Maharaja Express – Treasures Of India

5 March 2019 - Sakshi Post

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn, climb that goddam mountain,” writes the noted American novelist, Jack Kerouac.

I reckon we all engage in travelling. The exercise is nothing short of a wanderlust odyssey. We discover and explore new places, savour resplendent and robust historical sites; get connected with the past, absorb breathtaking sites or just revel and luxuriate on a cruise or in an opulent train.

These moments provide a quintessential slice of inspiration which is perfect to handle any situation that we may encounter as the mind metamorphoses to become lithesome and is able to take alacritous decisions after a rejuvenating travel experience.

A few decades ago India provided an old fashioned and very-much- tried and tested tourism package which attracted foreigners and some propertied Indians to the orbit of the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur triad.

Then the Indian panorama altered the tourism ecosystem with the railways introducing the ingenuous train services like ‘Palace on Wheels’, ‘Fairy Queen’ and ‘Royal Orient Express’ in the post globalised world. Indians began to relish the word ‘profit’. As the planned economy gave way to market forces, there were innumerable choices available to the consumer.

Soon the wondrous Maharajas’ Express made a foray. The pioneers skilfully tweaked various packages. There is a seven day package for the more opulent and a reduced four day package for those who are looking for a getaway but do not have an abundance of time at their disposal.

This particular package focuses on the sublime and exotic Taj, the robust and brawny Ranthambore Fort and the Pink City of Jaipur. These tourist locales are seamlessly covered by the ‘Treasures of India’ package of the Maharajas’ Express.

The Maharajas' Express is a luxury tourist train owned and operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). This opulent train plies on several circuits traversing more than a dozen destinations across the axis of North-West-Central and South–Western India. This estimable train service commenced operations in March 2010.

The centrifugal attraction is the vibrant and colourful arid state of Rajasthan and the alluring and winsome Agra. Keeping in mind the climate, the trips are sandwiched between the onset of autumn in the beginning of October and the late springs of April.

This amazing train, the Maharajas' Express was voted as “The World's Leading Luxury Train” five times in a succession from 2012 to 2017, at the World Travel Awards.

It is noteworthy to mention that Maharajas’ Express is the most extortionate and high-priced luxury train operating in the world. For its pre-eminent service Maharajas' Express was the first runner-up in the Specialist Train Operators Category at Conde Nast Travellers’ Reader Choice Travel Award in the year 2011.

The train comprises of twenty-three carriages which include accommodation, dining, bar, lounge, generator and store cars. This luxurious train crows of twenty deluxe cabins, junior suites, four suites and a Presidential suite offering breathtaking 5-star accommodation.

It is worthwhile to mention that the twenty deluxe cabins are accommodated in five carriages, while the Presidential Suite is constructed on an entire rail carriage, incorporating a separate sitting-cum-dining room, a master bedroom and bathroom with shower and bathtub, a twin bedroom and bathroom with shower. The Maharajas' Express Presidential Suite is the first such a rail carriage of its kind in the world meant for commercial usage.

The train has a state-of-the-art kitchen car designed to provide a range of cuisines in the restaurants Rang Mahal and Mayur Mahal. The restaurant menu includes traditional Indian cuisine along with Continental, Chinese and other international fare.

A dedicated bar carriage, the Rajah Club, offers the choicest of wines, liqueurs, spirits and beers along with snacks and starters. The lounge cum bar called the Safari Bar is equipped with a multilingual library and board games and offers a casual lounge experience.

The Itinerary

The peregrination commences from Delhi and traverses through Agra, Ranthambore and Jaipur before returning to Luyten’s Delhi.

The expedition chugs to Agra. Guests travelling by this superabundant train are taken to Agra Fort (incidentally this monument is the centrepiece in the Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘The Sign of the Four’). The majestic fort and grand palaces are UNESCO heritage sites.

Agra was the capital of the Moghuls till 1638 before the potentate moved to Delhi. The visitors are then escorted to the Taj Mahal, the ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of River Yamuna. The breathtaking structure was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The historical site houses the tomb of Shah Jahan too.

On the second day, after a sumptuous breakfast at an elite destination, the train navigates its way to Sawai Madhopur. The guests are treated to a ritzy lunch and head for a wildlife safari at the Ranthambore National Park, near the bijou town of Sawai Madhopur. The park served as hunting grounds of the maharajahs of Jaipur until the time of India’s independence and was built by the Chauhan dynasty.

On its last leg, this striking journey drops anchor at Jaipur. Guests marvel at the grandeur of the Amber Fort, the Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. Taste buds are tickled through a delectable lunch onboard. The entire day is spent taking in the sights of the Pink City at a relaxed pace.

Finally the plenteous train begins its journey back to New Delhi. The sojourn ends on a gastronomic high as guests are served a seven course dinner aboard the train. The final treat is a swanky breakfast on the fourth day of the trip as they chug into Delhi and bask in some priceless treasures of India.

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree; one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander,” succinctly writes the American author Roman Payne.

Source: Sakshi Post

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