India March 2019

India Workshop

March 13-25, 2019

Itinerary - 13 days

Cost: $5,225.00

March 13, Wednesday. Arrive Delhi

After you have cleared immigration and customs formalities and collected your baggage, an Indus Trips representative will meet you as you exit the arrival terminal building and escort you to the coach to be transferred to your hotel. Standard hotel check-in time is 2:00pm. 

5:00 pm Meet in the lobby for workshop introduction with instructors David Tejada and Eric Krugl, followed by group dinner 

Welcome to Delhi, a bustling metropolis wrapped in mystery, magic, and mayhem. This city of 19 million people is a mix of medieval fortifications, dusty bazaars, and a treasure of sacred sites. The population of Delhi is made up of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, with hinduism being the main religion. Some of locations we’ll explore are incredible temples and mosques dedicated to these religions, where you’ll witness first-hand how life unfolds in India. Delhi’s “street” life will challenge us with unlimited opportunities for telling the story through our images of the sights, smells, sounds of India that will bombard us on this journey. 

Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: The Lalit Delhi (or similar) 

March 14, Thursday. Delhi  

Early morning is the great time to explore the architecture and gardens of Humayun’s Tomb (UNESCO site), built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun. It is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style, a precursor of the Taj Mahal. 

Back to the hotel for breakfast, followed by a full day of seeing the sights of both new and old Delhi. Our journey today will take us on a rickshaw ride through the narrow, chaotic lanes of Chandni Chawk. This main street of Old Delhi is as crowded today as it was during the time of Shah Jahan who built the market in 17th century. Apart from being one of the most popular streets in the world, it is also the oldest and busiest market in old Delhi, Located nearby is Khari Baoli (the spice market), rich with colors, textures and patterns of the local produce sold. 

We’ll spend time at Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in Asia. A stop at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a peaceful Sikh house of worship, is included. The kitchen at this Bangla Sahib feeds thousands of people, with the help of volunteers, everyday free of charge. 

Return to hotel, dinner on your own 

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Accommodation: The Lalit Delhi (or similar)

March 15, Friday. Delhi / Udaipur
After early breakfast in the hotel, you will be transferred to Delhi airport to board your flight to Varanasi 

Depart: Delhi: at: 0810 Hrs by: 9W 733 (Jet airways)

Arrive: Varanasi: at: 0940 Hrs

Varanasi gets its inherent charm from its location on the west bank of the holiest of all Indian rivers, the Ganges. The riverbank, with its bathing ghats, is always a hotbed of photo opportunities. Hundreds of devout Hindus make their way to the river before dawn to experience spiritual rejuvenation in the sacred waters, or to cremate their loved ones. Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities and is regarded as one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities.  

Upon arrival, transfer to hotel and check in. Lunch; afternoon free until 3 pm. 

Late afternoon we’ll head out to explore the narrow winding alleyways that spider out from the river’s edge. Cows (sacred to Hindus) and humans cohabitate together in these dusty lanes. Many shops near the river are selling materials needed for cremation. 

In the evening, we’ll find our way to the water’s edge to witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti ceremony, which takes place every night of the year. As the sun begins to set, bells and gongs ring and chants fill the air. A line of religious celebrants hold plates of flaming ghee, moving them in a circular salutation to the Goddess of the River.  Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony. 

Return to hotel; dinner on your own 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: The Gateway Varanasi (or similar) 

March 16, Saturday. Udaipur

At sunrise, we’ll head to the ghats to witness the Hindu pilgrims descending to the riverbank for purification in the Ganges holy waters. We’ll be taking a boat ride on the River to experience life on the river from a different angle in the early morning light. 

Return to hotel for breakfast.  

After breakfast, proceed for a half day excursion to get a glimpse into the rural life of India.  The visit will include a stop at Lamhi Village, to meet with locals and check out the sanctuaries they build for their sacred cows. 

Lunch. 

In addition to being very spiritual, Varanasi is the center of India's silk weaving industry and much of the work is done in the surrounding villages by hand using traditional equipment and techniques. One of these villages, Sarai Mohana, will give us an in-depth look into the craftsmanship of the weavers with their distinct designs. 

