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The Heritage of India - Maharajas Express

Duration: 8 Days 7 Nights
Activities: Train journey & Sightseeing
Regions: North India,West India
Destinations Covered: Mumbai - Ajanta - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Bikaner - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Agra - Delhi
Best Time: January, February, March, April, October, November, December

Validity date 2017 :

2017: 08 Apr, 07 Oct, 04 Nov, 02 & 30 Dec
2018: 27 Jan, 24 Feb, 24 Mar

Overview

The luxurious train journey to royal Rajasthan begins from Mumbai, the heart of Bollywood. On this journey, history meets heritage in the ancient Buddhist caves of Ajanta and heads to exotic cities of Rajasthan. Rajasthan will drench you with royalty and luxury while you enjoy a regal Elephant Polo match in Jaipur, soak in the dramatic landscapes of Thar Desert and dine a heritage palace-hotel in Udaipur. To add to its majesty, you also get a chance to spot the elusive tiger or the shy leopard at Ranthambore and hear the stories of Emperor Shah jahan and Begum Mumtaz Mahal while you admire the white marbled beauty of Taj.

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DAY 01 SATURDAY: BOARD THE MAHARAJAS’ EXPRESS AT MUMBAI

Onto Ajanta Welcome aboard the Maharajas' Express.

This afternoon, assemble at 1430 hours at The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai and complete your registration and check in formalities at the hotel for the Maharajas’ Express. Following which, you will proceed to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. On arrival you will be greeted with a welcome drink and the Police Band playing as you board the Maharajas’ Express.

The Maharajas’ Express departs Mumbai at 1640 hours

approximately and travels through the land of the Marathas to Ajanta.

Dinner on board.

Overnight on the Maharajas' Express.

DAY 02 SUNDAY: AJANTA

Today you arrive to the World Heritage site of Ajanta. Enjoy an early morning breakfast on board at 0630 hours. Later, following disembarkation at 0740 hours at Pachora station, you will be driven to the World Heritage site of Ajanta Caves famous for its rock cut cave monuments which date back to the 2nd century BC. The approximate drive/time to Ajanta Caves is 90 mins.

The Ajanta caves consist of 30 caves including an unfinished one, which belong to the period 200 BC to 650 AD. These Buddhist cave temples and monasteries are cut from the rocks and volcanic lava of the Deccan in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri hills and are set in beautiful sylvan surroundings. They were discovered accidentally by a British Captain, John Smith in 1819, on a hunting expedition. The Ajanta caves provide a unique combination of architecture, sculpture and paintings. The caves are mainly known for their exquisite frescoes and sculptures, depicting scenes from life of Buddha.

Return to the Jalgaon station by 1330 hours. This is followed by lunch on board the train as the Maharajas’ Express chugs away for its next destination, Udaipur.

Enjoy a leisurely evening on board with dinner.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

IMPORTANT: The journey from station to Ajanta Caves will be approximately 100 kms. The sightseeing of Ajanta Caves takes approximately 2 hours and involves climbing high steps. Please also note that it is mandatory to take off shoes to enter into the caves in view of the religious sanctity of Buddhism.

DAY 03 MONDAY: UDAIPUR

This morning you will wake up in the picturesque region of Mewar, one of the most popular and royal states of the Rajputana. Admire the magnificent landscape of the Aravali Hills arriving into Udaipur - the City of Lakes.

Disembark the train at 1000 hours as you begin your visit with a boat ride on Lake Pichola. Following the boat ride visit the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, with its scalloped arches, fretted balconies, and cupolas. Visit Mor Chowk and see its lavish mosaics of peacocks; Moti Mahal with beautiful mirror work; Chini Mahal covered in ornamental tiles and the spectacular Zenana Mahal where-after visit The Crystal Gallery and the Darbar Hall with an audio guide. Feel like a king as you experience the hospitality at the Satkar Hall of Fateh Prakash Palace reminiscent of the ancient Mewar glory. Feast your taste buds over a vast spread of International and Indian cuisine.

