Lodi Art District – May 2019

St+Art has completely transfigured the look of Delhi ‘s street, yet again. A good 2 hours walk between Khanna market & Meherchand market in Lodhi Colony will leave you astounded as they illustrate their ideas into big art on the big walls.

The Lodhi Colony of Delhi is India’s very first open public art district. Art information courtesy to Start India.

Enjoy the photographic journey of this amazing street walk by Robindro – founder, travel curator & photographer of Serene Journeys, a bespoke travel & experiential based in Delhi welcoming our LGBTQ+ travellers & hetero-friendly 😉

@aaronglasson || ‘The Sacrosanct Whole’

New Zeland artist Aaron Glassons’ ‘The Sacrosanct Whole’ is a magnificent ode to the underlying sacredness of all the things of the world.

Watch the movie and try to spot all the cultural references that Aaron drew from traditional Indian history and the Indus valley civilization.

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@yohnagao || ‘The Light Fort’

Inspired by the unity in diversity Yoh Nagao experienced throughout his time in India, he decided to depict this thought as a wish in his mural for the Lodi Art District.

The mural is a wish for the community to stay together, and build on this openness and acceptance as long as possible. Yoh used patterns from Japan and India to create a piece that presents a mashup of cultural symbols from both nations.

He used the Arabesque Pattern which has traditionally been a part of the Islamic and Japanese traditions, and represents eternity. Spikes depicted in the artwork are a symbol for protection amongst the Ainu people in the Northern part of Japan whom Yoh also draws his ancestry from.

To build on the Indian context, he used the image of a hand holding a flower which represents the idea of welcoming a guest, and being open and inclusive. As Indians it is part of our tradition to be gracious hosts. We have a proverb stating ‘Athithi devo bhava’, which translates to ‘The guest is God’, and the symbol of a hand holding a flower builds on that idea. This image is also used extensively as a sticker in public transport such as Auto rickshaws and buses.
Therefore, the mural becomes a representation of diversity that welcomes people visiting Lodhi Colony.

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@sam_kulavoor || ’Social Media Friendly Plants’

Mumbai based artist Sameer Kulavoor is a multifaceted, and is as comfortable working on the streets as he is in the gallery. For Lodhi Art District, he produced a work which is part of his ongoing series of looking at life in the digital age. Here’s what he had to say about his work with us. “Algorithms are a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. In the 21st century, algorithms are the basis of social media and its influence can be seen on the way we live at a micro and macro level. They seem to have control over the human psyche – how we feel, what we think, what we eat, where we live, how we live, who we make love with, how our surroundings look like. Algorithms are said to have allegedly influenced international politics and the rise of right-wing thinking. Trollers and influencers are legit professions.” This thought by artist Sameer Kulavoor, is what stands behind the intricate composition.

Over the past two weeks, Sameer worked with a dedicated team of volunteers from St+art, painting his enigmatic figures that transcended dimensions and gravity, taking selfies mid-air and critique our digital lives where plants, as Sam observes, help you get a bunch of likes on your selfies.

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@andreco_ || ‘Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water quality’

Italian scientist-artist Andreco’s mural is a one-of-a-kind example of environmental activism through street.
From its design, to the ink used, to the graphs drawn on the wall, Andreco’s mural is a warning on how climate change is taking pace and the huge risks it poses for the environment and all living species if we don’t drastically change our mindset and habits.

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Majili Art Forum || ‘Gracious Heritage’

Majili Art Forum is a New Delhi based organisation which acts as a platform for promoting local artists and creative talents through exhibitions, talks and workshops. In the spirit of building new synergies through artistic collaborations, St+art invited the Majili Art Forum to experiment the large canvas of one of the walls in Lodhi Art District.
15 artists from the collective got together to bring to life their first large public art mural. Mindful of the pockets of greenery embedded within Lodhi Colony’s landscape and Delhi at large, the artists created an artwork utilising the trees in front of the wall to create a dream like image to speak about the city’s heritage that exists in the form of nature. Drawn delicately onto the walls, Asian elephants emerge as a symbol of endangered species creating a giant yet soft presence within the piece.
For the collective, these elephants are a larger metaphor of our natural heritage that is slowly fading away due to urbanisation and the increase in pollution levels. As a way to reminisce the lost richness of nature in our cities, the artists created this dream-like image emerging from the real trees that face the wall. Thus, to project the grey area between what is present and what is slowly becoming absent.

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 @skl0_ x @waywardclouds || ‘Cause & Effect’

The mural by Sam Lo at block 13 in Lodhi Art District tells the story of how a little sparrow’s actions are tied to another’s fate. As free as they may be, or think that they may be, they make their decisions with all the information they have on hand, while dealing with their shadow selves and their environment.

Hence the mural puts the viewers at the centre of its storytelling, for them to wonder about one’s freedom and relationship with all the others. Maybe you are that sparrow as well?

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@_theyok & @_sheryo || ‘Letters for Lodhi’

Inspired by the visual cues of vintage Indian matchboxes, the Singaporean art duo brings a colourful mural that contains a series of cryptic messages embedded within.

Justice, Equality, Health and Fortune all form a clear indication of the core message behind the piece which are meant to be evocative of the Indian public service announcements in bus and train stations. There’s even a ‘call your mom’ on the wall as a reminder to, well, call your mom because your mother is very important and deserves to hear from you more often!
There is a central arch which the artists call the ‘Gupt Dwar’ meaning ‘secret passageway’ as they believe Lodhi to be a place rich in cultural treasures and generous people. The passageway is meant to lead you to good health and fortune and is guarded by two cats on the sides who protect you as you journey through it.