Return to hotel; dinner on your own 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: The Gateway Varanasi (or similar) 

March 17, Sunday. Depart Udaipur to Chittorgarh to Jaipur  

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Delhi 

Depart: Varanasi at: 08:20 Hrs 

Arrive: Delhi at: 10:25 Hrs 

Upon arrival in Delhi, an INDUS TRIPS representative will meet and we’ll drive to Agra (204 Kms/04 Hours) 

Lunch on route.

Upon arrival in Agra, we’ll head for the Yumana River for sunset views of the Taj Mahal. Then onward to hotel for check-in; dinner on your own. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Sarovar Crystal Premier (or similar)  

March 18, Monday. Jaipur
Early morning we will visit the Taj Mahal by sunrise 

The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in mid-17th century as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, , the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Marble was brought from Makrana, near Jodhpur and precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pearl were carried from Persia, Russia, Afghanistan, Tibet and China. There will be unlimited angles and ways to frame this incredible monument. Return to hotel for breakfast. 

Proceed with drive from Agra to Jaipur (240 Kms/ 05.30 Hours) 

En-route, we’ll stop at Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted red sandstone city built by the Great  Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. 

After a lunch break, we’ll continue on to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, with a stopover at Abhaneri (95 Km from Jaipur): The small village of Abhaneri has one of India’s deepest and largest step wells, Chand Baori. Step wells are unique to India. 

Jaipur is an essential stop in any tour of Rajasthan. The old walled section of the city is known as the Pink City. It was painted red (a lucky color in Hindu culture) to welcome England’s Prince Alfred in 1853 and the fading old buildings retain their hue. Jaipur is one of India’s newer cities, founded in 1727, and was the creation of Jai Singh II, the Maharaja of the Kuchwaha Rajputs. When the Mogul power was on the decline, he decided to move from his outmoded hillside fortress at Amber to establish a new capital on the plains further south, which today is known as City Palace. 

Upon arrival at Jaipur proceed to hotel for check in. Dinner on your own. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodations: Le Meridien Jaipur (or similar) 

March 19, Tuesday. Jaipur-Agra

After breakfast at the hotel, our morning will be devoted to exploring both the City Palace and Amber Fort. 

City Palace, is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards,  decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armory, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.

Amber Fort defines the city of Jaipur. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power for six centuries.  Rising majestically on the slopes of a hill, this 11th century fort and palace complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles – the earlier constructions in the inner apartments designed by the Hindu founder are austere, while later constructions abound in the rich flourishes characteristic of Muslim influence. 

Reachable by jeep, once on top you will stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms are adorned with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Sheesh Mahal is one of the most exciting and beautiful features of this fort. The literal meaning of Sheesh Mahal is “mirrored”. This room is decorated with patterned mosaics, colored glass and mirrors from floor to ceiling. The most awe-inspiring thing to observe in Sheesh Mahal is that one candle was enough to light the entire hall room because of the reflections in the mirrors. 

Lunch at local restaurant, followed by tuk-tuk ride to the local bazaar.

Afternoon free to explore, shop, rest or take in sites on your own. You may wish to check out Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar

Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is a defining landmark of Jaipur. Built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design and rising five stories high, it was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city. Inside it’s barely a building at all, only around one room deep, with narrow, delicately scalloped walkways. 

Jantar Mantar, near City Palace, is an observatory begun by Jai Singh in 1728, which resembles a collection of bizarre sculptures. The name is derived from the Sanskrit Yanta Mantr meaning ‘instrument of calculation’, and in 2010 it was added to India’s list of World Heritage Sites. 

6:30 Evening shoot of the Water Palace. Return to your hotel. Dinner on your own. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch 

Accommodations: Le Meridien Jaipur (or similar) 

March 20, Wednesday. Agra

After breakfast in the hotel, we’ll continue on to Pushkar (185 KMS / 03.30 Hours) 

Upon arrival proceed to check in at your hotel. Lunch at hotel. In the afternoon, we’re off to the Pushkar Fair. An astonishing 50,000 camels converge on the edge of town for the annual Pushkar Fair. It's a fascinating and peculiar sight, and a great opportunity to witness an old traditional style Indian festival. The original intention behind the Pushkar Camel Fair was to attract local camel and cattle traders to do business during the holy Kartik Purnima festival, held in Pushkar around the full moon in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. The camels are dressed up, paraded, shaved, entered into beauty contests, raced, made to dance, and traded. A huge carnival  is held, with an array of musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and carousel rides to entertain the crowd. The sand dunes appear infested with camels as far as the eyes can see and the population of Pushkar swells to over 200,000 people, with an inflow of pilgrims & camel traders. 

