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India – Wildlife & Cultures of Northern India 2025

US$13,063 person sharing

Spaces Available

 

Please note that costs & dates for 2025 are subject to change as not all our partner properties and local airlines have released their rates. Should we need to revise costs, we will endeavour to keep fees & dates as close to the original.

21 Mar 2025 – 3 Apr 2025

ORYX is proud to present a carefully crafted tour to key sites in Northern India, with Senior Photo Tour Leader Penny Robartes.

 

ORYX’s new product, have been designed to offer guests with a thirst for exploring exotic destinations with camera in hand the ability to travel together. These tours are designed to allow like-minded individuals to learn, have fun and feel empowered to be creative in an environment of camaraderie and support of fellow photographers.

 

Our Women Only Photo Tours cater to photographers of all skill levels. Penny will use her extensive photographic experience to teach you how best to utilise your camera and capture your photographic vision while you are immersed in the spirit of the destination.

 

Our tour to magical India takes place in April which is the beginning of spring and is a great time to photograph the magnificent Bengal Tiger. India of course has many highlights, but the Bengal Tiger is unquestionably one of them! As spring progresses, temperatures in Ranthambore National Park rise and animals, most notably tigers, seek out water sources to slake their thirst and stay cool in the ever-growing heat. In addition to game drives to search for Bengal Tiger and other wildlife, working the waterholes is a good way locate our primary quarry. We also visit the iconic Taj Mahal and colourful Varanasi on this tour, both of which add an exotic blend of cultural elements to the wildlife highlights of Ranthambore and truly offer an amazing overview of India.

 

Why this Photo Tour is for You

Destination Allure

Our India photography tour spends time in Ranthambore National Park, which is arguably the best place to photograph the Bengal Tiger, while providing a culturally enriching experience at Varanasi, the world famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.

Month of Travel

Our India Photo Tour takes place at the beginning of spring when hot temperatures begin to set in. Although winter would have passed, spring rains typically haven’t kicked in yet, meaning foliage has not yet sprouted and visibility is good. Animals are guaranteed to stay near to water sources to stay cool, even Tigers!

Wildlife & Culture Photography

This expedition visits some of remarkable highlights of this huge country, including famous Taj Mahal, the wildlife-saturated Ranthambore National Park (think Bengal Tigers, Sloth Bear and more) and colourful, spiritual Varanasi. With an exotic blend of cultural and wildlife elements, this contrasting tour promises to be a trip of a lifetime!

Small Group Tour

Joining a small group tour filled with other creative individuals is motivating and empowering as you learn about your camera while experiencing an exotic location with like-minded individuals.

Guided experience

Local knowledge of the region and its wildlife is key to crafting the ultimate photography tour experience. Combined with the photographic expertise of your ORYX Photo Tour Leader, and you are in for an adventure that will further fuel your excitement for photography and the destination.

Penny Robartes

ORYX LEADER
Penny Robartes

14 Days
6 Guests + 1 ORYX Leader
Culture
Wildlife
  • Destination
  • Departure
    Dehli
  • person sharing
    US$13,063
  • Single Supplement
    US$1,540
  • Photographic Highlights
    Cultural and wildlife elements including Bengal Tiger, Sloth Bear, Indian Peafowl, the people and buildings of Varanasi, and the iconic splendour that is the Taj Mahal.
  • Guide
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Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Today is set aside as an arrival day in bustling New Delhi – India’s second most populous city, and one of the most densely populated on earth. You will be met by an ORYX representative and driven through to your lovely accommodations for the night. This evening during dinner ORYX Tour Leader Penny Robartes will discuss the upcoming India photo tour in detail.
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Day 2: Fly Delhi to Varanasi

This morning we will head to Indira Gandhi International Airport for our flight to Varanasi (approximately 1,5 hours). After arrival in Varanasi, and baggage collection, an ORYX representative will meet you before transporting you to your hotel.

After check-in and lunch we will explore and photograph Varanasi (Benares or Kashi), the oldest living city in the world and the city that has been the ultimate Hindu pilgrimage for ages. Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the holy land of Varanasi will attain salvation from the cycle of birth and re-birth.

 
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Day 3: Varanasi

During our time in Varanasi, we will enjoy an early morning boat ride on the river Ganges to witness the sunrise over the river and Ghats (the broad flight of steps leading down to the water) and also to observe the devotees taking a holy dip and offering morning prayers.

The city is an experience the likes of which you will find nowhere else in the world! It is also one of India’s most photographed cities, particularly its Hindu pilgrims, worshipers and bathers on the Ghats situated along the banks of the Ganges (Ganga) River.

According to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva several thousand years ago, thus making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country.It is also a general held belief that it stands on the weapon “The Trishool” (Trident) of Lord Shiva. It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, and many Hindu scriptures, including the Rigveda, Skanda Purana, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, mention the city.

