Day 01 / Board the Maharajas' Express in Delhi - Onto Jaipur
Welcome aboard the Maharajas' Express.
Evening, assemble at Safdarjung station at approximately 2030 hours and complete your registration and check in formalities for the Maharajas' Express, as you enjoy a welcome drink.
The Maharajas' Express departs Delhi at approximately 2200 hours to Jaipur.
Dinner on board.
Overnight on the Maharajas' Express.
Day 02 / Jaipur
Arrive into the 'Pink City' of Jaipur.
Jaipur was built by Raja Jai Singh in the 18th century, Jaipur is renowned for its magnificent palaces, forts and temples.
After breakfast disembark and start your exciting tour of the pink city with a unique and enthralling experience - an Exhibition Elephant Polo Match. Experience a Royal welcome at the A Jai Mahal Palace hotel. You may choose to watch or participate in the exhibition game.. Arrival at the venue to be accompanied by the royal military band and the beating of ‘Nagadas’. Guests may choose to watch elephant polo or participate in the exhibition game. The match is followed by Champagne lunch at A Jai Mahal Palace hotel.
Following lunch continue on a visit to the Amber Fort. The Amber Fort set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh the fort was made in red sand stone and white marble. The rugged forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful fusion of art and architecture. Amber is the classic and romantic fort-palace with a magnificent aura.
On completing the tour of Amber you will have the opportunity to shop for some of the finest jewellery, textiles and blue pottery for which the city is renowned.
Following lunch, you may choose to participate in one of the optional tours. Enjoy spa facilities at a palace hotel OR proceed on a private shopping tour OR enjoy Golfing at the Rambagh Golf Club OR visit to City Palace and Jantar Mantar (The Observatory).
Breakfast on board; Elephant Polo with champagne Lunch at A Jai Mahal Palace hotel, Dinner on board.
Overnight on the Maharajas' Express.
Day 03 / Ranthambore – Fatehpur Sikri
On arrival into Sawai Madhopur, early in the morning, get ready for a safari to the Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore – the private hunting ground of the Mahrajas, was declared a Nationals Park in 1973. You may have the chance to see the wildlife that includes tigers, sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, jackal and leopard. The safari cannot be compared to that of Africa and you are indeed fortunate if you spot the elusive tiger or the shy leopard.
After breakfast at a Vivanta By Taj, Sawai Madhopur, 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 lunch.
Arrive into Fatehpur Sikri, Sikri was the first planned city of the Mughals. The sloping levels of the city were connected into terraces which were utilised for various complexes such as Jami masjid, Buland-Darwazah and tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti; Khass Mahal, Shahi-Bazar, Mina-Bazar, the Panch-Mahal, Khwabgah, Diwan-i-Khass, Anup-Talao, Chaupar and Diwan-i-Am. The efficient system of drainage and water-supply adopted here suggest an extremely intelligent town-planning by the Mughal emperor.
All these palaces were built of red sandstone in the trabeate beam-and-post order, and composed of pillars, ornamental arches, brackets-and-chhajjas, jharokhas, chhatris, chhaparkhats, chaukhandis and so on. Domes have been used sparingly. Sometimes corbelled pendentives have been employed in the transition phase.
Return to the train and continue your journey to Agra.
Day 04 / Agra - Gwalior
Early morning, disembark and proceed to the world famous Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It took the efforts of approx 20,000 craftsmen for 22 years and the passion of Shah Jahan to create this white marble masterpiece. This marble poetry was created by Shah Jahan in fond memories of her beloved queen Mumtaj Mahal.
The visit is followed by Champagne breakfast atop Taj Khema gazing at the magnificent Taj Mahal.
Return to the comforts of the train and continue your journey towards Gwalior.
On arrival experience a Royal traditional welcome. Proceed for Lunch at the Usha Kiran Palace.
After lunch, proceed on a tour of the magnificent Gwalior Fort. Gwalior Fort in Gwalior, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, stands on an isolated rock, overlooking the Gwalior town, and contains a number of historic buildings. It is one of the biggest forts in India and a postage stamp has been issued by the Indian Postal Service to commemorate the importance of this fort. From historical records, it is established that it was built in the 8th century. The fortress and the city have been integral to the history of the kingdoms of North India. It is said that the MughalEmperor Babur (1483–1531) described it as, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind".
Also visit the Jain sculptures depicting the ‘tirthankaras’. Return to the main city to visit the Jai Vilas Palace Museum. The Museum exhibits a collection of antiques belong to the Scindia reign. Two Belgian chandeliers weighing several tons will definitely catch the sight of everyone. Each article put on display in the museum is worthy to be mentioned, but some rare collections like a glass cradle from Italy, silver train & dinner services and swords that were once worn by Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan are conspicuous.
Enjoy Hi Tea at the Jai Vilas Palace Compound
Optional: Following lunch, you have the option to enjoy spa facilities at hotel Usha Kiran Palace.
Late evening return to the comfort of the train.
Breakfast on board; Lunch at Usha Kiran Palace; Hi Tea at Jai Vilas Palace.
Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.
Day 05 / Orchha – Khajuraho
On arrival at Jhansi Railway station drive towards Orcha. Visit the Jahangiri Mahal, pass over Chaturbhuj temple & the Cenotophs of Orcha Rulers lying along the Betwa river.
