Serene Journeys is 5…

Namaste!

It’s been five serene years since Serene Journeys began to provide bespoke travel services to India. Since that time we’ve met old friends and made new ones along the way.  We’ve flown, floated, and driven.  We’ve wined, dined and danced.  We’ve explored horizons afar and those within ourselves.

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We’ve visited so many wonderful places, met so many interesting people, seen amazing sights, encountered nature at its most intimate moments.  At times we’ve been spiritual.  At times creative, even artistic.

During this time we’ve expanded our reach into Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and even China.  We continue to work with a clientele as diverse as the world we live in.  So Namaste, but also Sawadee and Ni Hao.

None of this would have been possible without the trust and support of our guests, travelers, and travel partners.  Thanks to you…

The Journey Serene continues.

We travel on!

With Love, From Robin, Mark & Steve

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For reservation query, please email us at robin@serenejourneys.co
steve@serenejourneys.co (for UK and Ireland ONLY)
mark@serenejourneys.co (for US ONLY)

Robin is the founder of Serene Journeys, a bespoke travel to India & Southeast Asia and a freelance travel photographer, amateur birder and rural explorer.  Follow us on Instagram @ serenejourneys or Facebook @ Serene Journeys or  tweet @serenejourneys1

The Pink City

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Arrive in Style with Serene Journeys

While Delhi is the capital and Agra the home of the Taj Mahal, Jaipur is by far and away the most stimulating vertex of the Golden Triangle.  The film ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ was filmed near Jaipur and most will recall the character Evelyn Greenslade (Judy Dench) remarking that “India is an assault on the senses.”  She meant it in a nice way.

Jaipur is known as the Pink City.  In 1876, the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII of the British Empire embarked on an extensive tour of India.  Since pink denotes the color of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the entire city pink in color to welcome His Royal Highness.  The tradition has been followed through the years both inside and outside the walled historic center with every building being painted a terracotta pink with few exceptions.

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Albert Hall Museum

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A visitor at Albert Hall

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Staff lunching at Albert Hall

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Birla Temple

The Pink City is famous for its palaces and temples including the Hawa Mahal and its 953 windows used by women of the court to view the market screened behind the sandstone carving; the Amber Fort with its daily elephant entry procession; and the Water Palace that seems to sit atop the middle of Man Sagar Lake built by Maharaja Singh to provide a cool respite in the summer heat.  These are jut a few of the many, many examples of 17th and 18th century architecture found in abundance in Jaipur.

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A close-up of Hawa Mahal

Rajasthan is a desert culture featuring a colorful, harmonious lifestyle with natural elements that can occasionally be challenging.  In summer, while not as hot as Delhi or Agra, the temperature often climbs to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.   Elephants, camels, horses and donkeys still perform various transport tasks.  Rajasthani men wear sculpted mustaches and colorful, multifunctional turbans.  Popular sports include cricket, golf and polo.

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A Rajasthani man in his beautifully crafted turban

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Durga, owner of Dera Mandawa, working on my turban

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Durga and I, at Dera Mandawa

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Rajasthani men and their turban & moustache, truly fascinating

Jaipur is particularly noted for its arts and handicrafts especially marble carving, printed and woven fabrics and handwoven carpets.  The markets from inside the walls of the old city to the outskirts are always busy with locals and tourists finding treasures and striking bargains.

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Rickshaw ride anyone?

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The beautiful courtyard at Dera Mandawa

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Colorful sheets for charpai

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Pigeon feeding

The culinary style of the region is reflective of the bellicose lifestyle of the natives.  Rajasthani breads are made from corn, wheat, and other grains which are typically roasted on the tandoor or in frying pans.  Unavailability of many fresh vegetables, and other ingredients due to the arid climate have a profound effect on cooking style including the use of mild and other water substitutes in cooking.  Although predominantly a vegetarian region, the influence of the non-vegetarian Rajputs who favored lamb, chicken, pork and occasionally wild game is ever present.  Be ready for flavor as Rajasthani cuisine is inherently rich in spices appealing to every palate.

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Rajasthani Thali with Laal Maans, at Dera Mandawa

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Indian snacks street style, different kind of peanuts & green peas and chickpeas

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Suvarna Mahal restaurant at Taj Ramgarh Palace

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Suvarna Mahal at Taj Ramgarh Palace

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Papad platter at Suvarna Mahal

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Lamb tikka

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Pakoda

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3 course meal thali at Suvarna Mahal

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With Chef Sunil at Suvarna Mahal

So when visiting India’s Golden Triangle be sure to include Jaipur along the way.  Walk in the steps of the Maharaja’s, enjoy the colorful desert lifestyle, sample the local cuisine, and shop til you drop.

