of the Rakia community from Pali, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan.  It is estimated that over a thousand camel herders from this community arrive to sell their livestock, primarily camels. The Rakia camel herders have a special bond with their camels, and are able to communicate with the slightest tilt of the head or hand.

Additionally, we will have incredible opportunities to photograph the local people who arrive at the Pushkar Fair by the thousands, wearing traditional attire, from neighboring villages and towns. Brilliantly hued turbaned local Rajasthani men with imposing distinctive mustaches. Women wearing traditional attire in stunning colors with intricate designs etched on their arms legs and tons of beautiful silver jewelry.

As the sun sets, we will be presented with breathtaking vitas to capture the thousands of camels, horses and other domestic livestock, and camel handlers. We will shoot this medieval scene from a higher vantage point to capture the entire Pushkar panorama. Be ready to be surprised, what comes next. As the soft fading sunlight lights the fair grounds, smoke from thousands of bonfires spring up as the traders and their families crowd around them. This surreal scene which you will witness and photograph will seem like as if you have stepped into a movie set!! (B)

Day 4 | Pushkar Camel Fair

Today’s focus will be the ”Queens of the Desert” – Bopa & Kalbeliya tribal women, henna and tattoo artists, Rabadia men & women, and decorated & bejeweled camels.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of our Pushkar Photo Adventure will be photographing the most stunning, exotic, green eyed (or hazel eyes) Gypsy women from the Bopa and the Kalbeliya tribes of Rajasthan. The Bopa and the Kalbeliya are two surviving groups of the gypsy tribe. The Bopa is a group of musicians and singers, whereas the Kalbeliya is a group of dancers and snake charmers.

In the past, Kalbeliya women, dark-eyed beauties with rings on their fingers and bells on their toes, made money as dancers, traveling from town to town, performing at weddings, feasts and festivals for the royal families. Their men, almost as lavishly decorated, accompanied them on the “Pungi” or “Been”, the warbling instrument used to charm the cobras they caught in the forests.

We will be photographing these exotic beauties in their traditional attire, ornate jewelry. If we are lucky, we may catch them doing a couple dance steps for us, while twirling their stunning skirts, and swaying to the sound of music. 

The Pushkar Camel Fair also becomes home to another type of beauty that invariably grabs the maximum attention! This one is the four-legged variety. The Camels! The Cameleers take great pride in presenting their best protégé! Well groomed, with henna tattoos, gorgeous colored decorations and jewelry. There is even a beauty pageant in which they participate. Needless to say, this unrelenting collection of photo opportunities will continue to keep you in “shock & awe”.

Rabadia herders who have traversed the vast lands between Rajasthan and Gujarat for centuries would be another nomadic tribal community, which may chance upon at the fair. They are extremely photogenic and attractive. Men of this community are tall and really handsome. Most of them sport long mustaches and wear very distinctive coiled red turbans matched with white traditional outfits. Fabulous for close up compositions and portraiture. (B) (D)

Day 5 | Pushkar Camel Fair

Today’s focus will be on Pushkar, Living Gods & Goddesses, pilgrims, evening Aarti, and street performers

At the crack of dawn we will be heading out to the fair grounds to capture the early morning activity. Camels truly make excellent subjects, each with their own characteristics and personality. Some of them have real attitude and hate getting photographed, others love it. Coupled with their handlers, complete with brightly tied turbans and gorgeous mustaches. Additionally, we will be photographing the elegant Marwari horses, an equine breed only found in India with their owners.

After breakfast, we will have a very special one-on-one session with a series of young children dressed as “Living Gods & Goddesses” from the Hindu pantheon. Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Mahesh, Hanuman, Krishna, Radha and a multitude of others. In exchange for earning a quick buck, these smart kids will pose, preen in front of the camera, giving you the perfect shot. They have perfected the art of modeling to a tee.

During this festival, there are various street performers who also come from far and wide to participate and show their amazing skills. We will get an opportunity to photograph Acrobats, Magicians, Jugglers and Puppeteers. These traditional art forms and artists are now fast vanishing from the landscape of India as they struggle to survive and earn a living.

In the evening we will witness the prayer ceremony in the temples lining the sacred lake. We will capture the piousness, fervor and intense devotion of the pilgrims while the ceremony is taking place. We will witness and photograph the beautiful tradition of floating lit lamps on the lake, post the prayer ceremony. (B) (L)

Day 6 | Pushkar Camel Fair - Hot Air Balloon

Today’s focus will be on street photography, pilgrims, and a sunset hot air balloon ride for aerial shots of the camel fair.

