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CULTURE

Shangrila to Shalimar Photography Tour 2023

This specially prepared tour takes you to the far north- west of India to two fabled regions of incredible beauty and fascinating cultures.

Tour Overview

Highlights include staying in houseboats on Dal Lake, Kashmir, attending the Deskit Gustor festival in Buddhist Ladakh, exploring the remote Nubra Valley, visiting mountainside monasteries and the startling blue lake of Tso Moriri, marvelling at the intense fire-flame colours of autumn leaves in the Vale of Kashmir and the clear blue skies over stunning mountain-scapes in the Western Himalaya. We will follow ancient Silk Routes, witness Tibetan Buddhist practices and enjoy the traditions, costumes, masks, music, dancing and community excitement of an annual Buddhist festival in one of Ladakh’s most beautiful settings. We will drive over the highest motorable road in the world and take in (literally) breath-taking scenery on the way.

The tour has been planned with multiple nights at three key destinations so you can gain an in-depth feel of the locales and forget your suitcase for a while. This is not a brief ‘whistle-stop’ tour of the usual touristic cities of India but an immersion in a selection of fascinating and remote regions.

This tour is a generous boon for the photographer offering awe-inspiring landscapes of verdant valleys, multi-coloured rivers and streams, shifting light over rugged mountain ranges, colourful cultural events, intimate images of local artisans and families, portraiture capturing some of the varied cultural groups living in this region; fair-skinned Kashmiris, leathery Tibetan faces carved by harsh conditions, cherubic children and beaming monks. The architecture includes, mud-walled monasteries and forts, brightly decorated Tibetan-styled homes, unique houseboats, gilt-roofed temples and rustic villages with dry-stone walls.

Throughout the tour you will have the services of Terry Taylor, a tour leader with 40 years’ experience and over 70 previous visits to India. Terry is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and member of the International Association of Tour Managers and sincerely believes in the traditional Indian adage that ‘The guest is God’.`

When

2nd -19th October 2023

Where

India

Price

$10,995 AUD p/p twin share

$12,995 single supplement

Explore the far north- west of India to two fabled regions of incredible beauty and fascinating cultures. 

Your guide will be Terry Taylor, a tour leader with 40 years’ experience and over 70 previous visits to India. Terry is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and member of the International Association of Tour Managers. Terry will be there to ensure that your only surprises will be pleasant ones.

Shangrila to Shalimar Photography Tour 2020
Shangrila to Shalimar Photography Tour 2020

You will stay in houseboats on Dal Lake, visit Kashmir, and attend the Deskit Gustor festival in Buddhist Ladakh.

Under the guidance of a passionate and highly experienced tour leader, you are assured of being in the right place at the right time, to capture the multitude of sights and experiences you will encounter.

What to bring

  • A positive mindset to capture incredible images
  • Spare batteries, there will be a long days with plenty of shooting.
  • A sturdy tripod.
  • Remote shutter release.
  • Filters if you have them (Polarizer/Graduated/Neutral Density).
  • Good walking/hiking shoes.
  • Wet weather gear & a compact umbrella (rain will not hold us back).
  • Your creative brains.

What to wear

  • The average temperature in Afghanistan in March is approx. 12-17 degrees.
  • Warm, Comfortable but light breathable clothing is best.
  • Good supportive boots.  Waterproof would be best.

What you will photograph

  • Mountains
  • Remote Villages
  • Ancient Ruins and Mosques
  • Clear Streams and Verdant Valleys
Meals

Breakfast, lunch & dinner will be
provided each day.

Meeting place

Delhi

Place secure deposit

$1,000.00Add to cart

Once you place your deposit through our secure booking platform your place will be reserved instantly on the Shangrila to Shalimar Photography Tour 2023. The team will then be in contact with you to provide you will all the information you will require and confirm your trip details. If you would prefer to make your booking with the team directly, please email bookings@fotoworkshops.com.au

Want more information? Click below to get in touch.
Enquire

Tour Mentors

Terry Taylor

Terry Taylor

Indian Travel Expert

Tour Overview

Day 1: Arrive in Delhi (2 October)

The adventure begins as we arrive in Delhi and are transferred to our nearby hotel.

Days 2 - 5 (3rd - 6th October) Houseboats, Srinagar - Kashmir (4 nights)

We take a short morning flight to Srinagar, Kashmir and transfer to beautiful Dal Lake and our houseboat home which will be our base for the next four nights. 

