thEscape is always looking out for stellar locations in the Indian Himalayas for conducting Landscape Photography and Astro Landscape Photography Tours and Treks in order to crete some exclusive content not seen or experienced by many. Following this aim, we have come up with a trek this time in Kulgam District of South Kashmir where we would be exploring the landscape and astro landscape photography opportunities around some alpine lakes and meadows above Aharbal Waterfalls.
With Nikon India as the Equipment Partner for the tour and With the best in class sorted logistics whatever best we can in those region, the idea is to capture the mind staggering beauty of this Kashmir's hidden jewel in our cameras and create an archive and memory for ourselves which has not been seen by many.
A trek to these lakes and meadows is considered as a journey through most picturesque location in the Indian Himalayas. Characterized by some stupendous views of the High Altitude lakes and the flora around, this location mesmerizes anyone visiting this part of Kashmir. Now coming to the photography part especially talking of Landscape & Astro Landscape Photography, this place has an incredible potential to produce some mind staggering images of the Indian Landscape arena. After a lot of research and hard work working on the logistics to capture the beauty of this place during the most suitable golden, blue and twilight hours for Landscape Photography, thEscape has come up with one of it's most exclusive plan to accomplish the same. Do join us for an one of its kind opportunity to create some never seen images of these vistas.
To see the kind of images we click in our workshops, please go through the following link for the set of images -
Landscape Photography Partner for the Tour
Nilakkhya is a published Landscape Photographer of India from Delhi and has been in the photography arena for the last 11 years. He is associated with Nikon India and to talk of some of his accomplishments, he has been published on all major platforms of photography including some of the top photography magazines of India. For his complete set of works-
Tanay calls himself a simple man who lives making photographs and spending time with family and friends. He considers himself fortunate to be able to spend a good amount of time on personal projects, traveling and collaborating with a team of rad people. Currently he is employed with Amazon India and stays in Kolkata. Apart from that he also a Creator photographer for Tripoto and Brand ambassador for Fstop Gear. He is a sucker for assignments where he can have the opportunity to travel and photograph the landscape.
For his complete set of works, please follow the links given below-
Highlights of our Tour
Group size of minimum 9 participants and maximum 13 participants mentored by one or two landscape photographers on first come first serve basis to ensure personal attention.
An extensive and exclusive 8N/9D well planned out trek so that we are able to reach the vantage points conducive for Landscape Photography.
Working on the concept of Travel, Share and Learn on Landscape Photography with Nilakkhya Dutta and Tanay Das who have an experience of photographing Himalayas and showcasing it's beauty in the most purest form. Both Nilakkhya and Tanay are published photographers across different platforms and magazines around the globe.
Experiencing Nikon high end Z series cameras and lenses.
We will also publish a book in collaboration with our publishing partner of the works of our participants during the trip be it photographs, a write up or a painting. This anthology will have introduction of the participants and the showcase of their work at an added cost. This book comes out as an Bi-annual edition of thEscape. Participants who pay for being published are given 3 copies of the book.
Through our NGO partner, we will be selling copies of the book on Amazon and the sale proceeds of it will go as a donation to the remote backward areas of Himalayas in the form of books, clothes and essential products.
thEscape will provide Post Processing Online One on One session to the participants who would require a hand holding in this aspect. Though we at thEscape believe that Art is one's own visualization and creation. We will only help in the technical aspects both on field and after coming back in the online sessions (if required). In this regard, we would also like to mention that we will make the participants click their own images with the outlook they like and would not encourage them to imitate or copy the frames taken by more experienced photographers of the group or the Photography Partner( Nilakkhya and Tanay as they would also be capturing their frames during the tour after making sure that all the participants are getting their images) as we believe the style of photography and Art grows of an individual with their own eye.
We give the trip ex-Srinagar with transfer of participants in One comfortable Tempo Traveler from Srinagar to the start of the trek point and back. Srinagar is well connected with rest of India with flights and roads.
The Accommodation of Participants will be in a Hotel in Aharbal on Day 1 and on Day 8 in Srinagar on twin sharing/triple sharing/single supplement basis.
During the trek, the accommodation will be in High Altitude Tents on twin sharing/triple sharing/single supplement basis with Sleeping Bags, Mattresses.
Facility of toilet tent.
Facility of Medical Kit.
Service of an experienced professional Trek Leader.
The backpack of clothes of participants will be carried by porters of not more than 10 kgs for each participant.
Generator facility to charge camera batteries.
All required Permits of the Trek.
