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Varanasi Travel Photography Tour

Ghats of Glory

When the sun rises over the quivering waters of the sacred Ganga, when the gossamer evenings eventually meet the dark and the holy lamps are lit to restore their golden glory, when silence conceals itself at the epicentre of all the bustling human activities, witness every ephemeral thing revelling in its own transience and transcending into your timeless memoryscape.

Veer inwards in Varanasi.

Tour Highlights

  • A 3-night/4-day exclusive experience in one of the world’s most ancient continually inhabited cities
  • A soul-enriching exploration and photographic journey in the city of spiritual significance
  • A productively satisfying time enjoying street, travel and portrait photography
  • Extensive photography learning under the guidance of accomplished experts
  • A wide spectrum of stunning events and experiences worth cherishing for always

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Upcoming Departures

9-12 APR 2020
Rajiv Shyamsundar

Photo opportunities maximised

Led by ace photographers

Immense experience

Hands-on assistance on and off the field

Image reviews and presentations

Photography gear on rent

Expert Advice

Want to tailor-make your own tour?

If you are not looking for a fixed group-departure, we can tailor-make a Personalised Vacation for you to suit your dates and travel needs – all with a great price match!

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How Is It?

Spiritual capital where ancient and modern India meet in breathtaking ways.

Everything about this city spells spirituality in all seasons. Referred to as the ‘spiritual capital’ of India, Varanasi, also known as Banaras and Kashi, is a city beautifully located on the banks of the holy river Ganga, is considered as the holiest of the seven sacred (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and also Jainism, along with being a significant place of activities during the development of Buddhism. It is one of the cities that are believed to grant moksha (salvation/liberation).

Every corner of this ancient town throbs with ancient stories. You will be wandering on the streets of a city that, based on not only mythological stories but all the archaeological evidence, is among the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. You will probably be treading the same paths that were trodden by some of the best minds that lived in this part of the country — Adi Shankara, Gautama, Tulsidas, Kabir, Ravidas and Guru Nanak among other historical figures. The city was even made a state by the British in 1910.

Moored boats on River Ganga, Varanasi

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The ghats and the temples in Varanasi have been some of the most interesting subjects of photography. And why wouldn’t you be in a place of which Mark Twain had once said, “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

The fascinating conundrum of earthly details leading to an unearthly experience will become more visceral when you see the aarti in the evenings when thousands of lamps are lit and set afloat on the Ganga River, the warmth of their light flowing in your veins as they float away calmly.

Varanasi might be the perfect place where you are looking for if you long to listen to stories more conscientiously than wondering about structuring your own.

What You Will See and Photograph:

All the bustling human activities you can experience only here.

Tease and tickle your own senses and imagination when you set out to explore the streets, temples, ghats, and the local people and their lifestyle.

At the spectacular Dashashwamedh Ghat, the main ghat on the river Ganga located close to the popular Kashi Vishwanath Temple, make the most of your cognition as the light bleeds gold in the mornings and in the evenings.

Breathe and see and hear positive ancientness when the Ganga aarti happens in the evenings, when the intoxicating incense and multi-tiered lamps are held aloft to beckon the heavens and when the aarti singers join the stimulating, awakening sounds of the bells and gongs with their prayer songs.

Ganga aarti, Varanasi

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Photographing such stimulating scenes where action never ceases to keep an onlooker busy, the miracles of the mundane on the bustling streets of Varanasi, this Photo Tour will open up a boundless seam for street, travel and portrait photography. The city is known to be one of the best places in the world for street and portrait photography because of the vast diversity of people you will find, including sadhus and children dressed in different mythological characters.

Give yourself to Varanasi and watch out for how much it has to offer to you in terms of both everyday and the extraordinary, and photograph it all in the best light of the morning and the evening.

Featured Blog

Why Varanasi is a Great Place for Photography

As one of the world’s most ancient, spiritual and continuously inhabited cities, Varanasi is a masterpiece in motion, and the perfect muse to draw inspiration from. Here are some vistas from Toehold Skipper Rajiv Shyamsundar that show you why.

