Varanasi has been a chosen destination for photographers for a while now. There’s so much to see, do & experience in Varanasi that your first trip there can be overwhelming, much like Varanasi overwhelms the senses with a curious blend of spirituality, history, arts & tourism. After having gone on 3 tours with Xploring Light in the past 1.5 years, I felt comfortable enough to entrust my Varanasi photography introduction in their very able hands.
And without any exaggeration, they did an exceptional job with the execution of their very first Spiritual Varanasi tour. As with every Xploring Light tour, the hotel, food and logistics left nothing to be desired. We were happy knowing we had the best options at our disposal. The itinerary made sure we spent enough time on the ghats, which is where most of the action was during Dev Deepavali. It is my belief that to do photographic justice to a particular location, one needs to experience it first. And so, we visited interesting locations, met helpful locals, took a calming boat ride on the Ganges, relished local delicacies and even went saree shopping!
With regards to photography, Rajneesh was a mentor-par-excellence. He juggled the logistical complexities (despite us being bang in the middle of the monetary crisis) and his responsibility as our photo mentor effortlessly. He spent time with individuals solving our queries around all topics, helping us find the right crops to the exposure, to ensure we all came back with a few memorable shots. He gave us an interesting assignment of creating a photo story around the sights & sounds of Varanasi and it was interesting to see the various perspectives the photographers brought.
We had an interesting mix of participants in the group. And as a result, not only were we learning from our mentor, we were also learning from the established photofinishing the group. This is one of the most distinct advantages of traveling in a photography group.
All in all, for their very first tour to Varanasi, this was a very well thought out and executed tour. The Xploring Light standard has been consistently excellent all across the 4 tours I’ve been a part of. Looking forward to my next tour with the Xploring Light team!