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India by Rail Photography Expedition
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11 days

from $19,916 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($13,195 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Capture sunrise and sunset over the Taj Mahal, and go on photo shoots at five other UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Document the fairy-tale marble palaces of Udaipur's Lake Pichola during a scenic boat ride.
  • Photograph camels at sunset among the sweeping dunes of the Thar Desert.
  • Search for tigers in Ranthambhore National Park, and for rare birds and other wildlife in Keoladeo National Park.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each expedition to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Itinerary

In India, everyday life plays out in bright colors, a vivid juxtaposition of ancient and modern against a backdrop of intricate architecture. Traveling aboard the Palace on Wheels train, document this enchanting land on photo shoots in rural villages, at the Taj Mahal, and amid evocative dunes. Focus on birdlife at a wildlife sanctuary, and snap action shots of dancers at a private performance.

Day 1: Delhi, India

Arrive in Delhi at any time and check in to our hotel.

Day 2: Delhi

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Set out on a photo tour of Old Delhi, a patchwork of eight different cities built by a succession of rulers, and a center of Muslim India between the 13th and 19th centuries. Take a bicycle rickshaw ride through the old city's busy, narrow lanes, and stop at a local spice market to capture the colorful bustle. Frame the golden spiked minarets of Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and the final architectural achievement of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Delve into Chandni Chowk Market, and fill your viewfinder with the bustle of local life; then visit the Lodi Gardens, one of Delhi’s loveliest green spaces and site of important Sayyid- and Lodi-era tombs. Muhammad Shah’s tomb was built in 1450 and is the precursor to the famous mogul tombs of Humayun and the Taj Mahal. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner.

Day 3: Jaipur

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Travel from Delhi to Jaipur in Rajasthan. Known as the "Pink City" for its rose-colored buildings, Jaipur is protected by high fortifications and multiple gates. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own. If you wish, join a photo excursion to a traditional fruit and flower market, or relax and enjoy the beautiful gardens of the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel, a masterpiece of Indo-Saracenic architecture dating back to 1745.

Day 4: Jaipur

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Begin the day with a morning photo shoot, capturing vibrant images of local men and women in traditional dress in the gardens of the Jai Mahal Palace. After breakfast visit Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, a stunning five-story sandstone building designed to allow ladies of the court to watch life on the streets below. Zoom in on the delicate latticework and honeycombed windows. Continue to Amber Fort, a 16th- and 17th-century hilltop complex that offers a treasures trove of photographic inspiration. Document its exquisite and well-preserved palaces, temples, gardens, and pavilions. Later this afternoon, stroll through the local bazaar, and settle into your cabin aboard the Palace on Wheels this evening.

Day 5: Ranthambhore National Park/Chittaurgarh

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With your camera in hand, set out on a morning game drive in Ranthambhore National Park in search of the elusive tiger, as well as hyenas, wild boar, spotted deer, and sambar. After lunch back on the train, arrive in the city of Chittaurgarh. Trace a turbulent history of siege, valor, and sacrifice at Chittaurgarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, and enjoy a photo walk in the village with in the fort walls.

Day 6: Udaipur

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Known as the City of Lakes, Udaipur is most celebrated for the fairy-tale marble palaces that appear to rise from the waters of Lake Pichola. This morning, a scenic boat ride on Lake Pichola provides an opportunity to capture the luminous white marble facade of Jag Niwas, now the Taj Lake Palace, and its shimmering reflection on the water. Venture into a spectacular labyrinth of courtyards within the City Palace, a soaring creation of marble and granite perched on the lake's edge. Incredible photographic opportunities abound at this palace complex, the largest in Rajasthan, which blends medieval, European, and Chinese architecture and is richly decorated with inlaid mirror-work, mosaics, and frescoes. Later, explore the narrow streets of the old city by rickshaw, and stop to photograph a local market before visiting the 17th-century Jagdish Temple, adorned with fantastic carvings.

Day 7: Jaisalmer

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Today the train carries us into the heart of the Thar Desert to magical Jaisalmer, founded by Rawal Jaisal in A.D. 1156. Rising above the city, the imposing turrets and bastions of the golden sandstone fort conceal a lively town within. Photograph the magnificent fort and discover the havelis, once the mansions of wealthy merchants, decorated with elaborate facades. Cap off our day photographing camels at sunset in the desert dunes. Savor a traditional tea and learn about the lifestyle of people living in the desert. Enjoy an outdoor dinner and special photo shoot with folk dancers and music unique to the Thar Desert region.

Day 8: Jodhpur

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Jodhpur's blue-hued old city lies at the foot of the massive Mehrangarh Fort, perched on a rocky outcrop some 120 meters high. Visit the 15th-century fort and learn about its colorful history. Shoot sweeping panoramas of the city below, and explore the museum that houses a spectacular collection of miniature paintings, ivory artifacts, and weapons. Later, in the heart of the old city, hone your portraiture skills during a photo shoot with local Rajasthani men displaying traditional handlebar moustaches. Enjoy lunch at a royal palace hotel before returning to the Palace on Wheels for the final leg of our rail journey.

Day 9: Keoladeo Ghana National Park/Agra

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Disembark the train in Bharatpur after an early breakfast and head into the wetlands of Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a renowned bird sanctuary. Keep your camera ready while searching for egrets, flamingos, and many other bird species and wildlife. Later, during a photo walk around Bharatpur village, meet with and photograph local residents engaged in daily life. Continue to Agra and visit the iconic Taj Mahal for a sunset photo shoot. Constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal is often described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love.

Day 10: Agra

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Rise early and cross the Yamuna River to photograph the Taj Mahal at sunrise from the beautiful Mehtab Bagh gardens. At a specially arranged photo shoot, capture the Taj's reflection on the water as you frame models in the foreground. Pay a visit to a marble inlay workshop to see how the intricate stonework on the Taj Mahal was created. This evening, gather for a festive farewell dinner with a traditional sitar musician.

