Welcome to our Rajasthan, India Photography Holiday  सलाम करना

Whilst the rest of India might be modernising at pace, old Rajasthan endures, evoking rulers with giant moustaches, harems of beautiful women in the finest coloured silks and some of the most spectacular palaces ever built. Rajasthan is the jewel in India’s crown. Across eleven unforgettable days on your India Photography Holiday, our team weave a route through this illustrious region, starting in the sacred city of Pushkar, and it’s world famous Camel Fair, before dropping in on the pink-tinged wonder of Jaipur, the illustrious Taj Mahal, then amongst the pilgrims and saddhus on the shores of the Ganges in mystical Varanasi.

Experience unforgettable nights in luxe heritage forts, first-class trains and opulently restored Havelis, using every imaginable mode of transport. And our handpicked collection of boutique hotels, gourmet dining spots and secret photographic locations will bring you the best India has to offer.

If romance could be manufactured, Rajasthan would be a good place to make it. With its wild desert scenery, ancient sandcastle forts, pastel-coloured cities, dust-speckled light and its swathes of scarlet, fuschia and marigold textiles, India’s largest state is sure to induce a bout of wanderlust.

Located in the north-west of India and covering an area roughly the same as Germany, Rajasthan is relatively easy to get to, and travel around. It offers outstanding value for money and, arguably, has the most tightly packed collection of cultural sights of any Indian state, thanks to the legacies of the Rajput warriors and Mughal emperors. Yes, it can be noisy and frenetic, but, for soft adventure and sheer spectacle, Rajasthan is hard to beat.

 

All our material is hand-crafted from years of professional photography for top brands, magazines and galleries – and as far away as possible from the monthly magazine ‘tip’. We don’t ever tell you the ‘5 best ways of …’ doing something;  instead we find your way – our small groups allows us to teach each of you independently, at your own pace.

Whether you are an absolute beginner or seasoned shooter, we use a mix of visual examples, 1-to-1 teaching and mentoring, and regular, detailed reviews, to push your work to levels you never thought you could reach.

From 2017, each trip we offer has completely different material – across all skill levels – so if you’re coming with us again, it’s all new. If you’re just starting out, we’ll get you fully to speed, manually using your camera quickly with confidence, and then some. We spend only a fraction of the holiday on the technical (actually its pretty simple when you know how), the rest learning the art of taking great photographs. It’s the most interesting bit, after all.

On your Creative Escape to Rajasthan, you’ll

  • Craft incredible travel photographs of the most famous fair in the world, Pushkar Mela
  • Shoot Jaipur’s iconic Hawa Mahal, and the opulent Amber Fort in dusky light
  • Capture the famous Taj Mahal from our secret vantage point at dawn
  • Learn reportage black-and-white photography aboard an overnight express train
  • Witness the ganga aarti, myriad candle-lit flower rafts floating on the Ganges
  • Try out fill-flashed portraits of saddhu’s, in our studio aside the river
  • Capture ‘atmosphere’ of thousands of hindu pilgrims bathing in holy water
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Highlights.

Itinerary.

From touchdown into Delhi, we’ll whisk you off to our 15th-century fort in rural Rajasthan for some well needed R&R, chance to recover from the long flight. and ease you gently into the frenetic hubbub of India – the perfect start to your Rajasthan, India Photography Holiday. We’ll start by reviewing some of the in camera techniques to prepare you to shoot in some of the epic locations on our Rajasthan odyssey – from the vast desert swathes of the Pushkar Camel Fair, the low-light positioning of the Taj Mahal at dawn, and the energy from hundreds of pilgrims rushing to bathe in the Ganges.

Each, a new set of techniques to add your your repertoire. Then a dinner on the terraces in palatial surroundings, the perfect start to our Indian adventures.

Up early, we depart our royal retreat and take the road to Pushkar, the holy city, and check-in to the stunning lakeside Pushkar Palace. Built by the Maharajah of Jaisalmer in the 15th century, this small palace has fabulous, panoramic views of the city. On arrival, we’ll take a seat on the shores and dive straight into our next task, learning how to bring some narrative into our images – capturing faces and expressions in the myriad scenes throughout the city – before venturing out to explore the Brahma temple – the only one in India.

Towards dusk, we’ll don our small backpacks and head out to the jaw dropping Camel Fair. Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences, a spectacle on an epic scale, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle and visited by over 400,000 people over a period of around fourteen days. For visitors it’s a once-in-alifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan.. Over two days, we’ll shoot a number of assignments, from formal portraits under canopy, to dusty reportage of the days events, to sublime sunset vistas over the campgrounds. We guarantee this is one photo-shoot you will never forget.

Today, we depart our private retreat and take the short hop to Jaipur, the regal capital of Rajasthan. This afternoon we’ll dive into the myriad backstreets of the city, tour the technicolour spice markets, observe the stunning pink architecture of the Hawa Mahal and get to grips with shooting high energy street scenes in saturated colours. Along the way, we’ll stop for a few snacks – or chaat – tasty Indian street food featured by Gordon Ramsay. Our stunning haveli (or Indian mansion) is in the plush central district and its breezy verandahs and pool provide solace from the energy of downtown Jaipur. Here we will round of the day reviewing our creative hard work from the last few days, then dine on an open-air terrace, waiters buzzing around bringing local delights for you to try.

