Luxury Train Travel in India: Maharajas Express

Luxury train travel in India has come a long way since the introduction of Maharajas' Express by the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation. That this luxury train of India has voted World's Leading Luxury Train for 2 years in a row at the World Travel Award speaks volume about the level of service and royal experience offered on and off the train.

So what makes Maharajas' Express one of the finest luxury travel experiences in India?

With 5 journeys on offer across some of the best tourist destinations in India, this maharaja train is introduced to recreate a bygone era of elegant train traveling which was once only accessible to the Maharajas, Nizams and Viceroys of India.

From the red carpet welcome, trumpets playing welcoming tunes to the tilaka ceremony(vermillion mark, garlands etc.), the welcome arrival at the train offer a peek into the royal experience that is in store for the rest of the journey.

luxury trains in India
Maharajas Express: The art of elegant traveling
Catering to the seekers of luxury and indulgence Maharajas Express arrives at a new station every morning for off-rail excursions which may include visit to monuments, heritage sites, shopping, royal dining at palaces and courtyard of mighty forts and spa session at palace hotels. 

The eight-day Mumbai to Delhi trip crisscrosses through the western part of the country (Mumbai) with sightseeing halts at Balasinor, Udaipur palaces, an elephant polo match near Jaipur and a tiger safari through Ranthambore National Park.

Passengers aboard the seven-day Delhi-to-Delhi trip visit dozens of sites in eastern and central India including the temples of Khajuraho, the tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park and the sacred ghats of the Ganges River in Varanasi. All 5 itineraries - 3 from Delhi and 2 from Mumbai begin or end with a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World.

History

Imagine going to school in your very own toy train – A miniature version of the Royal Scotsman. Well that’s what the royal prince got as a birthday gift to ferry him from the palace to his school.

The passion for and fascination with James Watt creation among Maharajas of India was intense. Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Vadodara gifted his five year old son – current maharaja of Vadodara - a fully functional toy train that ran on a ten inch narrow gauge. Maharaja of Gwalior had a silver model train chugging along the center piece on his banqueting table.

The personal carriage built by Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in 1936 for Maharaja of Indore – Yeshwant Rao Holkar – was considered to be the most luxurious railway carriage ever built.

It also happened to be the largest ever rail carriage to be constructed in Britain at that time and such was the attention to detail that it also had air blown over ice to keep the carriage cool in the tropical climes.

The Nizam of Hyderabad’s private railway car was covered with thin strip of ivory whereas as a young prince, Madhav Rao Scindia of Gwalior had his father build a two mile track on his palace grounds.

Maharajas of India were a world and breed apart from the rest. Born into royalty and adorned with diamonds and gold, money was never an object when it came to acquiring their fancy. It’s not every day that a train earns itself the name Maharajas Express. 
luxury trains
Maharajas Express: Luxury train journeys in India

Maharajas Express Facilities

Maharajas Express endeavors to offer royal experience to explore illuminating destinations in India. Equipped with modern facilities which technology can offer and money can buy, the journey on board Maharajas Express is a regal jaunt with all the pampering and luxury associated with erstwhile princes of India.

Carriages
The train comprises of 23 carriages which include accommodation, dining, bar, lounge, generator and store cars. Accommodation is available in 14 guest carriages with total passenger capacity of 88.

The accommodations on board are categorized as deluxe cabins, junior suites, suites and a grand presidential suite spanning over an entire carriage. Each guest carriage has been designed to recreate the opulence of Maharaja style living.

Elegantly decorated, the interiors of the cabin exude the finesse of exquisite workmanship. Sylvan parquets, intricate carvings and palette of soft hues characterize the interiors of the train.

Carriages are fitted with panoramic windows to offer the vista of rolling landscape as train travels through some of the most fascinating landscapes and countryside of India.

Guest cabins

Large LCD television, eco-friendly washrooms, direct dial phones, DVD player, Wi-Fi internet, individual climate control and electronic safe are available in each guest cabin. For your safety and privacy, each guest cabin has been equipped with RFID door lock.

Here are some common facilities available in the guest cabins of Maharajas' Express:
  • 110/230 V sockets for charging purpose
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Basin
  • Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Hairdryer
  • Range of toiletries
  • Dedicated Butler Service
Deluxe Cabins

Deluxe Cabin
Deluxe Cabin
There are 5 carriages in the category of Deluxe Cabin. A total of 20 cabins of Maharajas Express offer accommodation to a maximum of 40 passengers during each journey.  To accommodate the guests, there are 15 Twin cabins (capacity 2, beds 1) and 5 double cabins (capacity 2, beds 2).

Junior Suites

Junior Suite
Junior Suite
There are a total of 18 cabins in the category of Junior Suites. Offering maximum passenger capacity of 36, these spacious suites are tastefully appointed to offer plush living. There are 12 Twin Cabins and 6 Double cabins on the train.