A dip at any of the 84 sacred Ghats of the Ganges is believed to wash away the sins of mortals. The city is a centre of learning and civilization and for over 3000 years Varanasi has been a symbol of Hindu renaissance.

Knowledge, philosophy, culture, devotion to gods, and Indian arts and crafts have flourished here for centuries, and it is aptly called the “Cultural Capital of India”. Varanasi was previously an industry centre famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works and  sculpture, while today it is a noted centre for fine silks and brocaded fabrics, exquisite saris, brassware, jewellery, woodcraft, carpets, wall hangings, lamp shades, masks of Hindu and Buddhist deities, Zari work, stone inlay work, glass beads and bangles.
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Day 4: Fly to Delhi

After a final morning’s photography and breakfast we will fly back to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.

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Day 5: Drive Delhi to Agra, sunset session at Taj Mahal

After breakfast, we will hit the road as we drive from Delhi to Agra, which is approximate 4-5 hour drive. Agra is the home of arguably the world’s most famous and spectacular historic building, the Taj Mahal! This morning we will visit this architectural masterpiece, the name of which literally means “Crown of Palaces”. This tour highlight is a World Heritage Site and is famous for the elegance of its design, its extraordinary translucent white marble dome, its mathematical symmetry and the immense numbers of intricately carved and inlaid semi-precious stones that adorn its walls. Begun in 1632, tens of thousands of architects and labourers, and over a thousand elephants, toiled for more than 20 years to complete this breath-taking edifice, which was commissioned by the grief-stricken Shah Jahan after his third wife died during the birth of their 14th child. This is without a doubt one of India’s most iconic and impressive sites, and this afternoon we will take advantage of the soft afternoon light, which is optimal for photography.

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Day 6: Taj Mahal & Agra Fort

This morning we will again visit the Taj Mahal as the sun comes up for golden hour photography.

Today we will also explore the fabled Agra Red Fort, located in the centre of the city and serving as a monumental reminder of the fascinating history of the region.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is more accurately a 94 acre walled city and was constructed in the 16th century. Visiting this architecturally spectacular complex is fascinating and from here we will also be able to enjoy views of the shimmering marble Taj Mahal.

In fact, Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, spent his final years here at the Agra Fort as a captive of his son Aurangzeb who deposed him.

Shah Jahan apparently died here whilst imprisoned in a tower with a view of the Taj Mahal.

Our final day in Agra concludes as we embark on one last sunset photography session at the Taj Mahal.

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Day 7: Drive Agra to Jaipur

Our journey continues as we travel from Agra to Jaipur, which is an approximate 4 hour drive. The afternoon is set aside for some relaxation at the hotel (activities to be confirmed).

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Day 8: Drive Jaipur to Ranthambore

This morning your local guide will collect you from your hotel where you will depart Jaipur for Ranthambore, which is approximately a 4-hour drive. Upon arriving, we will check in and after lunch, make our way into the park for afternoon game viewing

Located in the Sawai Madhopur district of south-eastern Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is one of India’s largest parks, protecting over 380 square kilometres (almost 1400 square kilometres including the buffer zone).

Dominated by the 10th century Ranthambore Fort, which sits atop a plateau 700-feet above the plains, this scenic reserve contains good concentrations of herbivores such as Spotted Deer, Sambar and Wild Boar; which are the Tigers primary food source.

Although the Tiger population of the park is small, quite a few are habituated to the presence of tourists, and this afternoon will be our first opportunity during this tiger tour in India to photograph this cat, often regarded as the most spectacular of all the world’s felines!

 
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Days 9 to 13: Ranthambore National Park

We will use open-top jeeps to explore the park for Tigers, enjoying the prolific bird life of the area as we explore. The rangers will be on the lookout for telltale signs such as pugmarks or scat in the road and will be ever alert for the alarm calls of Sambar, Spotted Deer (Chital) and Hanuman Langur.

With luck, these signs will lead us to a Tiger padding along a dusty track or sprawled out in the dappled sunlight of a bamboo thicket. Looking into the amber eyes of this, the largest of all the cats, undoubtedly ranks as one of the world’s ultimate wildlife experiences.

If we are exceptionally lucky, we may even be able to see (and photograph!) a Tiger on the famous Fort at Ranthambore!

Besides the main target of obtaining an unforgettable Tiger experience, Ranthambhore hosts an exciting cast of supporting mammals. The Leopard population is healthy and although they can be harder to find than Tiger, we hope to be able to view these beauties. Striped Hyaena prefer the park outskirts and areas nearer to our lodge and we will make an effort to find them. Sloth Bears roam the park in small numbers, and we may be fortunate to encounter these versatile creatures. Other predators include Indian Wolf (rare), Golden Jackal, Indian Fox, Jungle Cat, Ruddy, Indian Grey and Small Indian mongoose.

