$3600 (on twin-share)

$3600 (twin share based on 8 participants, including internal flights)
$ 870 (Single Supplement)
$150 (Tip Kitty)

The cost of the expedition-workshop includes photo shoots, editing and multimedia guidance, internal flights (Delhi-Varanasi-Delhi), vehicles in Mathura and Varanasi, transfer services from airport-hotel-airport, hotel accommodation with breakfast, and local fixers (subject to locations). It does not include meals, any expenses of personal nature, laundry, or any beverages.

International Flights:
The cost of international flights from the USA (or elsewhere) to and from Delhi are not included, and must be arranged so that you are in Delhi at the official start of the expedition-workshop at midday on March 3, 2014. The workshop ends on the evening of March 18 18, 2014 in Delhi at 22:00 hours

A deposit of $800 is required to secure a place on the The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop. This down payment is not refundable once paid because flights have to be booked, and down payments to hotels have to made.

Important Notice
This photo expedition-workshop is not open for starting photographers, nor for first-timers to India. It is for self-starters, comfortable to work in large crowds and already familiar with India.

The Travel Agent
Our travel agent is based in Delhi, and is used by The Travel Photographer for all its photo expeditions in India.

A Note On Our Hotel Accommodations:
We shall be staying in luxury and resort hotels during this photo-expedition. All rooms have attached private baths. Hotel information is available on request.

WotanCraft Atelier Sponsors Photo Contest:

Wotancraft Atelier, the maker of top quality handmade camera bags will offer a City Explorer Scout camera bag as a prize to the winner of a photo contest during this photo expedition-workshop.

I assume no responsibility for accidents or injury to individuals participating in the The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop. You will be requested to read, accept and sign an agreement which releases me from any responsibility of liability in the event of any of the situations mentioned below.

I also assume no responsibility if a traveler is refused entry into a country for any reason. It is the traveler's sole responsibility to ensure all travel documents are valid and effective. A passport, valid for six months after the intended date of return is required in many cases for travel overseas. Some countries may require visas for US or non-US citizens. Please check with the corresponding consulates prior to leaving. This is the traveler's responsibility.

I cannot assume any liability whatsoever for injury, sickness, damage, death, loss, accident or delay to person or property due to an act of negligence of or default of any travel agent, hotel, carrier, restaurant, company, airline, or person rendering any of the services included in the The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop, or by act of God, act of war or terrorism. Further, no responsibilities are accepted for any damage, changes or delays due to sickness, pilferage, labor disputes, machinery breakdown, quarantine, government restraints, weather or other causes beyond my personal control. No responsibility is accepted for any additional expense, omissions and schedule changes, forced stopovers, rerouting or acts of any governments or authority. I reserve the right to decline or accept any person as a member of any tour or to cancel or alter the tour without notice. It is also the responsibility of the traveler to keep informed on deposit and payment date requirements. It is highly recommended that all individuals obtain adequate travel insurance.

All text, layout & images Tewfic El-Sawy





On this two-part photo expedition-workshop, we shall immerse ourselves in documenting (1) the street theaters in two of the most sacred cities in India: Vrindavan and Varanasi, (2) the esoteric cultures of the real and fake sadhus who proliferate these sacred cities, (3) the tradition of widow exiling to ashrams and (4) the exuberance of the Holi festival...and much more.


MULTI-PRONGED: This photo expedition/multimedia workshop consists of 2 parts, so our objectives will be multi-pronged. The mad exuberance of Holi in Vrindavan is the main 'project' of this particular photographic experience . Our ancillary objectives are: the tradition of widows in exile in both Vrindavan and Varanasi, the Aghora sadhus and the more pedestrian-charlatan ascetics who roam the ghats and ashrams in Varanasi, the Muslim Sufi shrines in Varanas, and much more.

OBJECTIVES: Emulating real-life photo assignments, the aim of the workshop is to assist its participants produce multimedia bodies of work ready for publishing. Participants will merge their still photography and audio to create compelling narratives. This is largely for color photography, but black & white is certainly an option. Participating photographers will have to own/use portable audio recorders, and have specialized audio-slideshow software (Soundslides) on their laptops.

WHO FOR: The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop is structured for photographers interested in documentary photography, ethno-photography and multimedia, and for those ready to create visual projects from their inventory of photographs, and learn how to control story length, intent, pace, use of music and ambient sound, narration, field recordings and interviews.

HOLI FESTIVAL: is a spring event also known as festival of colors. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter and for many, a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships. It's at its height in the sacred city of Vrindavan, where the Banke Bihari temple is the epicenter for the color throwing festival. Earlier, it's at the Nandagram temple and Ladali temple near Nandgaon in Barsana. As the prelude of Holi, the women in Braj theatrically and playfully beat men with sticks in a ritual is called Lathmar Holi. Both Lathmar Holi and the main event are unforgettable photographic experiences.

HOLI PRECAUTIONS: Since Holi involves throwing color powder and/or water at participants and devotees, protection for our equipment and ourselves is mandatory. Participants will need to have an adequate supply of rain sleeves, plastic bags and duct tape for equipment, along with headscarves/caps, thick sunblock and goggles for own protection.

HOTELS: The accommodations for The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop will be top-end and boutique hotels.

The Travel Photographer's Photo~Expeditions™ are best described as a mixture of documentary photojournalism, ethno-photography and travel photography" adventures. As with other previous expeditions, The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop will include both documentary-style (candid and on-the-run) photography, as well as posed photo sessions with selected people we may encounter.

Tewfic El-Sawy is The Travel Photographer, a freelance photographer who specializes in documenting endangered cultures and traditional life ways of Asia, Latin America and Africa. He's enthusiastic about documentary-travel photography and produces multimedia stories, merging still photography and ambient sound.

His favorite destinations are to South and South East Asia, and is particularly interested in documenting Sufism and syncretic religious traditions of these regions. He's the founder of the popular The Travel Photographer blog, and is also a faculty member of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, tutoring the essentials of multimedia to emerging photojournalists.

Important Notice: The Sacred: Varanasi & Vrindavan Photo Expedition-Workshop is limited to 8 photographers only. Participation may be subject to a portfolio review.






Images & Itinerary copyright Tewfic El-Sawy -