Suites

Suite of Maharajas' Express
Suite accommodation
4 elegantly decorated and plush suites offer sumptuous accommodation to the guest in their tastefully furnished interiors equipped with modern amenities. All suites come with double bed with a maximum capacity of 8 passengers.

Some of the plush amenities in suites of Maharajas' Express include:
  • Separate Living room and bedroom
  • Upholstered arm-chairs with side table
  • Writing Table
  • Mini-Bar
  • Luggage Hold underneath the bed
  • Complimentary tea, coffee, mineral water and light snacks available at all times
Presidential Suite 

Presidential Suite
The spacious living area of the Maharajas' Express Presidential Suite
First of its kind in the world, the lavish Presidential suite of the Maharajas Express is built on an entire rail carriage. A separate sitting cum dining room and a spacious bedroom add to the finer aspects of luxury rail traveling.

The washroom of the presidential suite on board Maharajas Express is equipped with bathtubs and shower to add to the panache and pampering. The suite can accommodate up to 4 guests.

Besides all the ensuite facilities, the guests residing in Presidential Suites are provided with private luxury car and guides for local sightseeing and any other transportation.
Dining on board Maharajas Express is a gourmet delight. There are two dining cars in the coach, each with a seating capacity of 42 guests at a time. Whereas wines and beers are a la carte, food offered is mostly table d’hôte (included in fare of the journey).

Rang Mahal
Rang Mahal Restaurant
Rang Mahal Dining Car
Beneath a hand-painted ceiling - a gold floral motif on vermillion - the dining car is beyond opulent. The plates are fine Limoges, edged with gold, the glasses hand-cut crystal, and the cutlery monogrammed with the letter M.

Mayur Mahal (Peacock Restaurant)
Mayur Mahal Restaurant
Mayur Mahal or the Peocock Dining Car
Mayur Mahal is the more opulent of the train's two 42-seater restaurants, with its peacock-feather pattern on both high-backed chairs and window blinds and its ceiling of mirrored mosaic tiles.

Safari Bar:
Safari Bar
Safari Bar
One of the best places to unwind and socialize is in the polished interiors of Safari bar. The sophistication of an aperitif or nightcap in the elegant Safari Bar with books on polo strewn round is simply unparalleled.

Get in

Maharajas Express journey begins either from Mumbai or Delhi. Depending upon your location and nationality, there are an array of options available to reach Mumbai and Delhi.

Both of these cities are well connected through air, road and rail and direct flights from major destinations in the world are available. Visit the website Maharajas-Express-India.Com website for more details.

The Journeys

Treasures of India
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur - Delhi
Duration: 3 Nights / 4 Days
Starting From: US $3850 per person per journey

The Heritage of India
Destinations Covered: Mumbai - Ajanta - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Bikaner - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Agra - Delhi
Duration: 7 Nights / 8 Days
Starting From: US $6840 per person per journey

Gems of India
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur - Delhi
Duration: 3 Nights / 4 Days
Starting From: US $3850 per person per journey

The Indian Splendor
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur - Bikaner - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Balasinor – Mumbai
Duration: 7 Nights / 8 Days
Starting From: US $5980 per person per journey

The Indian Panorama
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Lucknow - Delhi
Duration: 7 Nights / 8 Days
Starting From: US $5980 per person per journey
maharajas Express journey
Gwalior Fort: One of the most resplendent fortresses in India
Taj Mahal, Agra

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and voted one of the seven modern Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal is the most iconic and enduring symbol of India. A magnum opus of Mughal architecture, this white marble landmark is one of the most breathtaking specimens of exquisite artistry and one of the must visit places in the world.

Ajanta Caves
One of the most awe inspiring creations of mankind in India are the rock cut cave temples in Aurangabad which are collectively referred to as Ajanta Caves. Inscribed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Ajanta Caves hold immense cultural significance. In total there are 30 Caves where you could see various paintings and sculptures carved out of rock.

Balasinor

India's very own version of Jurrasic Park, Balasinor is home to a numer of monuments, temples and more prominently the fossil park. Located in Kheda District of Gujarat, Balasinor is renowned for its fossilized excavation site, the only one in India.

Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Embark on the trail of tiger in Ranthambore National Park famous for spotting the elusive cat. Named after the eponymous fortress inside the park, this sanctuary used to be the hunting grounds of the erstwhile maharajas of Jaipur and its royal association is evident in pictorial ruins sprinkled across the park. The park is home to several animal and bird species including tigers, leopard, hyenas and antelopes.

