HOLI FESTIVAL PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY   |   2 - 11  MARCH 2020  |   £2695

INDIA PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAYS HOLI FESTIVAL

The festival of Holi has always been a boisterous one, in which Indians wait patiently for the one day when they can welcome in spring – and put on the largest party of the year. 

Across ten days, we’ll learn reportage in the ‘Pink City’, lunch with India’s highest caste in the indigo-hued streets of Jodhpur, before witnessing the spectacle of Holi at the most famous (and energetic) celebration in all India – Vrindavan.

Along the way, we’ll snooze in not one but two palaces, meet the Maharajah’s personal palmist and shop some of the finest materials, leather and jewellery in all India, before taking our positions at the party of the year.

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“We’re looking at the next phase in travel; luxe boutique hotels, gourmet food and locations to die for. This is not a technical photography course; it’s cool, creative, funny, quirky, high-end and the guys that run it really know how to create great holidays. Definitely try it.”

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Highlights.

There are few photo assignments more invigorating than Holi – days of wild celebrations in cinematic form – the party designed for your camera. And what better place than Vrindavan, the birthplace of Krishna, and a Holi celebration over several days that is the most colourful and energetic in the land. You’ll weave through the celebrations, and take up vantage point to capture all the action as it unfolds.

Our exclusive tour starts in the calming blue city of Jodhpur, home to India’s highest caste, stepwells, and gorgeous architecture, and to-die-for shopping. We’ll capture a slice of society shooting reportage aboard a train to Jaipur, and munch delicious snacks in the famed alleyways of the Pink City.

At every step, we’ve weaved a route to give you a unique look at both modern and traditional India. From portraits of Brahmin families, young divers backflipping into centuries old pools, to the Taj Mahal at dusk – this is a photography holiday quite unlike anything else.

Shoot scenes few on the planet have witnessed, in a Holi celebration in two locations around Vrindavan.
Brush up on your food photography, with a photo/eating tour of Jaipur’s ancient alleyways.
Learn the art of black and white action photography at a centuries old Stepwell pool.
Practice long lens photography from our special vantage points over two glorious Holi celebration days.
Capture the incredible architecture of the famed Taj Mahal, learning travel photography secrets to shoot iconic locations (but in your own unique way).
See the streets that made Steve McCurry famous, a sea of indigo-hued houses in the heart of Jodhpur, India’s blue city.

Holi Photo Safari Itinerary.

We start in the ancient city of Jodhpur; our base one of the cities’ newest upscale sandstone hotels, the Radisson Jodhpur. There’s just time for a quick dip in the lap pool, or a treatment at the SVA Spa after your flight, then we’re into camera basics, quickly bringing ourselves up to speed with the manual functions of the camera, all in non-technical language. Those skills learned, we’re out for our first photo shoot – a breathtaking dusky view of the Meharangarh Fort – chance to capture the first of many shots that will make you smile. We’ll celebrate your arrival with a chilled raspberry Martini at the open-air rooftop bar inside the exclusive Raas hotel, at the very heart of the old city. A very warm welcome to India!

Next morning, we’ll head out on photo safari into this stunning blue-hued city, first reviewing some composition styles used by professional travel photographers to make their work stand out from the pack. Then after an exclusive lunch with a Brahmin family – the highest caste in Hinduism – we’ll tour the uniform indigo painted houses creating colour block images inspired by Steve McCurry, then complete our tour at the Toorji Ka Jhalra, a recently restored stepwell built in the 1740’s and now the best location for urban cliff jumping. We’ll take our positions, switch over to black and white, and shoot all the action as the light softens into the night.

Travelling by train in India is surely one of the ‘must-do’s’, so we’re up a little early this morning to catch the 12466 SF Express to Jaipur. With the soft morning light flooding the carriages, we’ll try our hand at documentary photography in perfect light, chance to tell a story about authentic Indian life, in a location that can’t be any more real. The shots our groups shoot on trains are consistently jaw-dropping, so you’ll be sure to add some gems to your collection.

We’ll check into the Narain Niwas Palace just before lunch, a 10-acre heritage-listed estate in the heart of the city, perfect to escape and unwind in. Later, we’ll take you on a quick tour by auto rickshaw through the highlights of the city – cameras in hand  – before drinks at Bar Palladio, the coolest bar in India (Vogue Magazine call it “supremely chic”, and we have to agree!).

Next day, we head to the morning flower market, to shoot all the vibrant colours in soft light, before witnessing the darshan – an unbelievable hypnotic chanting ceremony in the grounds of the Govind Devji Temple.  Later, 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 famous in Jaipur – and learn the fine art of travel food photography, getting tips on lighting, position and lens choice – for best effect.

Later, we’re back at the palace for chilled refreshments; 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 walled restaurant, waiters buzzing around bringing local delights for you to try.

And the next day is all yours – time to relax by the pool, the best shopping just metres in small boutiques in the hotel grounds, or head out to the famed Amber Fort and take an elephant tour to the summit. Your choice!

Today we head east to our final hotel, the majestic Laxmi Niwas Palace – completed in 1926 and a fine heritage hotel with ornate furnishings, huge pool and oversized rooms. 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.

Next day, 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 choose to stay in the compound or shoot the sunset from a secret vantage point – almost tourist free – to shoot more images for your collection

This morning, we’ll head to the first of the Holi festivities – the Lathmar Holi. It reenacts a visit by Lord Krishna to his beloved Radha at her village, who apparently teased her and her friends. Taking offence to this, the women in the village chased him away. For Lathmar Holi, the ladies today playfully wave their sticks at the men, who try to ‘shield’ themselves as much as they can. The unlucky ones are captured by the enthusiastic women who then, make the men wear female clothing and dance in public. The whole scene is hilarious, energetic and wonderful to photograph.

Next morning, we’re back in Vrindavan for the Holi celebrations, darting around the streets with our expert guides seeking vantage points to shoot the colours unfolding, dipping into the crowd to shoot portraits of the local revellers, and venture towards the centre of the celebrations at the Bankey Bihari temple, built in 1864 and the most revered shrine in Vrindavan.

Later, back at the palace, we’ll celebrate all of our hard work with a final night’s party in the opulent grounds of the hotel, before an exhibition of all your work the next morning. Following one final 1-on-1 session to give detailed feedback on your progress, style and next steps, we bid farewell to new found friends and head homewards, back to Delhi for your evening international flight back home.

Safari Details.

2 – 11 March, 2020
Spaces available.

10 days. 9 nights. Starts in Jodhpur, ends in Delhi, India.

£2695 / £395 single supplement

Price includes
9 nights boutique accommodation at listed hotels, including breakfast
10 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Street food tour of Jaipur, with guide
Express train from Jodhpur to Jaipur
Entrances to the Taj Mahal complex
Lunch at a local Brahmin home
Rickshaw rides in Jodhpur, Jaipur and Agra
Palmist reading from the Maharajah’s astrologer
Access to Lathmar Holi & Vrindavan Holi
All transfers to and from the airport
All transportation between shooting locations
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions
All Indian Government Service Taxes

Price excludes flights, lunch and dinner.

 

There are direct flights from the UK into Delhi from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air India, indirect flights via the Middle East with Etihad and Emirates. Prices start at around £350. You will also need a one way ticket from Delhi to Jodhpur at the start of the trip, prices start at £28.

"A wonderful way to travel & see the world - with excellent photography teaching and direction. An opportunity to get off the tourist trail and into the heart of the country’s people and culture - and develop your photography skills whether a beginner, hobbyist or professional."


Anil Iltas, Salisbury