thEscape announces it's second Photography and Art tour to the remote offbeat lands of Kashmir with an exclusive itinerary to the lands of Gurez, Lolab and Bungus with an intent to capture it's pristine autumn beauty in collaboration with Ongoz Escapades which has an experience of 16 years serving clients for Himalayan trips and 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 autumn month of October which will impart some incredible vistas to be seen characterized by Yellow leaves. 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.
Highlights of our Tour
Group size of maximum 10 participants accompanied by two landscape photographers on first come first serve basis to ensure personal attention.
An extensive 9N/10D well planned out trip to ensure we cover every nook and corner of the three valleys by not rushing through and hence don't leave out any opportunity to photograph it's beauty in autumn.
Working on the concept of Travel, Share and Learn on Landscape Photography with Nilakkhya Dutta and Sanak Roy Choudhury who have an experience of photographing Himalayas and showcasing it's beauty in the most purest form. Sanak Roy Choudhury is a renowned name in the field of Landscape Photography with over 200 awards and has a rich experience of pursuing this Art form in over 30 countries.
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 6 hours of Post Processing Online One on One session to each participant and help him/her with the post processing of the photographs taken during the trip after coming back.
We give the trip ex-Srinagar with transfer of participants in comfortable Tempo Traveller from Srinagar to these valleys and back. Srinagar is well connected with rest of India in terms of flights and if someone wants to travel by road or train, then Jammu is the nearest head.
The accommodation of the participants will be in comfortable guest houses and home stays and in camping huts wherever necessary.
We ensure State of the Art food facilities. We will not make our participants eat locally as we will have our Kitchen staff accompanying us as a support operated with top notch professional chef serving breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner with both Veg and Non-Veg options throughout the tour.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by sanitizing the tempo traveller and guest houses and each participant and the staff giving a Negative RTPCR report 72-96 hours before the trip depending upon the protocol of the J&K state at the time of the tour.
Facility of Supplement Oxygen and First Aid kits.
Detailed Itinerary Day Wise
2nd October- Day -1 (Saturday) - Participants reach Srinagar by taking the morning flights from their respective locations. Transfer to Houseboats for stay over Dal Lake. On this day, we take a afternoon to evening stroll in Kashmir University and gardens for capturing the autumn colors of Srinagar. Overnight in Houseboat.
3rd October - 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.
4th October - Day -3 (Monday) - Drive to Tulail Valley and back - 2600 meters (40+ 40 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, the last one being Sheikhpoora and also hike upto Jurnail villages for capturing the wide images of the place. From here, we would also be able to see the road going towards Kabul Gali which connects Gurez with Drass sector of Kargil but is forbidden for visit by any civilian. Overnight in Dawar Guest House.
5th October - Day -4 (Tuesday) - On this day, we explore places around Dawar town, do some small hikes and spend time around the Kishanganga River photographing the famous Habba Khatoon Peak from every angle at different times of the day. On this day, we also try some Astro shots of the valley. Overnight in Dawar Guest House.
6th October - 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.
7th October - Day -6 (Thursday) - On this day, we explore Lolab Valley and drive our way to Khumriyal (35 kms). Enroute we visit the famous Kalaroos caves which is believed is a cave connecting Srinagar to Russia. We retire for the night at Khumriyaal Guest House.
8th October - Day -7 (Friday) - Today we drive around 40 kms and reach the base of the hike to the famous Bungus Meadows. We spend time around the river and retire for the night in camping huts.
9th October - Day -8 (Saturday) - Today we trek to the famous Bada Bungus Meadows from our base (2-3 hours) and spend time photographing the beauty of the vistas. We come back and retire for the night in camping huts.
10th October - Day -9 (Sunday) - On this day, we drive our way back from Bungus to Tanmarg ( 90 kms) by taking an offbeat route from Baramulla towards Tanmarg passing through beautiful paddy fields. In the evening, we capture some golden hour shots around the river and retire for the night in guest houses.
