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Photographic pilgrimages to Southern India

29th June 2010 Print
Photography trips in India

Wild Photography Holidays, the innovative travel company specialising in small-group photography holidays in wild and inaccessible places, is offering a new intrepid 16-day tour to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the heart of Southern India, over Christmas and New Year.

This action packed holiday departs on 21st December 2010 and returns on 5th January 2011. Travelling to some of Southern India’s most stunning, spiritual and historical landmarks, the group will also enjoy the delightful hospitality and comfort of a range of hotels from a beach fronted eco spa to an old club that was used by the gentlemen planters of the High Range in Kerala. The building has changed very little in character and ambience from its early nineteenth century origins and offers a quirky place to stay in the heart of the Cardamom Hills. There will also be the chance to experience two fascinating train journeys and a scenic boat trip through the world’s second largest mangrove forest.

The tour will be led by photography tutor Martin Sammtleben and a team of local experts who will be on hand to help point out the best locations to capture unusual shots and ensure optimum lighting. South Indian expert David Godman, widely acknowledged as a leading authority and author on the life, teachings and disciples of Sri Ramana Maharshi, will also join the group for part of the tour, pointing out undiscovered sights and offering an in-depth knowledge of the area. David has written and edited 14 books, whilst living in and around Tamil Nadu and the holy mountain of Arunachala for the past thirty years.

Kerala - ‘God’s Own Country’ is a region of South-West India renowned for its natural beauty with lush tropical vegetation, fragrant spices and vast symetrical, emerald green tea plantations. Its neighbour, Tamil Nadu hugs the coast of the Gulf of Bengal with long beaches, fishing catamarans and coconut groves. It is less developed and home to an ancient and little changed Dravidian civilisation with rice-fields, coconut groves and plantations for cotton, sugar cane, mangoes and bananas which will all provide the perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts to enjoy an authentic cultural experience, whilst capturing a unique portfolio of landscape and people images.

Here are some of the many highlights of the 16-day adventure:

• Exploring the UNESCO and world famous shore temples of Mahabalipuram, which is superb in the early morning sunlight

• A visit to the ancient and remarkable boulder-strewn landscape of Gingee Fort. With its mysterious lakes, temples and red cliffs festooned with bees nests, offering surreal and highly photogenic landscapes

• An exploration of the shrines and caves of the holy mountain of Shiva – Arunachala

• A scenic boat trip to Pichavarum - the world’s second largest mangrove forest

• The colourful hussle and bustle of Indian trains with overnight, fully air conditioned train journeys to Coimbature in Kerala and to Chennai (Madras)

• Sampling the culinary delights of the tiny French sea-side state of Pondicherry which was ruled by the French for 300 years and today stands as a living monument of the French culture in India

• Taking an exciting rickshaw ride through old Madurai to marvel at the ancient temples

Commenting on the tour, co-owner of Wild Photography Holidays, Geraldine Westrupp said: “In creating this captivating itinerary I have drawn on my own experience of travelling and working in the Indian subcontinent for many years and the knowledge of local experts to create a truly colourful itinerary that explores the area of Kerala and Tamil Nadu taking our guests to the lesser known areas and behind doors normally closed to visitors in order to capture some truly memorable images.”

Price person is £2,080 for 16-days/15 nights from 21 December 2010 – 5 January 2011 and is based on two people sharing, including hotel accommodation, two train journeys, all transport, specialist local guides, excursions and all meals plus light room tuition with Martin Sammtleben. Excludes international flights and visas.

For more details, visit the website at:

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Photography trips in India Meenakshi Temple Mahabalipuram