India Holi Festival Mar. 12-25th, 2019

This photography tour combines two wonderful aspects of India, the kaleidoscope of color that is the Holi festival and the magnificent and powerful tiger! The Holi Festival is a fantastic celebration that marks the arrival of spring and signifies the victory of good over evil. Riotous, vibrant color envelops India as revelers throw powdered dye with abandon, spraying water, and flooding the streets for raucous fun. Holi may be traditionally Hindu, but everyone is equal during this holiday.

Following the Holi Festival we will travel to Bandhavgarh National Park where a highlight will be the chance to photograph elusive tigers and leopards. In addition to the Bengal tiger, the park has a rich diversity of fauna and flora, including leopard, striped hyena, macaques, langur monkeys, sambar and chital deer, Indian wolves, Indian hare, monitor lizards and a great diversity avifauna.

Lead by Art Wolfe and Gavriel Jecan, Linited to 10 participants 

Transportation and Accommodation

All meals, lodging, and transportation specified on the itinerary are included. You are encouraged to arrive one day prior to the workshop so that there is no worry of flight delays causing any problems.

Itinerary

Shooting schedules have the ability to be altered to effectively cater to the photographic desires of the group, as well as to adapt to changeable weather conditions.

March 12 Tue Delhi (Meals Aloft)

Upon your arrival at the international airport in Delhi and after clearing customs & immigration, our representative will receive and escort you to your hotel.  Delhi, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land.

March 13 Wed Delhi (B-L-D)

After an early breakfast at the hotel, this morning join Art Wolfe and our expert guide on an exploration trip to Old Delhi.  Unlike a regular sightseeing tour, this trip offers you an opportunity to experience the soul of Delhi with its noises, smells, tastes.

March 14 Thurs Delhi-Mathura (B-L-D)

After a leisurely breakfast, the group will drive to Mathura, considered the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

Upon arrival in Mathura, we will check into the hotel.

After Lunch we proceed to Barsana: Barsana, about 42 kilometres from Mathura, has the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Lord Krishna’s consort Radha.
In Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna is believed to have grown up, the festival is celebrated for 16 days until Ranga Panchmi, to commemorate the divine love of Radha for Lord Krishna or ‘Dhulandi’, when people go around throwing colored powder and spray water at each other.

Overnight Mathura.

March 15 Fri Mathura-Barsana (B-L-D)

It’s again an early start today as the Holi festivities bring thousands of devotees out onto the streets in dazzling color and good cheer.

Holi, celebrated all over India since ancient times, Holi is an annual festival which takes place on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna. Originally Holi was an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring. In keeping with this tradition people now choose to celebrate the occasion by throwing brightly colored spices or herbal powders into the air, symbolically they are ridding the gloom of winter and rejoicing in the colors and liveliness of spring.

Holi at Barsana, the birthplace of Radha, a village, 42 kms away from Vrindavan, is of particular interest. Here, men from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana and hope of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. But, instead of colors they are greeted with sticks by the gopis. Hence, this Holi gets its name – Lathmaar Holi. Smart enough, men come fully padded as they are fully aware what kind of welcome awaits them and also the fact that they are not allowed to retaliate on that day. In this mock battle of sorts, they try their best not to be captured.

Overnight Mathura.

March 16 Sat Mathura-Nandgoan (B-L-D)

This day, it is the turn of the men from Barsana. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon and drench the womenfolk of Nandgaon in colors of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dry flowers. Today, the women of Nadagon beat the invaders from Barsana. The week long Holi celebrations continue in the various Krishna temples like Shri Bankey Bihari Temple Vrindavan (from 0800 to 1300 hrs only) ,and Dauji Temple for Huranga on different days. The celebrations are filled with clouds of colors and of course, much fun.

Before playing Holi, be sure to wear clothes you won’t mind getting stained with color! Or, if you prefer not to participate, you’re welcome to hang back and watch the fun and photograph from a distance.

Overnight Mathura.

March 17 Sun Mathura-Agra (B-L-D)

After breakfast, the group will drive to Agra (80Kms/ 02 ½ Hrs). Upon arrival, we’ll check-in to hotel.

Afternoon visit to the Agra Fort & Taj Mahal for sunset.

Overnight Agra.

March 18 Mon Agra-Varanasi (B-L-D)

Rise early for morning coffee and prepare for a truly spectacular sight, the legendary Taj Mahal again. It is often said that Taj Mahal changes its colors by every minute depending upon angle of sunrays and it is best seen either by sunset or sunrise. Sunrise however is best timing for taking pictures of this monument under mild sun light.

After returning to your hotel for a full American breakfast, transfer to Agra Airport to board the Air India flight to Varanasi.

