Desert Festival and World Sufi Festival
Two Incredible festivals in one trip!
Lead by Deborah Sandidge and Piper Mackay

2015 (full)

2016

 Women carring produce walking alon the highway

Rajasthan is the most colorful, traditional, vibrant and exotic area of India. We have coordinated this incredible itinerary to include two of India’s elaberate festivals. The desert festival is similar to the Pusknar Camel festival, but with a lot less tourist and photographers. Set amidst the dramatic background of golden sand dunes in the surreal Thar Desert, the festival is filled with three days of multi cultural performances; fire dancers, traditional dancers, camel races, musicians with traditional instruments,  turban tying competitions, camel polo games and more. Standing in a sea of bright colorful saris, you will feel as though you have steeped back in time. The second festival is the World Sufi Festival at the Ahhichatragarh Fort, which will be lit with hundreds of candles each evening.  Some of the most talented musicians and dancers will make their way across the whole of India to preform. We will be treated to colorful ritual dances, masks and fire celebrations, cultural entertainers, light painters, and candle light performances. This is one of the most spiritual, musical, journeys on the continent. The diversity of photographic opportunities will be overwhelming.

These festivals alone, would be enough to fill your hard drives with exotic imagery, but we have also included a special one night camel safari and visits to the most iconic forts, monuments, and fascinating destinations of the Rajasthan area; Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Amber fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur-the blue city, Jain temples, Khimsar fort, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the winds),  Bharatpur bird Sanctuary, and more. Rajasthan is a lively place; there are photographic opportunities around every corner so we planned enough time in our schedule to take advantage of the unexpected. This incredible itinerary is the perfect mix of exotic performances, iconic locations, adventure, and extraordinary photographic opportunities, lead by two passionate photographers diverse in their photographic talents.

Men walking their camels along the ridge of the sand dunes in Jalsalmer, India

January 31 – Arrive Delhi

Transportation will be provided from the airport to the hotel. We will meet for dinner where we will have a briefing on our journey, get to know one another, and discuss any questions. D

Feb 01 – Jaisalmer

After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Jodhpur. Upon arrival, we will be met by our local guide and continue on to Jaisalmer with plenty of time to stop en-route to take advantage of any photographic opportunities. We will have an evening welcoming dinner accompanied by colorful Rajasthani dances and music. Accommodations –  Suryagarh Hotel BLD

Feb 02 & 03 – Full days at the Desert Festival

We will spend the next two days at the Desert festival in the picturesque Thar Desert. The desert will come alive with brilliant color, camel races, camel polo, traditional processions, folk dances, music, turban wrapping contest, cultural events, and more. Villagers will be dressed in their best and brightest, as will their camels. The festival closes with an enchanting sound and light show amid the sand dunes on a moonlit night. Accommodations - Suryagarh Hotel BLD

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Feb 04 – Jaisalmer Tour and Camel Safari

This morning we will rise early to photograph Jaisalmer fort, the people going about their morning, and the city, which is slowly waking with the sunrise. This ancient old city was once completely surrounded by an extensive wall. We will pass by beautiful mansions or havelis, built by the wealthy merchants of jaisalmer, and visit some finely carved jain temples.

In the afternoon we will embark on a camel safari, through the Thar desert, exploring a totally new world of serenity. An expert in regional desert ecology and cultural history will accompany us. We will have the opportunity to photography the camels up on the dunes at sunset. Upon arrival to our basic camp, we will get to interact with the local villagers who will have millions of stories and experiences to share with us. Accommodations -camping BLD

Feb 05 – Jodhpur

We will waken as the sunrises over the beauty of the desert. With camera’s in hand, we will visit a near by village to experience life in the village as they begin their day, including the bathing at the local well. We will have a simple breakfast back at camp before continuing on a short camel ride to the main road where our transport will be waiting to take us to Jodhpur, famously known as the “Blue City”. We will have the late afternoon and early evening to explore and photograph this fascinating city. Accommodations - Indiana Palace BLD