Amber Fort, Jaipur

One of the most popular attractions of Jaipur, Amber Fort is known for its massive ramparts, chains and series of walls and imposing gates. The fort houses several palaces, halls of audiences and a temple dedicated to goddess Kali. The palace used to be the official residence of Maharaja of Jaipur before it was moved to City Palace in Jaipur.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Perched atop a hillock overlooking the city, Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest fortresses in world. Housing various palaces, ruins, living structures and a well stocked museum, Mehrangarh is one of the most popular attractions in Jodhpur. The fort is also famous for its 7 intricately carved gates built by various maharajas to commemorate their victories over their enemies.

Fatehpur Sikri

The famous ghost town located near Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, this sprawling city was soon abandoned due to scarcity of water. The city was built to honor the saint Sheikh Salim Chisti who had blessed Akbar and foretold the birth of his son. It was the first planned city of the Mughals and also the first one designed in Mughal architecture, an amalgamation of Indian architecture, Persian and Islamic architecture.

City Palace, Jaipur

The abode of the maharaja of Jaipur, City Palace is a breathtaking complex of palaces and other exquisitely carved buildings. One of the palaces has been converted into a museum and displays various artifacts and clothing adorned by various princes.  The Palace is a living residence of the royal family of Jaipur.

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

One of the unassailable fortresses in India, Junagarh was captured by attackers only once in its history and that too for a single day. This sprawling fortress is studded with palaces, temples and pavilions and depicts a composite culture noticeable in the amalgamation of various architectural styles.

Bathing Ghats of Varanasi

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in world, Varanasi is the epicenter and the most sacred place when it comes to Hinduism. Located on the banks of Ganges - a legendary river venerated in Hindu mythologies – Varanasi is renowned for its bathing Ghats and the image of evening aarti is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the city.

Group of Monuments at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, group of monuments at Khajuraho are known around the world chiefly for their carvings and sculpture depicting erotic postures – many even associate them with Kamasutra. The temples build during the reign of Chandela dynasty and dedicated to Hindu deities are the fine specimen of Hindu architecture and are known for their significant cultural values. The erotic sculpture and carvings are limited to the exteriors of the monuments. Some of the temples are very well preserved and show exquisite carving and artistry.

Residency and Bada Imambara, Lucknow

Lucknow is known for its ‘nawabi’ cuisines, culture and hospitality. Ruins at Residency are homage to the colonial legacy of the place and a reminder of the violent history during the first uprising in India. The site is preserved and a museum established at the site keeping in view, the importance during the First War of Indian independence.

Bada Darwaza is an impressive imambara complex – a shrine built by Shia Muslim for the purpose of Azadari. One of the most sprawling structures in Lucknow, it was built by Asad-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Lucknow in 1784.

Rajah Club/Treasure Chest
A lounge with comfy club arm-chairs is the perfect place to know your fellow travelers. The lounge also functions as observation car. A library and private bar add to the nonchalance of the lounge. A high end boutique named Treasure Chest is also housed in the cabin with exquisite collection of souvenirs and memorabilia.

Shopping
At Old Clock Tower Market, Jodhpur, bazaars of Jaipur and Agra

Wildlife Safari
Exciting safari at either Ranthambore National Park or Bandhavgarh National Park is a part of your itinerary depending upon the journey you select. Whereas Bandhavgarh boasts of highest tiger density in world, the flora and landscape of Ranthambore makes it a popular reserve ideal for tiger spotting.

Camel Procession
Get aboard canopied camel carts and head for a sunset in the sand dunes over champagne amidst fire-eaters, folk dancers and musicians in Bikaner

Elephant Polo
Hop on an elephant’s back and enjoy a game of Polo in Jaipur, followed by a royal performance by a band of bagpipers and drummers.

Sleepy hamlet of Orchha
Explore the quaint domain of the Bundela Kings draped along Betwa river. Explore various classical monuments at Orchha which are  an excellent example of the Rajput Bundela architecture.

Son-et-lumiere at Khajuraho
Enjoy the light show and get ready to get a lesson of history as you embark on a journey through time to the days of Chandela splendor.

Meet the Bishnoi
A tribe considered to be the earliest known conservationists, Bishnois are known for their preservation of animal and vegetable life. Get to know them on a guided cultural walk to their village near Jaipur

Besides the dining facilities on board the train in its multi cuisine restaurants, dining at various locations are also arranged as part of your itinerary to give you an authentic local flavor of the destinations you are traveling. Most of these dining experiences are arranged at the royal palaces of erstwhile maharajas of India or at culturally significant locales.

Taj Khema
Indulge in champagne breakfast atop the Taj Khema with the stunning Taj Mahal in sight conjuring up the perfect canvas of romance.

Mehrangarh Fort
Savor the royal Barbecue with cocktail in the Royal courtyard of Mehrangarh Fort.

