Operating since January 2010, Maharajas’ Express is the newest luxury train of Indian Railways and easily one of the most expensive in Asia. For eight days, this pan India train takes guests on a ride across the best and the most prominent destinations of the country—the Taj Mahal, the Khajuraho temples, wildlife environs of Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri and the holy bathing ghats of Varanasi. The cheapest rate per person per day is a whopping US$ 800 for a deluxe cabin. The next two slabs are US$ 900 and US$ 1,400, and the presidential suite comes for US$ 2,500.
This train is solely owned by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The tour is being promoted as ‘luxury travel like no other’ and not without reason. Maharajas’ Express will have 88 passengers (a normal III AC coach packs in 72) living in suites fit for a prince. All food and drinks are complimentary.
The train comprises 24 carriages, which include accommodation, dining, bar, lounge, generator and store cars. Each guest carriage has been designed to recreate the opulence of maharaja-style living. Elegantly decorated, the interiors of the cabin exude the finesse of exquisite workmanship. Sylvan parquets, intricate carvings and palette of soft hues characterise the interiors of the train. All cabins have individual temperature control, LCD television sets, DVD players, direct dial telephones, internet, even live television and electronic safe-deposit box.
Carriages are fitted with panoramic windows to offer the vista of rolling landscape as train travels through some of the most fascinating landscapes and countryside of India. The train also has an observation lounge called the ‘Rajah Club’ with a private bar. Besides these cars, the train also has two elegantly appointed dining cars that offer an array of sumptuous cuisines to guests. The bar of the train serves an eclectic mix of wines from across the world in a serene and relaxing ambience. A high-end boutique in the train houses some perfect memorabilia to cherish this royal sojourn for a lifetime.