The Heritage of India
- Tuesday, 24September, 2013
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“A royal journey on board Maharajas Express beckons the new breed of connoisseurs of luxury for unforgettable journey like no other to unravel the essence of Incredible India.
With a significant emphasis on the heritage factor, the Heritage of India tour is a power packed tour of Northern & Western India. It explores to the citadels of the mighty Mughuls in Agra, and tantalizing Rajasthan to the stone carvings at Ajanta, to the regal arches of Jodhpur. The highlights of the tour include cultural immersion during local sightseeing tours, insider experiences such as sundowner cocktails amidst sand dunes and Exhibition Elephant Polo Match and some shopping experiences among others. The train traverses through the medieval caves of Ajanta, the lofty forts and palaces of Rajasthan and the sublime Taj Mahal during the Heritage of India Tour. The rich tapestry of Indias heritage unravels through a multitude of rich experiences
The welcome and registration takes place at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai. The train departs Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (erstwhile Victoria terminus) in Mumbai for Ajanta.
The Maharajas Express traces its lineage to the lavish and idiosyncratic Maharajas of yore who exhibited a passion for James Watts invention. They bought their own personal carriages to be used on occasions like a state visit or a royal hunt.
The entire Maharajas Express package is devised to recreate the elegance of a more gracious age that is suffused with the opulent quirks of the Maharajas of yesteryear. From the moment you arrive at the station you are transported into a world of regal revelry.
Each carriage of this regal train is finely crafted so that it recreates the epoch of imperial India. The services on board the train have been refined into a fine art. The cuisine served in the two restaurants the Rang Mahal and the Mayur Mahal are a gourmets delight and diverse enough to please all tastes. Excellent quality coupled with artistic presentation make dining an unparalleled experience. The amenities on board the train are designed so that travelers can explore their explorative jaunt to the hilt.
After you have enjoyed a lavish breakfast on board, you proceed for a visit to the astonishing rock cut caves at Ajanta. A protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India and listed in the World Heritage list of monuments , the Ajanta sculptures were created over a span of 600 years. The Ajanta caves are a series of 29 Buddhist caves some of which date from the 2nd century BC. Encompassing both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the caves preserve some of the best masterpieces of Buddhist art in India.
You return on board and the train rolls towards Udaipur. You will find this time between Ajanta and Udaipur most creative and relaxed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on board the two final appointed restaurants. You retire to your cabins or get whisked off for a drink at the Safari and Rajah Bars.
As you approach Udaipur you enjoy the landscapes of this lake city of Rajasthan also called the jewel of Mewar After breakfast you proceed to a sightseeing tour of Udaipur whose fairy tale palaces and gardens, temples and narrow lanes create a picture perfect scenario.
The day begins with the City palace which is an imposing structure towering above the lake on a hill surrounded by a crenellated wall. The Palace is a conglomeration of courtyards, terraces, pavilions, corridors rooms and hanging gardens. You later visit the Crystal art gallery with a rare collection of Oslers crystals.
What follows is a visit to the Satkar Hall at the Fateh Prakash palace- undoubtedly the most lavishly appointed durbar hall in India. This was the place where the Indian Maharajas had their meetings. Post a sumptuous lunch at the Satkar Hall the travelers are at leisure to indulge in any of the following activities:
En route visit a center for Miniature Painting , a famous art form of Udiapur.
“Avail the spa service facilities at a five star hotel.
After a delightful dinner on board, the train rolls towards Jodhpur. The fortress city of Jodhpur welcomes you in all its splendor. The guests have the option to stay or get a glimpse of the Rajasthani village life via the Bishnoi Village Safari. On this escapade you can spot black buck, chinkara, blue bull, desert foxes, and partridges. You also have the opportunity to mingle with authentic village families. Capture the images of the weavers, potters and block printers at work. Alternatively you may visit a five star spa facility and unwind.
After a satiating lunch on board you are ready to visit the finest architectural wonders of the world in the city of Jodhpur. The excursion starts with a walk through the old clock tower and proceeds to the prime attraction of the city- the Mehrangarh fort. The five mile long majestic fort stands at 125 m high and houses some magnificent palaces with carved panels, latticed windows and exotic names within the palace. Amongst these are the Moti Mahal, the Phool Mahal, the Sheesh Mahal, the Sileh Khana and the Daulat Khana.
