thEscape announces it's Landscape Photography tour to the remote offbeat lands of Kashmir with an exclusive itinerary to the lands of Gurez, Tulail, Lolab and Bungus with an intent to capture it's pristine beauty in collaboration Nikon India Official as the equipment partner.
Gurez Lolab and Bungus valleys are often termed as untouched beauty of Kashmir. The lands offer some stupendous views of landscapes extremely soothing to the eyes. Our plan is to visit these valleys in the full moon time of June month which will impart some incredible vistas to be seen. Considered as a paradise for Landscape Photographers, this region never fails to amuse anyone who comes with a camera and an intent to capture it's enchanting beauty. thEscape understands it's essence and has come up with the most exclusive and sorted well researched itinerary best suited to the needs of any photographer with all the required facilities and comfort needed to carry out the photography activities.
This is our second tour to this region. If you want to see a showcase of what we did in our last tour in 2021, 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-
Highlights of our Tour
Group size of minimum 7 participants and maximum 9 participants mentored by one landscape photographer on first come first serve basis to ensure personal attention.
An extensive 7N/8D well planned out trip to ensure we cover every nook and corner of these valleys by not rushing through and hence don't leave out any opportunity to photograph it's beauty.
Participants experiencing latest High End Nikon cameras and Lenses as Nikon is our Equipment Partner.
Working on the concept of Travel, Share and Learn on Landscape Photography with Nilakkhya Dutta who has an experience of photographing Himalayas and showcasing it's beauty in the most purest form. Nilakkhya is a published photographer across different platforms and magazines around the globe.
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 as he would also be capturing his frames during the tour) 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 throughout the tour. Srinagar is connected with rest of India with flights and roads.
Accommodation throughout the tour at Srinagar, Dawar(Gurez), Tulail, Lolab would be in Home Stay format on twin sharing basis. Since this is an offbeat tour of Kashmir, no luxury stays will be possible and all the stays in home stays will be of basic nature. In Srinagar also, we will give Home Stay facility just to keep the mood of the tour intact.
Camping will be done on twin sharing basis in tents along with Sleeping Bags and Mattresses in Bungus. We will set up toilet tents. As a support, we will have the kitchen tent being operated with cook serving breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Single supplement option if taken, then the accommodation will be given in a separate tent at an additional cost.
All meals, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Tea and Dinner starting from Lunch on Day 1 at Srinagar to Breakfast on Day 8 at Srinagar.
Mineral Water served to all participants throughout the trip during the transit from one place to another. Though we believe here that the water in the Himalayas are more purer than the bottled ones, but just to be on the safer side, we will have the bottled water in the tempo to be consumed during the travel. At the camp site, we will have the natural water served.
First Aid kits.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by following any protocol of state of Jammu and Kashmir at the time of the tour.
Detailed Itinerary Day Wise
11th June- Day -1 (Saturday) - Arrival at Srinagar and transfer of participants in tempo to our home stay in Srinagar. We expect the participants to book the flights reaching max by 12 Noon to Srinagar so that they can take ample rest throughout the day before starting for the journey the next day. Overnight in Srinagar. We will have an optional visit to Dal Lake and if anyone wants to take the Shikara ride will be at an additional cost as per actuals.
12th June - Day -2 (Sunday) - On this day we start early in the morning towards our destination of Dawar (2500 meters) in Gurez Valley (130 kms). Enroute we cross the mighty Razdan Pass (3300 meters) and stop there for photographing the beautiful meadows with snow capped peaks in the backdrop. Overnight in Guest House at Dawar by the side of Kishanganga river overlooking Habba Khatoon Peak.
13th June - Day -3 (Monday) - Drive to Tulail Valley - 2600 meters (50 kms ). On this day the real adventure begins when we visit the enchanting open vistas of Tulail Valley from Dawar. We visit some villages enroute, and stay for the night in one of those villages in our Home Stay.
14th June - Day -4 (Tuesday) - On this day we drive further to Chakwali( the final point till civilians are allowed) and after having lunch, start back for Dawar(50 kms) and reach before sunset. Overnight in Dawar Guest House.
15th June - Day -5 (Wednesday) - On this day, we start early from Dawar and leave the valley crossing Razdan Pass again and enter Lolab Valley (160 kms) to stay for the night at the guest house at Chandigam (1700 meters). We capture some scenes enroute and also at Chandigam during the golden hour and retire for the night.
