South India Photo Tour

with Elisa Paloschi For more info
Mar. 10th - 24th 2016 (14 nights)

India is a photographic paradise where the world seen through the lens is a kaleidoscopic burst to the senses. This tour provides full immersion into the pace of the lands, culture and people, and an opportunity to photograph the diversity of the north and south, through festivals, city life and the waterways and towns of Kerala.

From the puffs of gaudy colour during Holi, to the metropolis that never sleeps, to the glowing green paddy fields of the backwaters, India is a massive and complex country.  Our tour will touch down on a few special and carefully chosen places to give a true glimpse of the diversity of this land.  We can’t see it all, and won’t even try, our goal being to move slowly, to take time to wander and to wonder, to explore the nuances of simple things, and hopefully to help nurture a life long love of India.

Mumbai - 5 nights
Mumbai is an intoxicating study of contrast. With 20,000,000 people living in this frantic city, the extreme disparity seems more evident than most anywhere else in India.  The city is the fashion, film and finance capital of India, where glass towers loom over the low laying spread of slums.

To explore the vastness of the city we will visit places such as the Worli fishing community, a maze of candy coloured houses and fishing boats. First settled 2000 years ago, the Koli people now live in the shadow of the unabashed Sea Link bridge, an engineering feat of concrete and steel.

We will discover the city through its architecture, from the poetic decay of the classic Gothic-Victorian colonial relics, to the sparkling minimalism of contemporary design. We’ll explore the workings of the city by spending time with the dhobi wallahs (laundry workers) and by following the dabba wallahs (lunch box delivery men) on their morning journey. We will observe the people, from university students flying kites and holding hands on the beach, to boys playing cricket in the parks, to the people who inhabit the bazaars selling and buying anything from elegant embroidered silk to a rusty piece of scrap metal.

Holi Festival & Uttar Pradesh - 4 nights
Holi, the festival of colours, is a major Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. This unique festival is a free-for-all carnival of colours, where people young and old, throw colourful powder at friends and strangers alike.  The streets and temples are alive with bursts of pigment, drums, song and dance. It’s an experience like no other, and with the right camera protection, makes for amazing photography.

Holi is celebrated very differently all over India, but nowhere matches the enthusiasm and pageantry as in the land of Krishna, around Mathura. Known as Lathmar Holi, the celebrations start a week before the actual day of Holi. Through contrived ceremony and play, the women of Barsana invite the men from neighbouring Nandgaon village to their town and upon arrival, beat them with sticks. The men fight back with coloured water and protect themselves from the beatings with padded clothing. The following day, the celebrations move to Nandgaon, the birth place of Krishna. This time it’s the men of Barsana who pay court to the Nandgaon women, and the men folk try to stop them from entering Shriji Temple.  On the third day we’ll visit the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan where Hindu priests spray coloured water onto the devotees, all in the spirit of religion, playful self defence and to welcome the spring.

Kerala & Backwaters - 5 nights
Our tour will end in Kerala, where we’ll slow down to a tropical pace. The people are friendly, smiling and approachable and after Mumbai, we’ll find peace and harmony in the land, in the hamlets and the tiny fishing villages off the well-traveled paths. Even in the cities, while bustling with merchants selling spices in the bazaars, and active sea ports exploding with colour, quiet contemplative photography will be our mission. 

Exploring the backwaters of Kerala by private house boat, low lying canoes and public ferryboats, we’ll travel through coconut groves and rice paddies aglow with lush brilliant green. The slow movement of the waters affords an intimate experience of this idyllic and remote area. Families use the narrow channels for everything from transportation to clothes washing, side-by-side huge Chinese fishing nets which haul in the day’s catch. The colours are intense here, and the smiles priceless. 

This tour is for anyone interested in photography, from novice to experienced amateur or professionals, who want to expand their vision, improve technical skills, and change the way they see. As instructor, Elisa’s goal is to help participants see the world in new, active and deeply meaningful ways. This tour will provide an opportunity to meet with people who are totally immersed in photography, exchange ideas and share enthusiasm with others involved in the medium. Time spent as a group can be a journey both visually and emotionally - a time for the soul to get away from the daily routines and refresh the creative energies.

Elisa is a Toronto based filmmaker and photographer who spends much of her time traveling far from the city.  She feels very much at home in India and has traveled there more than 10 times in as many years.  She has taught photography in Mysore to help empower trafficked women and children and she is currently working on a documentary in India about gender violence. Her work is fuelled by an impetuous desire to partake in the stories that unfold around her and she is consistently drawn to a world of new relationships, new beginnings and most importantly, stories with a human face. View her website

Surface transportation during the tour
15 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners, (local cuisine)
Standard fan cooled rooms based on double occupancy


airfare from your point of origin to India
domestic airfare (est. $300)
meals where not specified
cancellation and medical insurance
transportation to and from the airports of your point of entry and departure
small group fee for less than 6 participants

Please contact us to request a booking form or for further information. We will email the application forms, and once they are returned with your deposit, your booking will be confirmed. Payment may be made by cheque, direct bank deposit, cash or Paypal (with an additional fee).

All content © 2015 Elisa Paloschi