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 @yipyewchong || Impressions of Lodhi

Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong is as peculiar in his style than he is in his life. After having left a managerial position in finance, the 50-year-old accountant turned muralist.

His work in Delhi is a direct reflection of the scenes from the street of everyday India, from the markets of Lodhi colony and Khanna market, to the neighbouring regions

He is well known for creating interactive pieces which invite people to become a part of his work and paints characters that are inspired by people passing by and inhabit the streets on a daily basis.

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@bondtruluv

Inspired by his extensive passion for travelling and exploring new environments, his style weaves a calligraphic representation of street culture in and around Lodhi Colony. Vibrant lettering now adorns one of the facades in the locality, while pedestrians engage with the artist and his work through a quiet observation, wondering what it will turn out to be!

One of the largest AR pieces in India.

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@priyesh_t

Unexpected rainy days posed a bit of a problem for Priyesh – the Mumbai based artist well known for his ‘Aadarsh Balak’ series which is a viral sensation on the internet. But he has been powering through it all continuing work on the biggest walls he has done so far.

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@_tahska 

The artist from China, DALeast, names the mural ‘Order and Chaos’ taking inspiration from his time in India.
For this particular wall, DALeast saw a beautiful arch which was the highlight for the mural. He depicts a flock of birds flying towards the centre of the arch – but all in complete balance and synchronicity – with an order to that chaos. He explores the tense relationship between the natural and the artificial, the organic and synthetic, forming an art work true to the characteristic of India – chaotic but beautiful and functional.
With this work, he has also made use of shadows since he believes that shadows, in a sense, validate our existence in physical space.

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@david_leitner || Reveal

Through his work in Lodhi, Austrian artist David Leitner wanted to highlight some of the socially relevant themes, he experienced in his time in India, such as the environment and gender issues.
The wall has a few elements which are quintessentially Indian and also shed light on the amount of plastic being used and wasted. Women are seen as powerful central characters on the wall, while three sets of text in Hindi, shed light on the fact, that of the 1 million consumed plastic bottles, only 9% are being recycled.
Through his work, David hopes to draw the attention of people to these pressing issues, while hoping that to start a dialogue between the locals about these topics.

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@dostreetart @bykhatra 

Indian duo Do and Khatra, their artwork at block 5 is around the differences and similarities between rural and modern urban India

As usual, their approach to the wall is very old school despite their young age. Each artwork by the Indian duo is a unique piece which constantly evolves as they spend more time at the wall. Often initial design elements are changed, or newer ones added into the composition as they respond to the space they are working in.

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 @georgiahillbth x @hanifkureshi || ‘Yahaan’

Based on St+Art India’s ongoing work with the community in Lodhi Colony, and responses from locals of how they feel about the area, Australian artist Georgia wanted to work with Hanif Kureshi to reflect how language reinforces our sense of belonging.
Building on the English phrase ‘This Must Be The Place’, the artists arrived at a Hindi translation of ‘yahaan’ (‘here’), where radiating lines and abstracted type would come to interact with each other, representing unique, varied, and ultimately connected interpretations of a sense of place.

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“How Is Global Warming” by @gaiastreetart 

For his wall in lodhi art district, Gaia explores the impact of green house gasses and global warming on our society. Using the arch of the wall, he made the Shish Gumbad, known as the glass dome in the Lodhi colony area, right in the center of the composition. Behind it, a Victorian botanical garden plays with the concept of greenhouse gases. This pairing is flanked by two hands emerging from the water signifying hope and despair. On either sides of the wall, the artist has painted one inflated globe and one deflated globe, to show the effects that globalization has on our planet.

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@li_hill 

Aaron is a Canadian visual artist currently based out of Brooklyn who uses local narratives from both his homeland and India to address the global issue of climate change.
In Lodhi colony Li Hill painted the facade with image of human figures transforming into a tiger and a polar bear. The Tiger represents Eastern knowledge, while the Polar Bear represents the west. In a symmetry that reads the architecture of the building, Aaron speaks about the dangers we pose to the world due to our own behaviour while the speed and powerful poses of the characters also indicate the speed at which things are changing, and the power we have in altering our conditions.

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@saner_edgar || Discovery of India – Balance in Mind and in Spirit

Saner’s work is symbolic, intricate and yet, direct.
As he himself explains, “The mural is inspired by some concepts that have crossed over to Mexico about the Hindu philosophies, mainly addressing the enlightenment through self-knowledge, through following a spiritual path and above all looking for the rebirth of and being to improve within from ourselves.” On the sides, a man and a woman represent the order and balance in the universe, their clothes and adornments identify Mexican and Hindu traditions that create a bridge between the two cultures.

Saner often used masks in his work which are an integral part of Mexican culture and are often used as a tool to reveal the true nature of human beings using animal forms. The human wearing a tiger mask on the left side of the wall is representative of Indian culture and people.

The rich diversity of the two countries are represented by the flora and fauna. This is also an important motif for Saner since he wants people to remember that we are one with the planet and its natural beauty which has to be protected.

The lateral characters – the Monkey and the Dog are the protectors – the guards, and above all, the guides who look after you on your path to enlightenment.

Finally, the lotus flower is a symbol of hope, while the heart in the middle is the humanity that binds us all together.