16th June - Day -6 (Thursday) - On this day, we drive around 70 kms to reach the base of Bungus (Chowkibal side) and do a 40-45 min hike to the meadows of Bungus. Set up our tents and spend the night there. Overnight in tents.
17th June - Day -7 (Friday) - On this day we descend down to the base after breakfast and drive back to Srinagar(130 kms) and stay for the night at our Home stay.
18th June - Day -8 (Saturday) - We say a good bye to our participants on this day and transfer them back in the to Srinagar Airport after Breakfast.
Rs. 46,000 per person (Ex-Srinagar)
(Twin sharing in Tents and Twin Sharing in Hotel)
Single Supplement - Cost on Request
Additional Rs. 3000 ( For people who want their works to get published in the Bi-Annual edition of thEscape Book)
All accommodations at Srinagar, Dawar, Tulail, Lolab on twin sharing basis in home stays. Single supplement option if taken would be only possible in Srinagar and Lolab.
All accommodations during Camping in Tents on twin sharing basis. Single Tent for participants choosing Single Supplement.
All transfers from Srinagar and back in 1 Tempo Traveler.
Airport Transfers to and from Srinagar Airport.
All Meals from Srinagar to Srinagar, i.e. morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea, dinner from Lunch on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 8.
Sleeping bags, Mattresses for Camping at Bungus.
Kitchen Tent for mess purpose.
Toilet Tent facility at Bungus with Western Seating arrangement.
Cook, Helper and support staff.
Mineral Water for the whole tour ( During transit in Tempos)
First Aid kit .
Experience of Nikon High End Camera Gears for taking pictures.
Photography Assistance for day time Landscapes and Night Astro scape (Moon lit) on all days with image critique.
Making participants understand the settings of the camera for capturing the scape.
Online post processing session to participant if needed.
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.
Breakfast on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 8.
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 any kind of food or beverage bought by the participants during transit from one place to another.
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. 20,000 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 26,000 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 27th May, 2022.
2. What is the Cancellation and Refund Policy?
If cancelled 30 days prior to Departure, ie. on or before 11th May, 2022- 50% Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 30 days prior to departure date and 15 days prior to Departure, i.e. b/w 11th May, 2022 and 27th May, 2022 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 15 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 27th May, 2022 and 11th June, 2022 - No Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 27th May, 2022 )
For people not paying the final payment by 27th May, 2022 and cancel their participation between 27th May,2022 and 11th June, 2022- No Refund of Advance Amount.
Any cancellation of Trip from the organizer side due to surge in Covid cases (4th Wave) 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 31st August, 2022.
3. What are the precautions to be kept in mind as it is a high altitude tour and photography during the same becomes difficult especially with stays being in camps?
First of all, a Landscape Photography Tour at a high altitude especially to pursue Landscape Photography are for participants who are mentally and physically strong. We would like to rope in participants who have a broad outlook in terms of the rawness of the place and limited facilities as the places we would be visiting would be remote. But the pre requisite which would be strictly adhered to is the physical fitness of the participant as it's a tour with some parts of High altitude Nature. Moreover there is a small hike in the tour involved of Bungus, which is a moderate walk in the hills, participants need to be fit to do it. With a strong mindset and passion for photography, 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 tour.
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 chit chat 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.
Participants who want to consume alcohol during the evening chit chat sessions can have it in quantity best suited to their bodies without going overboard. All are requested to carry it from their respective airports as it’s not available readily in Kashmir.
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 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 7 people . In case the minimum number doesn't enroll, we will try to conduct the tour but with some increased cost per participant.
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 Srinagar 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 tour 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 Equipment expected from everyone -
One DSLR camera along with a wide and telephoto lens
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 uncertain electricity , we also expect that the photographers get their extra battery sets in case they run out of charge. An extension board for putting in extra chargers would also be handy if participants carry it. 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, especially an altitude more than 3000 meters is expected to have a minimum level of fitness for carrying out day to day activities during the tour. Though our trip is a driving tour majorly and not involving full day hikes or treks except for a 40-45 min hike to and fro Bungus, the participant may still have to walk some distance in order to reach the campsite from the car parking or visiting a place. 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 the entire region falls under the altitude of between 2000 to 3000 meters apart from crossing of Razdan Top(3300 meters) , it is advisable not to bring in kids and if brought then taking his/her entire responsibility. 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 15 years of age will not be allowed for the tour 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?