Photo Travel | Rural India and The Holi Festival

PHOTO TRAVEL TO INDIA
March 18-31, 2019



Travelling through rural India experiencing the magic colors of the Holi Festival 2019.
A humanitarian photo travel to discover the faces and traditions of Indian people, documenting and supporting humanitarian projects.

India offers enormous and incredible richness in terms of landscapes, cultures and photo opportunities. A fusion of modernity and tradition, the colors of India are the most captivating experience, with or without a camera. Immerse yourself and become one with the liveliness of the big cities, surrender to the simplicity of the villages and be deeply touched by the spirituality of this land. A journey through India is stimulating and unforgettable.

One of the most important festivals in India, the Holi (also called Holaka or Phagwa) is celebrated in the name of fun and joy on the day after the full moon of the month of Phalgun which corresponds to the month of March in the Gregorian calendar. Holi is probably the least religious of all Hindu festivals and is characterized by the ritual of throwing water and colored powder on friends and relatives; hence the name "the Festival of colors".

This ritual celebrates the arrival of spring with all its colors and the vibrations of life. It lasts two days, during which there is a relaxation of all social restrictions normally associated with the caste of belonging, sex, social status and age.

We will cross several states along a route that, starting from Delhi, will cover memorable and fascinating sites like the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Palace of the winds in Jaipur, the relaxed town of Pushkar or the white city of Udaipur, crossing at the same time through rural areas , far from the big urban centers, to experience the real Indian reality made of culture, traditions, religion, poverty and great humanity. A journey, that will amuse you with the colors of the Holi Festival but that will touch your conscience and soul for ever.

The professional photographers and travel coordinators will provide their photography workshops and tips as well as their great experience on the field in India, a state that they traveled already many times for photo reportages. The proposed trip has all the characteristics of a real discovery in search of emotions and unique sensations!

We combine our passion for photography and travels with our professional experience, organizing your travels with a deep love for the countries and attention to details.

All our tours have been carefully planned, through locations and places we know, to arrive at the right time in the right place to capture images of landscapes, monuments, faces, scenes of everyday life and events.

The tours are led by a team of Professional Photographers who have established friendships and relationships with local people in many of the towns and villages on the travel routes.

Thanks to the small size of our groups, you will have the opportunity to experience the places we visit at a level that is not possible with a larger group or with a classic Cambodia tour. Off the beaten track: visit remote villages, stroll through hidden alleyways, attend religious ceremonies, enter the houses, small markets and places of worship.

Immerse yourself totally in a culture different from ours. The size of our groups is limited to a maximum of 12 people in order to give the maximum of technical support and the best cultural experience.

The travel is open to everyone, with or without a camera, who wants to experience a unique travel off the beaten track, with a classic itinerary but also far away from the usual tourist routes.

TRAVEL DETAILS

TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES

Distances

  • Distances75%
 

Road Conditions

  • Road conditions80%
 

Fitness Level

  • Fitness Level 70%

Climate

  • Climate75%
 

Hotel Standard

  • Hotel Standard80%
 

Meal Variety

  • Meal variety60%

DATES & PRICES

Travel dates

Travel prices

WHAT'S INCLUDED | WHAT'S EXCLUDED

What's included
Transfers
All transfers in private vehicles (car, minivan or minibus, concerning the number of participants) with air condition and driver.

Accommodation
Accommodation in double/twin rooms with or near the local NGO partner

Meals - Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Meals as indicated in the itinerary, with our NGO partner or in local restaurants.

Professional Photographers
Professional NGO Photographers, experienced in the humanitarian field, will accompany the group for the whole travel.

What's excluded
International/Domestic Flights
Return flights from any Worldwide main airports, economy class. We can offer the best fares from our partner Raptim if you tell us your departure airport in the inquiry form.

International Medical & Travel Insurance Coverage
All Participants in a Cause Photo Travels tours are required to have sufficient Medical Travel Insurance. Cause Photo Travels refuses participation of travel if the correct valid Medical Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased with Cause Photo Travels and RAPTIM. Please visit the Medical and Travel insurance page.
Each participant hereby confirms that they understand and agree to purchase the required insurance listed below, that is valid internationally, and that they will be required to provide proof prior to departure for the Trip and in order to participate.

Required Coverage:
Accident & Sickness Medical Expense Coverage (minimum $100,000 USD)
Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains (minimum $200,000 USD)
Accidental Death / Dismemberment
Trip Cancellation Coverage

Suggested Additional Coverage:
Hospital Room and Board
Baggage and Personal Effects Coverage
Trip Delay / Interruption
Visitor to Bedside

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out travel insurance that covers the full value of the Trip and personal effects in the case of Trip cancellation, loss or theft of baggage, and emergency evacuation. The Tour Operators their owners, agents, and subsidiaries will not be held responsible for these expenses. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short the Trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum of the amount paid (see the section “Deposits, Payments, Cancellations and Refunds” in the terms and conditions above).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut the Trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, we recommend that you read carefully the fine print of your insurance policy.