Hindu pilgrims from all across the country visit Pushkar during this auspicious period to take a dip in the holy lake in this temple town and wash away their sins. As the days progress, the inflow of pilgrims for the religious part of the fair will increase. We will correspondingly see a sea-change in the festivities as food-stalls, ferris-wheel rides and other forms of entertainment spring up. You may have enough photography to last you a lifetime.

In the early evening we will take to the skies on a hot air balloon (optional) to witness and photograph the milling crowds, camels, horses, sheep, cattle and cinematic vistas of this ancient fair. These quiet, reflective moments as the sky swiftly changes colors from pale pink, mauve to diffused orange and then to indigo blue, will give us an opportunity to take incredible ariel shots of the fair. (B)

Day 7 | Pushkar Camel Fair

Today’s focus will be Holy men, Sadhus, Baba, and famous Lassi vendors of Holy Pushkar town.

Our last day in Pushkar will be all things “Holy”. We will be walking the streets of this ancient and holy city in search of holy men, known as Sadhus, who have renounced all worldly ties, possessions and spend their time in deep meditation, prayers and ultimately seek salvation for their souls.

The ancient town of Pushkar is also (in)famous for another very “Holy” activity, which is the “Bhang Lassi” (Leaves and flowers of Cannabis). The entire ritual of the Bhang Lassi is prepared by small vendors mixing fresh yogurt, sugar, dry fruits and a dash of Bhang paste makes for excellent and intoxicating photo opportunity. The Holy intoxication happens after you have had this delicious drink, fit for the Gods!

Since 1000 BC, bhang (literally meaning 'cannabis') is the communion wafer/sacramental bread of India: a piece of the god of destruction, Shiva. Hence, across northern India on various religious festivals such as Holi, Shivratri people have Bhang in reverence to Lord Shiva.

This ancient holy city also hides an amazing secret. Pushkar is also called the Rose Garden of Rajasthan. Over 700 hectares of land around the city is dedicated to rose cultivation.

In the afternoon we will drive away from the madding crowds and into the countryside of Pushkar to visit a “Desi Gulaab Farm” (Rose Farm). This amazingly fragrant variety of Indian roses find their way into Temples and Mosques, perfume laboratories across the world, and into north India’s favorite chewable specialty - paan. (B)

Day 8 | Pushkar - Jaipur - Jal Mahal

After checkout we will drive back to Jaipur where we will spend the night. In the late afternoon we will turn our focus to the Jal Mahal, or “Water Palace”. This stunning structure which sits in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, was supposed to be a duck-hunting lodge for the maharajas. It was built for that purpose in the mid-18th century. After sunset and at twilight, if the palace lights work (which it is not guaranteed), we will photograph this magnificent structure. (B)

Day 9 | Jaipur - Markets - Amer Fort - Step Well - Monkey Palace

Today we will focus on street photography, environmental portraits and architecture in Jaipur. Included in our day is a visit to the impressive City Palace which is located right in the centre of the Old City. A complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings, the outer wall was built by Jai Singh, but within it the palace has been enlarged and adapted over the centuries. There are palace buildings from different eras, some dating from the early 20th century. Despite the gradual development, the whole complex is a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Adjacent to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory begun by Jai Singh in 1728, which resembles a collection of bizarre sculptures. The name is derived from the Sanskrit Yanta Mantr meaning ‘instrument of calculation’, and in 2010 it was added to India’s list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Bapu Bazar is a famous market in Jaipur and there are other markets located nearby: Indira Market, Nehru Market & Sanjay Market have a unique style where all the shops are of the same size & style. The whole market is very symmetrical and a particular street is known for a specific item. Finally, we’ll visit a local step well for a model shoot, and the Monkey Palace, an abandoned palace overrun by hundreds of monkeys, before we end our day.

In the evening we will enjoy a wonderful “Farewell Dinner” to celebrate our time together. (B) (D)

Day 10 | Jaipur - Delhi (Flight)

After our morning breakfast we depart for Jaipur Airport for our flight to Delhi where we will bid you farewell. If you are continuing on to our Varanasi Extension, we will be staying in Delhi overnight before departing for Varanasi. We urge you to extend your stay in India and make good use of everything you will learn on our photo adventure. (B) 


VARANASI 5 DAY


Click here to go to the Varanasi page for more details and photos.

