As it rolled in at the Delhi Safdarjang Railway station on a foggy winter evening, the Maharaja Express completely changed the ambience of the platform by its majestic presence. With a neat red carpet laid down and wonderfully draped staff to greet the visitors, all of a sudden the train brought transcendence from modern times to the imperial regalia that once India was famous.
Entering the Maharaja express with its wonderful interior relived the golden past as every inch of space in the train recounts the aura and splendour that was once associated with the Maharajas or the great kings. A fragrance lit rose on arrival, varieties of drink served by staff in the tradition imperial style and senior staff with colourful headgears taking you round the Express train was sufficient to get a feel what elegance meant during the days of Maharajas.
It is not that the Mahraja express has earned the credit of being the most expensive luxury train in India but the effort that has gone to make it resonate with the golden era of the past when perfection was the last word and every item reflected the elegance of its time. Maharaja express recreates exactly the bygone golden period and the entire journey only reinforces the grandeurs of the once famous Imperial India.
“ Lot of planning and designing has gone in conceptualizing the train, its interior, its travel itinerary, cuisine, ambience to relive the marvel of Maharajas and making our customer feel throughout the journey. Not even for a second, a passenger on board throughout the journey can feel he lives in the modern era” said Vineet Singh, one of the senior officials of IRCTC.
“ The crockery we use in the dining cabins is plated with pure gold, the cutleries are ornamental and the cuisine is drawn from the recipe of the Maharaja kitchens” he said. “We have planned the itinerary in a way that every morning you wake to a new destination with a glorious past”.
Maharajas’ Express is owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation and runs on 5 circuits covering more than 12 destinations across North-West and Central India, mainly centred around Rajasthan between the months of October to April Voted as the “The World’s Leading Luxury Train” twice, in a row at The World Travel Awards, 2012 & 2013. It is the most expensive luxury train in Asia. It also named in the 2011 list of World’s Top 25 Trains by The Society of International Railway Travelers and was praised for its onboard accommodation and dining facilities, service, and off-train excursion program after its review in the Autumn of 2010.
The luxury train service was started in March 2010 and is run by The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) and is India’s only train featuring a Presidential Suite spread over an entire carriage.
Equipped with modern amenities, the Maharajas’ Express train offer once in a life time comfort on board experience to the guest, such as pneumatic suspension, live television, wifi, attached bathroom, dining cars, bar, lounge and souvenir shop. Larger cabins have roll-top baths and spacious sitting rooms.
The train comprises 23 carriages which include accommodation, dining, bar, lounge, generator and store cars. Accommodation is available in 14 guest carriages with total passenger capacity of 88. The train also has a lounge called the Rajah Club with a private bar, two dining cars and a dedicated bar car.
An onboard souvenir boutique offers memorabilia for passengers. The train is also equipped with a water filtration plant 14 carriages with 43 individual cabins provide seating and sleeping capacity for 88 guests. There are 20 Deluxe Cabins, 18 Junior Suites, 4 Suites and a Presidential Suite offering 7-star equivalent accommodation and the only cabin type with a bathtub in the toilet. LCD televisions, eco-friendly toilets, direct dial phones, DVD player, internet, individual climate control and electronic safes are available in each guest cabin.
The Maharajas’ Express Presidential Suite is the first such a rail carriage of its kind in the world for commercial use called as Navratna , the Presidential suite measures up to an area of 448 square feet and occupies the entire guest carriage. One of its kind in the world, it consists of two bedrooms (one with twin-beds and one with a double bed), two attached bathrooms and a living cum dining room with a dedicated butler.
The train has two dining cars designed for full five dining service, each with a seating capacity of 42 guests at a time so that all the guests dine together.
The train has a state of the art kitchen car designed to provide a range of cuisines. The restaurants are named Rang Mahal and Mayur Mahal. Mayur Mahal (the Peacock restaurant) has peacock
feather theme in its décor. Restaurant menus include traditional Indian cuisines along with Continental, Chinese and International cuisines..
A dedicated bar carriage and a lounge cum bar called the Rajah club equipped with a multilingual library and board games offers a casual lounge experience.
In the year 2012, IRCTC introduced five new journeys of the Maharajas’ Express; of which two are short-term Golden Triangle (Delhi, Jaipur and Agra) tours and rest three are weeklong pan-Indian voyages.