11th October - Day -10 (Monday) - We start early in the morning and reach Srinagar airport and fly out to our respective destinations with beautiful memories of an offbeat tour.
Twin Sharing- Rs. 48,000 per person (Ex-Srinagar)
Single Supplement - Not Available for this Tour
Additional Rs. 3000 ( For people who want their works to get published in the Bi-Annual edition of thEscape Book)
All accommodations at Srinagar on twin sharing basis in a houseboat.
All accommodations during the tour in entire of the valleys in Guest houses and Home stays on twin sharing basis.
Twin Sharing stay at Camping Huts in Bungus Valley.
Airport Transfers to and fro Srinagar Airport.
All transfers in Kashmir in a comfortable Tempo Traveller.
All Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from Day 1 of Tour to Day 10. (Breakfast on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 10 is not included)
Packed Lunch during long transits.
Kitchen Support for mess purpose for cooking all meals during the 10 days.
Walkie Talkie for intra team communication.
Services of an experienced tour leader and a local guide for whole tour.
Supplement oxygen in the car.
First Aid kit in each car.
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 6 hours of one on one session to each participant after coming back.
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 meals during the travel from your location to Srinagar and Srinagar to your location.
Breakfast on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 10.
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- 40 % - Rs. 19,200 for Twin Sharing at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - 60% - Rs. 28,800 for Twin Sharing 4 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 28th September, 2021.
2. What is the Cancellation and Refund Policy?
If cancelled 30 days prior to Departure, ie. on or before 2nd September, 2021- Full Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 30 days prior to departure date and 7 days prior to Departure, i.e. b/w 2nd September, 2021 and 25th September, 2021 - 50% Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 7 days prior to departure and 4 days prior to departure date, ie. between 25th September, 2021 and 28th September, 2021 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 4 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 28th September, 2021 and 2nd October, 2021 - 50% Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 28th September,2021 )
For people not paying the final payment by 28th September, 2021 and cancel their participation between 28th September,2021 and 2nd October, 2021- No Refund of Advance Amount.
Any cancellation of Trip from the organizer side due to surge in Covid cases (3rd 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.
3. 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 5 people and maximum of 10 people. In case the minimum number doesn't enroll, we will not conduct the tour and return the advance deposited by the participants. Also for any number of participants above 5, we would be going ahead with the tour.
4. 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 or Delhi
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.
5. 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. Hence for photographers, minimum expectation is of a camera, preferably a wide angle lens, a tripod for slow shutters and night photography, filters though optional. Since it is a trip to some remote lands with a chance of electricity being off unexpectedly, 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.
6. Who are the Photography Assists and we see his work online?
Nilakkhya Dutta and Sanak Roy Choudhury are going to be the photography assist during this trip and will be working closely with the participants on the concept of Travel, Share and Learn. For the works,
Sanak Roy Choudhury
7. 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 trip 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.
8. 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 day trek to Bada Bungus, the participant may still have to walk some distance in order to reach a point from the car parking or visiting a sight seeing point. 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.
9. 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 , 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 10 years of age will not be allowed for the tour due to it's high altitude nature.
10. 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 and Ongoz Escapades 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.
11. 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.
12. What if any odd numbers come out of the Male Female Ratio while assigning twin 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.
13. Is there any Mobile connectivity in these valleys of Kashmir?
The service is going to be on and off in entire of these valleys. Internet services would also be there on and off throughout. The participants should not expect the same with any of the mobile service provider though Jio has started their services.
14. How many people would be going along with the tour participants?
Nilakkhya and Sanak Roy Choudhury would only be the ones accompanying the participants along with the tour leader and support staff.
15. 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 and consumption of alcohol will be allowed till the point it doesn't create any disturbance to co-participants. Since this tour doesn't have a Single Supplement provision, it is advised to all the participants to consume it taking his/her room mate into confidence.
16. 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 2nd October by evening 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 to visit Autumn of Kashmir valley.
This tour will pass through a lot of heavily military guarded areas. 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 and have to deposit with the authorities too where ever required.
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 "firstname.lastname@example.org" 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. 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.