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…….

2

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

 

 

Lodhi Art District

St+Art has completely transfigured the look of Delhi ‘s street. 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 now India’s very first open public art district.

If you need a guided walk, contact Aashish at +91-874-382-0466. Aashish is a student from Delhi University pursuing his Masters in English.

Art information courtesy to Start India

dsc_6432

Fusion Art by Rakesh Kumar Memrot. The artwork deals with the issue of receding natural habitat  for animals which is causing an adverse impact that reside in it. Paying tribute to native Indian art with special emphasis on trees, birds & animals with Elephant as a symbol of new beginning.

dsc_6439

Colours of the Soul by Senkoe. Inspired by the beauty of nature, Senkoe painted these birds as a symbol of diversity, identity & freedom. Birds are also considered travellers with a lot of experience & stories. Hence he painted the birds in Lodhi Colony  to represent the colourful diversity of the people who live there and encourage them to communicate with each other & share stories, just like the birds would.

dsc_6445

The Lotus by Suiko. Playing with symbol of the Lotus, Suiko re-imagined his signature with curved lines & Japanese characters.

dsc_6447

The Lava Tree by Anpu Varkey. Emerging from a dreamscape, perpetuating the flow of lava, the tree posits to consume the entire building, shadowing the menace of our minds.

dsc_6451

Dead Dahlias by Amitabh Kumar. When the Pandava’s lost the first game of dice, they were exiled to Khandavaprastha – the city of ruins. Krishna, who accompanied them for the exile did some magic and overnight Khandavaprastha turned into Indraprastha, the City of Gods. This city id made of magic which is now crumbling apart. Through this intervention I’d like the viewer to catch its crumbling pieces and vanish.

dsc_6454

Lavanya by ecb Hendrik Beikirch. Lavanya in hindi means Grace. Capturing the aura of a local woman from the community, the artist painted this black & grey portrait resembling the old style of etching. The mural stands for all the women who have several struggles in their lives and have to perform multiple roles, yet maintain the utmost grace in all their endeavours, as a reminder of finding beauty in the ordinary.

dsc_6455

Rani Laxmi Bai by Aiko. Aiko created her biggest mural ever during St+Art with the help of 15 volunteers using 299 paper stencils and a palette of bright colours. She chose to paint Rani Laxmi Bai as a symbol of women empowerment for the country. 

dsc_6464

The Tourist by by Avinash & Kamesh. The inspiration of this wall comes from the social media/smart phone revolution. While working in Lodhi colony, Avinash & Kamesh observed how a lot of people came daily to click pictures of the murals and the ongoing work of the artists, taking selfies & group shots, or posing for fashion shoots. So the artists decided to turn the wall around on the viewer as a comment on the selfie generation.

dsc_6465

Don’t let this symbolism kill your heart by Nafir. This piece by Iranian artist Nafir is about women’s rights in the Eastern part of the world. Living in Iran, he feels Iran & India are places where women are subjugated, as culture or traditional thought can cast a shadow on women.

dsc_6469

Amma by Blaise. Indian artist Blaise Joseph chose to make the portrait of a mother figure which has diverse manifestations. She represents a pollinator of civilizations and society, the source of life, the indigenous communities who cultivate and develop the land, with knowledge of sustainable ecological diversity. Yet, are forced to be displaced from their homelands and lose the flora and the fauna to the notion of development. The mother painted in this artwork is in the image of Blaise’s own mother who currently resides in Kerala.

dsc_6471

Order in Chaos by Daleast. Capturing the true essence of India which he discovered during his travels in India. In this mural, Daleast depicts how everything moves fast yet everything works, despite the chaos.

dsc_6477

From your Strength, I weave Beauty by Shilo Shiv Suleman. Every winter, a thick blanket of fog descends over Delhi, casting everything in a misty invisibility blanket of white. Early in the morning and late in the night, the most unrecognized inhabitants of the fog emerge. In the soft pink corridors of Lodhi colony. two women sit side by side. On the left, an older woman steps out of the mist. Struggle has carved its lines into her face as she navigates the night inside her. On the other side he daughter pulls this fog out of the dark sky and weaves it into alchemical threats of gold, creating a new future for them both. Fearless.