We ensure State of the Art food facilities. We will make our participants eat at the home stay and throughout the trek, we will have our Kitchen staff (Make Shift Kitchen) accompanying us as a support operated with top notch professional chef serving breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner with Veg options majorly during the trek.
All meals, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, evening Snacks and Dinner starting from Lunch enroute Aharbal to Breakfast at Srinagar.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by following any protocol of state of Jammu and Kashmir at the time of the tour.
13th May - Day -1 (Saturday) - Pick up of participants from the Airport. Transfer to Aharbal Hotel. Overnight in Hotel.
From 14th May (Sunday) to 20th May(Saturday) we follow the route of exploring the lakes and meadows, but our camping points, start time of the trek, end time of the trek and stop over points are going to be dependent on the needs for Landscape and Astro Photography. Average walking time per day would be 6-7 hours covering 8-12 kms everyday on an average except for one day in between where we would be staying at the same place.
20th May - Day -8 (Saturday) - On this day, after completing the trek for 6-7 hours, we take our Tempo traveler back for Srinagar (3-4 hours of drive). Overnight in Srinagar Hotel.
21st May - Day -9 (Sunday) - After breakfast, we drop the participants back to the Srinagar Airport and our tour ends here.
Rs. 34,500 per person
(Ex-Srinagar Triple sharing in Tents and Hotels)
Rs. 38,500 per person
(Ex-Srinagar Twin sharing in Tents and Hotels)
Rs. 44,500 per person
(Ex-Srinagar Single Supplement in Tents and Hotels)
Prices quoted above are exclusive of GST of 5%. Final amount of the trek would be the package chosen plus 5% GST.
Additional Rs. 3000 ( For people who want their works to get published in the Bi-Annual edition of thEscape Book)
All accommodations at Aharbal and Srinagar on triple/twin/single sharing basis on Day 1 and Day 8.
All accommodations during the trek in High Altitude Tents on triple/twin/single Sharing Basis.
Porter carrying backpack of participants of not more than 10 kgs for each member.
All Transfers from Srinagar to Aharbal and back to Srinagar in Tempo traveler.
All Permits of Trek
All Breakfast, Lunch Evening Snacks and Dinner from Day 1 of Tour to Day 9. (Breakfast on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 9 is not included)
Packed Lunch during trek.
Facility of Cook with his helper and Make Shift Kitchen with all necessary raw materials.
Dining Tent with Camp Stools and Dining Table.
Kitchen Tent for mess purpose.
Cook, Helper and support staff.
Sleeping Bags, Mattresses.
Facility of Toilet Tent.
Services of an experienced trek leader and a local guide for whole trek.
First Aid kit.
Facility of Charging Camera Batteries through Generator facility during the trek.
Photography Assistance for day time Landscapes and Night Astro scape on all days with image critique.
Experiencing Nikon high end Z series cameras and lenses.
Making participants understand the settings of the camera for capturing the scape.
Online post processing session to participant.
3 copies of published anthology book to each participant who opt for the book.
Travel to Srinagar and return travel from Srinagar to your location.
In transit stay and meals during the travel from your location to Srinagar and Srinagar to your location.
Porter Facility if someone wants one for carrying their Camera Bag.
Breakfast on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 9.
Any kind of Meal skip cost as planned for the tour. For eg. for photography or travel need, the lunch or breakfast is served late, then if any participant chooses to consume food from any outlet or restaurant, the cost of that is not included.
Expenses of personal nature including tips, laundry or similar.
Expenses of extra food or beverages both soft and hard ordered though we try to avoid hard drinks at high altitudes and not recommend it to our participants.
Any cost arising out for Medical emergency of any participant.
Any cost arising out if there is an increase in the number of days due to unforeseen civil unrest, weather disruption or anything beyond our control.
1. What are the terms of Payment and Booking Procedure?
Booking Amount - Rs. 15,000 +5% GST(Rs. 750) = Rs. 15,750 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 19,500 +5% GST(Rs. 975) = Rs. 20,475 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 30th April, 2023.
Booking Amount - Rs. 15,000 +5% GST(Rs. 750) = Rs. 15,750 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 23,500 +5% GST(Rs. 1175) = Rs. 24,675 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 30th April, 2023.
Booking Amount - Rs. 15,000 +5% GST(Rs. 750) = Rs. 15,750 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 29,500 +5% GST(Rs. 1475) = Rs. 30,975 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 30th April, 2023.
All Prices quoted above are Inclusive of 5 % GST and are subject to change if at all the GST percentage changes by any Govt order. Invoice will be generated and given for each payment made by the participants.