Upon arrival at Varanasi airport, we will transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Varanasi, known to the devout as Kashi, is said to have been founded by Shiva, Lord of the Universe. One of the oldest living cities in the world, as also one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India, Varanasi is an important attraction. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, the city has been a center of learning and civilization for over 2000 years.

March 19 Tue Varanasi (B-L-D)

Sunrise boat ride on River Ganges to see people praying and bathing and to witness burning ghat, later a walk through the mystical landscape of poets, sacred temples, holy ponds near Assighat, the southernmost embankment of the holy Ganga river, walk in the footsteps of 16th century Banaras poet and mystic Pandit Goswami Tulsidas, translator of the sacred Ramanyana text, you will hear about the history and special culture of Varanasi while visiting the Southern temple established by Tulsidas! The walk ends with a special darshan, meaning ‘taking sight’ of a hidden sun temple behind his home.

Visit the small alleys surrounding the Ghat for photography.

Evening visit to the Ganges for glittering evening Aarti (Prayer) Ceremony.

Overnight Varanasi.

March 20 Wed Varanasi-Khajuraho (B-L-D)

After breakfast, the group transfers to Varanasi airport to board Jet Airways flight to Khajuraho.

Upon arrival at Khajuraho airport, we’ll check-in to the hotel.

Overnight Khajuraho.

March 21 Thurs: Khajuraho-Bandhavgarh (B-L-D)

After morning sightseeing of Khajuraho temples, drive to Bandhavgarh (270 kms / 4-5 hrs).

Bandhavgarh National Park: Set amongst The Vindhya Hills in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh National Park (168 sq miles / 437 sq kms) is a mixture of bamboo, grassland, and a complex of deciduous forest. There are at least 150 species of birds in the park, along with other mammals such as tigers, sloth bear, langur monkeys, wild boar, wild dogs, mongoose, 3 kinds of deer – chital, sambar and barking, to name a few. Once a hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa in more recent times, Bandhavgarh was declared a park in 1968. This is also the site where the famous White Tigers of Rewa were discovered.

Overnight Bandhavgarh.

March 22, 23, and 24 Fri, Sat, Sun: Bandhavgarh (B-L-D)

Early morning wake-up call with a knock on your room door and Tea/Coffee.
You will wake up to misty mornings and sounds of birds calling, which will make an exciting start to your day. As soon as dawn breaks, leave for your Jungle Safari, accompanied by a resident naturalist and forest park guides in 4x 4 Jeeps. In the winter months morning safaris require warm clothes and woolen caps and gloves to keep you warm from the wind chill factor in your open jeep. We provide blankets and sometimes even a hot water bottle to keep you comfortable. Lunch and afternoon safari by 4×4 jeep accompanied by resident naturalist and forest guide. Return to lodge for evening tea and rest of time free to relax.

Overnight Bandhavgarh.

March 24 Mon Departure Day: Bandhavgarh-Jabalpur-Delhi-Out

After breakfast drive to Jabalpur airport ((190 kms/ 04hrs) to board Spice Jet flight to Delhi.

We’ll be met upon arrival at Delhi and transfer to hotel to dayrooms for wash & change and dinner.

Late night departure transfers to the International Airport to board flights to onward destinations.

Services Included
  • Accommodation on double / twin sharing basis at hotels mentioned above or in similar category.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch & D=Dinner).
  • Services of Air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Services of English speaking escort from starting till last and services of naturalists at Ranthambore National Park.
  • Cycle Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi.
  • Entrance fee for places as mentioned in the itinerary including ASI monuments.
  • Boat ride on River Ganges and cycle rickshaw ride in Varanasi.
  • Exclusive Jungle Safari accompanied by English speaking resident naturalist and forest park guide in 4x 4 open Jeeps in Bandhavgarh.
  • Packaged drinking water during all transfers, drives and sightseeing (available in vehicle only).
  • In Bandhavgarh NP: 01 full Jeep Safari permits as mentioned in itinerary inclusive of entry fee to park, resident naturalist services.
  • General Tipping for restaurant, porters, local Guides, driver, representatives etc expect accompanied escort.
  • Meeting / assistance at the time of arrival and departure at airport and during check in/out at hotels in major cities.
  • Government service tax.
Services Not Included
  • Any airfare, or any insurance fees
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusion above.
  • Tipping to accompanying escort is not included in our quote.
  • Any optional tours
  • Any expenditure of personal nature like tabled drinks, laundry, tip, telephone calls, soft/ hard drinks, still/video camera fee (if any) etc.
  • Anything ordered from room service at any hotel including mineral water (other than what being offered by the hotels on their compliment).
  • Any sudden increase in price due to steep hike in fuel cost, change in government tax policy or for any reason beyond our control like acts of god, natural calamity, law and order situation, riots etc and any forced change in itinerary for any unforeseen situation or reason beyond our control.