The Maharajas’ Express is one of only a handful of luxury trains operating in India. The 19-car train service provides an unparalleled way of seeing some of the best-known sights in the north and west of the country in comfort and style. Your highpoint could be marvelling at the Taj Mahal, getting close to a tiger in Ranthambore or enjoying local cultural performances. It's all showcased on a full spread of included excursions. The time spent travelling passes in a whirl of princely estates, palaces and forts, learning about the style of those who lived in them and rubbing shoulders with their descendants. Then back on the train, you'll be treated to sweeping desert scenery, along with an all-inclusive spread of fine dining and open-bar drinks. And, either side, we've included a private tour of Delhi's icons, along with stays in the Indian capital and Mumbai in India's two most luxurious properties.
Following a chauffeur-driven transfer to the airport, ease into your holiday with a complimentary stint in the VIP airport lounge, before your overnight flight to Delhi.
You’ll be met at the airport by a private driver, who’ll see you to Delhi’s most luxurious hotel. The Imperial is a grand vision of Victorian and Art Deco architecture, ringed by expansive lawns.
From here, you’ll be brought on a half-day private city tour, taking in everything from the imposing 16th-century Red Fort and the sprawling chaos of Chandni Chowk market to the leafy boulevards of New Delhi and Jama Masjid – one of the largest mosques in India.
After a private transfer to the station, you’ll board the Maharajas’ Express to a fanfare welcome, settling into your lavish, wood-panelled cabin, complete with double or twin bed. You’ll also begin your gourmet full-board dining, enjoying wine-paired table d’hôte meals under the hand-painted frescoes of the glorious restaurant carriages. Then, after Delhi’s bustle fades and you’ve traversed its surrounding plains, you’ll roll into Agra to start your included, expert-led excursions.
Once the capital of the Mughal Empire, the city’s palatial walled fort is one of the country’s most impressive. Returning to the train for dinner, perhaps avail yourself of the free-flowing drinks in the bar cars, enjoyed on green-leather armchairs in a club-like atmosphere.
Disembark from the train early to take in the changing colours of sunrise on the Taj Mahal’s white marble façade, before you tuck into a champagne breakfast at Taj Khema. Having been built on a mound formed by the digging of the world wonder’s foundation, it offers privileged views of this famous monument. No matter the amount of times you’ve seen it in photographs or on television, the Taj still has the power to move people.
The train then continues on to Ranthambore National Park. Your ranger-led safari here will bring you among dense jungles, fort ruins and arid plains in search of everything from tigers and crocs to sambar deer and wild boar.
Having travelled overnight, you’ll arrive into Jaipur. Rajasthan’s capital is often referred to as the “Pink City” for the pastel colour of its sandstone old town. Here, centuries-old walls cloak colourful markets and historic temples.
Your touring will take in its highlights, including the multi-tiered Hawa Mahal Palace, the magnificent Amer Fort’s hilltop perch and Jantar Mantar – an 18th-century observatory.
Pull back the blinds this morning to reveal the fringes of the desert. After a leisurely breakfast on board, there’s the option of joining excursions to Lalgarh Palace, Deshnok Temple or a camel breeding farm, the latter of which lies at the heart of this region’s local industry. Whatever you choose, you’ll also explore Junagarh Fort where artefacts include a Foe-Frightening Kettle Drum.
It all concludes with an evening in the desert, processing through the dunes in an authentic canopied camel cart. You’ll arrive at a torchlit encampment for a romantic barbecue dinner, folk dancing and music, all the while backed by rolling dunes and laid out below a stunning starscape.
Cross the desert during the night to reach Jodhpur. Here, medieval laneways wind between a brilliant blue tumble of flat-roofed buildings, spread out from the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. For many, it’s the most impressive of Rajasthan’s citadels, its 15th-century walls imposing over the entire city.
Your touring will also take in the lively Old Clock Tower Market, where merchants do a lively trade in everything from spices to saris.
Next, the train reaches Udaipur, held by many to be Rajasthan’s most romantic city. In the company of a local guide, explore its timeless lanes, incense-filled temples and numerous havelis as you visit the impossibly grand City Palace. You’ll also be treated to lunch under the giant chandeliers at the Fateh Prakash Palace, one of the most exclusive addresses in the city.
However, it’s perhaps the included cruise on the lake that lingers longest in the memory, offering the chance to admire Udaipur’s famous floating palace.
Enjoy a final farewell breakfast and lunch as you approach Mumbai, where you’ll be met off the train by a private driver for the journey to one of the world’s finest hotels. The landmark Taj Mahal Palace is an opulent oasis of Italian marble, Belgian chandeliers and works of art, many of them antiques. Attentive staff will anticipate your every whim.
On its doorstep, you’ll have all of the city’s British-era icons, from the great railway termini to court houses and palm-fringed cricket grounds. Consider extending to take it all in.
Breakfast & Lunch included
A private driver will collect you and bring you to Mumbai’s international airport ahead of your scheduled daytime flight. If you decide on an overnight flight, there's also the option of a city tour of Mumbai's world-famous sights. Either way, on arrival back in the UK, a private chauffeur will be waiting to see you home.
"This journey is one of the most luxurious and interesting ways to experience India. There's everything from glamorous drinks and camel-cart journeys. If you're lucky you might even spot Bengal tigers in Ranthambore, while city palace feasts and a visit to the simply magnificent Taj Mahal add to what will be an unforgettable, luxury holiday."
Year Round from: £6,480 pp