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‘Katha-Crazy Twins: Chiller Champa & Boom Bhaijaan’ by @harshraman

Through this piece, Harsh attempts to merge the ancient Indian art of Kathakali, which is a storytelling dance-form from the south of India which uses gestures and no words, with today’s medium of no words – street art. The two heads together represent the duality of human nature and it’s art thereof. The artwork was purposefully chosen for the location so as to bridge the gap between the older migrant parents who hold on to their culture, and the younger generation – slowly letting go of their heritage.

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@aravaniartproject || Trans Lives Matter

In collaboration with the transgender community of Delhi, Aravani Art Project painted their first mural in Delhi in front of the N.P. CO-ED Senior Secondary School in Lodhi Colony.

The collective’s wall in Lodhi Colony is almost a retrospective of their body of work, bringing together delicate portraits of women they have worked in the past and women who have shaped their philosophies as well.
Unity is what emerges from the image they’ve created in a process that is fundamentally based on inclusion. 15 trans-women and several volunteers contributed to the execution of the wall making it a collective celebration of identity and representation.

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 @sajidwajidshaikh || ’Shakti’

For his mural in Lodhi Colony, Mumbai artist Sajid Wajid gave an ode to femininity. Portraits of women are painted along with natural elements on a holistic amalgamation.
A vibrant colour palette and soft shapes offer a composition for the passerby to be engaged with, which are mostly children who go to the school right opposite to the wall, and their mothers who come to pick them up.
The work is a celebration of femininity and responds to the need of men to contribute to women empowerment as well.

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@adelerenault || ‘These Rock Pigeons Chose The Trees’

The artwork by Belgian artist Adele is now complete at Block 14 in Lodhi Colony. Her work celebrates one of the most common sight in cities which are often considered ordinary, but through her work she presents them as magnificent creatures full of beauty and grace.
The pigeons by Adele are already something notable at a distance, but the real impact of her work comes through the details once seen upclose, in person.

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Colours of the soul by @senkoeone

Inspired by the beauty of nature, Senkoeone painted these birds since in Mexican culture as well as several others, are symbols of diversity, identity and freedom. Birds are also considered travellers with a lot of experiences and stories to tell. Hence he painted the birds in Lodhi Colony to represent the colourful diversity of the people who live there and also to encourage them to communicate with each other and share stories, just like the birds would.

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@dude.sg | The Singapore Lane

Eugene Soh gives a nod to the Florentine polymath with Moh Lee Sha, in which the staggeringly famous Mona Lisa — of which an earlier version is incidentally on display at The Arts House — is re-imagined through a Singaporean lens. Instead of Lisa del Giocondo, the image features local band The Sam Willows’ Benjamin Kheng, who does a passable job of imitating her enigmatic expression. And, to drive the point home, the idealised landscape in the background of the original is replaced with another ideal view of sorts: Singapore’s skyscrapers, greenery and Housing and Development Board flats.

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

Check us out on Instagram Facebook Twitter Youtube 

Making my Way through Men in Lungi

Have you heard of a small town called Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, known as the knitwear capital of India?

It is situated at the centre of the South Indian Peninsula, 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Coimbatore which is also the nearest airport. This small town is a major textile and knitwear hub contributing almost 90% of total cotton knitwear exports from India. Many of the world’s largest retailers including Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Switcher, Tommy Hilfiger, Wal-Mart, Primark, FILA, H&M, C&A and M&S go to Tirupur to manufacture their cotton products.

I remember I once booked a 3-night stay in a luxury (supposed to be) resort near a town called Polachi, which did not quite go well and so had to check out after the first night and return to Vivanta Surya by Taj at Coimbatore for another 3 days as my base. Annoyed and frustrated with the experience, I started researching things to do around the area and found out Tirupur was just a 90 min drive away. I called the concierge immediately and asked to arrange a car and local chauffeur who know his way around Tirupur. There was only one to-do list on my mind, that of going on a shopping spree at wholesale markets, outlets, and any stores I could find.  Some might call it retail therapy. It was quite a wonderful experience strolling around the markets and stores, but the apparel was depressing. I did, however, manage to persevere and bring back 8-10 items, after some serious digging. LOL!

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After a sumptuous Tamil cuisine lunch, I asked the driver to take me to a local vegetable or flower market. He kind of gave me a look which felt like ‘what a strange traveller’. He then dropped me off at the entrance to a local flower market and asking me to call when I finished. With no idea what to expect at this market, I took my first step into the gate, and literally went “WOW”! What was so unique about this place was that 99% of the purveyors were men in their lungi’s though both men & women came to buy the flowers. I lifted my camera and became totally absorbed with these beautiful men in their lungi’s making flower garlands, gossiping & chatting away. Typically, the work and pass time of the women!  All I could hear was my shutter rat-a-tat-tatting. Perhaps not many travelers visit, but they were so happy to see me with my big lenses and started posing. After spending about 2 hours in a not so big flower market, I went back to the hotel. It made my day, experiencing something local, all quite by accident. It’s a memory I still cherish.

Hoping you enjoy the photograph from the flower market, at Kamaraj road, Tirupur, TN.

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

Robin is the founder of Serene Journeys, a gay travel company based in Delhi and a freelance travel photographer, exploring the beauty of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Southeast Asia.
Check us out on Instagram Facebook Twitter Youtube 

All our blogs are unsolicited personal opinion. 

