TGL India

India is a photographer's dream come true. The colors, sights, sounds, scents, the piles of spices, the saris of every shade and pattern, adornments, soaring temples, beckoning markets, and so much more. With massive hearts and some of the kindest people on the planet, India welcomes you in and wraps itself around you. That said, with more than 1.3 Billion people, India has it's fair share of hard issues too. Come see both sides - and many more sides than you would expect - of this great nation.

We will be landing in incredible Jodhpur, the blue city of Rajasthan. There is a quarter within the city where all the walls are painted bright or pale blue, which makes for an incredible backdrop for street photography. And that's exactly what we will be doing! Roaming the street both of blue Jodhpur, and central Jodhpur, exploring back alleys, meeting locals, dipping into markets, passing by temples, haggling for fresh fruit or chai tea, and seeing where the day takes us. You can expect to make portraits the likes of which you maybe only dreamed about. We will watch daily life unfold and capture it respectfully and responsibly. When not roaming the streets, we will feast on the best Indian food of your life!

But there's more to Jodhpur than just blue streets and a cacophony of life. Like many Indian cities, it has it's struggles. Our NGO partner is addressing one of those struggles head on: the rights of women and girls. Sambhali House has 19 programs running, all of which work to empower, educate, uplift, protect, and guide women and girls. From skills training (such as sewing) to self defense to a help hotline, to putting girls through school, to health care and self care classes, to micro-loans, to caring for widows, and so, so much more, Sambhali House is at the foreground of women's rights in Jodhpur. We are absolutely honoured to come alongside them to make photography of the skills and workshops they can offer their community - for self expression, empowerment, and in a more practical sense working towards a program to sell postcards with images made by the women. This is the start of a very beautiful thing.

After Jodhpur we will travel to Jaipur. We will visit the historic and massive Amber Fort, once again dive into street photography through the markets, and see of the main sights Jaipur has to offer. We will have a half day at an Elephant rescue, feeding and caring for rescued elephants, learning about the issues, and making images.

There will be an optional extension to head for the Taj Mahal with Michael Bonocore post-trip. (This is due to the distance the Taj is from our NGO). If you want to experience the best Rajasthan has to offer, see many different faces and sides of India, and take to the streets for some of the best people, scene, portrait, and/or candid photography of your life - this is the trip for you!

Trip Dates

November 11-20 2017

Cost

$3200 USD

Group Size

10

Difficulty

Moderate

This trip is physically moderate.  There is lots of walking on TGL trips. Jodhpur is hilly, so you can expect moderate inclines as we go up and down through neighbourhoods. Jaipur is more flat, though the Amber Fort is a decent hill to ascend. All in all, good physical fitness is needed for this trip as much will be on foot - but Tuk Tuks are always at hand if we stray too far or get too tired.
The emotional demands of this trip are moderate You'll be emotionally invested in the children we work with, but much of the workshop will be fun, light-hearted, even a bit chaotic. You'll be moved and impacted but also inspired. Poverty in India will very likely be hard to face - an overpopulated country with a large lower class. You will witness some difficult things. We will be there to help you unpack these things every step of the way.
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are excellent. Accommodation is fairly excellent! You can expect a simple room with two twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, and clean sheets, towels, and blankets. Hot water can be hit and miss, especially if we're all trying to shower at once. However you will find that the accommodation will be elaborately decorated in the local fashion, with nice Indian touches to the architecture and decorations. No sterile hotels here! Meals will be excellent. It's Indian food! Both cities are well touristed so it won't be different from Indian food you already are used to - except even better! Amenities such as bathrooms and convenience stores are available in most places. Toilets for the most part will be western style.
Level of safety in Rajasthan is very good. The most common issue for tourist is pickpocketing, or being scammed by touts or tuk tuks. In reality these things are more annoying than threatening your true safety. TGL will offer tips and advice for your belongings and cash in team newsletters.

What is Included?