Feb 06 – Jodhpur

This morning we visit the Mehrangarh Fort, which has been called one of the grandest sights in India. From the courtyard we see the fantastic latticework that covers the sandstone walls and balconies. We will see the beautifully decorated dancing hall, the royal bedroom, jewel-studded robes, ornate baby cradles, solid silver elephant seats and palanquins. In the afternoon, we will take to the street again to further explore the blue city and hopefully see the camel caravans at sunset. Accommodations - Indiana Palace BLD

Feb 07 – Jodhpur

Today we immerse ourselves into the culture of the Bishnoi villages and learn about their 19 principles. The men are colorfully dressed against colorful homes made of mud and cow dung. We will meet the village elders and witness an opium ceremony. Famous for pottery, they will demonstrate their skills and you will have the opportunity to join in. We will stop by the Gudha village where we will see wildlife roaming around the village; Antelopes, Fazelle, Dumessille crane, and more.  Next will be the Salaws, known for their weaving of magic carpets. Lastly we will stop by a shepherds village; a perfect place to photograph traditional village life. We will return to our beautiful palace to reflect on the day. Accommodations - Indiana Palace BLD

Beautiful young woman in Rajastan India

Feb 08 Jodhpur/ Osian

Travel today to Osian, the former capital of Marwar. This ancient city is known for a number of Brahmanical and Jain temples that date back to the 8th and 12th centuries. Most of these temples face the west and are perfect examples of architectural excellence. The Sun Temple is the most venerated and the oldest of the temples. Moreover, there is a Mahavir Temple and three temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu that are must see. Osian bears a number of titles such as Oasis of Thar Desert and Khajuraho of Rajasthan. Accommodations - Overnight at Osian Fort.  BLD

Feb 09 – Nagaur  – World Sufi Festival

In the morning we will have time to photograph at the fort before continuing to Nagaur, a desert town of historical significance; known as Ahichhatrapur. Here we will participate in the World Sufi Festival. Pilgrims from the past follow their spiritual route, making their way across mountains, deserts and oceans, bringing a sense of the sacred in everyday life. The beautiful architecture of the Ahichatragarh is the perfect ambiance to absorb the spirit of music and dance. Accommodations - Ranwas Luxury Tents BLD

Feb 10 – Nagaur  – World Sufi Festival

This morning, in soft light, we will wonder through the town of Nagaur. In the early afternoon through the evening, we will enjoy the festival with colorful ritual dances, masks and fire celebrations, cultural entertainers, light painters, candle light performances, and one the most spiritual, musical, journeys on the continent. Accommodations - Ranwas Luxury Tents BLD

Feb 11 – Jaipur

Today we will travel to Jaipur where the people are dynamic and colorful, with pink turbans and saffron odhinis. Camel buggies and elephants share the streets with cars and buses. We have plenty of time to take advantage of any spontaneous photographic opportunities en-route. Accommodations -Shahpura House BLD

Feb 12 – Jaipur

We will start our day at  the Mawa Mahal, know as the palace of the winds. We will then go to the ancient capital of Amber, ascending the Palace Fortress on the back of a gaily-caparisoned elephants. The afternoon is free to roam the streets of this lively city and colorful bazaars. Accommodations - Shahpura House BLD

Feb 13 – Agra

After Breakfast we travel by express train to Bharatpur, home to a magnificent bird haven. The wetlands are home to huge colonies birds; Storks, Moorhens, Herons, Flamingos, Egrets, Cormorants and many others. We will enjoy our lunch here before continuing on to Agra. Our next stop will be at Fatehpur Sikri. After we check into our hotel in Agra, we will get our first views of the Taj Mahal at sunset. Accommodations - Wyndham Grand BLD

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Feb 14 – Agra

Rise early to see and photograph the Taj by sunrise. After breakfast we spend the day visiting the Taj Mahal and Afra fort. If time allows, we will visit the local markets in the afternoon. Accommodations - Wyndham Grand BLD

Feb 15 – Delhi, Depart for home

We will have the morning free before traveling back to Delhi for our international departures.