Not to be missed is Pushkar’s main bazaar, a true sea of color with street vendors and stalls selling chai, nimbu pani, paan, ice cream, household articles, agricultural implements, jewelry, devotional items and festival decorations. For authentic camel souvenirs, don't miss a visit to Camel Charisma, where you’ll find camel dung paper and notebooks, camel wool shawls and other products made by the people of the Raika and Rabari communities who have traded their camels at Pushkar for centuries. 

Return to your hotel after sunset. Dinner (included) at hotel. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodations: Royal Orchid Regenta Pushkar Fort (or similar) 

March 21, Thursday. Mathura - Holi Festival

We'll head to the ghats at Pushkar Lake at sunrise to witness pilgrims during their morning rituals at this sacred body of water.   We'll return to the hotel for breakfast and then proceed to take in the various events that occur during the Pushkar Camel Fair.  We'll take a lunch break during the activities, and return to hotel late afternoon.  Dinner included at hotel .  Free evening.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodations: Royal Orchid Regenta Pushkar Fort (or similar)

March 22, Friday. Mathura to Varanasi

After early breakfast, we’ll head out to Jodhpur (220 kms/05 Hours)  

Jodhpur is a kaleidoscope of color despite being located in the stark desert of Rajasthan. Situated on the edge of Thar Desert, Jodhpur has been given various names, including “Blue City” due to the blue-painted houses around Mehrangarh Fort, “Sun City” for the pleasant sunny weather year-round, and “Walled City” as a respect to the strong wall that still stands as an armor embracing the old city of Jodhpur. Those baggy-tight horse riding trousers, jodhpurs, took their name from this locale. 

Check in to hotel; lunch, followed by exploration of Jodphur 

First stop is Jaswant Thada, a pillared marble memorial to the popular ruler Jaswant Singh II (1878-95), who purged Jodhpur of dacoits, initiated irrigation systems and boosted the economy. Continue to Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park- (10 mins) considered best photography point to cover Mehrangarh Fort as well as Jaswant Thada. 

From there we’ll head to Mehrangarh Fort (Citadel of the Sun) that evokes the very spirit of the Rathores, the ruling local Rajput clan. Visit its various palaces with their delicate friezes and respective museums, displaying treasures of the royal family. After visit to fort, we’ll walk down to the Old City for a Heritage walk. The Heritage Walk is designed around a selection of historical monuments and sites; it is perfect way to get a `feel` of old blue Jodhpur. 

Return to hotel, late afternoon; dinner on your own 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodations: Indana Palace Jodhpur (or similar)

March 23, Saturday. Varanasi

Breakfast, followed by free morning.
Afternoon, we’ll proceed for half day excursion to Mandore Garden and Osian. 

Mandore is historic town boasts several monuments. The now ruined Mandore fort, with its thick walls and substantial size, was built in several stages and was once a fine piece of architecture. A huge, deserted temple is a highlight of the fort. The outer wall of the temple depicts finely carved botanical designs, birds, animals and planets. Later continue to Osian (Osiyan), which is another ancient town located on edge of Thar Desert Osian is famous as a home to the cluster of ruined Brahmanical and Jain temples dating from the 8th to 11th centuries. The city was a major religious center of the kingdom of Marwar during the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty.

Late afternoon we'll head into the Thar Desert by jeep, followed by a gala dinner and Rajasthani folk dance performance. Return to hotel

Return to your hotel after the dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodations: Indana Palace Jodhpur (or similar) 

March 24, Sunday. Varanasi to Delhi

Morning walk to village next to Indana Palace Hotel - opportunity to shoot local life. and possible portraiture work.

Lunch at hotel; then check-out and proceed to Jodphur airport for flight to Delhi 

Depart : Jodhpur at: 1455 Hrs Arrive : Delhi at: 1620 Hrs 

Upon arrival in Delhi airport, a  representative will meet you and will transfer you to your hotel near airport.  

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Farewell Dinner 

Accommodations: Pride Aero City

March 25, Monday. Delhi – flights home 

Depart Delhi by International Flight (most US flights leave between 1 am and 3 am) Final transfer to airport arranged by tour operator