The next day, we’ll take a trip towards the Amber Fort, a truly beautiful palace atop a hill overlooking Jaipur. The tour is an event itself, climbing onto elephants who lead you on a slow ascent to the top, then an exploration to shoot the opulent interiors; from the tiny Siladevi Temple, with inlaid silver doors, to the maharajah’s apartments and the Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure); carved marble relief panels into ivory-inlaid sandalwood doors and a channel that once cooled water right through the room. The zenana (secluded women’s quarters) surrounds the fourth courtyard. The rooms were designed so that the maharaja could embark on his nocturnal visits to his wives’ and concubines’ respective chambers without the others knowing, as the chambers are independent but open onto a common corridor. From the Jai Mandir you can photograph the fine views from the palace ramparts over picturesque Maota Lake below – shoot the decorated guards in full gear, or capture the melee ‘reportage’ style all around you. Finally, we descend by army jeep and return to our haveli for some rooftop sundowners, and kick back to watch the sun gently falling over the horizon.

Today we head to Agra – the home of the Taj Mahal. En-route, we’ll stop off at Chand Baori, one of the most beautiful stepwells in India, and the location of several period Hollywood films. Built by King Chanda in 800AD, the well is 20m deep and 3500 steps on 13 levels – at the bottom of the well, the air remains 5-6 degrees cooler than at the surface. Chand Baori was used as a community gathering place for locals during periods of intense heat. A short drive later, we arrive in Agra in time to visit one of the icons of India at sundown – the Taj Mahal – the magnificent mausoleum which eptomises the golden age of Mughal architecture and the reign of Shah Jahan. After finding our spot for shooting the best images, we’ll retire to our haveli haven and sample a modern interpretation of Indian cuisine.

After a restful nights sleep, we’ll rise extra early, locate our secret location to take some incredible images of the sun rising over the Taj Mahal, and shoot away in a sea of orange light, before heading off early afternoon to the buzzing Agra station, chance to practice the effects of fill flash on constrasty black-and-whites, shooting modern Indian life in a classic documentary style. Early evening, we’ll board our first-class sleeper train to Varanasi, meeting locals from all walks of life and shooting some memorable documentary and portrait images, before drifting off to the gentle, hypnotic movement of the train travelling through the night.

Arriving just after dawn, we’ll transfer directly to our plush heritage hotel close to the banks of the Ganges, and take some time to unwind in the lovely surroundings. We’ll hold some 1-on-1’s today to give you a detailed personal review of where you are at, then head out towards dusk for our first look at the Ganges, and the Ganga Aarti, a spiritual ritual using fire as an offering, usually made in the form of a flower raft with a lit candle, that’s floated off down the river. It’s a truly incredible spectacle and a photogenic wonder.

We spend the early morning on board our private boat, touring the ghats to witness the hoards of Hindu pilgrims bathing in the Ganges river’s sacred waters. You’ll observe funeral rights, and tour the winding backstreets, home to over 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, “Golden Temple’, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. This is one of India’s most beautiful, crazy, colourful and chaotic places; it’s a veritable smorgasbord for any photographer and an expeience you’re not likely to ever forget. Together, we’ll develop a final portfolio of images, ready to show on our final nights exhibition; be that portraits of expressive saddhus, using a remote fill flash and softbox (a la Joey L), saturated reportage shots of Hindu pilgrims bathing in the river, richly coloured night shots of dusk at this most spiritual of places or the everyday humour of this bizarre city. The possibilities are truly endless. Along the way, we’ll be there to assist your production, edit your best and then prepare for our exhibition show and final night’s celebration.

Our 11-day pilgrimage takes in the photographic highlights of this picturesque state, from world renowed festivals, to iconic buildings and one of the most visually stunning places in all of India. Welcome to Creative Escapes’ tour of Rajasthan.

Details.

2 – 12 November, 2017
Fully Booked

21 November – 1 December, 2018
Spaces Available

11 days. 10 nights. Starts in Delhi, ends in Varanasi, India.

£2245 sharing / £2725 single

Price includes 
11 days, 10 nights accommodation at the listed hotels
11 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Entrance passes to Pushkar Mela, with guide
1st class overnight sleeper from Agra to Varanasi
All transfers to and from the airport
Boat ride on Ganges
All transportation between shooting locations
Private photoshoot of the Chand Baori
Dusk aarti on the shores of the Ganges
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes international flights, lunch and dinner.

 

There are direct flights from the UK into Delhi from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air India. Prices start at around £400. You will also need a one way ticket from Varanasi back to Delhi at the end of the trip, prices start at £50.

"An absolutely fabulous trip ... the tutors enthusiasm is infectious and attention to detail is second to none. It's very evident how much time and thought has gone into planning the tour. Everything from the excellent locations to the hotels and restaurants is clearly carefully planned. The photographic guidance, tuition and suggestions were always welcomed and with his help my photography has greatly improved. Thank you Creative Escapes for a wonderful holiday of photography, food and fun."


Phil & Deb Knott, India 2016