Wpg.Global – Photography Tour in Eastern India

Join Wpg.Global for a Creative Photography Adventure in Off the Beaten Path Eastern India

What you will Experience: Kolkata Street Photography – Vibrant Hindu Festivals – Holy Cities – Tribal Communities – Traditional Artisans – Ancient Temples – Colourful Markets – Wildlife Reserves – Beautiful Beaches

Who should book this trip: Creative Professionals from Winnipeg, Canada looking for a unique experience. A real adventure.

Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights

Level of Fitness Required: Moderate (2-3 hours of activity per day)

Dates – October 5 – 19, 2019

Price: Starting at $3,099 CAD plus 5% GST per person (double occupancy)

Tour Deposit: To secure your booking a deposit of $500 is required. Only 2 more spots left!


Not your Typical Photography Workshop:

Wpg.Global Photography Tour

Photo Credit: Ian McCausland – Kolkata

This won’t be your typical destination workshop – we are striving for something different. We are looking at exploring this destination through the eyes of an artist using a storytelling approach. You will be challenged in a variety of different settings and environments that will inspire creativity, get you out of your comfort zone, and create opportunities to enhance your personal portfolios. We have a set itinerary, but it may change due to the group’s interests, local realities, and randomness that you can expect when travelling through a destination like this.

Don’t expect this tour to be a group of us jumping out of a van, setting up tripods and all shooting the same thing. We are going to try something better together… If you are searching for an experience of a lifetime and creating photographs you’re so proud of that you will never shut up talking about it for years to come, then you need to register right now.

The Experience:

Wpg.Global Photography Tour

Photo Credit: Ian McCausland – Kolkata

This will be Wpg.Global’s 3rd expedition and this time we decided to choose something a little more challenging and off the beaten path.  Welcome to Kolkata & Odisha, India – the land of diversified destinations. This tour is geared towards Creative Professionals from Winnipeg looking for an experience that triggers their creative spirit, to learn about a new cultures, arts & traditions, to be inspired for your own work, and to gain knowledge, skills and mentorship from the Tour Leaders. The first destination is Kolkata, also known as ‘The City of Joy’ and the cultural capital of India. This city has so much to offer from amazing architecture, creative cuisine, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and some amazing stories about its history. Kolkata is a city full of stories and is a mecca for street photography. Our group will arrive during the Durga Puja festival – an annual Hindu festival to celebrate the goddess Durga. You will get a chance to witness this spectacular city through the eyes of an artist.

Our next destination is off the beaten path Odisha – a land of ethnic tribes with colourful weekly markets, friendly people from lively rural villages filled with living culture & traditions, centuries old temples with stunning stone art, natural beauty in the Chilika wetlands, vibrant undisturbed beaches, high hills, and tranquil forests.  This diversity makes Odisha a diversified destination and truly photogenic and will have your creative juices flowing. Undoubtedly Odisha is truly a place for inspiration for creative professionals.

This experience is tailored for those looking for artistic inspiration for their work and to even have the opportunity to do a personal / professional project while on this tour. We will have get togethers leading up to the trip to discuss some potential goals and to shape this into a special experience for those that sign up!!


Your Tour Leaders:

Ian McCausland– For over 25 years Ian has been providing award winning images for a variety of local national and international clients. A life long Winnipeger who’s passionate about this city and it’s creative community, Ian is an avid traveller, photographing all over North America, Europe Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. He looks forward to revisiting Kolkata and exploring some new off the beaten track destinations in Odisha and with his love of connecting with people in person and through social media, hopes to create some lasting memories.

Linus Strandholm– Born and raised in the archipelago outside of Stockholm, Sweden about 32 years ago and since then Linus has become a full time travel & curiosity addict. Linus makes an effort to go local on a global scale by spending time with the locals and seeing for himself what it’s all about. He’s spent about a year and a half in India, witnessed traditional whale hunting and explored blood sacrifice rituals in rural Indonesia, gone into the heart of the jungle in the ‘Indio maiz biologial reserve’ in Nicaragua, drank the shamanic healing brew Ayahuasca, experienced the healing benefits of a Native American sweat lodge in the Canadian prairies, and currently focusing energy on Canada. Excited for the opportunity to be part of this adventure.

Odisha India

Desia Ecotourism Project, Odisha, India


Our Corporate Social Responsibility:

As part of Travel Roots values we always look into opportunities that you can give back to the local communities and environment in the places that you visit. A portion of the fee for this experience supports the Desia Ecotourism Project in Odisha. The goal of this initiative is to bring the economic benefits of tourism to the local tribes and communities living in the Koraput Valley and to preserve the rich tribal culture among the youth by promoting their festivals, music, cuisine, rituals etc. Special focus is given to empower the local women below poverty line by providing training on various livelihood and craft development training. Visit http://www.desiakoraput.com/about-desia-koraput/ to find out more about the Desia project.