Orcha’s grandeur has been captured in stone and frozen in time; a rich legacy to the ages. On this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain much of their pristine perfection. Orcha was founded in 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap who chose this stretch of land along Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned with graceful Chhatries. From here you can have the spectacular view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs. It was completed in the year 1598 by the victorious Mughal Prince Salem (later known as the Mughal Emperor Jahangir) after defeating Vir Singh Deo of Bundela a sworn enemy of the Mughals, the Jahangir Mahal was built to be a garrison and a citadel, that would allow the Mughals greater control over the rebellious Bandela. The domes of the Jahangir Mahal, were built according to Timurid customs and its grand Iwan's are large enough to accommodate the entry of War elephants and its high position over the landscape allowed Cannons to gain superior range.
Return to the train and continue onwards to the temple city of Khajuraho. Lunch on board.
Upon arrival in Khajuraho, proceed to visit the magnificent temples of Khajuraho.
In the temple architecture of India, the Khajuraho complex remains unique. One thousand years ago, under the generous and artistic patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly carved, came up on one site, near the village of Khajuraho. The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD - 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. Today, of the original 85, only 22 have survived the ravages of time; these remain as a collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity; to the ultimate fusion of man with his creator. The Khajuraho temples contain some sexual or erotic art outside the temple or near the deities. Also, some of the temples that have two layers of walls have small erotic carvings on the outside of the inner wall. Meanwhile, the external curvature and carvings of the temples depict humans, human bodies, and the changes that occur in bodies, as well as facts of life. Some 10% of the carvings contain sexual themes; those reportedly do not show deities: They show sexual activities between people. The rest depict the everyday life of the common Indian when the carvings were made and activities of other beings. For example, those depictions show women putting on makeup, musicians, potters, farmers, and other folk. The mundane scenes are all at some distance from the temple deities.
Following sightseeing of the temples you have the option of enjoying spa facilities at a 5 star hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Board.
Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.
Day 06 / Varanasi
Arrive into the holy city of Varanasi.
Varanasi, the holy city of India, is also known by the name of Kashi and Benaras. Kashi, the city of Moksha for Hindus since centuries, is known for its fine-quality silks, 'paan' and Benares Hindu University and Avimukta of the ancient days, Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage point for the Hindus. One of the seven holiest cities, Varanasi city is also one the Shakti Peethas and one of the twelve Jyotir Linga sites in India. In Hinduism it is believed that those who die and are cremated here get an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births. Besides being a centre for Hinduism, its also very popular among the Buddhists. Sarnath, where Lord Budha gave his first sermon is situated on the outskirt of Varanasi.
After breakfast proceed on a tour to Sarnath ruins followed by a visit to Sarnath Museum.
Return back to the Maharajas’ Express for Lunch.
After lunch visit The Silk Weaving Centre. Continue your journey towards the Ghats for a scenic boat cruise on The Ganges. Witness the magical evening Aarti on the ghats of the Ganges.
Return back to the Maharajas’ Express and continue towards Lucknow.
Breakfast, Lunch & dinner onboard.
Day 07 / Lucknow
Arrive into Lucknow, popularly known as “The City of Nawabs”.
Situated on the banks of the river Gomti, it dates back to the time of the Suryavanshi dynasty. Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, was founded by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. In the olden times, it served as the capital of the nawabs of Awadh and it is one of the reasons why it is also called as the city of the Nawabs. The era of the Nawabs bestowed Lucknow with the courteous culture as well as mouthwatering delicacies and Awadhi cuisines for which it is famous today.
Morning proceed on a sightseeing tour of Lucknow visiting Bara Imambara & The Residency.
The Bara or Great Imambara (an imambara is the tomb of a Shi'ite Muslim holy man) was built in 1784 by Asaf-ud-Daula. The central hall of the Imambara, at 50m long and 15m high, is one of the largest vaulted galleries in the world. An external stairway leads to an upper floor laid out as an amazing labyrinth known as the Bhulbhulaiya. Beside the Imambara, and built by Asaf-ud-Daula , is the imposing Rumi Darwaza. The British Residency of Lucknow is a famous historical landmark of this place. It is now in ruins and has been declared a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. The British Residency was the place that served as a refuge for approximately 3000 British inhabitants during the time of the uprising of 1857. Lucknow was center of all British activities during the siege and the Residency became the monopolistic center of the British for almost 90 days.
Return back to the train for Lunch.
After a relaxed afternoon, evening proceed to enjoy the fabled hospitality of Lucknow at an the Indian Night at the Residence of Local Nawab of Jehagirabad.
Day 08 / Disembark in Delhi
After breakfast, disembark at Delhi and bid farewell to the Train.
Elephant Polo match at Jaipur with champagne lunch at Jai Mahal Palace Hotel
Champagne breakfast, overlooking the legendary Taj Mahal
An exciting Game drive at Ranthambore
Feast over a lavish spread of delicacies from the Royal kitchens of Gwalior and Lucknow.
Explore the quaint environs of Orchha and Khajurahos’ marvelous temples
Drench yourself in the mystique of Varanasi – the oldest living city in the world.