When we talk of Stellar Locations in our Indian Himalayas, Kashmir region definitely steals the show with its mind staggering beauty. This time we offer an exclusive itinerary, second time after successfully conducting it in the winters of 2022 to be in these lands of the Himalayas in one of the most difficult times, The Winter Season. Undertaking this tour will be with an intent to capture its pristine Winter Beauty in our cameras and in the process create images of the snow land in terms of Landscape Photography with Nikon India as our Equipment Partner.
Hence with the most sorted itinerary and logistics to carry out the same in the mind staggering terrains of Kashmir region in the winter season, thEscape announces it's Landscape Photography Tour to capture the pristine showcase what Kashmir Himalayas has to offer from 4th February to 12th February, 2023 (Ex- Srinagar).
Kashmir is considered as paradise on Earth. Often coined as Jannat-e-Kashmir, this place offers some exquisite views throughout the year with winters being the most promising one. When it comes to Landscape Photography, this piece of earth opens up a million opportunities to capture some of the most stupendous captures. On this tour of ours, we not only cover the places well known for it's winter beauty, but tend to go deep into the wilderness to make sure that we come back with the content not seen and experienced before in Kashmir. Hence we can say that it's a vantage for Landscape Photographers as 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 during a winter season with all the required facilities and comfort needed to carry out the photography activities.
This is our second winter tour to this region. If you want to see a showcase of what we did in our last tour, 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 9 participants and maximum 12 participants mentored by one landscape photographer depending upon participation on first come first serve basis.
An extensive 8N/9D well planned out trip to ensure we cover every nook and corner of Kashmir 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 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 throughout Kashmir . Srinagar is connected with rest of India with flights and roads. Pick up and Drop of participants is also provided to and fro Srinagar Airport.
Accommodation throughout Kashmir will be on twin sharing basis in comfortable hotels and house boats with heating facility.
All meals, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Tea and Dinner starting from Lunch on Day 1 at Srinagar to Breakfast on Day 9 at Srinagar.
Service of an experienced professional Tour Leader.
All required permits to travel on this route.
Facility of First Aid kits.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by following any protocol of Union Territory of Ladakh at the time of the tour.
Detailed Itinerary Day Wise
4th February- Day -1 (Saturday) - Arrival at Srinagar Airport by 12 noon. Transfer of participants in Srinagar House Boat. After lunch, visit for local sightseeing around Dal Lake for Winter Dal Lake Photography . Overnight in Srinagar Hotel.
5th February - Day -2 (Sunday) - Early morning Shikara ride of 2-3 hours.. After breakfast, drive to Sonmarg. Explore the snow bound beauty of Sonmarg after Lunch till Sunset .Overnight in Sonmarg/Gagangir Hotel.
6th February - Day -3 (Monday) - Early morning sunrise Photography. Then after Breakfast, Sonmarg to Srinagar. After Lunch at Srinagar, head to Tanmarg. Visit Drung Waterfalls for photographing the waterfall. Overnight in Tanmarg.
7th February - Day -4 (Tuesday) - Early morning explore areas around Tanmarg on foot for photography. Then after Breakfast, drive from Tanmarg to Gulmarg. After Lunch at Gulmarg, move around the place for photography till Sunset. Overnight in Gulmarg Hotel.
8th February - Day -5 (Wednesday) - Early morning, sunrise frames. Then after Breakfast, drive from Gulmarg to Lolab Valley through Baramulla, Handwara. After Lunch at Lolab, move around the place for Photography till sunset. Overnight in Lolab Chandigam.
9th February - Day -6 (Thursday) - After early morning shoot and early breakfast, drive from Lolab to Manasbal. Lunch at Manasbal Hotel. Enroute visit Wular Lake and Manasbal Lake. Sunset photography at Manasbal Lake. Overnight in Manasbal Hotel.
10th February - Day -7 (Friday) - Early morning frames around the lake. Then after Breakfast, drive to Pahalgam. Lunch at Pahalgam Hotel, After lunch, visit Aru and Betaab Valleys. Overnight in Pahalgam Hotel.
11th February - Day -8 (Saturday) - After early breakfast, leave for Aharbal. Lunch at Aharbal. Be at the Waterfall till 5PM. Drive to Srinagar. Overnight in Srinagar Houseboat.
12th February - Day -9 (Sunday) - After having breakfast at Hotel, the tempo traveler drop us at Srinagar airport at 9AM or 10AM respectively and we fly out to our respective destinations with beautiful memories of this Winter Kashmir Tour.
(Participants willing to join in for further adventurous journey to Gurez and Tulail Valleys stay back as we start our journey towards the valley either in a Helicopter or by road on 12th February, Sunday and fly back to our Destinations on 16th February, Thursday after exploring photography opportunities in those valleys. We keep the number of participants only to 3 plus Nilakkhya as the mentor for that. Costing of the same along with the plan will be communicated only to people interested for this addition.)
Rs. 59,000 per person (Including 5 % GST) (Ex-Srinagar)
(Twin sharing in Hotels and House Boats)
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 throughout Kashmir on twin sharing basis in a deluxe property.
All transfers in Kashmir in One 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 9.
Services of an experienced tour leader for whole tour.
First Aid kit .
Permits for the whole tour.
Entry Tickets to any Park.
Cost of Small Vehicle taken during the visit for some places.
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 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 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.
Mineral Water Bottles.
Beverage and Food ordered at the hotels apart from what's included in the menu for Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Snacks and Dinner.
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. 23,000 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 36,000 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 19th January, 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 4th January, 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 4th January, 2023 and 19th January, 2023 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 15 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 19th January, 2023 and 4th February, 2023 - No Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 19th January, 2023 )
For people not paying the final payment by 19th January, 2023 and cancel their participation between 19th January, 2023 and 4th February, 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 12th March, 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 winters of Kashmir are difficult and temperature dips to below to -10 degrees or beyond?
First of all, winters of Kashmir especially to pursue Landscape Photography are for participants who are mentally and physically strong. On the temperature part, yes it may dip to as low as -10 or beyond , and thus a strong mindset and determination will be required to carry out photography activities . To avoid the cold and to keep warm, though the hotels will have comfortable heating facilities but when pursuing photography in outdoors, one will have to keep himself/herself warm. Apart from that, one also has to make sure that they are properly dressed with appropriate layering of woolens and thermals along with down jackets with gloves and woolen socks always on to avoid any kind of mis-happening. Keeping oneself hydrated at all times would be another need of the hour. Though we will have the facility of first aids, but still one has to keep himself/herself fit and warm enough to carry out the photography activities. Moreover Winters of Kashmir is uncertain because of both weather and other reasons, so there might be a case that we change the itinerary or skip a place keeping in mind the well being of the participants and their physical and mental health. The decision of the tour leader would be final here and the team has to adhere to the decision whatever made. No Refund would be made in that case. Rest we will undertake this tour with a strong mind and a passionate heart and I'm sure the team will come out with flying colors and some great content of Landscape Photography of Winter Kashmir.
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 the tour 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.
Participants who want to consume alcohol during the evening chitchat 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 during the winter season where there is not much tourism with photography being the primary motive. So there would be instances where the meal timings along with some other facilities 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.
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 Equipments 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 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 during winter season 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 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, especially an altitude more than 2000 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, still because of winters and road closures, we might have to trek to reach a particular destination, hence the participant needs to be physically fit 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?
Though the entire region falls under the altitude of between 2000 to 3000 meters, but since this tour is in peak winters , 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 winter nature.