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Saturday, 4 October – Sunday, 19 October 2002

Lyle Lawson
  • Be stunned by the 200-mile long panorama of Himalayan peaks from Kausani including Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nanda Kot, Nanda Gond Ganth, and the Panchchuli
  • Soar (via cablecar) to Auli for “up close and personal” views of Nanda Devi
  • Travel at harvest time; great pictures of farming activity
  • Photograph the birthplace of the sacred River Ganges
  • Visit Badrinath, situated high in the Himalayas, one of Hinduism’s most sacred places
  • Photography instruction by a professional photographer who has traveled through (and photographed) India for more than 25 years
  • Maximum of 10 tour members ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to take great photographs
  • Travel by comfortable transport with ample room for you and your equipment
  • Knowledgeable local guide throughout the tour
  • Great value for money! All-inclusive: meals, tips, entrance fees, etc

For those who are not acquainted with the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of India, they are located in the newly created state of Uttarakhand (Hindi for Northern Parts) which recently was carved out of the northeastern area of Uttar Pradesh. Tibet and China lie on their northern border; Nepal is to the east; the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to the west. Surprisingly though, the foothills of these gloriously scenic (yet also gloriously rustic), regions are only a day’s drive from Delhi! Garhwal/Kumaon also is the spiritual heart of Hinduism where the four rivers most sacred to the religion have their birth high in the Himalayas, and the sight of pilgrims heading for temples at the heads of these rivers will figure in many of your photographs. The Himalayan foothills are steep and rugged, and farmers have had to terrace their land to provide room for the growing of crops. Tiers upon tiers of them undulate across, around and down the hillsides in a stunning array of shapes, sizes and colors. Dotted among them are a myriad of photographic opportunities: teams of oxen plowing, the furrows they make creating an elegant swirl; groups of woman scything, threshing or winnowing grain; an isolated house surrounded by bright flowers, or children playing on the ground; a small temple, flags waving in the breeze above it; grain, golden ripe, waving in the wind. Behind all of this photographic bounty: the ever present Himalayas, the Abode of the Gods.

Please note that this is a “rough” tour in terms of general living conditions; although we will be staying in the best-available hotels, some are less than delightful. Additionally in order to ensure that we have the best possible food, we will be traveling with our own cook team. In the end, however, the adventurer who joins this tour will find enormous satisfaction in the photographic opportunities.

Be transferred to the Taj Mahal hotel where we stay for one night.

5 & 6 October (Sun/Mon):

Leaving Delhi in mid-morning, we have an all-day drive to this former hill station of the British Raj. Located at 6,300 feet, the resort is set around an emerald green crater lake. Sightseeing includes a trip to Snow View to photograph the Himalayas (clouds permitting); a wander through “The Flats” bazaar area, and a Shikarra cruise around Naini Lake. (Claridge’s Naini Retreat, 2 nights)

7 October (Tue):

Heading further into the Himalayan foothills, the road bobs and weaves, twists and turns, bringing a different picture every minute: peppers drying on a roof; a perfect cluster of wildflowers; trees silhouetted against (or framing) snow peaks; a sahdu (holy man), dressed in vibrant orange. Our end-of-day goal: an ancient, intricately carved complex of temples dedicated to Shiva, one of the 12 most important in India because a jyothirlingam (a phallic-shaped symbol of Shiva’s power) is enshrined in the main sanctuary. This importance makes Jageshwar a mecca for religious pilgrims, and the vibrancy of their clothing and the flower offerings they carry will add color to every photograph. (1 night)

8 October (Wed):
The eastern-most district in Kumaon, the Pithoragarh countryside offers sweeping views of the Panchchul (Five Stoves) peaks. The setting is delightfully alpine, but with an Indian twist; Hindu temples surrounded by pine forests, oxen pulling a plow, a lone thatched-roofed house clinging to a hillside, or several houses nestled together in a valley, sari-clad women brightening the landscape. (1 night)

9 & 10 October (Thu/Fri):
Perched on a pine-covered ridge, the views from 6,150-feet high Kausani (and especially our hotel) encompass a 200-mile long stunningly magnificent, perpetually changing Himalayan panorama. Trishul, Nanda Devi, and Nanda Gond Nanth are only a few of the peaks that can be photographed from dawn until the last rays of the sun turn the mountains copper and pink. (Kausani, 2 nights)

11 & 12 October (Sat/Sun):

More unforgettable photography today and tomorrow as we journey further north, higher into the Himalayas. We have no pre-set stops, but the drive includes an array of ever-changing scenery along these important waterways, through the towns and villages of the area, affording us glimpses into the life of the people who inhabit the land through which these rivers flow. (Pipilkoti, 1 night; Josimath, 3 nights)

13 October (Mon):

Twenty minutes in a cablecar, soaring from Josimath’s 6,400-foot high elevation to Auli’s 8,200 feet, and one of the greatest Himalayan peaks, Nanda Devi, seems near at hand. Auli is surrounded by mountains, with a different snow-capped perspective in every direction. Fantastic picture possibilities!

14 October (Tue):
Lying beneath the shadow of 22,600-foot high Nilkantha (Shining Peak), Bathrinath’s 10,000-foot elevation doesn’t seem so great! The largest of the four dhams (religious centers) located in the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas, and the easiest to reach, Badrinath straddles the Alaknanda River (in whose very icy waters worshippers must bathe before entering the temple). But the temple is only a small part of the whole, a melange of ashrams, kitsch-filled souvenir stalls, ash-covered holy men (clothed and not), devout pilgrims, and surrounding all, the magnificent Himalayas.
15 October (Wed):

The Bhagirathi roars southward from the Garhwal Himalayas, the Alaknanda descends from those in Kumaon and at their confluence, Hinduism’s most sacred river starts its journey through the plains of northern India. The picture opportunities are outstanding: rushing water swirling around a riverside temple, devotees praying at the waterside, Deoprayag’s hillside clinging, colorfully painted houses. (1 night)

16 & 17 October (Thur/Frid):

The drive to Mussoorie is a spectacular one, the photographs should be equally so: terraced fields as far as the eye can see, people in and around them, engaged in harvest activities; and very often, acting as background to those scenes, a line of snow-covered peaks. Mussoorie (6,240 feet), which straddles a horseshoe-shaped ridge and boasts wonderful mountain views, was founded in 1820 as a summer haven for members of the British Raj. Reminders of that era as well as scenes of life today will enhance your photographic memories of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas. (Claridge’s Naba Palace Hotel, 2 nights)

18th October (Sat):
After a return drive to Delhi and the Taj Mahal hotel, the balance of the day is free. Late in the evening, be transferred to the airport for your onward flight; arrival home should be on Sunday afternoon.

Garhwal & Kumaon Himalayas

Limited to 10 tour members
  • Land costs, per person, 16 nights: Delhi/Delhi, $3,630.00
  • Single supplement $490.00
  • Estimated international APEX airfare to India: $1,200.00
    (Subject to change, terms and conditions).
  • Prices are based on a cash/check payment.
  • For Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, please add a service charge of 4% to the land costs.
  • If the minimum number of tour members, six, is not reached, a small group surcharge may be added to the land costs of the tour.
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