1 - 15 Apr 2018 - Rajasthan, Taj & Varanasi 

Sun 1 Apr - Day 1 - Udaipur

Day 1 is arrival day in Udaipur, which picturesquely sits on lake Pichola and is thus known as the 'Venice of India'.  With regards to reaching Udaipur, the majority of international flights will fly into Delhi first, where you can catch a connecting flight from Delhi to Udaipur, which will take just over 1 hour. Once you have booked your flights email us your arrival time in Udaipur and we will book your airport to hotel transfer. To give you time to recharge after your journey the first meet is at 19:00 for arrival day dinner and introductions.

Mon 2 Apr - Day 2 - Udaipur

On day 2 following breakfast, we will meander through the narrow streets and classical bridges of Udaipur on foot. During our walk we will stop at a local ghat (temple steps), which is popular with locals for washing clothes early in the morning, as well as the City Palace, which took over 400 years to build across multiple rulers and as such is an intricate mix of Rajasthani and Mogul architecture, consisting of courtyards trimmed with ornate arches. We will also drop into Jagdish Temple, which was built in 1651 and is the largest Hindu temple in Udaipur. Its structure consists of Indo-Aryan style of architecture and is dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. In the afternoon we will visit the 11th Century Sas Bahu Temples, and if we make it back in time for sunset, select one of the many serene views overlooking lake Pichola. 


Udaipur: Sunrise 06:37; Sunset 18:01; Daylight: 11h 25 mins; Temp 20°-36°

Tue 3 Apr - Day 3 - Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh

On day 3 we will journey to Ranakpur, which will take approximately 2 hours without traffic, where we will visit  a beautiful 15th century white marble Jain Temple, called Chaumukha Mandir, which is dedicated to the first Tirthankara (spiritual teacher) in Jainism (a non-theistic religion founded in India in the 6th century BC). We will then journey on to the impressive Kumbhalgarh Fort nestled within the Arravalli Hills and perched 110m above sea level. The fort's position affords stunning views across the surrounding landscape. Whilst in the area we will see if we can visit a local village to capture traditional rural life, if not there will be an opportunity to do this on the following morning, on route to Jodhpur.


Wed 4 Apr - Day 4 - Kumbhalgarh to Jodhpur via Narlai Village

On day 4 we will leave Kumbhalgarh early to drive to Jodhpur. On route we will stop off at Narlai village (1h 30 mins) to photograph traditional life in the area before continuing our journey onto to Jodhpur, which will take take approximately 2h 30mins. On arrival we will check into our hotel and reconvene for dinner.

Thu 5 Apr - Day 5 - Jodhpur

On day 5 we will visit to one of the largest forts in India, Mehrangarh Fort, which was built in approximately 1460 by Rao Jodha and sits at a vantage point of 122 metres above the city. It has seven gates within its sandstone walls,  which enclose palace buildings, temples, barracks, stables and a museum. On completion, we will stop off at Jaswant Thada, a marble memorial, which sits beneath the fort. Following lunch we will head out on a street photography walk, including a visit to the charity we will be donating to on this tour, The Sambhali Trust, which supports women and children  from excluded communties, through child sponsorship, English, Hindi, maths and skills training (particularly sewing), the products of which are sold in the boutique we will be visiting. Depending on how we are doing for time there may also be an opportunity to visit Mandore Temple Gardens.

Jodhpur: Sunrise ​06:43; Sunset 18:00; Daylight: 11:17; Temp



Fri 6 Apr - Day 6 - Jodhpur - Pushkar

On day 6 we will check out of our Jodhpur hotel early and drive to Pushkar, which will take approximately 4 hours. On arrival we will check in to our Pushkar accommodation and in the afternoon head out to Pushkar lake (considered sacred by Hindus) for sunset where we will witness the evening Hindu ritual of Aarti, where temple priests conduct a ceremony before sacred images, using lit candle wicks to invoke love, energy and blessings. During the ceremony the priest will make offerings symbolising the 5 elements, consisting of a white cloth (space), smoke (air), flames (light), water and flowers (earth).  



Sat 7 Apr - Day 7 - Pushkar Camel Safari

On day 7 we will head out on a camel safari including visiting local villages and the opportunity of capturing classic images of camels at sunset. 

Sun 8 Apr - Day 8 - Pushkar to Jaipur

On day 8 we check out of our hotel and drive to Jaipur which will take approximately 2 h 40 mins. Following lunch we will spend the remainder of the afternoon at an elephant sanctuary, set up in 2012 by a former elephant rider at Amber fort, Rahul Chowdhary. Here you will have the opportunity to spend time with these majestic animals and explore photographing elephants in close proximity. If we make it back in time we will end with a sunset capture of Jal Mahal, a semi submerged palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake.

Mon 9 Apr - Day 9 - Jaipur

Following breakfast on day 9, we will begin with a visit to Amber Fort, which contains a beautiful courtyard  with intricately imbedded mirrors. Following the fort we will visit Jaipur's City Palace, which was completed in 1732 and was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. As it is still used as a royal residence, only a small part of it is open to the public. We will then visit an unusual open air observatory called Jantar Mantar, which was completed in 1734 and is the largest of five such observatories in India, with 19 geometric life size astronomical instruments, still used during Indian astronomy exams today. Depending on how we are doing on time, we will include a brief stop for an external photograph of the Hawa Mahal (palace of winds) built in 1799 and comprising of a  5 story fascia of lattice work windows, with a shallow depth, just wide enough to  enable women of the royal household to observe daily life, without being seen.