Snacks & Drinks outside of normal meals
Please consider a little amount for some personal snacks or drinks along the way.

Tips and gratuities
Tips for guides, drivers, bellhops, museums entrances, photo fees, parks fees, etc. are not covered by the participation fee. Please read the “What to bring” section to check for tipping guidelines.

Personal transfers to your departure airport
Personal transfers / train tickets to and from your departure airport are not covered by the participation fee.

ITINERARY

  • Day 1 – New Delhi

    International Flights to New Delhi, Arrival in New Delhi. Overnight in New Delhi.
  • Day 2 – New Delhi

    Visit of Old Delhi: the Friday Mosque and Mahatma Gandhi's mausoleum. The rest of the day will focus mainly on visiting Delhi's Old Town with its narrow streets full of history, faces and craft activities and we will train our photography skills. Overnight in New Delhi.
  • Day 3 – Delhi - Agra

    In the morning: visit New Delhi, the oldest part of the city, the Qutab Minar and the Sikh temple. In the afternoon, transfer to Agra (about 4 hours). Upon arrival, accommodation in the reserved rooms. Overnight in Agra.
  • Day 4 – Agra - Vrindavan

    In the morning: City tour. The Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Moghul Shahjehan in 1631 in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the birth of the 14th child after 17 years of marriage. It is the most famous monument of India, whose construction was completed only in 1653 and required the employment of 20,000 workers. Workers also came from Europe. The Red Fort, a building of vast extension overlooking the Yamuna river, started by the emperor Akbar and then expanded by the subsequent emperors. Not all the monuments preserved inside can be visited, including the Moti Masjid (marble mosque). We will visit the public hearings hall and the private audience hall, as well as various other rooms. Transfer to Vrindavan. Visit of Vrindavan, the "city of widows". In the evening it will also be possible to attend the touching religious ceremony in the Are Krishna temple. Upon arrival, accommodation in the reserved rooms. Overnight in Vrindavan.
  • Day 5 – Vrindavan - Mathura (Holi Festival)

    Transfer to Mathura. Full day dedicated to the festival of Holi, the festival of colors, with which the arrival of spring is celebrated. Mathura is celebrated in a particularly felt way. Return to Vrindavan. Overnight in Vrindavan.
  • Day 6 – Vrindavan - Fatehpur Sikri - Abhaneri - Jaipur

    Transfer to Jaipur, the pink city. Stop at Fatehpur Sikri, built by Emperor Akbar in the place where a fortune-teller predicted the birth of his son. Stop for a visit at an ancient well-palace in Abhaneri. Upon arrival, accommodation in the reserved rooms. Overnight in Jaipur.
  • Day 7 – Jaipur - Pushkar

    In the morning: Excursion to the Amber Fort (locally known as Amer Fort), built by Raja Man Singh. In the afternoon: Visit of the "pink city", so called by the color of the sandstone used for the construction of the oldest buildings. It rises in the bed of a dry lake, surrounded by hills on top of which towers with crenelated walls tower. You will see the Maharaja city palace with its museum and the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory. Stop to admire the Palace of the Winds. In the late afternoon, departure for Pushkar (about 3 hours). Upon arrival, accommodation in the reserved rooms. Overnight in Pushkar.
  • Day 8 – Pushkar - Udaipur

    In the morning: Visit of Pushkar, which stretches on the shores of a small lake. For Hindu, it is a sacred city and an important center of pilgrimage and many sadhus meet there. There is the only temple dedicated to the Brahma god of the whole country. In the afternoon, transfer to the white city of Udaipur (277 km, 6 hours). Upon arrival, accommodation in the reserved rooms. Overnight in Udaipur.
  • Day 9 – Udaipur

    Excursion to the Nagda and Eklingi temples, where it will be possible to attend a religious ceremony. Visit of Sahelion - Ki - Bari, an example of a harem garden. In the afternoon, visit of the city: the City Palace with its museum, where the current Maharaja lives in one of the wings. Afternoon boat ride at sunset, on the enchanting Lake Pichola. Overnight in Udaipur
  • Day 10 – Udaipur - Delhi

    In the morning, possibility for a last walk in the old historical center or spice market in search of the best photos. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport. Flight to Delhi. Dinner in a hotel / restaurant near the airport. After dinner, transfer back to the airport to catch our flights home.
  • Day 11 – International flights

    International flights and arrival at home.