Is this trip for you?

This itinerary was created for all levels of photographers who have a passion to be in the action and photograph the beauty of a culture and place. The Rajasthan area is lively with color and the unexpected. The people are warm and friendly; a photographers dream, but India is also a country that also has extreme poverty. Our days will be filled with excitement, starting very early, at or before sunrise, and ending after sunset. However, we will be staying at some exotic beautiful hotels, filled with the ambiance of India, where you may choose to slow down and relax, taking a morning or afternoon to be in the moment and process the amazing experience you are having. A special desert shoot with camels has been arranged, where you will ride the camels into the desert and spend one night in basic tents, but large enough that you have plenty of room to stand up in.  This trip is best suited for photographers with an adventurous spirit, who are flexible, enjoy the element of the unexpected, have a good sense of humor, have limited dietary requirements,  are in good physical condition, and love to have a great time when traveling!

Deb and Piper will be shooting along with you. Deborah specialize in cityscapes, long exposure and infrared. Piper specialize in culture and wildlife. Deborah shoots with Nikon and Piper shoots with Canon. Together they should be able to assist you in all technical and creative aspects of photography. Although this is NOT a formal workshop they will be  informally giving instruction  throughout the journey. Whenever there is down time, they will be happy to review your work and discuss all things photographic, including marketing and building your business.

The Price

The price of the exciting, exotic, photographic experience is $6450.00

Single supplement is $1450.00

If a solo guest is willing to share accommodations, as specified on the registration form, we will do our best to match the participant with another guest of the same gender. If we are unable to match a solo guest with a roommate, then the single supplement will be charged, but at a discounted rate of %20 – 40% off. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, as specified on the registration form, the full single supplement will be charged.

Included

15 nights accommodations

All three daily meals, except on Arrival and departure days

Entrance fees to both festivals

Cocktail receptions and gala dinners at the World Sufi Festival

Entrance fees to monuments and forts listed in the itinerary

Airport transfers and all ground transportation.

One in-country flight, Delhi to Jodhpur

English speaking guides

Bottled drinking water

Two professional photographer leaders

As part of our service, our agent will assist you in booking all your flights.

Not Included

International flights

Visa

Travel insurance

Personal purchases (including shopping, spirits, laundry, internet fees, phone calls, etc)

Camera fees and photo fees

Accommodations before or after the tour

Meals and beverages on the day of arrival and departure, except what is stated on the itinerary, these are considered travel days

Gratuities for guides and drivers

 

Please Understand

Traveling in remote or international locations  can present challenges that may require slight changes to the itinerary. We invested quality time and research in creating this itinerary and will always try to run the tour as written in the initial itinerary. However, in the event of situations beyond our control, such as natural disasters, political unrest, and overbookings by hotels, where a change is required, we will do our best to keep you close to the original shooting location in similar accommodations. It is our intention for you to have the best possible experience. We will try to notify you of any changes as soon as we are made aware of them. If these change an increase to the price, we have to pass the increase onto the participant.

Travel insurance is not required to join this tour, but is highly recommended. We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover medical situations, baggage and trip cancellation. Piper Mackay Photography reserves the right to cancel a tour if the trip does not meet the required minimum participants. If a trip is cancelled, participants will be notified and sent a full refund of the trip payment. Piper Mackay Photography is not responsible for any additional expenses participant incurred in preparing for the trip.

Join us on this amazing photographic experience

The group size for this extraordinary photo tour is limited to only10 participants. If your excited to participate on the adventure or have any further questions, please send an email to deb@deborahsandidge.com   A $900.00 deposit is required to hold your spot. Once the tour is full, you may join a wait-list. Register here...

