Backroads of Rajasthan
January 11th- January 24th, 2018
This 13 day photographic experience will include locations that are off of the main tourist trail. We have carefully selected locations that are easily navigated on foot—walls are painted in bright blue hues, cows roam freely in the streets, where Hindu temples are both active and in various states of disrepair, and major architectural edifices exist where the photographer can roam around independently. We have chosen all of our accommodations based on their historical significance; some were forts, others palaces in the days of the Raj.
We will be photographing forts, temples, and palaces. There will be a heavy emphasis on street photography and we hope that you will attempt to tell a story with your images taken in these small olden Rajasthani hamlets and cities.
With 2 internal flights, travel time will be kept to a minimum, and we will have the opportunity to totally immerse ourselves in the India that is slow to adapt to societal and global changes. This photography tour has been designed to move at a slow pace as life in rural India has a daily rhythm based on the rising and setting of the sun. It will be a real opportunity to further develop your sense of style and story telling.
Trip Dates: January 11th - January 24th, 2018
Abhishek Hajela and Jeremy Woodhouse
Price: On Request
Day 1: Arrival in New Delhi
Upon arrival you will be personally met and escorted to our nearby hotel for check in. The group will get together in the early evening for an orientation and then have dinner in the hotel.
O/N Ibis New Delhi Airport Hotel (D)
Day 2: New Delhi - Jodhpur
The group will take a mid morning flight to Jodhpur. We will have lunch on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel which is located within walking distance of the iconic clock tower. The Pal Haveli where we will be lodging is located in the heart of Jodhpur and is full of ambiance. Street dentists, barbers and the Sardar Market are outside of our haveli Here you can photograph the merchants selling spices, antiques, cook ware, and bangles galore. The piles of red chili and bright orange turmeric as well as bright red tie dyed scarves are visually captivating. As you walk the streets photographing a very vibrant India you will be dodging roaming cows and men pulling carts loaded with food an clothing.
The blue city of Jodhpur is easily navigated and has a special sense of warmth and vibrancy about it. The old city is a mosaic of narrow alley ways, crooked streets, a vibrant bazaar selling everything form spices to saris and inhabited by some really friendly people. Street photography will be the order of one day while in Jodhpur. The Ghanta Ghar, historic clock tower will be our main landmark for those wandering off. The Brahmin blue cubes stretch out for six miles towards the 16th century city wall. We will climb to a rooftop for an early morning photo shoot and encounter the local tradesmen who cut hair, clean ears and perform their form of dentistry in the open. The massive Mehrangarh Fort overlooks the city and we will photograph it as well as the Jaswant Thada Mausoleum.
O/N Pal Haveli (B,L,D)
Day 3: Jodhpur
In this famous city in the heart of Rajasthan many of the building are painted sky blue. We will start early in the morning for a great photo-shoot. We will climb to a rooftop and have an aerial view of the blue city. Tripods will be needed for this photographic opportunity. Afterwards we will return to our hotel for breakfast and a break. The group will venture out afterwards and we will walk in the small lanes and alleyways to witness the morning activities. These includes people washing clothing, at prayer in the small Hindu temples, shopkeepers laying out their sari's, and house wares and kids going to school in their brightly color coordinated uniforms.
This afternoon we will visit the impressive Mehrangarh Fort, which is set on a 37m-sandstone hill built by Rao Jodha in 1459. From the top of the fort one can get a bird’s eye view of the old city to the Jaswant Thada, an imposing marble cenotaph built in 1899 for Maharajah Jaswant Singh II, and smaller memorials to other Maharajahs of Jodhpur. Dinner will be on the rooftop of our hotel which looks out at the main square and clock tower
O/N Pal Haveli (B,L,D)
Day 4: Jodhpur
The group will return at sunrise to photograph the Mehrangarh Fort in the early morning light then return for breakfast. The day will be spend photographing the spice market, the sari vendors and streets life in this easily navigated and walkable city. Hindu culture is everywhere and the people are warm and friendly. For the blue hour we will return to the rooftop to shoot down on the city The group will have the joy of traveling the narrow lanes in the back of tuk tuks.