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  • Explore the vibrant streets of Kolkata, the cultural capital of India, and a mecca for creative street photography
  • Visit local villages that specialize in unique art forms such as textiles, paintings, carvings, and pottery
  • Spend time with the Joranda monks at a monastery
  • Spend the night in a heritage Royal Palace with a chance to meet the Prince and his family
  • Explore the virgin undeveloped coastline near Konark
  • Experience the incredible Sun Temple that resembles travelling through time with amazing symbolism
  • Visit the holy city of Puri - a pilgrimage site for many Hindus
  • Travel by boat through a nature conservatory in Chilika Lake, home to water buffalo and a variety of bird species
  • Visit Indigenous Tribal markets in the Koraput Valley and be amazed with the colours
  • Visit the Desia ecotourism site located in the tribal region of the province and contribute to their cultural preservation & rural livelihood development projects
  • Experience tribal dance performances and get a chance to mingle with the local villagers
  • Meet and interact with like-minded creative professionals from Winnipeg
  • Have an opportunity to create a collaborative project that documents your experience in India
  • Gain inspiration and knowledge from your Tour Leaders Ian McCausland and Linus Strandholm

The Itinerary is Set but we will have plenty of opportunity to modify and adapt itinerary / activities throughout the tour based on interests. There is also opportunity for those that want to join to organize special missions such as creating film / documentary style film, specific photo story projects, and pursuing different artforms. We will do our best to accommodate the groups interests and what they hope to get out of the experience.


Arrive in the City of Joy! You'll be pretty jet-lagged so this day is set aside to ease into the trip. India can be quite an initial culture shock, but you will have your Tour Leaders and a local host to ensure you transition into the experience.

Spend the night at a 4* Hotel in the City. Breakfast Included.


After breakfast you will embark on a guided City Tour of Kolkata to get you familiar with the City and its vibrant history. Get a chance to learn about some of the local artwork and even get a chance to meet some local artists.

Spend the night at a 4* Hotel in the City. Breakfast Included.


Free time to explore the City on your own. Set out on foot, tuk-tuk, or one of the many forms of transportation, to witness the vibrant culture this city has to offer. Make sure you try the famous kathi rolls - a tasty street food that Kolkata does best!

Spend the night at a 4* Hotel in the City. Breakfast Included.


Free time to experience the activities of the annual Durga Puja Festival - this will be the final day of the festival where they prepare statues to celebrate the goddess Durga and launch them into the river - definitely a unique site to see.

Spend the night at a 4* Hotel in the City. Breakfast Included.


Early Morning check-out then board a domestic flight to Bhubaneswar.  You will be greeted by our drivers and local hosts and will then drive along the picturesque Mahanadi river bank. Witness the activities practiced by the locals along the riverside villages, then visit Nuapatana weavers village to meet the various weaver families and also to see their weaving work. This village is famous for Odishan textile of IKAT fame ( special TIE & DYE pattern).

Continue on to Sadeibareni Dhokra craft village.  Here the families produce the bellmetal craft on lost wax and wine process.  Enjoy the lunch in the royal palace at Dhenknal.

Post lunch, take a short excursion to Joranda to meet unique Mahima Monks at their monastery. These spiritual monks still wear the bark of trees and have long matted hair – they are very friendly and happy to face the camera.  Attending their sunset prayer will be a truly delightful experience. Late evening drive back to the royal palace and enjoy dinner from the royal kitchen with a bonfire.

Spend the night at the Royal Palace Heritage Homestay.

OCT. 10 - DAY 6: DHENKANAL – KONARK (Thursday)

Morning  explore the various parts of the palace. After breakfast, proceed to Konark to witness the world heritage site, the great sun temple - an epitome in stone art. Enroute visit the sixty four yogini temple and the living fisherman village.

Overnight stay in an eco resort close by the river & the sea.

OCT. 11 - DAY 7: KONARK - PURI (Friday)

For the early risers, witness the magical sunrise at the beach. Today you will visit various rural villages filled with living culture and traditions. After breakfast, drive to Raghurajpur Heritage craft village which is nicely located amidst the coconut groves. The houses are nicely decorated with mural paintings. The villagers are born artists and do various paintings, palm leaf etching, papier mache, wooden toys, etc.  Walk through the villages and appreciate their work and process.