The default herbivores are the elegant Spotted Deer or Chital, and much larger Sambar. Less common are Indian Gazelle or Chinkara, and Nilgai. Sounders of Wild Boar are frequently encountered as are the dainty Indian Palm Squirrel and troops of often tame Southern Plains Grey Langur, and we can dream of spotting an Indian Pangolin.

Photographic opportunities in Ranthambhore National Park abound and range from spectacular scenery, impressive Banyan trees, ancient forts and ruins, Tigers and other wildlife, to birds that are often comically tame!

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Day 14: Ranthambore to New Delhi

Today, our wonderful photographic tour sadly comes to an end. After a final morning’s photography and breakfast we will fly back to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi as we will where this photo tour concludes.

India – Tigers & VaranasiAstrid Van Zyl, South Africa

Dear Penny, thank you so much for leading the most exceptional India photo tour…. it more than met my expectations of a happy and productive trip.

Thank you also to Marius for organising this personalised trip with a group of ladies who have met each other along the way in various other travel scenarios. It was so good to reconnect! Strong friendships of like minded people from different parts of the world were built which lent to a most entertaining and happy journey. Besides the group getting along famously, a huge thank you also to Bablu for looking after us so well and always watching our backs, collecting forgotten items and generally smoothing the way ….. his photography skills are totally amazing too!

Also not forgetting the team of guides and drivers….exceptional! Fun, fun, fun …..and some photography too! The team always had our best interests at heart and made every minute happy! What an amazing team!

Ranthambore and the photography opportunities was an adventure on its own….it is very hard to describe the tiger encounters, not to mention sloth bears!!! Each and every one took my breath away! The scenic and historical part of Ranthambore lent to the total magic for me! My trust and faith in our driver and team getting us to the right place at the right time was both exhilarating and I appreciated their dedication and care.

Varanasi was an experience second to none. The feel of India there for me was palpable. The way we were active on foot, in rickshaws by day and night in the hub of the Ganges River area gave us the true feel of noise, hustle and bustle, hoot and more noise! As well as serenity and calm! Again the chaos of the city worked!

Penny, thank you for your patience, kindness and co-ordinating the Bandit Queens ….. a group of strong minded, middle aged women all with a dry sense of humour ;), not an easy task! It truly was one of the best photographic journeys I have been on and the mix was totally right! By the sounds of the laughter echoing through the valleys ….. its got to have been a great trip!

Thank you! May we all share many more happy journeys together.

India – Tigers & VaranasiShobha Gopinath, Singapore

Is there such a thing as a perfect trip? My recent trip to Ranthambore National Park and Varanasi, India with ORYX Photo Tours was nothing short of fantastic and exciting! Tiger sightings in Ranthambore were spectacular and Varanasi was sublime. It was simply an unparalleled experience made all the more enjoyable as all ground arrangements from transport, hotels and local guiding were impeccable. Everything went off smoothly and without a hitch.

In no small part the trip was memorable because of our photography lead, Penny Robartes. This is the third trip I have gone on with Penny. She is just the most wonderful person to travel with. She is personable, cheerful and caring, always making sure everything went off smoothly. She is very generous with her knowledge and expertise, always patient and helpful advising us on composition, settings and editing. Her insights and instructions on photography were invaluable and my photography has definitely improved on account of her.

This was an exceptional trip and our experience was unparalleled. Thank you ORYX and Penny in particular for yet another terrific experience.

India – Tigers & VaranasiShyam Thilagaratnam, Singapore

I've just returned from another ORYX photo tour adventure - this time to Ranthambore and Varanasi. This is my second time travelling with the lovely Penny Robartes - the first being to the Mara a few years ago. Penny continues to surprise and raise the bar.

From the organisation and logistics, to the photographic opportunities and tuition from Penny, and the group that was thoughtfully put together for this trip - everything was just perfect. The itinerary was a wonderful combination of wildlife and culture. I'd never seen a tiger in the wild before and this has been on my bucket list for ages - and thanks to the ace trackers and guides I got to see a tiger on almost every drive - 14 sightings of 11 different tigers and cubs - what an adrenaline rush that was. And thanks to Penny, I think I got some pretty decent images :)

Penny is truly remarkable and a real gem, and much more than a 'photographer guide'. Her genuine interest in people and cultures is obvious and her natural good-natured curiousity made her a superstar, not just with our group but with all we met along the way. Her mad photography skills combined with her generosity in sharing her knowledge resulted in my gaining so many new photographic capabilities - I have no doubt the rest of the group felt the same.

When on game drives or walking the streets of Varanasi, Penny was always there to guide us on settings or to point out opportunities that we might otherwise have missed. In between these sessions, she was also available to each of us for some very useful editing 'tutorials'...which were always combined with so much belly-aching laughter, and conversations about life, the universe and everything in between.

I can't recommend Penny Robartes highly enough - both my trips with her were far more than 'photography expeditions' - they would be more accurately described as 'good for the soul journeys.' I've already signed up for my next photo safari with her. So, mega thanks Penny - you are truly appreciated!

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