NORTH INDIA: Rajasthan, Varanasi & the Holi Festival
A Photographic Expedition with David Samuel Robbins
India is a travel photographer's true paradise, offering endless opportunities for world-class environmental portraiture, street photography, incredibly ornate temple architecture and stunning landscapes. Everywhere we'll find vibrant color, exquisitely weathered surfaces and some of the most photographer-friendly people on the planet.
This is an expertly curated "Greatest Hits" tour of the very best of Rajasthan, combined with the ancient sacred city of Varanasi and Holi, the festival of color and love, India's most exuberant - and photogenic - street festival.
In Rajasthan we'll visit the Monumental forts and bustling markets in the major cities, as well as explore some carefully chosen smaller towns and rural villages far off the mainstream tourist path.
Varanasi, the "City of Lights" is the spiritual capital of India and the ultimate pilgrimage destination for the world's billion followers of Hinduism. It is also regarded as the birthplace of Buddhism, where Gautama Buddha presented his first sermon, in nearby Sarnath.
Our explorations of Varanasi will center around the famous ghats, the massive staggered steps and platforms that contour along the west bank of the holy Ganges river. Here, from dawn to dusk each day, an amazing human drama unfolds, as it has for millennia. The ghats host all manner of activity, from the pilgrim's bathing (ablutions) in the river to the Saddhu's (Hindu religious ascetics) meditations, ritualized cremation ceremonies, children flying kites, locals doing their laundry or washing their animals and endless other activities, often coexisting in surprising juxtapositions!
In the evenings we will gather at the Dashashwamed Ghat, where the young Hindu priests will perform the ageless "Ganga Aarti" ceremony, a tightly choreographed offering of prayer, song, smoke and fire to the Goddess Ganga, River of Life. Many people in the huge audience know this ritual well, and will join in the mass prayers, creating a deeply moving experience.
Even for the veteran world traveler, Varanasi is an utterly unique and astounding experience - and a photographer's paradise.
This kaleidoscopic tour climaxes with our attendance at the Holi festival of Color and Love in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh state. Holi is celebrated throughout India, but nowhere with more public passion and spectacle than here, the mythical birthplace of Lord Krishna, the God of Love.
For this brief time, all of India's social distinctions of class, wealth and caste are put aside, and everyone is "Playing Holi" in the streets, joyfully dousing each other with brilliantly colored powder, water guns and balloons.
There is an optional pre or post-tour extension for an overnight excursion by express train to Agra and the Taj Mahal.
$ 6,995 per person, based on double occupancy / room sharing (Includes the Delhi - Jodhpur, Udaipur -Varanasi and Varanasi - Delhi domestic flights).
$1,595 solo / private hotel rooms, all nights in India
For a detailed itinerary or more information, click CONTACT.
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