Day 1 |  Delhi - Old Delhi

Arrival in Delhi. Whether you are arriving from India or elsewhere, or if Varanasi is an extension to one of our other India Photo Adventure. Day one is an arrival day in Delhi. Transfers will be arranged to take you to our hotel. In the afternoon we will explore Old Delhi markets and streets followed by a “Welcome Dinner” at our favorite Indian restaurant. After we’ll rest up and prepare for a very busy schedule for the next 4 days in Varanasi. (D)

Day 2 |  Varanasi - Sarnath Museum - Aarti Ceremony

After an early breakfast we transfer to the airport to catch our flight for Varanasi. After checking into our hotel, we visit the Sarnath (the Deer Park) where the Buddha preached his first sermon and Sarnath Museum. In the afternoon we’ll set out to explore the amazing alleys and streets of Varanasi. In the evening we will board a private boat to witness and photograph the thousand-year-old Aarti Ceremony during which worshippers pray near the water by the light of candles and lanterns. This is an experience you will never forget. (B)

Day 3 |  Varanasi - River Ganges - Widows of Varanasi

Today we are up early to take a sunrise boat cruise on the River Ganges, and the opportunity to capture vivid photographs of devoted Hindus bathing in the river. These photos of Hindus offering their prayers against morning sunlight make the journey quite rewarding. After we return to our hotel for breakfast.

Next we will experience an emotional visit with the Widows of Varanasi. Varanasi may be colorful and move at a frenetic pace, but the city harbors a darker secret – it is home to 38,000 widows, a marginalized and forgotten population, of which the majority live in poverty. Abandoned in the city and shunned by society, many seek refuge in the different ashrams for widows. When widows are thrown out of their households, they come to Varanasi because it is a holy city. It is the favorite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, and they believe that if they die there they will go straight to heaven. Widows call it Moksha – when the final release from reincarnation is gained. A significant portion of the widows in Varanasi are aged between 20 and 45, along with elders. Poverty and disease, including HIV infection, are some of the main reasons young women are being widowed at such a young age. But cultural practices, namely child marriage, are a major driving force behind this problem in India. Girls are often married at an early age, sometimes as teenagers to much older men. When the men die, the women are left as widows. India has the highest number of child brides in the world. Poverty, dowries, gender expectation, tradition and a lack of educational opportunities for girls are the reasons behind this problem.

Our afternoon and evening will be spent exploring and photographing more of Varanasi. In the evening we will witness one of the Aarti prayer ceremonies taking place along the banks of the Ganges. You’ll be able to get up very close to the high priests waving Yak-tail fans and performing rituals during the ceremonies. (B)

Day 4 |  Varanasi - Bathing Ghats - Bengali Tola - Sadhus

Today we begin even earlier. Our guide meets us at our hotel before sunrise, so you can witness the amazing spectacle which takes place on Varanasi's waterfront at the start of every day. The principal attraction of Varanasi is the long string of bathing ghats, which line the west bank of the River Ganges. Ghats are the steps which lead down to the river from which pilgrims make their sin-cleansing dip in the holy river and on which bodies are cremated. A boat ride on the Ganges at dawn, when it is full of pilgrims, is an amazing experience, and our guide can explain to you the various rituals taking place.

Leaving the boat after passing the most important Ghats, we will continue on foot for a fascinating exploration of the narrow lanes of the Bengali Tola area of Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth. Here we will pass countless small temples, shrines, and traditional shops. Our guide will provide a unique insight into this most fascinating of cities, which would otherwise be incomprehensible to the outsider. Along the way we’ll set up several photo sessions with local Sadhus. In the evening we enjoy a wonderful “Farewell Dinner” at a favorite Varanasi restaurant. (B) (D)

Day 5 |  Varanasi - Delhi

After breakfast we transfer to the airport to board our return flight to Delhi for your connecting flight home or book a later departure hotel room and rest up. (B)

May all who come as guests... leave as friends®



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NOTE: We reserve the right to change hotels based on availability and pricing. Not included in your rate are alcoholic beverages, unscheduled meals, travel to and from our destinations, airport transfers, travel insurance and any optional excursions you may choose to book on your own or as a group. Breakfast is usually included unless it is not offered in our hotel package. As is standard in the travel industry, all accommodations are based on double occupancy. Please choose the private room / single supplement option if you prefer your own room. Double occupancy can only be offered if you are traveling with a guest. We reserve the right to change events and schedules throughout the itinerary due to adverse weather conditions or complications that may arise that are out of our control. Our number one priority is always the safety of our group.






 
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