Combine champagne breakfasts at the Taj Majal with on-rail luxury found in butler-served cabins and club lounges
City | History & culture | Natural world | Rail journey
Maharajas' Express Luxury Rail Journeys
The Maharajas’ Express combines some of India’s most enticing destinations with a raft of Raj-like experiences, from champagne breakfasts at the Taj Mahal to travelling by canopied camel cart for sundowners in the sand dunes of Bikaner.
In total there are five different journeys offered, splitting into departures from Delhi and Mumbai. From the capital, routes take in the sights of the Golden Triangle – you’ll see the tigers at Ranthambore, the majestic fort of Jaipur and the inimitable Taj Mahal – before heading further afield to Varanasi’s chaotic ghats and Lucknow’s imposing mosques and labyrinthine tombs. Or, tie it all together with a trip between India’s two greatest cities, calling at Rajasthan’s Mughal forts and serene water palaces along the way.
All 43 luxury cabins – each named after precious stones – take their design notes from the erstwhile royalty of the country. Huge panoramic windows look out to the rich and varied Indian countryside while interiors are adorned in rich tapestries, wall-to-wall carpeting, a writing table, semi-precious stones and antiques. Despite this, you’ll still find every modern amenity as standard with DVD players, WiFi, live LCD TVs, air-conditioning, international-dial telephones and en suite showers. Upgrade to a Junior Suite for more spacious rooms or a Suite for a separate living area. Lastly, the Presidential Suite spans an entire carriage and features a separate sitting and dining room along with two bedrooms and bathrooms fitted with bathtubs. It’s the ultimate in rail luxury. In all, a team of butlers – one for each carriage – is on hand to assist you with anything from laying out your tux to refreshing your bed and bath linen each day.
Dinner is a formal affair; the glasses are hand-cut from Swarovski crystal, the Limoges plates are edged with gold and the cutlery is monogrammed. Table d’hote meals are included in the price and are available in one of two dining cars, the Rang Mahal – termed the ‘Palace of Colours’ for its glorious hand-painted fresco ceiling – and the Mayur Mahal, which translates as ‘The Peacock Palace’ and features golden birds and deep green upholstery. In terms of cuisine, dishes range from traditional Indian and authentic Mewari to classic European and modern Chinese. Throughout the journey, a butler service of complimentary tea, coffee, mineral water and light snacks is available at all times in your cabin.
Beyond the exquisite dining cars, the train comes with multiple areas for you to catch your breath and savour the journey. Enjoy only the finest labels of wine and spirits or a range of innovative cocktails from around the world in the Safari Bar or take things slow in the observation car, which – alongside its lazy chairs – features a library, personal bar and small shop. There’s also the Rajah Club with its green leather armchairs and laidback atmosphere fostered by an en suite bar and games table.
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The Maharajas Express is the latest word in luxury train travel in India. In a country renowned for its majestic opulence, this palace on wheels is the perfect way to experience the many sights and sounds of this remarkable country in total comfort and style.
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