COUNTRY INFORMATION

Country Information
The country
India, also known as the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Required documents
Citizens of the UK, EU countries, Australia, Canada, the US and almost all other nationalities will require a visa.
e-Tourist Visa cost: up to US $100, depending on nationality.
An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the official website.

Passport validity
Your passport must be machine readable, with 2 blank pages for your visa and valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application.
The guidelines regarding passport validity on arrival in India are unclear. To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.

Currency
Indian Rupee is the official currency in the country.
There are restrictions on bringing Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to bring any amount of Indian currency into the country. If you’re visiting India, you can bring cash or travelers’ cheques (in euros or another foreign currency) and/or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India.

Credit cards
VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards.
Credit cards are usually accepted by modern hotels, restaurants and medium-to-large shops in tourist areas. Smaller shops, cafes, market stalls and places in remote areas probably won’t have facilities that support credit cards, so ensure you have enough cash to cover expenses while in rural areas or when visiting smaller vendors and bazaars.
ATMs can be found in India's large cities so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. Smaller towns and isolated areas will have very few or none at all, so have enough cash to cover purchases when out of major cities.
Traveler’s cheques, like credit cards, are accepted in major business establishments, such as large hotels, some restaurants, travel agencies and some souvenir shops; American Express (in USD) are the most widely accepted.

Language
Hindi, English
Languages spoken in India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 78.05% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 19.64% of Indians. Languages spoken by the remaining 2.31% of the population belong to the Austroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai, and a few other minor language families and isolates.
The Constitution of India does not give any language the status of national language.
According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms "language" and "dialect". The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people.
Two contact languages have played an important role in the history of India: Persian and English.
English continues to be an important language in India. It is used in higher education and in some areas of the Indian government. Hindi, the most commonly spoken language in India today, serves as the lingua franca across much of North and Central India.

Health
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.
Local medical facilities are not comparable to those in the EU, especially in more remote areas. In major cities, private medical care is available but expensive.
Severe air pollution is a major hazard to public health in Delhi, and a serious concern in many other Indian cities. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected.
Mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue Fever occur all year round. There’s been an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever, including in New Delhi.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations
Here are vaccines you may need for travel to India:

Hepatitis A . This disease can be transmitted through food and water. The risk for Hepatitis A in India is high. So, immunization is highly recommended.

Hepatitis B. There is an intermediate risk for hepatitis B in India. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can be transmitted by contact with blood and other bodily fluids. If you haven't been vaccinated for it already, you should get the vaccine before you go.

Typhoid fever. Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness. It's caused by bacteria. You can get typhoid fever by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. It's recommended that anyone traveling in southern Asia, including India, be vaccinated against it. This is especially important if you will be visiting rural areas or staying in small towns.

Japanese encephalitis. India is a high-risk area for this viral disease. It is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. The disease is potentially fatal. People who will be staying in rural farming areas are at the highest risk. Travelers to India are advised to get the vaccine before going.

Rabies. Getting the rabies vaccine is especially important if you will be spending time outdoors, particularly in rural areas. Young children are especially vulnerable to animal bites and infection with rabies.

Yellow fever. Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito bite. It's not a major concern for people traveling in India. You may not need to get the vaccine before you go. But it's important to know that when you get to India you may be asked to show proof of yellow fever vaccination if you visited a country with risk of yellow fever before your arrival in India. Without that proof, you may be quarantined for up to six days when you first arrive. Yellow fever is mostly found in tropical and subtropical countries in Central America, South America, and Africa.

Time Zone
(GMT+05:30) Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi

Electricity
Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type M (see D)

Dialing code: +91

Internet, Phone, Smartphone and local carriers
The internet has grown rapidly in India, so finding Wi-Fi access and cyber cafes in the large cities and regional centres won't be a problem. Smaller towns, isolated areas and rural villages may have limited to no access.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in urban areas but can be patchy and less reliable in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure global roaming is activated on your phone before you arrive.
The mobile network operators provide wireless communications and data services to customers. Airtel India was the largest mobile telecommunications network provider and currently the second largest mobile network company in India. Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have been merging to become largest telecom company in India.

Religion
According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practices Hinduism and 14.2% adheres to Islam, while the remaining 6% adheres to other religions (Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths). Christianity is the 3rd largest religion in India. Zoroastrianism and Judaism also have an ancient history in India, and each has several thousands of Indian adherents. India has the largest population of people adhering to Zoroastrianism even though this religion is not native to India. Many other world religions also have a relationship with Indian spirituality, such as the Baha'i faith which recognises the Buddha and Krishna as manifestations of the God Almighty.