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Water Colours in the Air

An introduction to Holi celebration, the Indian way

16Nights|17Days touring
Group size: 2-6 travellers, guaranteed departure 

DELHI – AGRA – JAIPUR – RANTHAMBORE – BUNDI – CHITTAURGARH – UDAIPUR – KUMBHALGARH – NARLAI – ROHET – JODHPUR – DELHI

 

27th Feb        Delhi arrival

Kindly take the flight which arrive Delhi by 1600hrs or earlier.

Upon arrival, our representative will receive you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. VIP welcome, kindly look out for ‘Serene Journeys Placard with your name on it’ as you walk out aerobridge.

With our compliments, indulge in a 60MIN complete relaxation and rejuvenation massage treatment and ease stressed muscles from your travels, by a male therapist.

Overnight at hotel.

8

Taj Mahal, Agra

28th Feb        Delhi – Agra

After breakfast, around 8AM we drive to Agra. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and brief rest.

Around 2pm, we start our guided sightseeing of the impressive Agra Fort, built of red sandstone and marble, Agra Fort presents a formidable exterior and a graceful interior. Visit Itmad-ud-Daulah, nicknamed the Baby Taj, the exquisite tomb of Mizra Ghiyas Beg.

Then pay your first visit to the masterpiece this sunset, when the rising sun lends a warm orange tint to its marble face. Flawless in its proportions and breathtaking in its beauty, the Taj Mahal looks as though it were painted onto the sky itself — a vision of unrivalled magnificence.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

1st Mar          Agra – Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri

Leisurely breakfast and around 9.30AM we drive to Jaipur en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri. Built by Emperor Akbar as his palace in the 16th century and then later abandoned, “ruined” Fatehpur Sikri is a fairy-tale ghost city of delicately carved red sandstone.

Later continue to drive to Jaipur. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel.

Later in the evening, witness the ritual of people light bonfire to mark the occasion of evil spirits in a ritual called Holika Dahan. Prahlad, a young follower of Lord Vishnu was forcefully taken into the burning fire but escaped the fire which proved to be a miracle. This was thus regarded as the triumph over evil.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

9

Holi Festival

2nd Mar         Jaipur

This morning, celebrate the victory with vibrant colors, singing, dancing, eating delicacies and celebrate the joyous moment of life by socializing with everyone. People dance to the beats of drums, sing, play games, drink bhanng and enjoy the festival in full energy and spirit.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

3rd Mar          Jaipur – Ranthambore NP

After breakfast around 8AM, check out and we go on a guided sightseeing of Jaipur.

We will visit Amber Fort, the former capital of royal Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills. We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. Also, we visit the Solar Observatory – an astronomical treasure house.

We then drive to Ranthambore National Park, a vast wildlife reserve which was a former royal hunting ground and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast & Dinner)

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Tiger at Ranthambore NP

4th Mar          Ranthambore NP

Early morning go on a tiger safari on an open jeep, sharing.  Later come back for breakfast.

Later in the afternoon, go for another jeep safari.

Overnight at hotel (all meals)

6

Bundi Fort

5th Mar          Ranthambore NP – Bundi

Leisurely breakfast and we drive to Bundi, a captivating town with narrow lanes of Brahmin-blue houses, lakes, hills, bazaars, and a temple at every turn, Bundi is dominated by a fantastical palace of faded parchment cupolas and loggias rising from the hillside above the town.

Upon arrival check in to the hotel and freshen up.

Later go on a guided visit to Bundi Palace. This extraordinary, partly decaying edifice – described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the work of goblins rather than of men’ – almost seems to grow out of the rock of the hillside it stands on. The Taragarh Fort crowns the crest of a steep hill overlooking the town, while the Garh Palace spills picturesquely down the hillside. This palace is Bundi’s – and Rajasthan’s – jewel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

6th Mar          Bundi – Udaipur via Chittaurgarh

After breakfast, around 9AM, we drive to Udaipur en-route visiting Chittaurgarh fort. Chittorgarh (the fort, garh, at Chittor) is the largest fort complex in India, and a fascinating place to explore. It rises from the plains like a huge rock island, nearly 6km long and surrounded on all sides by 150m-plus cliffs. Its history epitomises Rajput romanticism, chivalry and tragedy, and it holds a special place in the hearts of many Rajputs.

Later continue to drive to Udaipur. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

5

Udaipur City Palace view from Lake Pichola

7th Mar          Udaipur

After breakfast, around 9AM visit the City Palace, a marble complex of palaces and galleries that offers unforgettable views of the lake and its surroundings.

Take a private tour of the Crystal Gallery in Fateh Prakesh Palace, and stroll through Sahelion Ki Bari (Garden of the Maids of Honor). Also visit the Vintage and classic car collection museum. Later come back to the hotel for brief rest.

Late afternoon, enjoy a private sunset boat cruise on Lake Pichola.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

8th Mar          Udaipur – Narlai via Kumbhalgarh

After breakfast, around 9AM we drive to Narlai en-route visiting Kumbhalgarh. One of the many forts built by Rana Kumbha (r 1433–68), under whom Mewar reached its greatest extents, this isolated fort is perched 1100m above sea level, with endless views melting into blue distance. The journey to the fort, along twisting roads through the Aravalli Hills, is a highlight in itself.

Later continue to drive to Narlai. Upon arrival check in to the hotel.

Hidden away in the heart of Aravalli Hills, at the foot of a mammoth granite rock, surrounded by forested hills and rocky outcrops, Rawla Narlai is a beautifully maintained heritage resort, which was once a hunting lodge of Jodhpur’s Royal family. Still owned by members of the Jodhpur family, the resort is now transformed from a mere hunting lodge into a stunning, stylish boutique hotel albeit with all its original character and structure retained.

