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The Indian Panorama - Maharajas Express

Duration: 8 Days 7 Nights
Activities: Train Journey & Sightseeing
Regions: North India,Central india
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Lucknow - Delhi
Best Time: January, February, March, October, November, December

Validity date 2017 :

2017: 21 Oct, 18 Nov, 16 Dec
2018: 13 Jan, 10 Feb, 10 Mar, 07 Apr

Overview

The train will run through the heart of the country to give you a glimpse into the bygone era of classical Indian architecture, Culture, Spirituality and Royalty. The Golden Triangle of Agra, Jaipur and Delhi is the heart of any journey beginning from Delhi. Orchha and Gwalior will give you a glimpse of the grandeur of classic Indian architecture, but the journey transform into a spiritual on as you enter the exotic temples of Khajuraho. Experience a blissful sunset and sunrise on the vivacious Ghats of Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world. The journey transports you in a glorious era of the Nawabs of Awadh, as you experience traditional hospitality at an exclusive venue with mesmerizing music, exquisite royal cuisines and courtesan dance.

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DAY 01 SATURDAY: BOARD THE MAHARAJAS’ EXPRESS IN DELHI

Welcome aboard the Maharajas’ Express.

The epic journey begins at the Delhi Safdarjung Railway station, where on arrival at 2045 hours approximately, complete your registration and check in formalities as you enjoy a welcome drink, with Live Instrumental Music.

Dinner will be served 2130 hours onwards. The Maharajas’ Express departs Delhi at 2200 hours for Jaipur.

DAY 02 SUNDAY: JAIPUR

This morning arrive into 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.

After on board breakfast proceed for 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.

Proceed for a unique and enthralling experience – at city palace Jaipur. Your arrival at the venue will be accompanied by the royal military band and the beating of ‘Nagadas’ (huge Indian drums), Enjoy feeding the elephants, painting them followed by a joyride. Witness native folk dances of Rajasthan over cocktail lunch.

Optional: In the afternoon you may choose from a range of optional activities like Spa facilities at a Palace hotel or Private Shopping Tour or Golfing at Rambagh Golf Club or Visiting the Hawa Mahal, Birla Temple & Jantar Mantar. Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the optional activities.

Return to the comfort of Maharajas’ Express. Dinner will be served on board. Maharajas’ Express leaves for Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore).

Breakfast on Board, Lunch at City Palace / Jai Mahal Palce, Dinner on Board.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 03 MONDAY: RANTHAMBORE – FATEHPUR SIKRI

This morning arrive Sawai Madhopur.

On arrival in 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. Enjoy a relaxed brunch as you continue your journey to the fabled deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri.

On arrival at the quaint station of Fatehpur Sikri, disembark 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.

Return to the comfort of the Maharajas’ Express. Dinner will be served onboard 2000 hours onwards.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Board.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 04 TUESDAY: AGRA - GWALIOR

This morning arrive 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. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favorite 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.

Following breakfast, return to the train. Proceed on a journey to Gwalior through the fascinating Chambal ravines which served as the home to some of India’s most notorious dacoits. Admire the dramatic landscape of deep and narrow gorges, undulating sandy hills interspersed with rich fields.

Arrive into the royal city of Gwalior – a city where many reigning dynasties have left indelible etchings of their rule on all its palaces, temples and monuments. These mementos of a glorious past have been preserved, giving Gwalior a timeless appeal.

After Lunch on Board disembark to experience a traditional welcome and proceed on a tour of the magnificent Gwalior Fort, admiring its enclosed exquisite temples and palaces, the most spectacular being the man Mandir Palace. This palace is a masterpiece of Rajput architecture, embellished with exquisite stone carving and latticework. Some of the other fascinating sights within the 3 km fort enclosure are the 21 colossal Jain sculptures depicting the ‘Tirthankaras’ (one who has achieved freedom from the cycle of rebirth) carved into the rock face and the famous Saas-Bahu (Mother and Daughter-in-law) temples covered with beautiful sculptures of dancing girls and deities.

Optional: You have the option to enjoy spa facilities at the Usha Kiran Palace. Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the Optional activities.

Your visit continues to the opulent Jai Vilas Palace Museum, a section of which still remains the residence of the royal family of Gwalior. Enjoy exploring the unique exhibits in the museum, the most exquisite being the unique model train made of silver to serve drinks and aperitifs during the Royal banquets in the Durbar Hall. Admire the stupendous Durbar Hall with its crystal staircase, arched ceiling with stunning gold leaf work supporting two of the world’s largest chandeliers. The legend goes that in order to test the strength of the ceiling to support the chandeliers, several elephants were made to stand on the ceiling.

Hi tea will follow the tour within the palace premises. Late evening return to the comfort of the train.

Champagne Breakfast at Taj Khema; Lunch on board; Hi Tea at Jai Vilas Palace Museum.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 05 WEDNESDAY: ORCHHA - KHAJURAHO

Enjoy an early breakfast on board as the train continues its journey through some of the most dramatic and picturesque environs towards Khajuraho. En-route you will enjoy a stop at the bejeweled town of Orchha.