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    All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

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    All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

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    All Location Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we'll get you in. We'll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

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    All Photo Instruction

    You'll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

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    A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount - which we're happy to be completely transparent about - you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What's Not?

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    Flights

    We're open to people from every corner of the world. This means we cannot possibly offer a flight that would suit everyone. If you can get yourself here, we'll take care of the rest!

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    Insurance

    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

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    Passport and Visa

    Each participant is required to ensure their passport is valid for the time of travel, and to research, learn, and meet all the requirements of an entry visa specific to their country. If there are fees associated with the entry visa, they're not included.

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    Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that's up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can't buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

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    Internet

    Some hotels have WiFi, others do not, or sometimes it simply doesn't work. When WiFi is available for purchase, it's up to you if it's worthwhile. Some participant opt to purchase a local SIM card and data plan - a great option that we don't cover.

Behind the Scenes of TGL India

The NGO: Sambhali Trust

Sambhali Trust is a non-profit charitable organization based in Jodhpur, whose focus is the development and empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan.

We provide underprivileged Rajasthani women and girls with an education in English, Hindi and Maths, as well as training in vocational and social skills, to support them in developing confidence and self-esteem, and help them work towards financial independence.

We work with women and children from all communities in Jodhpur and the rural Thar desert area surrounding Setrawa, who experience discrimination on a daily basis because of their low status in class, caste and gender. These women are greatly suppressed due to the patriarchal nature of their society and have little or no access to education. They are denied the right to choose their husband and often face a high level of verbal, physical and sexual abuse within their family circle and community. This is why Sambhali Trust was born in 2007: to empower these deprived women.

Established in 2007, Sambhali Trust presently incorporates 19 projects, all of which help to empower women and girls to break their cycle of poverty and financial dependence on family members. Our projects include Empowerment Centres, Primary Education Centres and Boarding Homes enabling girls to receive a quality education in Jodhpur, and a project organising sponsorship for 170 children to attend school. These projects are helping to drive change in the attitudes of the Rajasthani communities, and are empowering women and girls to believe in themselves and to work towards individual goals.

As Sambhali Trust is a non-profit organization, profits from any of its projects are used to support the organizations other programmes and activities. Programs include skills training such as many sewing centres, education programs and sponsorships, empowerment and self-help centres, a SOS emergency medical treatment program, a help hotline, self-defence, English-language skills, awareness campaigns against child sexual abuse (the 1st NGO in the city to talk openly about this), and a centre for young girls.

We are so excited to be partnering with such a diverse and impression NGO!

Who Are Your Leaders?

Michael Bonocore is our most senior trip leader, with nearly a dozen TGL trips under his belt. He's the Travel Editor at Resource Travel and specializes in travel, street, and landscape photography. He's also a professional videographer. He's worked with tourism boards, camera companies, and travel websites to make visual content from around the world. Hailing from SFO, he's been on the road more than he's been at home for the last 3 years. Michael is an extraordinary teacher and leader - you're in for a treat!

www.bonocorevisualstudios.com

TBD! Our scheduled 2nd leader had an unforeseen scheduling issue. Stay tuned for an amazing Counterpart to Michael!

TGL Testimonials

Brian H.

I loved the entire TGL: Peru experience! It scared me; it challenged me; it motivated me; it pushed me to explore and expand my own comfort zone. The people, both the leaders of the TGL, as well as the travellers chosen to participate are genuinely good people. I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone ... Read More
Brian H.

Amanda M.

My time in Thailand was inspiring. I learned so much from my group leaders and fellow team members, and feel honored to be part of the first all-women TGL excursion, especially because we had the opportunity to work with girls at COSA, and hopefully contribute to fighting against human trafficking and sex trafficking. This is ... Read More
Amanda M.

Kevin W.

Not all photography tours are equal. Traveling with The Giving Lens means you’ll connect with a local group, help their organization as a volunteer, and then share your passion for photography with the people you are volunteering to help. This is a collaboration that gives something both to that organization and to you as a ... Read More