Evening we go for dinner at the step well. Taste the flavor of true Rajasthani royal hospitality at the 16th Century old Baori (Step-well) of Rawla Narlai. The journey that begins when you gather at the courtyard, sip a welcome drink with the resident royal who will regale you with stories & history of the locals while you get adorned with the turbans & scarf and transportation by bullock carts are arranged for you. Guided by a local into the dusk, swaying to the movement of the cart, watching the village slowly going to sleep and the starlit sky unfolding above you, passing the yogi who meditates by the blazing fire, you reach your destination that is lit by hundreds of lamps. Following this experience is the culinary journey that ignites your taste buds with elaborate fare offered over the next couple of hours while being entertained by the local jogi singing the devotional folk songs in his rich melodious voice. This culinary experience ends with the return to the hotel courtyard by our jeeps and a welcome cup of calming herbal tea.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast & Dinner)

9th Mar          Narlai

OPTIONAL: Morning go on a village walk with one of the locals and visit to cave temple.

Enjoy a half day trip on the meter gauge train that still runs through beautiful countryside, especially after the rain as the waterfalls can be experienced. A journey by the train along with local villagers and then pick up at the end station by car / jeep followed by a drive back to Hotel. It is the best way to enjoy the rugged and beautiful countryside!!!

Evening tea by lake side.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

10th Mar        Narlai – Rohet via Jodhpur

Leisurely breakfast, and around 10AM we drive to Rohet en-route visiting Jodhpur.

We go on a guided sightseeing of Mehrangarh Fort, the massive fort which in olden days must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels. We then proceed to the armoury and Jaswant Thada – the Royal Crematorium.  Visit the clock tower and walk around the town.

Later continue to drive to Rohet. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

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Jeep safari to Bishnoi Village near Jodhpur

11th Mar        Rohet

Leisurely breakfast and around 11AM we go on a village jeep safari visiting the Bishnoi tribes, the Brahmins and the potters. Also try your hand on the opium tea.

Rest of the day is at leisure / indulge with several activities available at the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

12th Mar        Rohet – Jodhpur – Delhi 

By Jet Airways 2552, departure Jodhpur @11.35hrs, arrival Delhi @13.15hrs

After breakfast and around we drive to Jodhpur airport to board your flight to Delhi.

Upon arrival, we receive you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel.

Brief rest and around 3PM, we go on a guided sightseeing of Old Delhi. Visit the great Jama Masjid, the most important mosque in India. Then set off on an exciting rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, inching your way through a maze of ox carts, cars and the occasional wandering cow, explore the spice markets, jewellery market & the clothes market.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

13th Mar        Delhi

After breakfast around 10.00AM, we go on a guided visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the most prominent Sikh house of worship in Delhi, visit Gandhi Smriti (Birla House). Later on to ISCKON temple, Bahai’s temple and Humayun’s Tomb, a Mughal complex that prefigured the Taj Mahal. Visit Qutub Minar, the second tallest minar in India.

At 5PM, with our compliments, indulge in a 60MIN complete relaxation and rejuvenation massage treatment and ease stressed muscles from your travels, by a male therapist.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

14th Mar        Delhi departure 

Kindly advise your flight details

Today we transfer you to the airport to board your onward flight.

 

Hotels envisaged / similar

*Rooms are based on standard rooms

City HOTELS
DELHI The Park
AGRA DOUBLE TREE BY HILTON
JAIPUR KANDELA HAVELI
RANTHAMBORE NAHARGARH FORT
BUNDI THE HADOTI PALACE
UDAIPUR THE TRIDENT
NARLAI RAWLA NARLAI
ROHET ROHETGARH
DELHI THE CLARIDGES

 

TOUR QUOTE & VALIDITY:

Number of person Cost per person
Minimum 02 Paying Pax INR 332,764 per person

(US $5199 approx)

SGL Room Supplement INR 78,136 per single

(US $1220 approx)

 

INCLUSIONS:

  • 15 nights hotel accommodation. Stay in hotels on room & breakfast basis unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Arrival & departure assistance at airport.
  • VIP welcome on arrival in Delhi as you walk out the aerobridge
  • Transportation using an air conditioned AC Innova car (SUV type)
  • Services of English speaking local guides as per the program
  • Services of a full time tour leader
  • Entrance fee to the monuments as per the program (01 time visit)
  • A relaxing massage treatment in Delhi with our compliments twice
  • Visit to Taj Mahal at Sunset
  • Celebrate Holi eve, lighting of fire in Jaipur
  • Holi celebration in Jaipur
  • Private boat cruise to Jag Mandir on Lake Pichola
  • Romantic step well dinner in Rawla Narlai
  • Half day trip on metre gauge train experience with the locals
  • Evening tea by lake side, watch the sunset in Narlai
  • Morning village walk / cave temple visit (optional)
  • Domestic flight tickets for the sector Jodhpur – Delhi
  • All presently applicable taxes

 

EXCLUSIONS:

  • Any International Airfare | travel insurance | visa fees
  • Any item of personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mineral water etc.
  • Any other meals (except those mentioned above).
  • Camera fee at the monuments
  • Tipping, etc.

 

Cancellation & Refund Policy:

We advise all customers to purchase traveller’s insurance in case of interruption, accidents, illness, or anything else that may come up.

