Maharajas Express, touted to be the India’s answer to the Orient Express of the West, was flagged of in 2010. Since it's introduction Maharajas' Express has set a new benchmark in luxury train travel segment winning 2 back to back accolade in the category of World's Leading Luxury Train at the coveted World Travel Awards.
The name of the train evokes the images of massive hill forts, maharajas with spears riding elephants, grand entourages and lavishly adorned queens with colorful retinues. Maharajas' (of the great king's) Train and the journeys are designed to recreate the romance of a bygone era with seamless blend of the old world charm and the modern panache.
One of its kinds with a lavish Presidential Suite spanning over an entire carriage, the interiors are no less than a luxury hotel room with sumptuous fabrics, mahogany furniture, interiors paneled in teak and bathed in old-world charm.
|Guests arriving at Jaipur Station|
The guests are treated like the great kings with red carpet laid out at every station. Royal welcome with vermillion tilak, garlands and aarti greets the guests and itinerary unfolds as would the days of the erstwhile maharajas who ruled various princely states across India before she was declared a democratic republic in late 1940s.
But what makes Maharajas Express a “journey like no other”. More than its graceful yet plush interiors, state of the art amenities, impeccable hospitality and gourmet cuisine, it’s the unique insider experiences at select destinations covered during the 5 rail journeys across India.
Mentioned below are a few of the USPs which truly sets Maharajas Express apart making it the leading luxury train in the world. These are the exclusive experiences which are made available to the guests on board Maharajas Express rail journeys.
|Rang Mahal Restaurant|
Cutlery and crockery of Maharajas’ Express train is plated with 24-carat gold. It includes a collection of fine Limoges plates, edged with gold, hand-cut crystal glasses, and the cutlery monogrammed with letter M.
At Rang Mahal restaurant, sit beneath a hand-painted ceiling – a gold floral motif on vermillion. The dining car is beyond opulent and the hospitality impeccable.
|Peacock Restaurant on board Maharajas Express|
Mayur Mahal, 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 is a spectacular restaurant.
|Safari Bar on board Maharajas Express|
Wide range of wines and Champagnes from France, the New World, and India as well and there’s even a sommelier to help you choose from among some of the finest labels of wine and spirits.
|Interiors of the Fateh Prakash Palace inside City Palace Complex, Udaipur|
At the Fateh Prakash Palace, sit under giant chandeliers in the Durbar Hall - Italian flavor, pancetta-wrapped scallops, provolone-stuffed chicken breast and chocolate pistachio mousse are some of the specialties waiting to tantalize your taste buds.
|Dinner with cultural folk show in Bikaner sand dunes|
Amidst the Sam sand dunes of Bikaner, torch lit encampment for music, dancing and dinner is arranged for a mesmerizing conclusion of the day during select journeys of Maharajas Express.
Other major highlight of the train includes:
- A lavish lunch at Satkar Hall inside Fateh Prakash Palace
- Shopping at local craft shop near famous Clock Tower in Jodhpur
- Exclusive cocktail dinner at Hanwant Mahal in Jodhpur
- High Tea at Jai VIlas Palace Museum in Gwalior (Indian Panorama)
- Cultural Dance Performance at Kandariya Shilpgram at Khajuraho (Indian Panorama)
- Walking tour in Varanasi followed by boat ride in Ganges to witness evening Aarti in Varanasi (Indian Panorama)
- Evening with lavish dinner at the residence of Raja of Jehangirabad in Lucknow (Indian Panorama)
- Dinosaur Fossil Park guided tour by Princess Aaliya followed by Village Walking Tour in Balasinor (Indian Splendor)
- A royal welcome and lunch hosted by the Royal Family of Balasinor at Garden Palace (Indian Splendor)
Besides cultural interactions bringing our the best of the luxury train journeys offered by Maharajas' Express, the facilities and service provided by the train staff are exceptional.
Each guest cabin of Maharajas' Express is equipped with attached washrooms, electronic safe, live television, fire alarm, fire extinguishers and telephones. Doors with RFID locks and WiFi facility add to the standard of premier service. A personal butler assigned to each guest salon is always there to take care of the needs of the guest.
Then there is the lounge car with a bar, gaming zone, well stocked library and souvenir shop to keep the guests entertained on board.
3 of the journeys last for 7 nights while 2 crisscrosses through the famed golden triangle tour circuit of India that include Delhi, Agra and Jaipur spanning over a period of 3 nights and 4 days each. The shorter itineraries are named Gems of India
and Treasures of India
If it is a maharaja life - however short it may be - that you would like to live, if indulgence is your aim and if you are looking for cultural immersion along with luxury, Maharajas' Express is your answer to rediscover the finer aspects of luxury train traveling in India.
Discover more about the travel experience through a guest's personal experience on Wall Street Journal in feature named Seeing India by Luxury Train.
If you are a rail fan or someone interested in luxury trains, you may also want to read our post on top 10 luxury trains in the world
Contributed by Nikhil Chandra (Last Updated 24-01-2014)