India’s answer to the Orient Express makes for luxurious travel through storied Mughal backdrops
The train departs from New Delhi on a weeklong tour of Rajasthan’s highlights, returning on the seventh day. Start with a tour of the Indian capital’s sights – including the monumental India Gate and the delightful Lotus Temple – before boarding. Overnighting in your cabin – details below – you’ll spend your days drinking in the state’s Mughal history. You’ll begin with a tour of Jaipur’s old city with its huddled pink buildings and elaborate temples all watched over by the imperious Amber Fort. Then, the tigers of Ranthambore National Park await along with the serene water palaces of Udaipur before you come to contrast Jaisalmer’s desert fort with Jodhpur’s grand palaces and sheer hilltop fortifications. Of course, no trip to India’s Golden Triangle would be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal.
Modelled on the luxury railway cars of old, lavish interiors ensure a journey fit for a Maharajah. Each of the 14 carriages recalls the royal past of a former Rajput state that today make up modern Rajasthan; traditional paintings are hung on panelled wood walls and patterned ceilings look down onto wall to wall carpets. En suite bathrooms – with running hot and cold showers – along with channelled music, air-conditioning and plush headboards ensure stays are more than comfortable. Each cabin is served by a proud personal attendant or khidmatgar at hand – via an intercom system – to help you with any aspect of your stay including delivering your complimentary morning papers. Rooms are available in single, double and triple configurations.
There are two restaurant carriages on board – the Maharani and the Maharaja – with each decked in wood panelled extravagance. Golden accents are picked out against varnished timber and deep red carpets. Chefs in the attached kitchens serve up delights from across the world with a particular focus on Rajasthani cuisine. Tuck into a mouthwatering thali as the desert rushes by outside your window; seating is available in twos and fours. Back in your accommodation, simmering teas and cups of steaming chai are available throughout along with bottles of mineral water. Off the train, dining experiences include lunches in palaces, once home to the kingly maharajas.
On arrival, you’ll be greeted with everything from embossed stationery to essential toiletries as porters take care of your luggage and richly decorated elephants and entertainers regularly greet the train’s arrival. There are lounges throughout the train where you can enjoy a cold drink from the bar or mix with guests over a board game. There’s also a mailbox on board and – for speedier communication – a satellite phone is available.
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