Jaipur:  Sunrise ​06:35; Sunset 17:44; Daylight: 11:09; Temp 17°-32°


Tue 10 Apr - Day 10 - Jaipur to Ranthambore

On day 10 we will catch a train to Ranthambore before transferring to our hotel in time for an afternoon safari. Our primary goal is catching site of a Bengal tiger and we have timed this tour to maximise our chances of seeing a tiger (they appear more frequently for water as temperatures begin to rise). However if we are not lucky enough to see a tiger, other wildlife inhabiting the park are:  sambar and chital spotted deer, nilgai (type of antelope), macaques and hanuman langurs (monkeys), caracals (similar to lynx), sloth bears, wild boar, chinkaras (gazelles), leopards (extremely rare), crocodiles, herons, peacocks and more diminutive wildlife adept at hiding within reserve's brush-land. 

Jaipur:  Sunrise ​06:35; Sunset 17:44; Daylight: 11:09; Temp 17°-32°

Wed 11 Apr - Day 11 - Ranthambore to Agra

On day 11 we will start with a morning safari before having breakfast and checking out to drive Agra which takes approximately 5h 30 minutes without traffic. Depending on the time our safari ends and we check out of our hotel there is a slim chance we will make Agra before sunset. If we do we will visit a garden opposite the Taj Mahal for a capture of the Taj from across the Yamuna River. If not we will check into our hotel on arrival and reconvene for dinner. 

Thu 12 Apr - Day 12 - Agra to Delhi

Day 12 will begin with a sunrise capture and visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, which translates as ‘The Crown of the Palace’ and is a marble mausoleum intricately constructed on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra. It was commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1632 and completed in 1643. The 42 acre site further contains a mosque and a guest house set within geometrically designed gardens and is said to be the jewel of Muslim architecture in India. It does not disappoint in reality, especially early in the morning, before the majority of tourists flood into its grounds, with its marble reflecting pink hues, as the sun ascends above. Following our visit of this beautiful complex, we will drive to Delhi where we will stay overnight.

Agra:  Sunrise ​06:28​; Sunset 17:34; Daylight: 11:05; Temp 15°-32°


Fri 13 Apr - Day 13 - Varanasi

On day 13 we will catch an early internal flight to Varanasi from Delhi. Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and perceived as the holiest of seven sacred cities in Hinduism. As such Hindu pilgrims travel from far and wide to bathe in the Ganges, which is said to cleanse away a lifetime of sins. Following arrival and check in, we will head straight out for a street photography stroll along the ghats (steps) on the banks of the Ganges river. As we have timed this trip in line with Dev Diwali (festival of light), where the steps are lit up by thousands of small candles the following evening, the ghats will be alive with people and sadhus preparing for the festival. For sunset we will catch a boat ride and observe the Hindu ritual of Aarti, where temple preists conduct a ceremony before sacred images, using lit candle wicks to invoke love, energy and blessings. During the ceremony the priest will make offerings symbolising the 5 elements, consisting of a white cloth (space), smoke (air), flames (light), water and flowers (earth).  

Varanasi:  Sunrise ​06:06​​; Sunset 17:15; Daylight: 11:09; Temp 19° -34°;

Sat 14 Apr - Day 14 - Varanasi (incl. morning visit to Sarnath)

On day 14 we will start with a sunrise boat ride, which is a serene time to be on the river as Hindu worshippers conduct their morning rituals to welcome the day. Following our boat ride we will drive to Sarnath (30 mins), which is credited as being the location where Buddha gave his first sermon in 528 BC to 5 disciples. Hence it is is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists today and in the past, with 1500 monks reportedly living there in the 7th century, until its destruction by the Turks in the 12th century. The ruins then remained hidden until their discovery by British archaeologists in 1835. While in Sarnath, we will visit key areas, including the tallest statue of Buddha in India (80 ft) and the Tibetan Buddhist Temple, which is the most classically decorated internally. On return to Varanasi we will have lunch and spend the afternoon on a street photography walk through the back streets and along the ghats, as the candles are lit to create a particularly magical environment as the sun descends.

Sun 15 Apr - Day 15 - Varanasi - Departure Day (check out 11am)

Day 15 is departure day (there are no activities on this day as the tour has officially ended) and we advise booking flights to a check out time of 11am. Once booked email us your flight details and we will ensure your hotel to airport transfer is booked with the hotel.


The ethical bit...

For each tour we select a charity that works in the area we visit to donate £25 per person to. For this tour we have selected a charity called The Sambhali Trust, which was set up in 2007 by a local from Jodhpur, Govind Singh Rathore, who after witnessing the discriminatory treatment of women from a young age, including that of his mother following the death of his father at 15, vowed to contribute to the support of women in his community. The trust began after he offered to teach two local children who were not in education and was surprised when 18 showed up the following day. From this class of 18 students the Sambhali Trust was born. Today the trust manages 6 education and skills training centres  (5 urban and 1 rural), a scholarship programme, an emergency helpline, women's shelter, self-defence classes, support groups and start up loans for women wanting to start their own business.  If you are interested in discovering more about this trust, please do not hesitate to visit their site at www.sambhali-trust.org

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