It is autumn so the trees are ablaze in shades of red, orange and yellow, a perfect back-drop for your lakeside setting. Your houseboat features intricately carved walls, doors, ceilings and even furniture. The houseboats were designed for British visitors during the Raj era and still have the charm, comforts and service that ‘one’ would expect. Transport on the lake is by ‘shikara’ which is like a gondola but with a four-poster bed installed…a perfect indulgence for sightseeing and a conveniently steady platform for the photographer.

Some activities during our stay include:

  • Visiting lakeside Mughal era gardens including the Shalimar gardens ablaze in autumn colours.
  • Visits to artisans including wood-carvers, boat-makers, workers in metal and papier mache, textiles and carpet making cottage industries… we are at the source of pashmina wool. 
  • Shikara (gondola) tours of the lake, seeing floating gardens, local water-borne communities, mountain views, fishermen, families afloat and local crafts-folk.
  • Walking through the timeless bazaars of old Srinagar, still redolent of its ancient Silk Route trading past. The sense of old Central Asia, Persia, India and China all converging in commerce is powerful. This is a perfect venue for street photography, portraits and architectural images.
  • Country-side drives along alpine streams and rivers, past local farmlands and orchards.

When relaxing after a day of photography, you can enjoy the luxury of shopping from home, as it was before the time of Amazon.com. From your houseboat you can summon merchants who ply the lake in their water-born shops and watch them display their wares, jewellery, shawls, wood carving, leatherwork, fresh flowers, saffron etc. 

Your group meals and free time in your own houseboats are perfect for kicking back, reviewing your images and enjoying a life of leisure and the company of new friends.

Day 6: (7th October) Drive to Kargil

Time for adventure as we are driven in our SUVs along one of the most spectacular roads in the world. We head east out on Kashmir on one of the two roads connecting Ladakh to the rest of the world. We follow a tributary of the Indus river, climb the Zojila Pass (over 3,528m 11,500ft) and proceed from the Kashmir Valley to the Drass valley. We overnight in a very comfortable hotel located near the town of Kargil.

Days 7 & 8 (8th & 9th October) Leh, Ladakh (2 nights)

We continue our scenic mountain drive, visiting the famous Lamayuru monastery, rugged lunar landscapes, the impressive confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers and other beautiful locations as we venture further into Ladakh. Once known as Western Tibet, Ladakh, accessible only by flight for half a year is a remote and captivating ‘Shangrila’. There is a pervading Tibetan influence and heritage; monasteries dot the region in their mountainside prominence, prayer wheels, chortens, colourful prayer flags and mani stones abound.

Our hotel in Leh is the very best in town, the Grand Dragon with excellent facilities and magnificent mountain views

‘Julley, Julley!!’ is the cheerful greeting you will give and receive from the welcoming local folk.

During our first session based in Leh, the main town, we will:

  • Drive to monasteries as we follow the Indus River in its infancy. 
  • Witness monks in their daily pujas as they chant along with trumpets, cymbals and drums.
  • Explore the old town of Leh, once a significant centre of Silk Route trade and full of the bustle and bargaining of bazaar life.
  • Visit the impressive Shanti Stupa, an excellent vantage-point for viewing Leh and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Day 9: (10th October) Drive from Leh to Hunder, Nubra Valley

Today we leave our base at Leh to drive over Khadung La Pass on the highest motorable road in the world and then enter the intriguing Nubra Valley, a meeting place of three mountain ranges and two magical rivers with alternating rapids and calm beauty. 

We will settle in to the very best accommodation in the Nubra Valley. This will be our base for the next three nights. This afternoon we visit nearby sand dunes with their population of two-humped, Bactrian camels.

Day 10: (11th October) Drive from Hunder to Turtuk village and return.

Today the landscape just gets even more impressive, the mountainsides, river and cliffs constantly change colour, the scale of nature is almost overwhelming as is its beauty. We travel to the remote village of Turtuk, unique in India with its population of Balti people, the rest of whom all live in the neighbouring region of Baltistan, Pakistan. In the afternoon we return to our base in Hunder.

Day 11: (12th October) Hunder, Deskit Gustor festival

Time to join in the Deskit Gustor festival in the nearby Diskit Monastery. This annual festival has all the colour and intricate rituals of ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices. Masked dancers, frenetic music, chanting and many locals dressed in their finest traditional costumes congregate to celebrate. Their joyfulness and hospitality are genuine and you will certainly not feel like an intruder as you will receive many jolly and genuine greetings of ‘Juley!’ and ‘Tashi Dele!’ 

Day 12: (13th October) Hunder, Deskit Gustor festival

We return to the Diskit Monastery for the second day of festivities. You will by now be enjoying the growing mutual familiarity with some of the local festival goers and start feeling very much at home.

