Maharajas' Express: India's First Cross-country Train
South Africa has Rovos Rail; Scotland, the Royal Scotsman, and now India has the Maharajas' Express, its first all-out upscale, live like royalty, luxury train. Anyone who has waited in an Indian airport for a plane that never arrives or has dealt with incessant traffic delays or other travel mishaps will welcome the ease and convenience of private train travel. As a passenger on the new train, there's no more waiting for guides, packing and unpacking, and wondering where or what to eat. Travel in India can be daunting. Just imagine how terrific it is to traverse the country in your own private train without missing all that's special about this fascinating and beautiful country.
Princely India and Royal India are two scheduled trips on the Maharajas' Express that travel between Delhi and Mumbai through what has been dubbed "the heart of royal India." Vast palaces, museums, and mosques dot the landscape in this Rajasthani region. Count on all sorts of entertainment ranging from local musicians and folk dancing to a jeep safari in a national park. In Jodphur, often called the "blue city" because of the indigo-hued houses in the old town, you should be able to find exquisite crafts, textiles, and jewelry. In Udaipur, the star attraction is the large palace complex overlooking a lake or perhaps the chance to join an elephant polo match. The voyage ends with a champagne breakfast at the Hotel Taj Khema overlooking the Taj Mahal before a last leg to Delhi.
The train has 23 carriages for 84 passengers, each of whom has a choice among deluxe or larger suites, Although you often have meals off-the-rails, you can also dine aboard in two restaurants, relax in a club lounge, and take in the scenery from a large observation car. Rates begin at roughly $800 per day based on double occupancy. For details, itineraries, services, and various rates depending on your cabin, go to www.rirtl.com.