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Travel like Royals with Serene Journeys

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Make sure you get some shirts made with hand block print cotton fabrics

Puppet shows & cultural Rajasthani folk music are highlights of the evening at almost all hotelsPartcipate, and be part of the culture & you will truly enjoy your holiday.

 

Robindro Saikhom
robin@serenejourneys.co
www.serenejourneys.co

Robin is the founder of Serene Journeys, a gay travel company in India and a freelance travel photographer.  Follow him on Instagram @ serenejourneys or Facebook @ Serene Journeys.

 

The Wonders of Rajasthan

Indian Potpourri: The History, Mystery & Diversity.
A once in a lifetime journey exploring Rajasthan’s colourful history, culture & traditions. Join me on the journey through my lens.

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Sundowner by the Dam in Khempur

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Candid moment: Serenian Peter

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Candid moment: Serenian Nacho

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Candid moment: Serenian Chris

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Outdoor kitchen, a common sight in Khempur

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A woman washing utensils the rural way. They use ash and Like soap, ash is also a disinfecting agent (alkaline).

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Another rural outdoor cooking. Every morning the woman makes chapati (Indian bread) for their husband to carry them to work.

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She was a real picture perfect

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Peter enjoying a dip at the golden hour. The infinity pool at Mihir Garh, Relais & Châteaux‎

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I have never met a sunset I do not like… infinity pool at Mihir Garh, Relais & Châteaux‎

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Panditji Harman Bharati, the priest at Mihir Garh, Fortress of the Sun

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Lavish breakfast, everything clicked perfectly

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Around Mihir Garh

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The sunset lawn

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Our personal butler Om

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Work station while the Serenians are out exploring Jodhpur

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The Tent from the House of Rohet where Madonna & her family stayed during their rural vacation

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The beauty of Rajasthani women

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Namaste…. the happy man at the Tent

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The innocence in her eyes says it all

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The famous lady of the Bishnoi village

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A woman with ghoonghat veil. A ghoonghat is a veil or headscarf worn by some married Hindu women in the rural to cover their head, and often their face.

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Out exploring the Brahmin’s village

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The Head of the family at Bishnoi village

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A Bishnoi woman

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Bishnoi Woman

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Kids in rural are very friendly and they will pose for you anytime

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Peter enjoying the sun on the charpoy.  A charpoy is a bedstead used in India consisting of a web of rope or tape netting.

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She is beautiful, I could’t stop photographing her.

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An another one. Every angle she had different expressions.

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Random

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Exploring the way of living in rural

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Peter & Chris at their best 🙂

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The Brahmin ready to perform the Opium Tea Ceremony

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Nacho taking part in tasting the opium tea cermeony

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Peter tasting the opium tea

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Chris enjoying the opium tea

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Peter tried the Bidi, a local cigarette made of unprocessed tobacco wrapped in leaves.

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Nacho and his pottery talent

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Spices of India

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Nacho and the master chef at Rohet

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Learning the secret of Royal recipe

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Celebrating Deepawali in style

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Ready to release the lanterns instead of crackers 🙂

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Fly high

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A sunset cruise in Shahpura Bagh lake

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Village safari with Sat, our host from the Royal family

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There is something about the expression

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The perfect smile behind the veil

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Rural photography,

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Simply beautiful

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Look closely, you will see the ear ring

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They are so photogenic, those beautiful turban and his white moustache

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His face says it all

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The look of innocence

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They sure do know how to pose

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Another elderly man, the beauty of their look gives me chills

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Ready for sundowner at Dhikhola Fort, Shahpura

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The village at Bhainsrorgarh

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A woman in Bhainsrorgarh

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They are so cute

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They were all ready to pose

Please leave a comment and share if you enjoyed the photographic journey with Serene Journeys. Don’t forget to like our page or follow us on instagram. Your support is our blessing.

Any questions? Write to us at robin@serenejourneys.co or steve@serenejourneys.co (For UK & Ireland)
Visit our website at www.serenejourneys.co

Robindro Saikhom
Founder, Serene Journeys

Robindro is the owner of Serene Journeys, a bespoke travel specialist for LGBT & communities based in New Delhi and a freelance travel photographer.  Follow him on Instagram @serenejourneys or Facebook @Serene Journeys.