Unless stated differently on the tour, cancellations received 120 days prior to departure date will be refunded in full less a 10% handling fee. Thereafter, cancellation fees are as follows: 

  • 119 to 90 days prior to departure = 25% of tour cost
  • 89 to 60 days prior to departure = 50% of tour cost
  • 59 to 30 days prior to departure = 75% of tour cost
  • 29 days prior to departure forfeits full tour price, including no shows. 

If the tour is cancelled by Serene Journeys, a full refund of all deposits and/or payments will be given. 

PRECAUTIONS DURING YOUR TRAVEL IN INDIA

We advise all customers to purchase traveller’s insurance in case of interruption, accidents or illness

Here is a list of precautions which will help you to enjoy your holidays in India fully. You need to be very attentive and careful about your documents, luggage and health during your India travel.

  • On streets keep all money in zipped pockets.
  • Keep all your important documents like passport, health certificate and international driving permit with you always.
  • Most of the diseases in India are water born there for always keep a flask of boiled water with you and never eat anything from shops or stalls which serve uncovered eatables.
  • Always keep a medical kit with you when you travel to India and stock up on aspirins, diarrhea tablets, insect cream, salt tablets and other first-aid essentials.
  • Always buy beverages and juices of good brand and check the seal and expiry date before buying.
  • Always peel your own fruit and vegetables, stay clear of raw vegetables salads, raw sugarcane or (a big cause of amoebic dysentery) iced cane-juice.
  • While traveling in dry climate you need to have a lots of fluids and to soak up all the excess liquid you might want to pick some solid eatables like biscuit, bread etc.
  • While traveling in dry places like Rajasthan have lots of water in-store with u.
  • If you wish to over stay, you are advised to contact the nearest Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office.
  • For personal side trips in the city, try to use pre-paid taxis/auto-rickshaws or pay by meter or ask for fare chart when you travel within India. Lots of reliable app based taxis like Uber, Ola etc are available as well.

 

Lights & Colours & Fairs… Oh My! Check our package!

An introduction to the festivals of India.

16Nights|17Days touring
Group size: 2-6 travellers, guaranteed departure

The sound, the colour, the fragrant air, the press of humanity… get ready for daunting yet enchanting experiences back to back as you embark upon a once in a life time adventure of two most famous festivals of India–Diwali and the Pushkar Camel Fair. Come join us as we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights commemorating the triumph of good over evil. Witness the pale brown sandy dunes of Pushkar as they erupt into a colourful frenzy during the camel fair. Arrive in style as we receive you as you come off your flight, escort you through immigration and customs, retrieve your baggage and travel by luxury ground transport to your hotel. Explore the Taj Mahal – an enduring masterpiece, stay at unique hospitality venues known only to the most discerning, knowledgeable travellers – the best kept secret royal homes, see Bengal tigers and leopards in their natural habitat, alongside local villages and much much more…….

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Tourist enjoying Pushkar Fair (Photo courtesy to the photographer & google)

MUMBAI – AGRA – FATEHPUR SIKRI – JAIPUR – SHAPURA – UDAIPUR – KUMBHALGARH – NARLAI – JODHPUR – ROHET – PUSHKAR – DELHI

 

16th Oct         Mumbai arrival

Kindly advise your flight details 

Upon arrival, our representative will receive you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. VIP welcome, kindly look out for ‘Serene Journeys Placard with your name on it’ as you walk out aerobridge.

Overnight at hotel.

17th Oct         Mumbai

After a morning at leisure, explore the city’s classic sites, including the Gateway of India, an 85-foot-high arch with a design that reflects India’s Muslim and Hindu traditions. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Mani Bhawan, a museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. Next, see the Dhobi Ghat, the largest open-air laundry in the world and a wonderfully colorful spectacle to behold.

Evening around 7PM, enjoy a welcome dinner alongside fellow guests.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast & Dinner)

18th Oct         Mumbai – Delhi – Agra

By Vistara UK970, departure Mumbai @0845hrs, arrival Delhi @1100hrs

Early breakfast and we drive to Mumbai airport to board your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, we receive you at the airport and drive to Agra. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

19th Oct         Agra

Pay your first visit to the masterpiece this sunrise, when the rising sun lends a warm orange tint to its marble face. Flawless in its proportions and breathtaking in its beauty, the Taj Mahal looks as though it were painted onto the sky itself — a vision of unrivalled magnificence.

Later come back for breakfast and brief rest.

Around 10am, we then go on a guided sightseeing of the impressive Agra Fort, built of red sandstone and marble, Agra Fort presents a formidable exterior and a graceful interior. Visit Itmad-ud-Daulah, nicknamed the Baby Taj, the exquisite tomb of Mizra Ghiyas Beg. Visit the local market, watch the locals shopping as they prepare to celebrate the festival of lights.

Evening go out with our guide to celebrate Diwali with an Indian family, watch the fireworks & the streets become lively. Get ready to be fed with lots of India sweets.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast) 

20th Oct         Agra – Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri

After breakfast and around 9.30AM we drive to Jaipur en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri. Built by Emperor Akbar as his palace in the 16th century and then later abandoned, “ruined” Fatehpur Sikri is a fairy-tale ghost city of delicately carved red sandstone.

Later continue to drive to Jaipur. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel.

Rest of the day is at leisure

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

21st Oct         Jaipur

After breakfast around 8AM, we go on a guided sightseeing of Jaipur.  We will visit Amber Fort, the former capital of royal Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills. We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. Also, we visit the Solar Observatory – an astronomical treasure house.

