The unresolved and paramount challenge in bio-imaging and targeted therapy is to clearly define and demarcate the physical margins of tumor tissue. The ability to outline the healthy vital tissues to be carefully navigated with transection while an intraoperative surgery procedure is performed sets up a necessary and under-researched goal. To achieve the aforementioned objectives, there is a need to optimize design considerations in order to not only obtain an effective imaging agent but to also achieve attributes like favorable water solubility, biocompatibility, high molecular brightness, and a tissue specific targeting approach. The emergence of near infra-red fluorescence (NIRF) light for tissue scale imaging owes to the provision of highly specific images of the target organ. The special characteristics of near infra-red window such as minimal auto-fluorescence, low light scattering, and absorption of biomolecules in tissue converge to form an attractive modality for cancer imaging. Imparting molecular fluorescence as an exogenous contrast agent is the most beneficial attribute of NIRF light as a clinical imaging technology. Additionally, many such agents also display therapeutic potentials as photo-thermal agents, thus meeting the dual purpose of imaging and therapy. Here, we primarily discuss molecular imaging and therapeutic potentials of two such classes of materials, i.e., inorganic NIR dyes and metallic gold nanoparticle based materials.