Day 11: Agra/Delhi

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Drive to Delhi and relax in day rooms at our hotel before transferring to the airport for your flight home.

EXTENSIONS

Post-Trip, 5 Days
After traveling aboard the Palace on Wheels, explore the sacred sites of Khajuraho and Varanasi. Discover the magnificent carved temples of the Chandela Rajputs, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the holy city of Vanarasi, situated on the banks of the Ganges river, witness intimate Hindu rituals that are part of everyday life. Cruise along the Ganges at sunrise and visit the ancient Buddhist monuments of Sarnath.

Day 1: Agra/Khajuraho

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After breakfast on the final day of the main expedition, take the express train from Agra to Jhansi. Continue on to Khajuraho by private van, stopping for lunch along the way. Arrive in Khajuraho and spend the evening at your leisure before enjoying dinner at our hotel.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations:The LaLit Temple View Khajuraho

Day 2: Khajuraho

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This morning, set out to discover the magnificent temples of the Chandela Rajputs, who ruled the area from the 10th to 12th centuries. Marvel at elaborate and intricate carvings as we explore the western group of the Khajuraho temples.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations:The LaLit Temple View Khajuraho

Day 3: Khajuraho/Varanasi

Spend the morning exploring the eastern group of the Khajuraho temples before taking an early afternoon flight to Varanasi. Situated on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and a center for learning. Transfer to the hotel and enjoy free time to relax before this evening’s dinner.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations:Taj Ganges

Day 4: Varanasi

Begin the day with a sunrise boat cruise on the sacred Ganges River to observe morning rituals and prayers. Visit Sarnath, where Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment and delivered his first sermon in Deer Park. Discover the old city by rickshaw and see the evening Aarti before one last dinner together.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations:Taj Ganges

Day 5: Varanasi/Delhi

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This morning, visit Tulsi Manas, one of the most famous temples in Varanasi, where the Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas was written by philosopher Goswami Tulsidas in the 16th century. Transfer to the airport for an afternoon flight to Delhi. Relax in day rooms at the hotel before boarding your return flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations:Radisson Blu

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light\/moderate; travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, and prepared for multiple hours of activity on some days. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and walking on paths with steep ascents\/descents. Those who are prone to motion sickness may be uncomfortable on the train or during drives on bumpy roads.

Accommodations
Throughout the trip, we stay in high-end hotels with many amenities. During our five nights on the train, we stay in deluxe cabins measuring 12.6 x 7.7 feet with twin beds that can be converted to a double bed.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS

We stay in world-class hotels in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. During our five nights on the train, we stay in Deluxe twin-bedded cabins measuring 12.6 x 7.7 feet. The twin beds can be joined to form one double bed on request.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Mar 23-Apr 2, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $19,916 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,727 AUD Per Person

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 02 Apr 2020 - 06 Apr 2020

Double Occupancy from $19,916 AUD per person

Single Occupancy from $25,727 AUD per person

  • date Oct 19-29, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $19,916 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,727 AUD Per Person

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 29 Oct 2020 - 02 Nov 2020

Double Occupancy from $19,916 AUD per person

Single Occupancy from $25,727 AUD per person

  • date Nov 23-Dec 3, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $19,916 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,727 AUD Per Person

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 03 Dec 2020 - 07 Dec 2020

Double Occupancy from $19,916 AUD per person

Single Occupancy from $25,727 AUD per person

  • date Mar 22-Apr 1, 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $19,916 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,727 AUD Per Person

EXTENSIONS

Post-trip Extension: 01 Apr 2021 - 05 Apr 2021

Double Occupancy from $19,916 AUD per person

Single Occupancy from $25,727 AUD per person

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Internal flights are $275 per person for the November 23, 2020 departure. Internal flights for the optional extension are $675 per person. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Jay Dickman
Photographer
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Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jay Dickman's career has spanned a multitude of experiences. As a photojournalist for more than 40 years, Jay has covered topics as diverse as the Salvadoran civil war, Olympics and Super Bowls, national political conventions, and the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Among his more than 25 assignments for National Geographic, he lived in a Stone Age village in Papua New Guinea and spent a week under the Arctic ice in a nuclear attack submarine. Jay has been joining National Geographic Expeditions for over a decade and has traveled to all seven continents. A popular photography instructor, he has also published a best-selling guide called Perfect Digital Photography, as well as numerous articles for National Geographic, LIFE, Sports Illustrated, Time, and Forbes.

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  • Mar 23-Apr 2, 2020
Jonathan Kingston
Photographer
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National Geographic photographer, climber and diver Jonathan Kingston captures images of the natural world and vistas of life on the edge. From arresting photographs of vibrant tribal dances to underwater scenes of elephants swimming at sea to silhouettes of climbers scaling rock, Jonathan’s penchant for travel and love of the wild have taken him to some of the most remote and unmapped corners of the globe. His work has appeared in print and online in National Geographic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. A passionate teacher, Jonathan taught a National Geographic Photo Camp on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana in 2016. This program uses photography to help young adults and children in underserved communities around the world to develop their own voices and tell their stories. More recently, as part of a National Geographic Society grant in the summer of 2018, Jonathan and an international team of marine archaeologists from the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Canada began searching for the remains of Hernán Cortés' fleet scuttled in the Gulf of Mexico in 1519. Along with documenting the expedition, he used underwater and aerial photogrammetry to support the archaeological exploration. Jonathan has received multiple honors from the prestigious Communication Arts and PDN Photo Annual competitions, and his work is represented by National Geographic Creative and the National Geographic Fine Art Galleries.

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  • Oct 19-29, 2020