Tour Itinerary

Please note: This Tour begins and ends at Varanasi. Participants may choose to reach Varanasi by either air or road depending on their preference, but transport between your home and our hotel in Varanasi is NOT included in the Tour itinerary or cost. However, all required assistance will be duly provided.

Upon arrival, participants are checked into the lodge. After lunch that day, there will be a briefing session on the city and photography and the Tour Itinerary. In the evening, we will set out to explore the city, and watch and photograph the glorious Ganga aarti at the main Dashashwamedh Ghat.

The holiest of the seven sacred cities is always brimming with action and is no less a miracle set in motion. We will head towards the ghats early in the morning, to be there to see and photograph the sun rising over the river Ganga and the following morning rituals that happen on the ghats.

We return to the hotel for breakfast and rest for a while. After lunch, we again head towards the ghats for photographing the place enamoured by the golden evening light. At night, before dinner, we will have a session on photography.

Our morning routine will remain the same as we go to the ghats again. In the evening, however, we will walk on the streets of Varanasi for street and portrait photography. Banaras and its streets are bound to beguile us as we head out with a camera to make some memories.

There will be a photography and image review session in the morning, and if time permits, we go out to explore the city. We will checkout in the afternoon and return home with great storytelling images.

Cost and Terms


INR 32,000
  • Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation


INR 61,500
  • Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation

Toehold Patrons

INR 30,500
  • Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation

All prices above are excluding taxes. 5% GST would be applicable.

Toehold Patrons: Customers who have participated in at least three previous Toehold Photo Tours.

What’s Included?

  • Twin-sharing accommodation in comfortable hotels
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Permits and photography fees

What’s Not Included?

  • All airfare
  • Transfer expenses between your home and Varanasi
  • Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours, extra meals and beverages ordered
  • Insurance, laundry and phone calls
  • Bottled water and soft drinks
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • All applicable taxes
  • Anything that is not included in the Inclusions list

Payment Terms

  • At least 50% of the Tour fee at registration for provisional reservation
  • Remainder of the Tour fee 98 or more days before the Tour for confirmation

Cancellation Fees

  • 50% of the Tour fee 96 or more days before the Tour
  • 75% of the Tour fee between 95 and 82 days before the Tour
  • 100% of the Tour fee on or after 81 days before the Tour

Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Toehold Photo Travel vs Vacations

While Toehold Photo Travel is one of our most popular offerings, we work as a travel agency without bringing the photography guide element in to your travel. In short you would be using our travel experts service to just plan the vacation and execute it.

  • Unlike a Photo Travel experience, your Vacation is completely personalised.
  • The dates, style of travel, class of hotels and lodges, destinations, everything is tailor-made to suit your custom requirement.
  • A Skipper or a photography guide doesn’t travel with you to guide you unless you decide to take our customised and guided photo travel experience.

So take advantage of the immense experience and field knowledge that we bring in to your Vacation’s planning without having to pay for our time and costs. Plus, we don’t charge an additional fee for our time and travel planning services.

What are the requisites to participate in this tour?

Apart from interest in street, travel and portrait photography, a minimum level of fitness is essential. If you’re unsure of your fitness or suffer from a known illness, please consult your physician before signing up for this Tour.

Why is fitness required for this Tour?

A minimum level of fitness is essential as we explore Varanasi on foot, walking on the streets and along the ghats by the river Ganga.

I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible?

Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold’s eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up for an Art and Science of Photography Workshop right away!

Who can be a part of this Tour?

Any individual above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian) who has the requisite fitness to complete the Tour can participate.

What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?

A good wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle lens is a must (10mm onwards). A short or medium fixed telephoto or zoom lens will help you make ‘compressed landscape’ images, abstracts and do candid people or street photography (70mm to 200mm). You may also bring along a portrait lens, such as a 50mm, 35mm or 85mm lens, to make high-quality portraiture. A full-frame (35mm) camera with compatible wide-angle and fisheye lenses will allow you to make the most of the opportunities. If you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Visit our Rental Store to see what we offer.

How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours?

Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge-sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.

Reviews by Tour Participants

Interested? Make a Booking Enquiry

It’s easy. Call us on 1800 1200 901 (Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m.) or simply fill this form, and we’ll get back to you like the whirring wind.

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