2. What is the Cancellation and Refund Policy?
If cancelled 30 days prior to Departure, ie. on or before 13th April, 2023- 50% Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 30 days prior to departure date and 15 days prior to Departure, i.e. b/w 13th April, 2023 and 30th April, 2023 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 15 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 30th April, 2023 and 13th May, 2023 - No Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 30th April, 2023 )
For people not paying the final payment by 30th April, 2023 and cancel their participation between 30th April, 2023 and 13th May, 2023- No Refund of Advance Amount.
Any cancellation of Trip from the organizer side due to surge in Covid cases or a Lockdown imposed or any participant testing positive in RTPCR with due diligence, FULL REFUND WILL BE GIVEN of the Advance Amount or Full Payment made by the participants. Nothing will be held upon on our side. Though participants may wish to keep that amount with us as an deposit for the next trip planned by thEscape.
Please note - Any refund to be made from our side if it may arise will be done after one month of completion of the tour. i.e., by 21st June, 2023.
GST component of the payments made will not be refunded in any of the above scenario.
3. What are the precautions to be kept in mind as it is trekking tour and photography during a trek becomes difficult as one gets tired during a trek?
First of all, a Landscape Photography Trek especially to pursue Landscape Photography are for participants who are mentally and physically strong. We would like to rope in participants who have a prior trekking experience but we can also consider freshers as this trek doesn't involve technical knowledge. But the pre requisite which would be strictly adhered to is the physical fitness of the participant as it's a High Altitude trek. This trek is giving a facility of porters to each participant for carrying their load of not more than 10 kgs which would mean that photographers don't have to carry their heavy load on their backs to reach a campsite apart from their camera bags and tripods and will have the luxury and comfort of moving at a slow pace and create the landscape captures. Moreover with some great hospitality of my travel partners during this trek, I'm sure that participants would be able to make it through and in the process create some great images. As they say it " If there is a WILL, there is a WAY". So the mental strength along with physical fitness would be a primary requirement for undertaking this photography trek.
4. What are the rules and the protocols to be followed during the course of the tour?
While traveling, the group leader in the Tempo Traveler will decide on the stoppages for Photography. Participants can click from their windows but when it would be required to stop and get down to capture something, it will be decided by the group leaders.
The time for taking images after getting down from the vehicle will be communicated by the group leader as per the scene in picture. Everyone has to adhere to the timings given. If it is 10 minutes, then everyone should be back in the vehicle in 10 minutes, if more, then more. But be rest assured that ample time will be given to the participants to capture a particular scene in view.
Everyone will have to adhere to the rising time and sleeping time communicated by the group leader and the participants have to wake up on their own. If someone misses the time, then that person would miss out on the photography opportunity and the group leader won't be responsible for the same. Since it’s a photography tour, it’s extremely important to catch the right light for the images, both for sunrise and sunset.
While we are photographing at a particular place, no one will come in each other’s frame. If someone wants to capture the exact scene as being captured by the counterpart, it is advised to everyone to allow the first person to complete the shot and then give the chance to second person.
No quarrels during the tour amongst the participants. If anyone faces any issue with any other person, be it for photography or otherwise, one should raise it first to us and we resolve it.
For the logistics, all the participants are advised to follow the regular protocol of calling the hotel helpdesk for any need or the Travel Partner during camping for the same. If at all, they don’t respond or the problem doesn’t work out, then you can come to us and we will provide the resolution.
Strictly no littering during the tour of plastic bottles, wrappers or any other material. Do carry it back to hotels or a proper disposing place and dispose off properly.
All the participants need to carefully handle their camera equipment, be it the camera, lenses, tripods, memory cards etc. All of you would be responsible for your own belongings. If anyone damages the products given by Nikon India, then that person bears the cost of it.
Every day during the evening chitchat session, we will come to each participant and review their images clicked. It is requested to take the feedback from us in a sporting way and improve upon that.
Since it's a high altitude trek, alcohol is strictly not allowed.
Moreover one needs to keep in mind that the travels and stay would be a little offbeat and tough in nature with photography being the primary motive. So there would be instances where the meal timings along with some other facilities like pitching of tents, food preparation, toilet tent setting up , dining tent etc will take time and will not be as per schedule though the travel partners will put up their best show to be on time. Participants need to understand here the same and any negativity in the group or talks about the same during the tour will not be taken in a positive spirit and will imply necessary action as it would disturb the positive flow of the photography spirit and will imbibe unnecessary hurdles in creation of images.
For People who would want to take their photographs by going a little away from the group would be at their own responsibility and any mis-happening would not be responsibility of thEscape and it's associates.
