thEscape announces it's first Photography and Art tour to the remote offbeat lands of Zanskar with an intent to capture it's pristine beauty in collaboration with Ongoz Escapades which has an experience of 16 years serving clients for Himalayan trips.
Zanskar Valley is one of the most picturesque valley of Ladakh characterized by high snow capped peaks, some lush meadows sprinkling between the barren mountains with some high altitude lakes and rivers imparting a stupendous soothe to the eye. 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 12 maximum participants mentored by two landscape photographers on first come first serve basis to ensure personal attention.
An extensive 13N/14D well planned out trip to ensure we cover every nook and corner of Zanskar 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 for doing photography during the course of the tour as Nikon is our Equipment Partner.
Landscape Photography Mentorship by Nilakkhya Dutta and Tanay Das who have an experience of photographing Himalayas and showcasing it's beauty in the most purest form. Tanay Das will also be mentoring Astro Landscapes with all his rich knowledge in this field. The time chosen for the trip is fixed keeping in mind the visibility of Milky Way and the stars.
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. We will get 100 copies of the book and distribute 3 copies each to the 12 participants.
Through our NGO partner, we will give the remaining 64 copies for sale to 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-Chandigarh with transfer of participants in comfortable Innovas from Chandigarh to Manali. Chandigarh is well connected with rest of India in terms of flights and trains.
From Manali to Zanskar and back to Manali, the transfer will be in two Fortuner cars for 12 participants to ensure comfort throughout the trip. The two Fortuners will be accompanied by one pilot vehicle and two support vehicles making a convoy of total 5 vehicles.
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 twin sharing basis with an option of single supplement in A-shaped tents along with Sleeping Bags and Mattresses. We will set up 4 toilet tents. As a support, we will have the dining tent with all cutlery, tables and camping stools, Kitchen tent being operated with top notch professional chef serving breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner with both Veg and Non-Veg options.
Generator Facility throughout the trip for electricity in Dining Tent and for charging of batteries.
Mineral Water served to all participants throughout the trip.
Facility of Supplement Oxygen and First Aid kits.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by sanitizing the cars and camps and each participant and the staff giving a Negative RTPCR report 72 hours before the trip.
Detailed Itinerary Day Wise
31st July- Day -1 (Saturday) - Arrival at Chandigarh and transfer of participants in Innovas 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.
1st August - Day -2 (Sunday) - Drive to Jispa- 3200 meters (90 kms) with our convoy of two Fortuners, one pilot vehicle and two support vehicles through Atal tunnel which is an experience in itself. After crossing Atal Tunnel, we enter Lahaul valley and cross the picturesque towns of Sissu, Tandi and Keylong to reach Jispa. Overnight we camp at Jispa roughly at an altitude of 3200 meters.
2nd August - Day -3 (Monday) - Drive to Kurgiakh - 4300 meters ( 65 kms) via Shingo La mountain Pass. On this day the real adventure begins when we cross the newly operated road over this mountain pass of 5000 meters connecting Lahaul of Himachal Pradesh with the Union Territory of Ladakh. We camp by the river side of Kurgiakh village and adore the beauty of the famous peak of Gumbo Ranjan during sunset. We also do a small hike towards the base of Gumbo Ranjan to capture the landscapes and astroscape.
3rd August - Day -4 (Tuesday) - Drive from Kurgiakh to Purne - 3900 meters( 25 kms). Today we cover a small route and set up our camps at Purne village. From here we do a two hour hike to Phugtal Monastery- 3635 meters and come back. Phugtal is the famous cave gompa of 14th Century with some 700 year old mural fragments and offers a stupendous view.
4th August - Day -5 (Wednesday) - Today we drive to Padum (56 kms), the town head of Zanskar. After spending some time in the town and visiting Bardan Monastery and Sheela Waterfall(if time permits) we further drive to Sani village - 3700 meters, 6kms ahead and set up our camps by the side of Sani Lake which has a beautiful statue of Padma Sambhava on it's banks. Sani Village is considered as the oldest religious site of Zanskar.
5th August - Day -6 (Thursday) - On this day, we drive to Dzongkul Monastery 37kms from Sani, visit the village, adore the mesmerizing views of the valley leading to Umasi La Mountain Pass and then drive another 11 kms to Karsha - 4000 meters, visit the Pibiting Monastery and Karsha Monastery. Over night we camp at Karsha.
6th August - Day -7 (Friday) - On this day we drive towards the famous Pensi La Pass- 4400 meters ( 90 kms) and set up our camps by the side of Twin Lakes of Stat Tso and Lang Tso - 4324 meters. This is one of the most important day for us as we get to see the famous Drang Drung glacier, one of the largest in Ladakh giving rise to Stod river and experience it's beauty at different times of the day.
7th August - Day -8 (Saturday) - We start the downward journey on this day and visit Suru Valley( 60 kms). On this day, we camp on the beautiful lush green meadows of Suru village - 3000 meters and spend the night experiencing the green beauty of the valley among the barren mountains.
8th August - Day -9 (Sunday) - Suru Village to Rangdum campsite - 3657 meters ( 35 kms). After a visit to the famous Rangdum Monastery, we camp on the beautiful campsite with a astonishing view of Nun Kun peaks and Parkachik glacier.