Later visit the local market selling fabrics to jewellery and lots more, get ready to bargain the Indian way 🙂

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

22nd Oct        Jaipur – Shahpura

After breakfast around 9AM, drive to Shahpura Bagh, an authentic royal home stay experience in Rajasthan. Life is unhurried here. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel.

Later visit Dhikhola Fort, a short 30 minute drive from the Bagh brings you to village Dhikhola, a quaint and rustic village where time has stood still. Visitors can explore the village and the fort owned by the family. Then enjoy a sundowner with one of the royal family overlooking the village from the fort.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

5

Sundowner at Dhikhola Fort

23rd Oct        Shahpura – Udaipur

After breakfast, we drive to Udaipur. Upon arrival check in to your hotel.

Following an afternoon at leisure, enjoy a private cruise to Jag Mandir, a palace of splendidly carved marble on an island in Lake Pichola.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

24th Oct         Udaipur

After breakfast, around 9AM visit the City Palace, a marble complex of palaces and galleries that offers unforgettable views of the lake and its surroundings. Take a private tour of the Crystal Gallery in Fateh Prakesh Palace, and stroll through Sahelion Ki Bari (Garden of the Maids of Honor). Also visit the Vintage and classic car collection museum.

Rest of the day is at leisure / own activities

Evening, we visit Bagore Ki Haveli at Gangaur Ghat, the 17th century old historic mansion. Enjoy Dharohar a cultural event held inside Bagore ki haveli. This event is a musical concert combining 7 traditional Rajasthani folk dances performed.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

25th Oct         Udaipur – Narlai via Kumbhalgarh

After breakfast, around 9AM we drive to Narlai en-route visiting Kumbhalgarh. One of the many forts built by Rana Kumbha (r 1433–68), under whom Mewar reached its greatest extents, this isolated fort is perched 1100m above sea level, with endless views melting into blue distance. The journey to the fort, along twisting roads through the Aravalli Hills, is a highlight in itself.

Later continue to drive to Narlai. Upon arrival check in to the hotel.

Hidden away in the heart of Aravalli Hills, at the foot of a mammoth granite rock, surrounded by forested hills and rocky outcrops, Rawla Narlai is a beautifully maintained heritage resort, which was once a hunting lodge of Jodhpur’s Royal family. Still owned by members of the Jodhpur family, the resort is now transformed from a mere hunting lodge into a stunning, stylish boutique hotel albeit with all its original character and structure retained.

Evening we go for dinner at the step well. Taste the flavor of true Rajasthani royal hospitality at the 16th Century old Baori (Step-well) of Rawla Narlai. The journey that begins when you gather at the courtyard, sip a welcome drink with the resident royal who will regale you with stories & history of the locals while you get adorned with the turbans & scarf and transportation by bullock carts are arranged for you. Guided by a local into the dusk, swaying to the movement of the cart, watching the village slowly going to sleep and the starlit sky unfolding above you, passing the yogi who meditates by the blazing fire, you reach your destination that is lit by hundreds of lamps. Following this experience is the culinary journey that ignites your taste buds with elaborate fare offered over the next couple of hours while being entertained by the local jogi singing the devotional folk songs in his rich melodious voice. This culinary experience ends with the return to the hotel courtyard by our jeeps and a welcome cup of calming herbal tea.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast & Dinner)

26th Oct         Narlai

OPTIONAL: Morning go on a village walk with one of the locals and visit to cave temple.

Enjoy a half day trip on the meter gauge train that still runs through beautiful countryside, especially after the rain as the waterfalls can be experienced. A journey by the train along with local villagers and then pick up at the end station by car / jeep followed by a drive back to Hotel. It is the best way to enjoy the rugged and beautiful countryside!!!

Evening tea by lake side.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

27th Oct         Narlai – Rohet via Jodhpur

Leisurely breakfast, and around 9AM, we drive to Rohet en-route visiting Jodhpur.

We go on a guided sightseeing of Mehrangarh Fort, the massive fort which in olden days must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels. We then proceed to the armoury and Jaswant Thada – the Royal Crematorium.  Visit the clock tower and walk around the town.

Later continue to drive to Rohet. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

28th Oct         Rohet

Leisurely breakfast and around 11AM we go on a village jeep safari visiting the Bishnoi tribes, the Brahmins and the potters. Also try your hand on the opium tea.

Rest of the day is at leisure / indulge with several activities available at the hotel.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

7

Just relax by the pool sipping your favourite cocktail

29th Oct         Rohet – Pushkar

After breakfast around 8.00AM, we drive to Pushkar to witness India’s ultimate rural festival.

Pushkar festival has religious origins which draws pilgrims from far and wide to this festival to bathe in the holy waters of Pushkar’s lake and pray to Lord Brahma. The sand dunes of Pushkar appear in the carnival mood. There is a huge inflow of pilgrims, camel traders, and tourists. It is a fascinating sight, and a great opportunity to witness the colors, aromas and mood of an old traditional style Indian festival. A huge carnival is held. There are musicians, dancers, acrobats, magicians, snake charmers, rides and food stalls to entertain the guests.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast & Dinner)

1

Pushkar festival, photo courtesy to the photographer & google

30th Oct         Pushkar – Delhi

By Ajmer Shatabdi train 12016, departure Ajmer @1545hrs, arrival Delhi @2240hrs, on 1st AC

Today morning, we will attend Pushkar fair.