We would also discourage any visit during the tour which would be of personal nature like a visit which generally tourists make during the tour as this tour is characterized as a Landscape Photography tour.
Any skip of any destination as mentioned in the itinerary due to any factor not in our control like road block, weather etc, In such cases, we shall be responsible for providing suitable alternatives, the best we can. Any extra cost arising for the same will have to be borne by the participants.
5. What is the minimum and maximum number of participants and what does happen if the minimum participants don't enroll for the tour?
The minimum participation we are looking at is of 9 people . In case the minimum number doesn't enroll, we will try to conduct the tour but with some increased cost per participant. Moreover, someone opting for Twin Sharing or Triple Sharing when it's not available, that person will be shifted to other package where a slot is available and the participant has to bear the cost of it.
6. If due to an emergency, the participant wishes to leave the trip in between, is the fee refunded and arrangements made for his/her return to Leh and their Destination?
In case due to any unforeseen circumstance, a participant wishes to leave in between the trip, No Refund would be made. Moreover the cost of arranging the transport for going back to Srinagar and to their respective destination has to be borne by him/her.
7. What Photography Equipment are expected by the participants to carry?
The trip is characterized as a Landscape Photography trek but at the same time invites are also for people who wish to create some art in the mountains in the form of paintings or creative writing which can be published in the anthology. Camera Equipments expected from everyone -
One DSLR camera along with a wide and telephoto lens
One Light Weight Tripod as the person has to carry it on his/her own during the trek.
Filters for those who want to try out Long Exposures. ND10 and Polariser.
Shutter Release remote again for Long Exposures
L-bracket who want to take vertical long exposures and panos.
Though this is a comprehensive list, but not hard and fast that everyone will have to carry these. For those who want to carry out simple landscape photography of golden and blue hours and want to learn Astro can just bring in DSLR with lenses and a tripod. For long exposures, the filters are very important along with the shutter release remote.
Since it is a trip to some remote lands with no electricity , we also expect that the photographers get their extra battery sets in case they run out of charge though we will have generator facility. An extension board for putting in extra chargers would also be handy if participants carry it. For keeping the batteries not running out of charge due to the cold bitter weather, participants can keep them attached to the bare body inside their clothes. For painters and writers, the expectation is that they bring their creative kits with them in the form of copies, pens, painting sheets or canvas, colors etc.
8. Can a participant bring a Non- Photographer Friend or Companion or a Non-Photographer or a Non-Artist Join?
We here invite two sets of people, one who are keen on Landscape Photography and second who are painters or writers as we publish an anthology for them. Apart from these two, if someone wants to join in the tour is welcome because we do a lot of sight seeing too in this tour but subject to the following conditions-
No reduction in Fee Cost
If they don't create any form of Art, then their name doesn't go in the anthology we create.
Photography and Art tours are slow moving as we will stop at a lot of places and spending time on creating the Art Form and the Non- Art participant is thereby expected to respect the time of the Artists and move as per their pace.
9. What is the fitness level required for this trip? Does it involve Trekking or Long Walks?
Any person visiting the Himalayas is expected to have a minimum level of fitness for carrying out day to day activities during the tour. Now since this is a trekking tour, participants need to be physically fit without any ailment which can trigger during a high altitude walk. The daily treks are for 6-7 hours and participants need to be mentally and physically ready for the same. Apart from that minimum level of fitness, it is also expected that any medication to be also taken care by him/her during the course of the trip and carry them in adequate quantities to avoid any kind of mishaps. Rest for a while if facing any issues and move forward at a pace best suited for his/her body. Participants hence are expected to bring in their medical and first aid kits. It's the participant's responsibility to notify the staff of any pre-existing medical conditions and/or disability that may affect his/her ability to travel on this trip.
10. What is the Age Group of travel and Can the Participants bring their kids?
Since it's a trekking tour and involves a trek to around 3500 meters from 2000 meters, it is not advisable to bring in small kids. Further, it's an Art trip with Photography being the primary motive, it's advisable to bring in kids only when they are able to comprehend the pace of the trip and respect the precision of the artists at work. Any child below 10 years of age will not be allowed for the trek due to it's high altitude nature.
11. Will the organizers use the photos taken by the participants or of the participants for Promotional Purpose?
Yes, with signing of the trip, the participant will also grant thEscape the right to use some of their images taken by the participant and of the participant and art created with due credits to the artists on their Website and Social Media handles. By joining the trip, the participant will also grant the permission for creating an anthology and publishing it in the form of a book by Raindrops Publishers and selling it online in order to proceed the sale grants to the backward Himalayan region.