9th August - Day -10 (Monday) - Rangdum to Zangla - 3931 meters crossing Pensi La and Padum ( 135 kms). On this day, we drive a little long and come back to Padum area and visit the famous Zangla Fort. Enroute we visit Stongdey Monastery. We set our camps by the side of the fort for an unforgettable experience.
10th August - Day -11 (Tuesday) - Drive from Zangla to Kurgiakh - 4300 meters ( 140 kms). This day we start our return journey and head back to the base of Gumbo Ranjan Peak and camp at a different place than day 3. Again adoring the beautiful peak, we spend some good times.
11th August - Day -12 (Wednesday) - Kurgiok to Dharcha - 3360 meters crossing Shingo La -5000 meters ( 60 kms). We again cross the pass this day on the return journey and this time camp at Dharcha on Lahaul side.
12th August - Day -13 (Thursday) - Dharcha to Manali - 2050 meters ( 100 kms). This would be our return journey passing through again the beautiful towns of Lahaul, crossing the Atal Tunnel and reaching Manali. Overnight in hotel.
13th August - Day -14 (Friday) - Manali to Chandigarh ( 300 kms) - We say a good bye to our participants on this day and transfer them back in the Innovas to Chandigarh after Breakfast. Start time of the cabs would be 9AM and would drop Chandigarh by 7PM and hence our trip ends.
Twin Sharing- Rs. 97,500 per person (Ex-Chandigarh)
Single Supplement - Rs. 1,12,500 per person (Ex-Chandigarh)
All accommodations at Manali on twin sharing basis in a super deluxe property unless a choice of single supplement is chosen where a single room is given to the participant.
All accommodations during Camping in A-Shape High Altitude Tents.
All transfers from Chandigarh to Manali and back in Innovas ( 4 persons per car).
All transfers in Zanskar region in Two Fortuners.
Two support vehicles to carry Kitchen Materials, Staff and Luggage.
One Pilot vehicle (Gypsy) for monitoring the roads.
All Meals from Manali to Manali, i.e. morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, dinner from Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 14.
Packed Lunch during long transits.
Sleeping bags, Mattresses and Tent Light.
Dining Tent with Camp Stools and Dining Table.
Kitchen Tent for mess purpose.
Four toilet tents with Western Seating arrangement.
Cook, Helper and four support staff.
Mineral Water for the whole tour ( Two bottles per person per day)
Power Back up for charging batteries and Dining tent.
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.
Experience of Nikon High End Camera Gears for taking pictures.
Photography Mentorship 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 6 hours of one on one session to each participant after coming back.
3 copies of published anthology book to each participant.
Travel to Chandigarh and return travel from Chandigarh to your location.
Any accommodation facility in Chandigarh.
In transit meals during the travel from Chandigarh to Manali and Manali to Chandigarh.
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. 39,000 for Twin Sharing/ Rs. 45,000 for Single Supplement at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - 60% - Rs. 58,500 for Twin Sharing/ Rs. 67,500 for Single Supplement 4 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 26th July, 2021.
2. What is the Cancellation and Refund Policy?
If cancelled 30 days prior to Departure, ie. on or before 30th June, 2021- Full Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled 7 days prior to Departure, i.e. b/w 30th June, 2021 and 23rd July, 2021 - 50% Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 7 days prior to departure and 4 days prior to departure date, ie. between 23rd July, 2021 and 26th July, 2021 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 4 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 26th July, 2021 and 31st July, 2021 - 50% Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 26th July )
For people not paying the final payment by 26th July, 2021 and cancel their participation between 26th July,2021 and 31st July, 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. 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 Manali or Chandigarh
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 Manali and Chandigarh has to be borne by him/her.
4. 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 camping trip, we also expect that the photographers get their extra battery sets in case they run out of charge though we would have the generator facility for charging. An extension board for putting in extra chargers would also be handy if participants carry it. Nikon camera gears will be given to the participants for experiencing. 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.
5. Who are the Photography Mentors and we see their work online?
Nilakkhya Dutta and Tanay Das are going to be the photography mentors during this trip. For their works, either you can check "The Founder's Gallery" page for Nilakkhya's work and "Photography Partners" page for Tanay's work on this website of thEscape . Or you can visit their social links pasted below-
6. 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.
7. 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, the participant may still have to walk some distance in order to reach the campsite from the car parking or visiting a monastery. 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.
8. What is the Age Group of travel and Can the Participants bring their kids?
Since the entire Zanskar region falls under the altitude of more than 3000 meters ranging up to 5000 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Is there any Mobile connectivity in Zanskar?
Zanskar is a remote region and after crossing Jispa on the Lahual side, the mobile network would not be there. The service is going to be on and off in entire of Zanskar. Internet services would not be there throughout Zanskar. The participants should not expect the same with any of the mobile service provider.
13. How many people would be going along with the tour participants?
Two Photography mentors, One Tour Leader, One Liaison Person (Co-owner of thEscape) taking care, overviewing and coordinating the work of participants for the Book Publish, A Local guide and Camping and Kitchen Support staff.
14. 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 the meeting point on 31st July at 12 noon, we will assume the participant has been delayed and wait for the participant to contact us. We will maximum wait for an hour till 1PM and then we will assume that the participant 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 Zanskar valley and the night skies during that time for capturing Astro scape.
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.