Climb aboard the Maharajas’ Express on this luxury India train holiday. Immerse yourself in India's rich culture on this week-long journey, witnessing the magnificent forts of Rajasthan's sun-kissed cities, the extraordinary Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra and the beauty of the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Step aboard this ultra-luxurious train and be transported into a world once inhabited by 19th century Indian royalty, a bygone era of red carpets, lavish luxury and decadent indulgence. Designed to recreate the pageantry and elegance of the personal carriages of the erstwhile Maharajas, the interiors of the train are suffused with nostalgic opulence. Take in the highlights of Rajasthan – the bright blue buildings in Jodhpur, the romantic lakes of Udaipur and the delicious cuisine of Mumbai.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Delhi, you will be met and taken to your hotel, checking in for two nights. Head out to explore at your leisure or rest after your flight.
Today you’ll enjoy a tour of this magnificent city, starting in Old Delhi this morning. This ancient walled city became the capital of the Mughal Empire in 1650 and since then has thrived as a centre for architecture and art. Start your day with a cycle rickshaw ride past the Red Fort, through twisting lanes, small streets and crowded bazaars. You’ll also visit Raj Ghat, the memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi and Chandni Chowk, the bustling market in the heart of the old city.
Next, you’ll head to New Delhi – designed and built by the British in the 1920s, it is a city of wide boulevards and impressive Government buildings. After King George V transferred the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the royal architects designed palatial buildings and tree-lined avenues with fountains and pools. Your guide will show you the incredible buildings of Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be taken to the station in time to board the train this morning. Step aboard this ultra-luxurious train and be transported into a world once inhabited by 19th-century Indian royalty, a bygone era of red carpets, lavish luxury and decadent indulgence. Designed to recreate the pageantry and elegance of the personal carriages of the erstwhile Maharajas, the interiors of the train are suffused with nostalgic opulence.
Departing Delhi, you’ll soon arrive at Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. In the 17th Century, Akbar the Great made this city a leading centre of art, science, commerce and culture, which culminated in the building of the Taj Mahal, masterminded by Sha Jehan. This afternoon, you’ll take a tour of Agra Fort, where you’ll wander through the chambers of this ancient royal residence. The country was once governed from here, as well as containing the largest treasury and mint. Dignitaries and ambassadors from far off lands would be brought here, each one participating in the history of India.
Spend the night on the train.
This morning, you’ll head out to visit the Taj Mahal, followed by breakfast at an exclusive venue. Spend some time soaking up this awe-inspiring wonder of the world. Built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen, it took 18 years to complete, with craftsmen working around the clock on the intricate and romantic design. With perfect proportions and distinct femininity, legend says that once the construction was completed, Sha Jehan ordered the architect’s hands cut off, and blinded, so he would never be able to duplicate the structure.
What makes the Taj Mahal unique is its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, medium of construction and ornamentation. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, while it is dazzling white during the day. After your time at the Taj, you will head back to the train and process to Sawai Madjopur, where you’ll have an onboard lunch followed by a safari in Ranthambore National Park.
Ranthambore National Park was once the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur until, in 1980, it became a national park. It is a huge area, but only small portions of the park are open to the public so the wildlife here can prosper and thrive in private. You’ll head out on an afternoon game drive through the park, all the while looking for elusive tigers hiding in the deciduous forests, and leopards keeping cool in the shade of the rocky ridges. Keep an eye out for sloth bears indulging in large termite mounds and porcupines that emerge in the late afternoons. There is rich birdlife to be found here – hornbills hooting in the dhok trees, green bee-eaters flitting through the air catching insects and pink breasted rollers surveying the landscape from their perches.
Enjoy dinner onboard as the train proceeds to Jaipur.
After breakfast onboard, you’ll head off to visit the Amber Fort in Jaipur. Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is the capital of the colourful state of Rajasthan. The glorious Amber Fort is a marvellous example of Rajput architecture, made up of terraces and ramparts, all a rich terracotta colour that is reflected beautifully in the lake below. Each room within the royal halls is decorated with intricate ivory artwork and exquisite murals, really showing off the pomp and grandeur of a kingdom that was never conquered.
Head back to the train for lunch onboard, before the train takes you on to Bikaner.
After a leisurely breakfast and lunch onboard, head out to visit the Junagarh Fort, followed by an exclusive barbecue evening on the sand dunes.
Bikaner is famously known as the camel country, with some of the best riding camels in the world. Camels are an essential part of life here, whether they are pulling carts, transporting grains or being ridden for sport. The majestic Junagarh Fort was constructed in the 16th Century, a glorious reminder of the Mughul architecture of the time.
In the evening you’ll return to the Maharajas’ Express, which will proceed towards Jodhpur.
Enjoy breakfast and lunch on board before arriving in Jodhpur and heading out to explore the Mehrangarh Fort and the Old Clock Tower Market.
Jodhpur is a 500-year-old settlement and was previously the headquarters to the Rathore Rajputs, celebrated for their tales of daring! It’s also known as the Blue City; if you wander around the old quarters of the city – protected by the Mehrangarh Fort – you’ll notice many of the houses are painted blue and it’s believed this is because the colour is closely associated with the Brahmin caste.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Old Clock Tower Market before heading back to the train and journeying towards Udaipur.
Admire the magnificent landscape as you arrive into Udaipur and enjoy breakfast onboard the train. The most romantic city in Rajasthan, Udaipur is known as the city of lakes. The marbles palaces and beautiful gardens and lakes make the city seem almost like a mirage in the desert.
Founded in 1568 following the final sacking of Chittorgarh by the Mughal emperor, Akbar, Udaipur rivals any of the world-famous creations of the Mughals with its Rajput love of the whimsical and its superbly crafted elegance. The Lake Palace is certainly the best late example of this unique cultural explosion, but Udaipur is full of palaces, temples and havelis.
In the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a boat ride and later visit the city palace with lunch at an exclusive venue. Enjoy dinner onboard as the train proceeds to Mumbai.
After breakfast on board, you will finally leave the spectacular train behind and head to your hotel in Mumbai to check in. Spend the rest of your day relaxing at your hotel or heading out to explore the local neighbourhood.
This morning you will head out on a morning to Elephanta Islands. Take a little boat across from mainland Mumbai to Elephanta, the glorious home of Lord Shiva. The island is famous for its great cave shrine, excavated in the sixth century, dating back to the period, when the island was known as Gharapuri, the Fortress City. The cave temple, which is the pride of Elephanta is reached by climbing a flight of more than 100 steps, to the top of a hill. Little is known about the architects and sculptors, who worked on this gem of ancient architecture but what is almost tangible is their intense faith, which seems to create an energy field in the cave premises.
In the afternoon you’ll embark on a half day city tour, taking in this pulsating city which began as a natural harbour inhabited by fishermen which the British quickly built up into a globally important harbour city. It is a dazzling mix of old and new, the thriving metropolis of India’s financial centre as well as the traditional Hindu temples. Visit the gateway of India and the Crawford Market as you enjoy your final day in India.
This morning you will enjoy one last breakfast before being driven to the airport for your flight home.
The best time to visit India is from November to March. From April onwards the temperatures rise in preparation for the monsoon rains that follow during the summer months – travel is possible during this time but you should expect high humidity, torrential downpours and possible transport delays.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.