Safety
Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified.
Personal safety, particularly for women and girls is a concern in India. There have been a number of sexual offences reported against foreign women in different parts of India, including in major cities and tourist destinations. Women travellers should take particular care, even when travelling in a group and avoid travelling alone on public transportation, especially at night. We recommend respecting local dress codes and customs and avoiding isolated areas.

There have been occassional reports of drink spiking so extra care should be taken to ensure your drink is never left unattended. We recommend being cautious accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.

Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag-snatching, is common, particularly in crowded areas such as markets, airports and on buses, metros and trains (including overnight and long-distance trains).

Exercise vigilance and try to avoid taking public transport or hailing taxis and auto-rickshaws after dark. Avoid walking alone at night in less populous and unlit areas, including city streets, village lanes and beaches.

Scams are common throughout India. Some scams targetting travellers include fake tour guide services, taxi drivers taking clients on unwanted tours and extended rides, or bank card details being copied from compromised ATMs. If you believe you are the victim of a scam we advise contacting the police immediately.
Climate
The weather is mainly hot most of the year with significant variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around the end ofNovember to the beginning of March, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days. The really hot weather, when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.

Western Himalayas
Srinagar is best from March to October; July to August can be cold and damp in winter. Shimla is higher and therefore colder in winter. Places like Gulmarg, Manali and Pahalgam are usually under several feet of snow from December to March and temperatures in Ladakh, which is a high-altitude desert, can be extremely cold. The mountain passes of Ladakh are accessible from July to October.

Northern Plains
Cities like New Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, and Patna experience an extreme range of temperatures and are typically warm from April to mid-June, falling to almost freezing at night in winter between November and February. Summers are hot with monsoons between June and September.

Central India
Madhya Pradesh state escapes the very worst of the hot season, but monsoons are heavy between July and September. Temperatures fall at night in winter.

Western India
November to February is most comfortable, although evenings can be fairly cold. Summers can be extremely hot with monsoon rainfall between mid June and mid September.

Eastern India
Weather in states like Orissa (which is flood-prone) are defined by cooler weather from October to February, scorching heat from March to May and unavoidable drenching from the monsoons from June to October.

Southwest
The most pleasant weather is from November to March. Monsoon rains fall anywhere between late April and July. Summer temperatures are not as high as Northern India although humidity is extreme. The coast benefits from some cooling breezes. Inland, Mysore and Bijapur have pleasant climates with relatively low rainfall.

Southeast
Tamil Nadu experiences a northeast monsoon between October and December and temperatures and humidity are high all year. The hills can be cold in winter.

Northeast
March to June and September to November are the driest and most pleasant periods. The rest of the year has extremely heavy monsoon rainfall.

WHAT TO BRING

Photo Equipment
Camera
You can bring whatever camera you wish, but we recommend a DSLR or mirrorless digital cameras. Make sure you are familiar with your camera, as with some scenarios you will encounter, you will have to work fast in order to not miss a picture.

Memory Cards
Memory cards for your cameras may not be available at every stop of the travel, so make sure you bring enough memory cards with you.

Batteries
Without Batteries, you will not be able to get any pictures. So make sure you bring spare batteries for your camera and a charger. Charging will be possible at the hotels.

Backup
Backups are essential. Cameras, harddrives and memory cards may break or get stolen. Make sure you bring enough Backup for the travel.

Accessories
If you want to bring accessories, please consider the weight of your luggage. We usually use available light, but it could be useful to bring GND filters or a light travel tripod. Make sure, all accessories work with your camera.

Accessories / Clothing
Clothing
Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended and long-sleeved items should be included for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. During the rainy season, bring everything to protect yourself and your camera from the rain. A jacket may be needed in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning.

Wind & waterproof
It is recommended to bring light wind- and waterproof jacket.

Laundry
Laundry service may be available in bigger villages or hotels, but if you need washing, please bring ecofriendly detergent to hand wash your clothes.

Mosquitos
Mosquito repellent is highly recommended.

Drinking Water
Tap water is not drinking water. You can bring your own bottle and filter system and buy big water gallons along the way to refill your bottle.

Tipping
Tipping is not traditionally expected here, but in a country as poor as Cambodia, tips can go a long way. Salaries remain extremely low and service is often superb thanks to a Khmer commitment to hospitality. Hence a tip of just US$1 might be half a day’s wages for some. Many of the upmarket hotels levy a 10% service charge, but this doesn’t always make it to the staff. If you stay a couple of nights in the same hotel, try to remember to tip the staff that clean your room. Consider tipping drivers and guides, as the time they spend on the road means time away from home and family.

Daypack
Bring a light daypack, suitable to carry your cameras for shorter trips in order to avoid bringing your complete camera backpack every time.

ADDITIONALLY INCLUDED SERVICES

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