 

dsc_6479

Padma by Chifumi. Inspired by a symbolic hand gesture from India that depicts a lotus and Khmer patterns from Cambodia, Chifumi gave Delhi this cross cultural mural.

dsc_6484

Time changes everything by Daku. If you want to get a glimpse of his work, you will have to be there at the right time. Too early in the morning or too late in the evening  and you will see nothing but a blank white wall. From 9.30am, his words come into live: ‘ABILITY BALANCE ORDER CHAOS… LOVE SIZE REALITY BEAUTY MIND BODY… PERCEPTION PEOPLE MEMORY DEFINITION…..’ and other words turn sharper and bolder at noon. The only piece that replaces colour with natural light.

dsc_6490

How is global warming by Gaia Street Art. An inflated, fully nurtured image of a globe juxtaposed with a deflated globe highlights the pre globalisation and the post globalisation era and the glass dome paired with a Victorian botanical garden explores the impact of greenhouse gases and global warming on our society. 

dsc_6491

We love Dilli by Lek and Sowat in collaboration with Hanif. Drawing inspiration from the festival of Holi, the playful nature of Delhi and the children who play cricket around this site everyday, Lek & Sowat decided to write the text ‘We Love Delhi’ in hindi which Hanif then painted on top of their Sanskrit cyphers to create an artwork which everyone in the neighbourhood could relate to and enjoy.

dsc_6496

Vishvaroopa by Ink Brush & Me. This mural depicts a scene from Indian mythology. This particular tale is the beginning of an 18 day battle between Vishnu and Arjuna. Presented on the wall are the many forms of Vishnu, the supreme warrior. matter to antimatter, everything exists in this elaborate painting.

dsc_6504

Katha-Crazy Twins: Chiller Champa & Boom Bhaijaan by Harsh Raman. Through this piece, Harsh attempts to merge the ancient Indian art of Kathakali, which is storytelling dance form from South India which uses gestures and no words, with todays medium of no words – street art. The two heads together represent the duality of human nature and its 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.

dsc_6506

Neils Shoe Meulman used the Lodhi wall to use his own words by painting a poem he wrote. he also likes to have nature involved in his works which comes in the form of brooms that he uses which are made of organic materials. Here he used the household ‘Jhadu’ bought from Khanna market. The poem reads: SANS SERIFS NO LETTERS, AND NO WORDS TO READ, SANS WORDS NO SIGNS, NO NAMES IN THE STREETS, JUST ROWS OF BUILDINGS, AND GARDENS SANS WEEDS.

dsc_6514

The Astronaut by Nevercrew. The astronaut is a metaphor for someone who can see things from a different perspective, as a silent viewer of a larger picture. In this case, he would witness all the daily activities of Lodhi colony, perched atop.

dsc_6520

Shekhawati Painting by Mahendra Pawar. Done over weeks with support from a diverse group of volunteers, this beautiful mural now adorns the wall opposite Khanna market and keeps the tradition of Shekhawati painting.

dsc_6527

The Origin of the World by Borondo. This mural is symbolic of the journey of borth and life itself, with the open arch in the middle of the wall having a river flowing through it representing a journey of life and the boat representing how we traverse through it. The tunnel is also symbolic of the process of birth, how a child navigates the mothers womb to finally come out into the world to begin his/her life. And it is perfectly located opposite a maternity hospital.

Need help? Write to us at robin@serenejourneys.co or steve@serenejourneys.co (For UK & Ireland)
Visit our website at Serene Journeys

Robindro Saikhom (Robin)
Founder, Serene Journeys

Robin 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.