O/N Pal Haveli (B,L,D)
Day 5: Jodhpur - Chandelao (27 Miles, 01 hr)
Today after breakfast we will drive to Chandelao Garh. The village of Chandelao and the Garh (fort) have long played a part in the history of Rajasthan and the Kingdom of Marwar. This area of Rajasthan is renowned for its fiercely independent people, its colorful clothing, its handicrafts and its traditional way of life. Chandelao is a village of about 2,000 people, and like most villages in Rajasthan, the majority of the people are involved in agriculture. Many of the houses are still constructed of the traditional mud bricks, with a weatherproof coating of cow manure, painted white, red or blue. In some spots, newer houses constructed of beautiful red Jodhpur sandstone are being built. The day will be spent exploring the village and photographing daily life.
Chandaleo is only 40 kilometers from bustling Jodhpur but it is like being in a different world. It is a village of about 1,700 people, and like most villages in Rajasthan, the majority of the people are involved in agriculture. Many of the houses are still constructed of the traditional mud bricks, with a weatherproof coating of cow manure, painted white, red or blue. In some spots, newer houses constructed of beautiful red Jodhpur sandstone are being built. We will lodge at the converted Garh (fort) where the descendents of the original rulers lived. The women in this hamlet wear multi colored patchwork dresses and the men in white long coats and turbans. We will photograph the women hauling water, doing aari-tari which is cross stitch embroidery and beading. The group will have an opportunit to photogaph the children in the village school.
O/N Hotel Chandelao Garh (B,L,D)
Day 6: Chandelao
A stroll round the village will bring you face to face with the sights and sounds of village India—local craftspeople plying their trade, animals grazing, women in colorful saris collecting water from the wells, and lakes, children play in the street—everyone is easily photographed. Just outside the Garh of Chandelao village we will find a building hosting the Sunder Rang. Here the women of Chandelao work in making traditional Rajasthani handicraft. "Sunder Rang" means beautiful colors in Hindi; it symbolizes the colorful clothes of the women and the bright turbans of the men along with the richness in culture, crafts, people and traditions in Rajasthan. In the afternoon we will take a Jeep excursion into the countryside to visit tribal hamlets of Bishnois and Prajapats. This jeep safari in an open-sided jeep will take us deep into the Rajasthani countryside, through fields where goats graze and farmers raise their crops. We will see camels and buffaloes, houses old and new. The villages are gradually receiving electricity and being connected to more reliable water supplies but for the most part life continues as is has for many centuries. We will photograph traditional craftspeople making water pots and woven rugs of camel hair.
O/N Hotel Chandelao Garh (B,L,D)
Day 7 Chandelao - Rawla Jojawar (80 Miles, 2 ½ hrs)
After breakfast, we will proceed to Rawla Jojawar. On our route we will stop if we come upon local goat herders and markets that have activity. After lunch the group will have free time to independently wander in this quaint, small village. The tea sellers, vegetable stalls and townspeople are friendly. Side streets are where the poeple live and we can photograph them cooking dinner and going about their days. Our heritage hotel has a large courtyard where we can relax with a a fresh lime soda and download photographs. Dinner will be in the main dining room. We will offer a photo critique this evening.
Rawla Jojowa is another untouched, little visited town in Rajasthan. The country side around Jojowar boasts rocky hills and scrub forests as well as the picturesque Aravilli Hills in the east. The camel herding Rabari people populate this area. We will take a jeep trip to visit a very rural un electrified village in the early morning. We will shoot them preparing the first cup of tea, milking their buffalos and hauling water from the nearby well. Surrounding this quaint village we will photograph the friendly turbaned and brightly colored sari wearing women in their homes and villages. The group will also take the one hour local train and mingle with the tribesman and local commuters. Rawla Jojowar photo shoots will also include the men drinking opium and possibly an early morning cattle milking and going to pasture shoot.
O/N Rawla Jojawar (B,L,D)
Day 8 & 9: Rawla Jojawar
The next two days will be spend capturing the real, untouched, little visited Rajasthan and the real India. The countryside around Jojawar boasts rocky hills and scrub forests as well as the picturesque Aravilli Hills in the east. The camel herding Rabari people populate this area. We will take a jeep trip early one morning to visit them and photograph them in their homes and villages. They reside in small hamlets that are un electrified. Possibly photographing the men as they drink opium in the shade will be possible.
The group will also take a local train and mingle with the turban-wearing tribesman. From the hotel which is a restored fort to the railway station we will ride in a vintage open top Chevy. The train ride offers a total contrast to the Chevy ride, as one may have to travel in the company of total 20 locals, some cows and goats. From Phulad to the high hills of the Aravalis – the Kambli Ghat, the train ride is as unique as the co-passengers. At one station, you may see hundreds of langurs jumping on to the train windows. We will stop for lunch at boutique hotel and have a fine dining experience. Rawla Jojawar photo shoots will also include village shoots and possibly an early morning cattle milking and going to pasture shoot.