House of Jambughoda
Get an authentic taste of royal dining on a lunch with the current maharaja of Vadodara Ranjitsinh Gaekwad and his family as he recounts the anecdotes from a bygone era of princely opulence.

Laxmi Vilas Palace
A gourmet supper at Laxmi Vilas Palace to tantalize your taste buds with an array of traditional cuisines as well as tantalizing international delicacies on the menu.

City Palace, Udaipur
A royal lunch arranged at the Durbar Hall in the resplendent City Palace will definitely give you a taste of princely dining and elegance.

Sand dunes in Bikaner
Regale in the splendor of setting sun in the sand dunes of Thar Desert near Bikaner and raise a toast to the glory of sun and mystique of desert as sundowner cocktails and barbecue is served for your platter even as folk dancer and musician add to the allure of a fascinating evening.

Haveli of Muzaffar Ali
Mouth tingling Nawabi cuisines at the residence of Maharaja of Kotwara during an ‘Indian Evening’ will recreate the romance of a bygone era of Nawabi splendor and pageantry in Lucknow.

Sleep
During your journeys, you will be required to sleep on board the train itself. A total of 14 well appointed cabins offer plush stay to the guests. A personal valet for each cabin is also appointed during your journeys to take care of all your needs.

Stay Safe
A journey on board Maharajas Express is one of the safest way to get around in India. The journeys on board the treain could be treated as escorted luxury group tours in India.

All journeys include complimentary travel guides and off train excursions are always guided. You are always accompanied by a professional English speaking guide during off train tours.

Chartered buses as well as private luxury cars are used for long distance transportation and are arranged by the service providers. Even during shopping excursions.

Maharajas Express is comprehensively insured for natural calamities and all guests are covered under an umbrella insurance cover.
How to book Maharajas' Express train journey
Tickets for the train journeys could be booked from the website IndianLuxuryTrains.Com, a venture of Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd, the official PSA-IA (IRCTC Affiliate) for booking  Maharajas' Express train tickets.

Medical
Emergency medical facilities on board the train are offered by a paramedic.

Wildlife
Since the journeys include jungle safari, it is advised that you carry light hued clothes, comfortable walking shoes. Getting down from vehicle is not allowed during safari in tiger reserves.

On the train
The fare of Maharajas Express covers most of the cost of your journey. It includes dining, soft drinks, House brands of alcoholic beverages, butler service and your accommodation. Long distance call charges made using the telephone facility on board is not covered in the cost of journey.

Off the Train
Your cost of journey in Maharajas Express include guided off train excursions. Entrance fees, still camera fees, transport, complimentary tea, porter charges at stations. Price for video, film and professional still camera fees are not included in the cost of journey and have to be paid over and above the fare.

Other concerns
It is advisable to notify/specify any special dietary requirements at the time of booking. No specific vaccinations are required for travel to India but it is advisable that they should be in possession of a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate conforming to international health regulations. Laundry facilities are limited and available only at few select destinations; hence it is advisable that you pack accordingly.

Pre and post tour accommodation
It is highly recommended that you take a minimum of one pre and post night accommodation with your rail journey.

Booking, reservation and any assistance related to Maharajas Express journey could be found at the website of 

International and Domestic flights
Flights are not included in the cost of Maharajas Express booking presently but information on schedules, fares and even assist with the bookings, if required could be found at the above mentioned websites. 

Personal Travel Insurance
It is strongly recommend that you have adequate travel insurance cover from your country of domicile for injury, illness, death, accident, loss of effects or luggage and holiday cancellation. Kindly refer to the cancellation policy stated in Booking Terms & Conditions page of the above mentioned websites.

Child Policy
Maharajas' Express does accommodate children but parents should be mindful of the sophisticated adult atmosphere which is maintained on board. Children below 5 years shall be allowed free, subject to sharing of double bed with parents.

This is subject to availability of double bed at the time of booking. This option is not recommended by the official tour operators. Single child (5 years - 12 years) charge is 50% of the adult fare, subject to sharing of double bed with parents.

This is subject to availability of double bed at the time of booking. Two children travelling with parents will be accommodated in a separate cabin, where first child pays 50% of the adult fare and the second child will have to pay the adult cost.

Please note that the facility for interconnecting cabins is not available except in the Presidential Suite car.

Visa requirements
The passport you carry must have a minimum validity of six months for entry into India and it is also required of you to be in possession of a valid single or multiple entry visa based on your number of entries into India.

Get Out
Depending upon the journey that you are booking on board Maharajas Express, you may end up either in Mumbai or else in Delhi.

Mumbai could be your gateway to Goa and South Indian destinations such as Kerala, whereas Delhi is a perfect base to explore the Himalayas and North Indian destinations such as Bodhgaya, Rishikesh, Kumaon and Garhwal regions and Kashmir and Ladakh.


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Last Updated: 13-May-2014