Maharajas' Express Blog

The Indian Splendour

Sam_sand_dunes“The Indian Splendor is a meticulously crafted itinerary that includes a taste of royalty, palaces, forts sand dunes, wildlife and cultural excursions which brings out the best of India. The myriad hues of this wondrous land that is India are significantly celebrated by this 8 day 7 night journey. The unparalleled royal experience on board is enhanced by the exotic cuisine, impeccable Indian hospitality, and the carefully planned off board excursions. It showcases the best of the famed splendors of India and is appropriately named.
This itinerary is a celebration of India that is dotted with high Teas and red carpets. It encompasses the exotic destinations of Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Balasinor, and Mumbai.
A resplendent red carpet awaits you at your departure point at Safdarjung station, sprinkled with fragrant flower petals. Turbaned attendants wait upon you and cater to your every whim. Girls in richly colored sarees bestow bright garlands to welcome their guests on board along with the Shehnai (an Indian classical music instrument) and you drink in the sights and sounds of joyous India. This is an eventful and memorable day  a special welcome to the passengers on board the Maharajas Express  the foremost luxury train in India.
The Maharajas Express has two fine dining restaurants the Mayur Mahal and the Rang Mahal . Their gorgeous red and blue hues invite you to a world of gourmet delights. The cuisine options offer special meals and have offerings to delight the most discerning palates. The lavishly appointed interiors match the opulence of their meals
The Maharajas Express is a curious blend of old world charm and state of the art amenities making it the most luxurious train in the world. The train has pneumatic suspension for a smoother ride to ensure comfortable sleep on a moving train. It also boasts Wi-Fi internet, environment friendly toilets, smoke detectors, international dial telephone, around the clock medical assistance and air ambulance in case of emergency.
The train has 14 guest carriages which include a lavish presidential suite spanning over an entire carriage with a master bedroom, living area, a twin bedroom and bathroom fitted with a bath tub. Facilities inside guest carriages include air conditioning, LCD television, writing table, luggage hold and attached bathroom.
You will soon get whisked off to the polished interiors of the Rajah and Safari bars to swap anecdotes and travelers tales. The bars are an ideal hangout for exuberant travelers and provide the finest wines, aperitifs and liquors.
On Board the train it is as though the golden era of the Maharajas has been frozen in time. The nouveau Indian royalty are a batch of enthusiastic globetrotters who want to experience India in its entire splendor. The staff attends to your every desire and a personal valet is allocated to each car. He is particularly watchful of his brood of foreign Maharajas and even fetches champagne for a midnight tipple. The personal valet assumes the role of a personal secretary and reminds you of your appointments on board the train.
As the train departs Delhi in the evening the guests are greeted with an assortment of flowers and the fragrance of marigolds fills the air. You are soon invited to a glittering dinner with personal supervision by the chef. As you settle into your suite you experience some of the elation the Maharajas must have felt while travelling across their magnificent kingdoms. Outside the window a tapestry of red, green and blue unravels under the sheltering sky.
As the train rolls into Agra the excitement of seeing the Taj Mahal is almost visible. The morning begins with a breath taking visit to one of the most celebrated monuments of the world. This opulent mausoleum built by Shah Jahan is a tribute to his wife and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. So overwhelming is the exquisite beauty of this pristine white marble monument that Agra has be to City Palace & Jantar Mantar. While returning from Amber Fort you have an opportunity to visit a local center for polishing and cutting of precious and semi precious stones. The highlight to the Jaipur visit is the Exhibition elephant polo match followed by dinner at the City Palace.
The next day the train rolls into Bikaner where you explore the Junagarh fort one of the best preserved monuments in India and still owned by a royal family. The sumptuous gold ceiling clutched at by twisting vines has a timeless elegance. Maharaja Ganga Singh who ruled during the late 19th and early 20th century was a handsome mustachioed man who was famous for his astute diplomacy during World War 1. He was also passionate about the railways he created a thousand mile long network of railway tracks across Bikaner by 1935.
Bikaner is home to the Gajnar Palace with its rouge walls temptingly overlooking a lake. Through the vine draped courtyards you get an introductory peak at the Thar Desert. The bright orange sun burns through a slate blue sky as you leave the palace.
Colorfully dressed villagers wave at you while you pass and your arrival to your desert dinner is by wooden carts pulled by camels clothed in tribal blankets. The candlelight flickers to the swaying of traditional dances the dances are performed by the Kalbeliyas and Langaas tribal girls and are a sight for sore eyes. All the comforts of the Maharajas Express that have been secretly tailing the cart, await on the other side of the dunes. The sundowner amidst the sculpted brilliance of the Bikaner dunes is etched in your memories forever.
You return to the comfort of the Maharajas Express inspired to pen your first travelogue.
Breakfast next morning is an elaborate affair. Golden cutlery and plates embossed with the letter M make it all very grand. Girls in colorful sarees peak at you through the window. This is how the Maharajas must have felt surveying their subjects with pride.
In Jodhpur the Maharaja still lives in the Umaid Palace, the worlds second largest private residence. The city has a palpable romantic presence from the wedding cake gables, latticed windows and amazing tunnels of the Mehrangarh fort to the sky blue colour of the city spread out below denoting high caste Brahmins live here. Contemporary royalty in the shape of celebrities are not unfamiliar with the fort. Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar were married here. Paul McCartney was taken on a tour of the fort. Below the fort you can catch strains of the sitar mixed with blasting Bollywood tunes. It captures the essence of the city in a theatrical manner.
Udiapur is the Venice of the East and awaits you like a fantasy waiting to be explored. The Fateh Prakash palace is grand with the imposing emblem of the golden sun king shinning off the front of the building. The greatest attraction is the Lake Palace floating like a mirage. After another sumptuous buffet you gaze across the limpid blue waters of the mysterious lake.
On your last day you are treated to a private reception of the Balasinor Royal family in Gujarat. Our hosts are prince and princess Nawabzada Sultan Salauddinkhan Babi and Aaliya Sultana Babi (the prince recently became the star of a reality TV show). They afford us a royal audience while we watch Dhamal dance performance and feast on the Sultanas home recipes.
One of the worlds most significant finds was on the familys former property. Balasinor houses Indias very own Jurassic park and Princess Aaliya takes a special interest in the fossils.
On board the Maharajas Express you are treated to an Indian Evening. You spend your night dancing with co travelers who by now have become good friends. You wonder if the Maharajas indulged in such merriment.
The experiences of the splendid Maharajas Express leave you spellbound and you disembark the train at Mumbai transformed by the experience.”