As part of our service, our agent will assist you in booking all your flights.

 

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Varanasi Extension

January 28- 31, 2015

Varanasi is one of the most fascinating destinations to experience and photograph. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Janinish, and the oldest city in India. It has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Pilgrims come to the Ghats lining the Ganges river to wash away a lifetime of sin in the sacred water. Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Elaborate prayer and candle ceremonies are held along the banks every evening. During the day these same banks are filled with Sadhus and pilgrims preforming cleaning rituals.  Running from the river to town is a labyrinth of alleys called Galis too narrow for traffic. The experience of this lively place would not be complete without taking a rickshaw ride down the ancient streets.

Jan 28

Arrive Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world. You will be met by a representative and transferred to the Hotel. Evening free to spend down by the river.  Accommodation – Jukaso Ganges D

Jan 29
In the morning take boats out onto the gauges.
Afternoon tour through Varanasi by Rickshaw
Evening, attend the prayer ceremony by the Ganges River
Accommodation Jukaso Ganges -BD

Jan 30
Morning free time to explore Varanasi
Evening, attend the prayer ceremony by boat
Accommodation Jukaso Ganges  -BD

Jan  31
Fly to Deli – B

The Price

The price of the Varanasi extension is

7-8 participants  $1495

6-6 participants $ 1650.00

Single supplement is $375.00, if available

If a solo guest is willing to share accommodations, as specified on the registration form, we will do our best to match the participant with another guest of the same gender. If we are unable to match a solo guest with a roommate, then the single supplement will be charged, but at a discounted rate of %20 – 40% off. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, as specified on the registration form, the full single supplement will be charged.

Includes

3 nights accommodations as listed

Breakfast  and dinner as listed on the itinerary B=Breakfast,  D= Dinner

Domestic flights, round trip  from Delhi to Varanasi

Airport pick up and transfers upon arrival and departure

Local English speaking guide on sight seeing tours

All entrance fees, guide fees etc

Two boat rides on the Ganges

Rickshaw ride

All applicable taxes on hotels and transport

As part of our service, our agent will assist you in booking all your flights.

*Note that lunch is not included on this itinerary.  We did not want to have set lunch times or locations so that you will have the freedom to wander through Varanasi and enjoy every opportunity.

Not Included

International flights

Visa

Travel insurance

Personal purchases (including shopping, spirits, laundry, internet fees, phone calls, etc)

Camera fees and photo fees

Accommodations before or after the tour

Lunch

Meals and beverages on the day of arrival and departure, except what is stated on the itinerary, these are considered travel days

Gratuities for guides and drivers

Join us on this amazing photographic experience

The group size for the Varanasi  extension is limited to 8 participants.  If you are interested in adding the extension to the main tour, please email deb@deborahsandidge.com.  A $300.00 deposit is required to hold your spot. Once full, you may join a wait-list.

As part of our service, our agent will assist you in booking all your flights. Register here...

Priest along the Gaunges River in Varanasi, India

 

Piper Mackay is a professional photographer specializing in indigenous cultures and wildlife. She is well known for her work in Africa. Her work is licensed through Getty Images top collections. Featured articles of her work have been displayed in major publications such as Outdoor Photographer, Rangefinder, Nature photographer, and selamta, as well as several regional publications. Her images have graced the pages of National Geographic, Natures Best, National Geographic Expeditions, WWF calendars, Birders and many others. Her images have been displayed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC, The Museum of History and industry in Seattle Washington, The Art Wolfe gallery, The G2 gallery, as well as local galleries in the Los Angels area. She is part of the Gura Gear ProTeam and speaks at photography events regularly.  She leads wildlife safaris and cultural photo tours throughout Africa, as well as other exotic locations throughout the world.

2 Comments

  1. Rochelle Berman on April 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Please put me on wait list for this tour:-)

  2. Lars on April 22, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Wow! Great Photos. I especially like those from Rajasthan! Thanks

    Lars

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