India Photo Tour – The Colorful Holi Festival and Varanasi
is the most popular pilgrimage point for the Hindus and one of the seven holiest cities. Varanasi is situated on the banks of River Ganges, which is believed to have the power of washing away all of one’s sins. In Hinduism it is believed that those who die and are cremated here get an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births.
is one of the most anticipated celebrations in the Hindu calendar. Holi festival is a spring festival, also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love. During this period, celebrations were in full swing across India as people cover themselves in powder, throw flower petals and light bonfires to celebrate the Spring Festival.
UNUSUAL EXPEDITION’s trips are well known for accomplishing a lot in just a few days. We basically pack a lot of content with different themes in a single trip. This workshop will be no different. Locations shoots each day are dependant on daily weather and lighting conditions.
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Strenuous
Group Size Medium Group
NEW DELHI – VARANASI
Upon arrival at New Delhi, we will meet you at the airport and transfer to Varanasi. Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Sitting on the banks of the Ganges, it is a major religious hub in India, and is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. Many Hindu pilgrims make their way to Varanasi to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges and perform spiritual rites. There are almost 2,000 temples in the city, including the famous Golden Temple that is dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva. The city is immensely colourful, with activity bustling in every corner. We will spend the day taking some street photography, especially along the river.
Our photography expedition of Varanasi continues today, as we explore the many streets and capture the sights the city has to offer.
VARANASI / MATHURA
We rise early to capture the sunrise of Varanasi along the Ganges River, where you will see many pilgrims taking an early dip in the sacred waters, performing rituals and worshipping the Sun. It is beautiful in the morning, especially when the sunlight hits the old buildings, ashrams and palaces that line the river.
We will then take an afternoon flight back to New Delhi, and transfer to Mathura.
HOLI FESTIVAL AT MATHURA
One of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities, it attracts floods of pilgrims every year, particularly during Holi! The town is home to tons of temples from across the ages and a stretch of the sacred Yamuna River. Mathura was once a Buddhist centre with 20 monasteries that housed over 3,000 monks, but all that is left today are beautiful sculptures recovered from ruins. We will prepare ourselves for the festival.
Today is the eve of Holi, also known as Holika Dahan. Around or after sunset, large wooden pyres that have been set up around the city are lit, marking the official start of the ritual. For many traditions in Hinduism, Holi celebrates the death of Holika in order to save Prahlad by Vishnu in the city of Multan, and thus Holi gets its name. In olden days, people use to contribute a piece of wood or two for the Holika bonfire, meant to represent Holika killing her brother Hiranya Kashipu. This ritual symbolises the victory of good and evil, and you will see locals singing and dancing around the fire.
Today, we join in the crowds and dance and celebrate the Holi Festival in an explosion of colours – both a wonderful experience and photo op! The biggest festival will take place at the historical Dwarkadheesh Temple, where local men and kids throw pink and yellow powder at each other. Local women are noticeably absent, but you will see many female travellers who do participate.
Get ready for an amazing sight as the locals smear each other with colours and drench each other with water. Water guns and water balloons are also used, and anyone is fair game! Groups also carry large drums and other musical instruments, going from place to place to sing and dance. Get ready for some lively and colourful photo ops!
MATHURA – AGRA
We rise early and make our way from Mathura to Agra. One of the most renowned and magnificent world’s seven wonders, Taj Mahal. It is the iconic place in India. We will makes pictures of the sunset over the marble mausoleum of the world-famous Taj Mahal.
AGRA – NEW DELHI
We rise early and make our way from Agra to New Delhi. The capital of India, New Delhi is a cosmopolitan city that is home to several historic sites and museums. It is renowned for its beautifully landscaped gardens, like the Lodi Gardens, Budda Jayanti Park, Rose Garden and so on. We will spend the day doing some street photography. We will proceed to Airport after dinner, and take the flight home.
(Exact photography locations will depend on weather conditions.)
Group transfer to airport