This March, The Maharajas’ Express, India’s first cross-country luxury train, will make its inaugural journey from Mumbai to Delhi thanks to a new partnership between the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and veteran travel agents Cox & Kings, who have been shepherding travelers through the Indian subcontinent since the days of the Raj. In the grand tradition of the Maharajas of India, who preferred steam engines and railway trains to the motor car, and even installed their own royal thrones in opulent coaches embellished with ivory and gold, the Maharajas’ Express is India’s only train featuring a Presidential Suite spread over an entire carriage, offering guests a truly majestic experience as they traverse the dramatic Indian landscape. As the first Pan-India luxury train, the purpose-built Maharajas’ Express will cut across state borders taking guests all over India on a range of exciting itineraries and unique experiences, including off-train excursions such as lunch at a magnificent private palace in Jambughoda, a champagne brunch overlooking the Taj Mahal and an elephant polo match in Dera Amer.
The train has a total passenger capacity of 84 and features 20 Deluxe Cabins, 18 Junior Suites, 4 Suites and a Presidential Suite, located exclusively in one carriage. Each cabin features state-of-the-art panoramic windows from which to enjoy India’s magnificent sights, as well as individual temperature controls, air-cushioned suspension, and other breakthrough facilities–including large LCD TVs, DVD players, in-house movies, and environmentally-friendly washrooms. The Deluxe Cabin is the world’s most spacious rail cabin of its kind–9’5” by 7’9” with a bathroom measuring 7’9” by 4’9”. Travelers can also spread out in the lavishly appointed Observation Lounge, featuring its own bar, game table, and club armchairs, or the Bar Carriage, offering an extensive collection of fine wines and spirits. Dining options on board include two fine-dining restaurants, each seating 42 people. For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground and enjoy travel at a more languid pace, reminiscent of the grand old days of yore–this is surely the way to go.
Princely India (Mumbai to Delhi)
This 8-day, 7-night journey travels through the heart of “royal India,” from Mumbai through to Vadodara, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park, the Taj Mahal in Agra and on to Delhi.
Classical India (Delhi to Kolkata)
This 7-day, 6-night groundbreaking journey traverses inaccessible destinations that typically require flying to and from Delhi to visit each place. The journey starts in Delhi, and travels through Agra, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh, Varanasi, Gaya and Kolkata, uncovering India’s spiritual centers and temples throughout.
Both itineraries can be taken in reverse via the “Royal India” (Delhi to Mumbai) and “Celestial India” (Kolkata to Delhi) routes.
Rates begin at US$800 per person, per day based on two sharing a Deluxe Cabin. A Junior Suite is $900, a Suite is $1,400 and the Presidential Suite is $2,500. These rates include accommodation, all meals and soft drinks, house brands of wine, beer and spirits, all sightseeing and entrance fees, guides and entertainment. Also included are a wide range of fantastic excursions and events, including elephant polo, temple tours, and Champagne breakfast.