 You also have the option to explore the less-visited but very beautiful valley of the Nubra River, the Samteling Monastery and township of Sumur. 

Day 13: (14th October) Drive from Hunder to Leh (2 nights)

Time to leave the Nubra Valley and return to our base in Leh. The afternoon is free to relax or wander in the bazaars of the township and perhaps capture the colours of sunset on the surrounding mountainsides.

Day 14: (15th October) Leh

A free day with several options from which to choose. Terry will list them for you once you have gained a real ‘feel’ for Ladakh and what it can offer.

During our time in Leh, we will also be guests in the farmhouse of a warmly hospitable local family who are keen to meet you all and share some time together.  No tourist gimmicks … the real deal. 

Day 15: (16th October) Fly Leh to Delhi (1 night)

A short morning flight will return us to Delhi. Our hotel is located in the centre of New Delhi, perfect for last-minute shopping and checking out any of the amazing attractions in New or Old Delhi. Terry will have a range of suggestions for you. 

Day 16: (17th October) Agra

No experience of India is complete without a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal. Even if you have seen it before, the allure of this monument never fades and increases with every visit. We have a deep knowledge of Agra, the Taj and all the best vantage points from which to photograph it. 

This morning we board the comfortable super-fast Gatimaan Express and reach Agra in less than two hours. The rest of the day will explore Agra, its Mughal-era monuments and some surprise photographic locations.

Day 17: (18th October) Agra and Delhi

Sunrise provides the best opportunity to enjoy the Taj in its most peaceful mode. After our early morning visit we return to our convenient hotel for breakfast and then explore Agra until our late afternoon departure to Delhi.

Day 18: (19th October) Homeward bound.

We depart for home with minds, hearts and memory cards full and an appreciation for experiencing a fascinating part of India in-depth and in great company. (Flights to Australia arrive early the next day.)

What’s included for Shangrila to Shalimar Photography Tour 2023

5-star accommodation in Delhi, Leh and Agra. The best houseboats in Kashmir and hotel in the Nubra Valley.

Accommodation on twin share basis. All rooms have private facilities and hotels have been carefully chosen with location, comfort and value in mind.

Breakfast and dinner daily. Five lunches (Kashmir and Agra).

All domestic flights as per the itinerary.

All transport in SUV cars with no more than 3 passengers per vehicle plus the driver. Delhi transfers and Agra excursion by private coach. Gatimaan Express, executive class between Delhi and Agra.

All permits and entry fees.

Tips and gratuities

Local English-speaking guides for Kashmir and Ladakh

Extensive pre-departure information

24/7 support of your tour leader, Terry Taylor 

What’s not included for Shangrila to Shalimar Photography Tour 2023

International airfare. We can recommend and assist. Drinks, laundry, room service and purchases of a personal nature. Indian Visa. Travel insurance, a compulsory condition of travelling with us.

*Tour itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of Fotoworkshops. Please read our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Why choose our Landscape Photography Tours?

Imagine combining a dream holiday with your passion for photography. You will explore secret locations and gain new expertise in one of the greatest art forms ever created. With Fotoworkshops, you will be personally mentored by some of the most highly regarded professionals in the industry. A truly immersive experience that is sure to check off on the bucket list. Our itineraries and experience in handpicked locations will ensure you never miss an opportunity, you can capture everything from breath-taking waterfalls, wild bears, quiet and serene sandy beaches, snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, diverse and wonderful local people, streetscapes and ancient cultures – the list is endless.

Gift Card

Give some one you know a personalised gift towards any of our Photo Tours, Landscape Photography Workshops or Personalised Photography Tours. Vouchers are available in any amount from $100.

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Fitness Level

All of our Photo Tours require a moderate level of fitness. There are no major walks but where possible we would like our guests to be able to walk for about an hour if needed. Check with your tour guide before leaving and we can give you a better idea of any special fitness requirements you may need to complete the Tour.

Private Guided Tours

If groups are not for you and you would prefer to travel by yourself or with a group of friends and family then we can accommodate your needs by customizing a Photography Tour to suit your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests.

We also offer private one or two day photo tours and workshops in many of our locations. Please or email us for rates and information.

Travel Insurance

Keep in mind travel insurance is a compulsory part of booking any of our Landscape Photography Workshops

How To Book

Once you place your deposit through our secure booking platform your place will be reserved instantly. The team will then be in contact with you to provide you will all the information you will require and confirm your trip details. If you would prefer to make your booking with the team directly, please email bookings@fotoworkshops.com.au

$1,000.00Add to cart

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