O/N Rawla Jojawar (B,L,D)
Day 10 Rawa Jojawar- Bundi (155 miles 4 hours)
This morning we will drive to Bundi. A captivating walled town with narrow lanes of Brahmin-blue houses, lakes, hills,and temples with beautifully carved idols and pillars. The well-preserved old town is crammed with crumbling havelis, picturesque old bazaars and a surprising number of flamboyant baoris or “step-wells” (giant water tanks designed to collect the precious monsoon rains). Bundi is dominated by a fantastical palace of faded parchment cupolas and loggias rising from the hillside above the town. Bundi is surrounded by the Aravalli hills on three sides and is circumscribed by a massive wall with four gateways. A picturesque lake is in the heart of the town. Bundi is noted by designers famous for its intricate carvings and murals. Late afternoon we will spend photographing the blue houses and the old part of the city
Bundi is unlike any other place in India. Chaotic, noisy and intense do not apply to this town. It is tranquil, laid-back, enchanting and extraordinary. Photography opportunities at every corner. Time has stood still, Rajastani culture is very much alive. Men smoking cheruts, women pounding their laundry clean in the early morning in front of their homes, incense burning in temples, Aarti every night at sun set.
Picture a large desert hill, with a small town nestled into its base, a town with hundreds of narrow lanes creating a maze of homes, shops and temples, most of which are painted a mesmerizing shade of pastel blue. From almost any vantage point, the impressive Bundi Palace looms overhead halfway up the hill, representing one of the most well-preserved palaces in India. We will photograph the grand Taragarh Fortress, whose ancient outer walls line the entire summit of the hill, encompassing various hilltop shrines that are still used by locals to make daily offerings to the Hindu gods. At sunset we will shoot down on this small city.
Bundi’s population, consists of an interesting mix of Hindus, Muslims and Jains, all of whom live in complete harmony, are clearly proud of the peaceful atmosphere they’ve created. It is a place where smiling locals, extend their hand in greeting to strangers who pass them by. The children int heir bright red uniforms love to be photographed and practice their English. We will lodge in the old section of town in a restored haveli.
O/N Bundi Haveli (B,L,D)
Day 11 & 12: Bundi
We will photograph the following iconic sites in Bundi. The Bundi Palace is an extraordinary, partly decaying edifice – described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the work of goblins rather than of men’ – it almost seems to grow out of the rock of the hillside it stands on. Though large sections are still closed up and left to the bats, the rooms that are open hold a series of fabulous, fading turquoise-and-gold murals that are the palace’s chief treasure. Taragarth Fort is a ramshackle overgrown massive walled edifice that requires some steep climbing to get to This Raniji Ki Baori is a well known Bundi stepwell. It is thought to have been constructed in 1699 A.D. by Rani Nathawat Ji who was one of the wives of the ruler of Bundi, Rao Raja Anirudh Singh. This is Bundi's most well known step well with plenty of features such as an arched gateway, nice terraces, pillars, and ornate sculptures. The group will a have a farewell dinner on this last night of touring rural Rajasthan
O/N Bundi Haveli (B,L,D)
Day 13: Bundi-Jaipur -Delhi
After an early breakfast we will drive directly to Jaipur and fly back to New Delhi. The afternoon will be free and lunch will be on your own. We will end the trip with a group dinner at our airport hotel.
O/N Ibis New Delhi Airport Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 14: Delhi - Indira Gandhi Airport
Airport transfers will be provided for those taking late evening and early morning flights back to their country of origin (B)
Ø Accommodation based on twin sharing rooms as per the itinerary for 13 nights.
Ø Rooms are based full board for the complete itinerary, breakfast will be provided at the hotels and lunch/dinners will be provided at local restaurants depending upon the program/activity.
Ø Arrival/Departure transfers, sightseeing’s, excursion’s and surface transfers using an air-conditioned Mini Coach irrespective of the size of the group.
Ø Entrance fees (single entry) are included in the above cost as per the itinerary.
Ø Services of English speaking local guide during all the city tours
Ø Train ride while staying in Rawla Jojawar
Ø All currently applicable taxes.
Ø Domestic Airfare (quoted separately)
Ø Visa charges, airport taxes, table drinks, telephone calls, tips to driver/guide/naturalist, laundry etc or any other items of personal nature.
Ø International Airfare
Ø Any other thing not mentioned in program or “Cost Includes”