12. Does the organizer hold the right to cancel the participation of any member during the course of the trip and under what circumstances?
Any misbehavior or misconduct by any participant during the course of the trip like causing distress and annoyance to co-travelers, any kind of damage to property of any supplier or travel companions, any kind of sexual harassment or misconduct, the participant will be terminated from the trip without any kind of refund of the fee amount and also has to bear the cost of him/her going back home. The decision of the Group Leader will be binding here keeping the respect of the group and artists intact. At the same time, we at thEscape expect the participants to be polite to the hotel staff, drivers and trek support staff. Any kind of foul language used with them and calling out to them in a disrespectful manner will invite a warning from the group leader and repeatedly doing so will invite a termination from the tour. Any spread of negativity in the tour will also invite a warning from the group leader and repeatedly doing so will lead to termination from the tour without any kind of refund of the fee amount and also has to bear the cost of him/her going back home.
13. What if any odd numbers come out of the Male Female Ratio while assigning twin/triple sharing to participants ?
In that case, the best possible solution will be given by the organizer and under no circumstance, a twin sharing will be allotted to opposite sex people.
14. Is there any Mobile connectivity during the trek?
No Mobile connectivity would be there during the trek.
15. How many people would be going along with the tour participants?
Nilakkhya and Tanay would be the photography partners along with the tour leader and support staff.
16. Use of Psychotropic Substances Alcohol and Smoking during the Tour
Use of psychotropic substances(drugs) is strictly prohibited during the tour. Any one caught possessing or consuming it will be terminated from the tour immediately. Smoking is allowed though it creates a problem in High Altitude Tours and we don't recommend it during the same and consumption of it will be allowed till the point it doesn't create any disturbance to co-participants. People not opting for Single Supplement provision, it is advised to all the participants to consume it taking his/her room mate into confidence. Alcohol is strictly not allowed during the course of the trek though one can have it after completion of the trek at Srinagar.
17. Are there any other Terms and Conditions which needs to be kept in mind?
It is a fundamental condition that the participants acknowledge that this is a high altitude tour. This requires some flexibility. The day-to-day itinerary is taken as a guideline only. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, we shall be responsible for providing suitable alternatives, which could be decided upon mutual agreement. Any extra cost arising for the same will have to be borne by the participants.
If the participant doesn't show up at Srinagar on 13th May, 2023 by 12Noon max, we will assume the participant has been delayed and has cancelled the tour and will be considered as "No Show". There is no refund of any money paid in that case.
We reserve the right to revise pricing rate posted on our website, under any circumstances, or on the pressure of various external factors that are further than our control. But, we put forth effort to keep on the present rate. In case of minor increase in price of hotels or other related factors, we don’t revise the cost of the trip, which was already confirmed & booked by deposit.
We highly recommend our participants to have a medical insurance and an insurance against any unforeseen event before attending this trip or any trip for that matter.
The tour date is fixed for the itinerary and the plan we have made. No alterations would be possible in this with regard to the participant's need. The itinerary has been made keeping in mind the best time for the need of Astro and Landscape Photography.
This tour will pass through some points which are checked by authorities of Kashmir. Participants will have to keep in mind to not take photos where is it not allowed. At the same time, the participants have to show their Govt. Issued Ids at all the checkpoints.
Participants are requested to keep their documents handy during the trip for any kind of checking by the authorities and administration. We’re not accountable in case of any non-compliance if the authorities ask for your document and you fail to provide it. Before commencing the trip, the participants also need to deposit the indemnity bond duly signed by them and show their Aadhar Cards to the organizer.
You understand that during the course of the trip certain events may occur, including, but not limited to, accident or illness in remote places without medical facilities, political instability and the forces of nature. You agree to assume all risks associated with the journey to the maximum extent permitted by Indian law.
For Booking and queries, write to us "email@example.com" or call on +91 9717960028 and speak to Nilakkhya and discuss on the same.
For Transfer of Advance Amount of Booking and for the Final Payments, we will share with you the Bank Account Details along with the contract and acknowledgement of the trip. On payment, we will share with you the GST Invoice of the payment made. Lets get it rolling and make it one of the most memorable trip of our lifetime with loads of images and artwork. Looking forward to hear from you soon.
Note - Anyone wanting to see how the place looks like where we go for the trek can speak to us and we can share the links of the same as its an exploratory trek.
Anyone making the payment for booking will be considered as an acceptor of the above cancellation policy and will fall under the above Terms and Conditions.