Enjoy lunch with an artist’s family and also the unique gotipua dance at a traditional dance school. This dance will be performed by the group of boys - full of acrobatics and a great site for photography.  Visit the pottery maker village, farmer villages, etc and drive back to Puri.

Overnight stay in a hotel along the beach.


OCT. 12 - DAY 8: PURI & LOCAL REGION (Saturday)

Puri is a great pilgrim site and an ideal place for street photography. Take the green rider rickshaws into the old city covering the medieval byelanes , majestic views of the grand Jagannath temple, small shrines, watertanks, cremation places, beach markets, local markets, etc.  Also visit to fishing village and the nearby villages around Puri will be ideal for photography and cultural insight.

Overnight stay along the beach in Puri.



Transfer to Gopalapur on Sea - enroute visit the Mangalajopdi eco village. The villagers were earlier poachers and now have turned into great conservationists. Here at Mangalajodi, the country boat ride through marshy land and water creeks to meet migratory and residential birds in the nature is an ideal for birding & nature photography. Drive further to Huma to visit the weekly fish market and arrival in the afternoon at Gopalpur on the sea. If desired, stroll around the beach during sunset to see the beach activity.

Overnight stay in Gopalpur.

OCT. 14 - DAY 10: GOPALPUR - RAYAGADA (Monday)

Early morning drive to Padmanavpur textle village. Then drive through the forest to visit the Tibetain settlement and their monastery with Buddhist Lama. Afternoon, visit the Lanjia Saura tribal village and see the unique wall paintings of the Saura tribes. Evening arrival at Rayagada and transfer to hotel & overnight stay.


Today you will meet the Kutia Kondh tribes at their weekly market. The Kutia ladies have linear tattoos on their face. You will visit the market and spend time with the tribes. Afternoon visit to the pottery making village and another tribal groups called Desia Kondh tribes at their village. Drive back to Rayagad and overnight stay in the same hotel.



Early departure for Chatikona to meet the Indigenoeus Dunguria highlanders. This tribal group lives on a high hill range and walks down hill to the market once a week sell their seasonal vegetables and fruits. After memorable hours in this colourful market, proceed to DESIA - our local hosts responsible travel initiative to bring the benefit of tourism to the local tribal communities.

Receive a warm welcome by the community and stay at Desia (www.desiakopraput.com). Enroute if time permits, visit the bamboo basketing workshops in a tribal village.

Overnight at the Desia Ecotourism Site.


Today you will meet one of the most interesting tribes of India called Bonda tribes. Bonda ladies love to adorn their upperbody with various jewelries. The Bonda people walk to this market once a week from distant high-hill  villages and sell their home made alcohol. You will also meet Gadaba & Didayi tribal communities in this market. After spending half day in this market, drive back to Desia  and spend the afternoon relaxing by the spectacular waterfall.

Overnight at the Desia Ecotourism Site.

OCT. 18 - DAY 14: DESIA (Friday)

Today you will do a meaningful walk to different tribal villages which are nicely located in the valleys.  The Paraja, Mali,  and Gadaba villages are distinct for their house patterns, jewelry, costumes, etc. Have lunch in one of the villages, enjoy the Dhemsa dance, walk back to Desia and overnight stay there.



Morning farewell with the Desia family - drive to Visakhapatnam to board the evening flight for Kolkata enroute for your departure home. Option to spend an extra day or two in Kolkata.

Included in the Price:

  • Accommodation for 14 nights accommodations – twin sharing basis
  • Breakfast is included throughout.
  • All domestic transportation included throughout the experience – including domestic air travel to and from Kolkata to Odisha and private vehicles with drivers throughout the tour
  • Service of English Speaking Guide for entire tour
  • Green Rider Rickshaw Ride in Puri
  • Tribal Dance Show in Desia
  • Boat Trip at Chilika Lake
  • Gotipua Dance in the Artist Village
  • All meals during the stay at the Dhenknal Palace and at the Desia Ecotourism Centre
  • Mineral Water during travel
  • Community Contributions for local visits

Excluded in the Price:

  • International Airfare - Winnipeg to Kolkata - price ranges from approx. $1400 - $1700
  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverages, alcoholic beverages and meals not mentioned
  • Entry fees to monuments (nominal fee)
  • Activities and excursions which have not been mentioned in the itinerary
  • Expenses of a personal nature.
  • Tips
  • Any other services not specified above.

This video was shot a few years ago that focused on the Desia Ecotourism Project - but it also shows footage taken from some of the sites we will be visiting on this adventure.

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