Afternoon, we drive to Ajmer railway station to board Shatabdi Express train for Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, we will receive you at the station and drive you to the hotel and check in.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

3

Pushkar fair, photo courtesy to the photographer & google

31st Oct         Delhi

After breakfast around 10.00AM, we go on a guided sightseeing of Old Delhi. Visit the great Jama Masjid, the most important mosque in India. Then set off on an exciting rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, inching your way through a maze of ox carts, cars and the occasional wandering cow, explore the spice markets, jewellery market & the clothes market. We visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the most prominent Sikh house of worship in Delhi, visit Gandhi Smriti (Birla House). Later on to Humayun’s Tomb, a Mughal complex that prefigured the Taj Mahal. Visit Qutub Minar, the second tallest minar in India.

At 5PM, with our compliments, indulge in a 60MIN complete relaxation and rejuvenation massage treatment and ease stressed muscles from your travels, by a male therapist.

Overnight at hotel (Breakfast)

01st Nov        Delhi departure

Kindly advise your flight details

Today we transfer you to the airport to board your onward flight.

Hotels envisaged / similar
*Rooms are based on standard rooms

City HOTELS
MUMBAI THE WATERSTONES HOTEL
AGRA DOUBLE TREE BY HILTON
JAIPUR KHANDELA HAVELI
SHAHPURA SHAPURA BAGH
UDAIPUR THE TRIDENT
NARLAI RAWLA NARLAI
ROHET ROHETGARH
PUSHKAR PUSHKAR FAIR CAMPS
DELHI THE CLARIDGES


TOUR QUOTE & VALIDITY:
 

Number of person Cost per person
Minimum 02 Paying Pax US $5350 approx
SGL Room Supplement US $1400 approx

LAST DATE FOR BOOKING IS 1ST AUGUST 2017.

INCLUSIONS:

  • 16 nights hotel accommodation. Stay in hotels on room & breakfast basis unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Arrival & departure assistance at airport.
  • VIP welcome on arrival in Mumbai as you walk out the aerobridge
  • Transportation using an air conditioned AC Innova car (SUV type)
  • Services of English speaking local guides as per the program
  • Services of a full time tour leader
  • Entrance fee to the monuments as per the program (01 time visit)
  • A relaxing massage treatment in Delhi with our compliments
  • Welcome dinner in Mumbai
  • Visit to Taj Mahal at Sunrise
  • Celebrate Diwali with an Indian family
  • Celebrate Pushkar festival
  • Holi celebration in Jaipur
  • Private boat cruise to Jag Mandir on Lake Pichola
  • Romantic step well dinner in Rawla Narlai
  • Half day trip on metre gauge train experience with the locals
  • Evening tea by lake side, watch the sunset in Narlai
  • Morning village walk / cave temple visit (optional)
  • Train ticket for the sector Ajmer – Delhi on 1st AC
  • Domestic flight tickets for the sector Mumbai – Delhi
  • All presently applicable taxes

EXCLUSIONS:

  • Any International Airfare | travel insurance | visa fees
  • Any item of personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mineral water etc.
  • Any other meals (except those mentioned above).
  • Camera fee at the monuments
  • Tipping, etc.

Cancellation & Refund Policy:

We advise all customers to purchase traveller’s insurance in case of interruption, accidents, illness, or anything else that may come up.

Unless stated differently on the tour, cancellations received 120 days prior to departure date will be refunded in full less a 10% handling fee. Thereafter, cancellation fees are as follows: 

  • 119 to 90 days prior to departure = 25% of tour cost
  • 89 to 60 days prior to departure = 50% of tour cost
  • 59 to 30 days prior to departure = 75% of tour cost
  • 29 days prior to departure forfeits full tour price, including no shows. 

If the tour is cancelled by Serene Journeys, a full refund of all deposits and/or payments will be given. 

PRECAUTIONS DURING YOUR TRAVEL IN INDIA 

We advise all customers to purchase traveller’s insurance in case of interruption, accidents or illness 

Here is a list of precautions which will help you to enjoy your holidays in India fully. You need to be very attentive and careful about your documents, luggage and health during your India travel.

  • On streets keep all money in zipped pockets.
  • Keep all your important documents like passport, health certificate and international driving permit with you always.
  • Most of the diseases in India are water born there for always keep a flask of boiled water with you and never eat anything from shops or stalls which serve uncovered eatables.
  • Always keep a medical kit with you when you travel to India and stock up on aspirins, diarrhea tablets, insect cream, salt tablets and other first-aid essentials.
  • Always buy beverages and juices of good brand and check the seal and expiry date before buying.
  • Always peel your own fruit and vegetables, stay clear of raw vegetables salads, raw sugarcane or (a big cause of amoebic dysentery) iced cane-juice.
  • While traveling in dry climate you need to have a lots of fluids and to soak up all the excess liquid you might want to pick some solid eatables like biscuit, bread etc.
  • While traveling in dry places like Rajasthan have lots of water in-store with u.
  • If you wish to over stay, you are advised to contact the nearest Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office.
  • For personal side trips in the city, try to use pre-paid taxis/auto-rickshaws or pay by meter or ask for fare chart when you travel within India. Lots of reliable app based taxis like Uber, Ola etc are available as well.

 

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

Robin is the founder of Serene Journeys, a boutique travel company in India and a freelance travel photographer, birder and rural explorer.  Follow him on Instagram @ serenejourneys or Facebook @ Serene Journeys or  tweet @serenejourneys1

 

 

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.

lake-sundowner

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.