Following lunch return to the train for a relaxed afternoon on board. Or you have the option of enjoying spa facilities in a five star hotel.

Later in the afternoon, you may if you wish, proceed for an optional ‘Walking Tour’ through the Old Market of Udaipur. Browse through shops selling exquisitely embroidered and printed fabrics, jewellery, paintings, carved wood artefacts and other local crafts.

Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the optional activities.

Breakfast on board; Lunch in Satkar Hall of Fateh Prakash Palace; Dinner on board

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 04 TUESDAY: JODHPUR

This morning, the Maharajas’ Express, continues her journey into the stronghold of the Marwar region. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on board. Your train passes through some of the dramatic landscapes of the Thar Desert, arriving into the Blue City of Jodhpur.

The morning is at leisure on board.

Optional: You may wish to embark on a village safari to the Bishnoi village as an Optional Activity, for which you’ll de board at Rohet, 40 km before Jodhpur.

Optional: As the train reaches Jodhpur, you may wish to opt for a Spa at a Five Star hotel.

Return to the train for lunch on-board.

Post lunch visit the magnificent Meherangarh Fort. Admire the intricate latticed windows, elaborately carved panels and elegantly curved porches. Followed by a walking tour of the Old Clock Tower Market. As you reach the Market on Tuk Tuks, get a glimpse of the daily lifestyle of the local residents, passing some of the oldest houses and havelis.

Enjoy an exclusive Cocktail evening with a wide array of sumptuous Marwar Culinary delights served in the Hanwant Mahal as you admire the cityscape with the illuminated Umaid Bhawan Palace forming the backdrop.

Return to the train and continue your journey to picturesque Bikaner.

Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the optional activities.

Breakfast and Lunch on board; Cocktail dinner at Hanwant Mahal. Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 05 WEDNESDAY: BIKANER

Your journey through the desert continues. As you relish your breakfast on board, enjoy observing the desert scenery, the scattered prosopis cineraria trees; the villagers attired in their bright turbans and the occasional herd of camels breaking the monotony of the desert.

The medieval city of Bikaner was once a major centre in the cross-desert caravan trade. Popularly known as Camel Country, Bikaner has the best riding camels in the world. Bikaner’s forts, palaces and temples are splendid architectural legacy. Late morning arrive into the desert citadel of Bikaner and relax on board.

Optional: You may choose to embark on an optional tour of the city visiting Lalgarh Palace Museum displaying some fascinating exhibits on the royal heritage of Bikaner or visit the famous Deshnok (rat temple).

Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the optional activities.

Return to the train for lunch.

Following lunch, you will disembark by 1400 hours and proceed on a visit to the Junagarh Fort, an unassailable fortress built in 1593 AD by Raja Rai Singh. While the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat, its real beauty lies inside. Be overwhelmed by the Diwan-i-Khas, Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Hawa Mahal, Badal Mahal and Anup Mahal. The Fort Museum is fascinating and adorned with ornate decorative costumes and jewellery.

Continue on an experience of a lifetime! Experience the royal pageantry as a convoy of decorated canopied camel arts accompanied by musicians takes you for a Sundowner on the Sand Dunes. Enjoy cocktails, savour traditional mouth-watering barbecue delicacies as you enjoy traditional folk arts like the Langaas and Kalbeliyas whose music and dance will mesmerise you. Later return to the comfort of your train and embark on your onward journey to Jaipur.

Breakfast on board; Lunch on board; evening barbecue on dunes. Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 06 THURSDAY: JAIPUR

Today, you will arrive into the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Jaipur is truly a pristine jewel in the crown of the desert state of Rajasthan. Built by Raja Jai Singh in the 18th century, Jaipur is renowned for its magnificent palaces, forts and temples. Disembark at 0930 hrs as your exciting tour of the Pink City begins with a visit to the Amber Fort situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur city, this fort palace is surrounded by fortified battlements overlooking the Maota Lake. A short jeep ride takes you up to the fort where you will enjoy a tour of the royal apartments, with striking views of the gorge. Step back into the Mughal era as you enter the Chamber of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), and the Hall of Victory.