You will enjoy the folk dances of Rajasthan at the Hanwant Mahal, followed by a cocktail dinner. You return to the train full of anecdotes and the train proceeds to Bikaner.
As the train reaches Bikaner, the harbor of the ship of the desert- the camel, you drink in the sights and sounds of Rajasthan. You can either relax on board or choose one of the following options:
Explore the imposing red sand-stone palace – the Lalgarh palace, which stands as a hybrid architecture and an amalgam of different elements of Rajput, Muslim and European styles. The Rajput exterior of Lalgarh Palace contrasts dramatically with the occidental dicor within. Lush green sprawling lawns with dancing peacocks and beautiful bougainvilleas adorn the palace.
Visit the astonishing Karni Mata Mandir or the Rat temple in Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner. The temple has thousands of rats that live, and are revered in the temple. Eating food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be highly auspicious.
After lunch you visit the Junagarh Fort that dates back to 1588 AD. It was built by Rajah Rai Singh and is comprised of some splendid palaces, and is surrounded by a moat. The palaces are worked in red sandstone and offer a splendid display of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows.
The highlight of the evening is the Sun downer on the Bikaner sand Dunes. Immerse yourself in the true essence of the dessert with a camel cart procession to the dunes where you enjoy sundowner cocktails, folk dances and a delectable barbeque.
You board the train for dinner and an overnight stay and proceed to Jaipur.
The train reaches Jaipur the vibrant and pulsating capital of Rajasthan. Post breakfast on board your exploration of this buzzing metropolis starts with an exclusive experience the Elephant Polo Exhibition match at City palace. Set amongst 18 acres of Mughal gardens you are extended a grand welcome with the royal military band and the beating of the Nagadas The match is celebrated by a champagne lunch at the City Palace.
Following lunch you visit the Amber fort. This beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions and gardens was built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Rajah Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh over a period of two centuries. The palace complex emerges like a mirage over Lake Mootha. After visit to the fort guests may choose from a range of optional activities:
Have a revitalizing spa at a five star hotel in Jaipur.
Enjoy Golfing at the Rambagh Golf Club – a 18 hole, 6303 yard, Par 70 layout that is beautifully laid out & centrally located
Visit the City Palace – the former royal residence; and Jantar Mantar – a stone observatory
You have dinner and an overnight stay at the regal Maharajas Express.
Before the sun dawns you reach Sawai Madhopur, home to the Ranthambore National park. A thrilling safari takes you in the quest for the remaining thirty odd tigers that populate the forest. The National Park also has sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, jackal and leopards. Close on the heels of this exhilarating expedition comes a sumptuous brunch on the train.
The second half of the day takes you to the fabled fortified magnificence of the Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. The city is a world UNESCO Heritage site. You can admire the chimerical landscape while enjoying a lavish brunch on board. Immerse yourself in Mughul history by losing yourself in the complex of monuments and temples including one of the largest mosques in India- the Jama Masjid. Other prime attractions include the palace of Jodha bai, Bibal bhawan, Karwan Sarai, & Hiran Minar, Panch Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Am.
You return to the train to enjoy a Indian Night with revelry and dancing.
On the last day of this truly magical tour, you arrive at Agra. The city houses the most extravagant monument ever built for love- the Taj Mahal. This splendid monument has become the de facto tourist emblem of India. Over 20000 workers from India and Central Asia are believed to have created this marvel. The Taj stands on a raised marble platform amidst ornamental gardens. The central Taj structure has four domes. The tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are in the basement complex.
The visit to this marvel which counts among the Seven Wonders of the World is concluded with a Champagne breakfast at the Taj Khema, which overlooks the Taj Mahal. You return to the luxury of the Maharajas Express and enjoy lunch on board at one of the two restaurants the Rang Mahal or the Mayur Mahal.
Although this magnificent journey ends with the disembarkation at Delhis Sardarjung Station, your memories live on with you, forever.”
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