On arrival in Jhansi, disembark and venture on the tour of the quaint domain of the Bundela Kings. Visit the Jahangiri Mahal which is an excellent example of the Rajput Bundela architecture. Marvel the multi layered palace with its 132 chambers. A striking feature of the palace is the sandstone walls embellished with lapis lazuli tiles and ornate jali screens. Catch a glimpse of some rituals being performed as you pass the beautiful temple of Chaturbhuj which is a unique blend of fort and temple architecture. Not to be missed are the beautiful chhatris better known as cenotaphs of the Orchha rulers lying along the Betwa River.

Return to the train and continue onwards to the temple city of Khajuraho. Admire the rich landscape as you have lunch on board.

Khajuraho is renowned for its architecture and exquisite sculptures. Built between 950 and 1050 AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity, the temples are superb examples of Indo-Aryan architecture. The highly sensual engravings depict the whole range of human emotions and relationships.

On arrival proceed on a tour of the magnificent temples of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the Western group of temples which constitutes some of the finest examples of Chandela art at its peak including the Kandariya Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Optional: In the evening enjoy Dances of India Show at Kandariya Shilpgram or you may enjoy Spa facilities at Hotel as an Optional Activity. Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the Optional Activities.

Return to the comfort of the train and continue your journey for Varanasi. Dinner will be served onboard 2000 hours onwards.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Board.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 06 THURSDAY: VARANASI

Today as you enjoy breakfast, your journey continues through rich agricultural fields, arriving into the holy city of Varanasi.

One of the oldest living cities in the world, Varanasi (also known as Kashi or Benaras) has a spiritual legacy of over 3000 years. A place of pilgrimage, this holy city is set on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Varanasi epitomizes the chaos and colour of India. Lively bazaars, exquisite and bright silks, festivals, temples, mosques and palaces – all can be found here.

Following disembarkation, proceed for lunch at Hotel Taj Gateway, en-route visit a Silk Weaving Centre, where you may even shop for some world famous Banarasi silk saris and brocades. After lunch, visit the ancient ruins of Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon expounding the principles of Buddhism. Visit the ruins, stupa and the Ashoka Pillar, whose four back-to-back lions have been adopted as India’s national emblem.

Enjoy a scenic cruise on the river Ganges and witness a magical evening aarti at the Ghats (River Bank) of the holy Ganges. The chants of Sanskrit mantras, the clash of cymbals and drums, the scent of flowers, incense and sandalwood and the blazing camphor lamp and many a flamed aartis raised high in the air, makes for an absolute magical evening to remember!!

Rejoin the train and head to your next destination, Lucknow. Dinner shall be served onboard.

Breakfast onboard, Lunch at Taj Gateway Hotel and Dinner on board

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 07 FRIDAY: LUCKNOW

Enjoy traversing through the lush green agricultural belt of Uttar Pradesh as the Maharajas’ Express slowly pulls into the fabled ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow. Relish your breakfast on board. This morning you will explore the dramatic ruins of Imperialistic Lucknow as you visit Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara, Rumi Darwaza and The Residency.

The spectacular Bada Imambara is considered being the largest vaulted apartment in the world comprising of ornamental gateways, corridors and galleries. Experience the imperialistic splendour and mystical elegance of the Nawabs of Awadh as you visit o n e of their architectural wonders the famous ‘Rumi Darwaza’, a beautifully ornamented gateway and The Residency, started by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulla and completed by Nawab Sadat Ali for the British resident in 1800. Unravel the history of the Mutiny of 1857 at the Residency as you explore her ruins and visit the main Residency building which houses an interesting Museum displaying the original model of the Residency, old lithographs, photographs, paintings, documents and period-objects.

After the tour you will be transported into the glorious era of the Nawabs of Awadh as you experience traditional hospitality at an exclusive venue. The mesmerizing music, exquisite courtesan dance and the Culinary Delights – all combine to bring alive the elegance and charm of the Nawabi era.

Following lunch return to the train, the afternoon will be at leisure for you to relax. This evening you will celebrate an ‘Indian Evening’ onboard.

Breakfast on board; Nawabi Lunch at an exclusive venue Dinner with India Evening onboard.

Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.

DAY 08 SATURDAY: DISEMBARK IN DELHI

Early this morning the train pulls into New Delhi. Following breakfast on board you will disembark at Safdarjung Station at around 0830 hours. Bid farewell to the Maharajas’ Express as your ‘The Indian Panorama’ journey comes to an end. The royal journey is over, but the memories of which, will live on forever.

Breakfast on the Maharajas’ Express.

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

GWALIOR: Gwalior Fort, Saas-Bahu Mandir (Temple)

ORCHHA: Jahangiri Mahal and temple of Chaturbhuj

KHAJURAHO: Magnificent Temples of Khajuraho and Kandariya Mahadev Temple

VARANASI: River Ganges, Evening Aarti at the Ghats and Sarnath

LUCKNOW: visit Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara and Rumi Darwaza

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