After your visit to the Amber Fort, enjoy a unique and enthralling experience – an Exhibition Elephant Polo Match at City Palace. Your arrival at the venue will be accompanied by traditional band and the beating of ‘Nagadas’. You may choose to watch or participate in the exhibition game. After the match, enjoy a Cocktail lunch at City Palace over sparkling wine. Return back to the Maharajas’ Express.

Optional: You may choose to participate in the optional activities such as Spa facilities at a five star Hotel OR private shopping tour for jewellery, textiles & carpets OR golfing at Rambagh

Golf club OR visit the City Palace and The Observatory (Jantar Mantar).

Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the optional activities.

Breakfast on board; Elephant Polo Lunch at City Palace; Dinner on board.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 07 FRIDAY: RANTHAMBORE - FATEHPUR SIKRI

On arrival into Sawai Madhopur, early in the morning, get ready for a safari to the Ranthambore National Park. Originally the private hunting ground of the Maharajas, Ranthambore was declared a National Park in 1973. It is famous for its open sightings of tigers, sambar, chital, Nilgai, Chinkara, wild boar, Sloth Bear, Hyena, Jackal and Leopard. Wildlife cannot be compared to that of Africa and you are indeed fortunate if you spot the elusive tiger or the shy leopard.

Proceed for an early morning exciting game drive at 0630 hours where the safari is carried out in open vehicles and one must carry adequate warm clothes for winter months.

Return to the train and continue your journey to the fabled deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. Admire the changing landscape as you savour a hearty brunch.

On arrival at the quaint station of Fatehpur Sikri, disembark at 1500 hours and proceed on a tour of the fascinating sights comprising of imposing gateways, Halls of Private and Public audience, beautifully sculptured palaces with unique water bodies, reflecting a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. This deserted red sandstone city was built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital in the late 16th century. It is now a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then return to the train to enjoy an ‘Indian Evening’! Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on board.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 08 SATURDAY: AGRA - DELHI

Today, the train continues on her last leg of the journey towards the magical city of Agra. The jewel of India, home to one of the world’s great architectural wonders - the Taj Mahal. With its spectacular monumental masterpieces and picturesque natural setting, Agra is a legendary city glorified by time. Early morning, disembark and proceed to the world famous Taj Mahal (one of the Seven Wonders of the World). Also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was built by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite queen Mumtaz. This incomparable marvel is constructed entirely out of white marble and is an architectural masterpiece with beautiful inlay work and marble screens. Approximately 20,000 of India’s most revered craftsmen were recruited to give shape to this poetry in marble.

Later enjoy a Champagne breakfast gazing at the Taj Mahal, from atop the Taj Khema a table and over looking Taj. Following breakfast, return to the train.

Enjoy a hearty lunch on board as you continue your journey to Delhi.

Bid farewell to the Maharajas’ Express as your ‘The Heritage of India’ journey comes to an end at approximately 1530 hours on arrival into Safdarjung Station.

The royal journey is over, but the memory of which will live on forever!

Champagne Breakfast at Taj Khema; Lunch on board.

AJANTA: World Heritage site of Ajanta

UDAIPUR: Boat ride on Lake Pichola, Visit the City Palace and Satkar Hall of Fateh Prakash Palace

JODHPUR: Meherangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace and Cocktail dinner at Hanwant Mahal

BIKANER: visit to the Junagarh Fort and Barbecue on dunes

JAIPUR: visit to the Amber Fort, An Exhibition Elephant Polo Match and City Palace

SAWAI MADHOPUR: Ranthambore National Park

AGRA: Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Breakfast in Taj Khema

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