When we talk of Stellar Locations in our Indian Himalayas, the remote and unexplored Pangi Valley definitely steals the show with its mind staggering beauty. With the most sorted itinerary and logistics to carry out Landscape Photography in the high altitude terrains of Pangi region, thEscape announces it's Landscape and Astro Photography Tour to capture the pristine showcase what Pangi Himalayas has to offer from 24th June to 3rd July, 2022 (Ex- Chandigarh).
Pangi Valley is one of the remote distant lands of Himachal Pradesh lying between Lahaul and Chamba districts. Traveling to these lands gives a wilderness feeling because of it's untouched beauty and offbeat nature in terms of less tourist activity. We intent to capture the summer beauty which is considered as the best of this pristine land and showcase the potential of it in terms of Landscape Photography. 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 5 participants and maximum 7 participants mentored by one landscape photographer 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 Pangi 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-Chandigarh with transfer of participants in ONE comfortable Tempo Traveler throughout Pangi. Chandigarh is connected with rest of India with flights, rails and roads. Pick up and Drop of participants will be from both station and airport.
Accommodation in Manali will be on twin sharing basis in a comfortable hotel.
The tempo traveler will be accompanied by a pilot vehicle from Manali in the Tour till we reach back Manali if required depending upon number of participants.
We do a Full Camping Tour which gives us the leverage to set up camps at the most photogenic locations. An extensive research has identified the locations to be high altitude meadows, by the side of high altitude lakes and high altitude rivers most conducive for both Landscapes and Astro scape with minimal light pollution.
We ensure State of the Art camping and food facilities. Camping will be done on single occupancy basis in Dome-shaped tents along with Sleeping Bags and Mattresses. We will set up 2 toilet tents. As a support, we will have the Kitchen tent being operated with top notch professional chef serving breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner with both Veg and Non-Veg(occasionally) options and all cutlery.
All meals, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Tea and Dinner starting from Dinner on Day 1 at Manali to Breakfast on Day 10 at Manali.
Service of an experienced professional Tour Leader.
The backpack of clothes of participants will be carried by porters.
Facility of Toilet Tents
All required permits to travel on this route.
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 tempos to be consumed during the travel. At the camp sites, we will have the natural water served.
First Aid Kits.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by following any protocol of state of Himachal Pradesh at the time of the tour.
Detailed Itinerary Day Wise
24th June- Day -1 (Friday) - Arrival at Chandigarh and transfer of participants in Tempo Traveler to Manali - 2050 meters (300 kms). Here we start at around 12 noon from Chandigarh and expect the participants to reach prior to that time. Overnight in a Hotel in Manali.
25th June - Day -2 (Saturday) - On this day we drive towards Pangi Valley and go for a stay to Hilu and Tuwan for 195 kms. Hilu and Tuwan is two of the bhatoris usually meaning a hamlet of Bhutiya people. Overnight we again camp here and enjoy the untouched pristine beauty of this place.
26th June - Day -3 (Sunday) - On this day we drive around 10 kms and reach Chasak Village and then trek( 3 hours) upto Chasak Bhatori. Then further up we set up our camps at some of the beautiful meadows( 1.5 to 2 hours of trek) which comes enroute if someone treks towards Kang La Pass to reach Zanskar. Overnight in Camps.
27th June - Day -4 (Monday) - On this day, we explore Sural Bhatori(3200M). Trek back to our roadhead for 4 hours. Take the Tempo and drive Drive 55 kms to reach this place. In the evening, we hike for an hour to Jugni Waterfalls. Overnight in camps at Sural.
28th June - Day -5 (Tuesday) - On this day, we start from Sural Bhatori and move deep inside Pangi Valley. Drive for 28 kms and reach Killar(2600M) and move to Hudan Bhatori(3300M) 18 kms. We do a small hike of half an hour to Hudan Lake and enjoy the falling light there. Overnight in camps by the lakeside.
29th June - Day -6 (Wednesday) - Now the real adventure will begin when we start our trek towards the unexplored Shiva Peak. Trek for 5-6 hours and then set up a campsite in between.
30th June - Day -7 (Thursday) - We make the final push, trek for another 4-5 hours to reach the base of Shiva Peak. Overnight in camps there.
1st July - Day -8 (Friday) - Today we take the long trek back to reach Hudan Lake and camp for the night there.
2nd July - Day -9 (Saturday) - Today we take the long route back and drive from Hudan Bhatori to Manali for 210kms after having breakfast. Overnight in Manali Hotel.
3rd July - Day -10 (Sunday) - Manali to Chandigarh ( 300 kms) - We say a good bye to our participants on this day and transfer them back in the Tempo to Chandigarh after Breakfast. Start time would be 8AM and would drop Chandigarh by 5PM and hence our trip ends.
Rs. 55,000 per person (Ex-Chandigarh)
(Single Occupancy in Tents and Twin Sharing in Hotel)
Single Supplement for Manali Hotel - 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 Manali on twin sharing basis unless a choice of single supplement is chosen where a single room is given to the participant on Day 1 and Day 9.
All accommodations during Camping in Dome Shaped High Altitude Tents on single occupancy basis.
All transfers from Chandigarh to Chandigarh in 1 Tempo Traveler.
One support vehicle if required to carry Kitchen Materials, Staff and Luggage from Day 2 to Day 9.
All Meals from Manali to Manali, i.e. morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea, dinner from Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 10.
Sleeping bags, Mattresses.
Kitchen Tent for mess purpose.
Toilet tents with Western Seating arrangement.
Facility of Cook with his helper and Make Shift Kitchen with all necessary raw materials.
Cook, Helper and support staff.
Mineral Water for the whole tour ( During transit in Tempos)
Services of an experienced tour leader for whole tour.
Porter Facility to carry the Bag of Clothes of Participants.
First Aid kit .
Experience of Nikon High End Camera Gears for taking pictures.
Photography Assistance for day time Landscapes and Night Astro scape 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 Chandigarh and return travel from Chandigarh to your location.
In transit stay and meals during the travel from your location to Chandigarh and Chandigarh to your location.
In transit Meals from Chandigarh to Manali and Manali to Chandigarh.
Breakfast and Lunch on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 10.
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. 22,000 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 33,000 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 9th June, 2022.
2. What is the Cancellation and Refund Policy?
If cancelled 30 days prior to Departure, ie. on or before 24th 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 24th May, 2022 and 9th June, 2022 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 15 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 9th June, 2022 and 24th June, 2022 - No Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 9th June, 2022 )
For people not paying the final payment by 9th June, 2022 and cancel their participation between 9th June,2022 and 24th 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 3rd August, 2022.
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 clothes which would mean that photographers don't have to carry their heavy load on their backs to reach a campsite 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 leaders in both Tempo Travelers will decide on the stoppages for Photography. As everyone here gets a window seat, they 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 leaders 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 leaders 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 leaders 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 Pangi.
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 5 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 Chandigarh 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 Chandigarh 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 no electricity , we also expect that the photographers get their extra battery sets in case they run out of charge. We will be camping but we will charge our battery sets in the local houses of the villages. 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?