An introduction to India, this short 7-day journey takes us to the Capital, Delhi, staying in the city's premier 5* Heritage Hotels and goes on…
Our price includes International flights, accommodation pre/post the rail journey and arrival/departure transfers.
The crème de la crème of Maharajas' Express train journeys is our personal favourite as it touches all the culturally and historically significant places of north India.
Designed to recreate the elegance and opulence style of the Indian Maharajas, The Maharajas Express Luxury Trains are suffused with nostalgia, be it in its décor, white-glove service, gourmet food or the lavish amenities that blend discreetly with modern comforts sought by discerning travellers. So, if you are ready to explore India t its best, join us on board these luxurious trains, winner of the 'World's Leading Luxury Train Award’ for seven consecutive years running and 'Asia’s Leading Luxury Train Award' from 2020 to 2022
Facilities include spacious guest cabins, which are appointed with private en-suite shower rooms, independently controlled air-conditioning, WiFi, direct dial telephone, writing desk, live television, electronic safe and ample storage space to accommodate your wardrobe for the entire journey. Services go on to include a Spa carriage with personalised treatments, and there's even laundry service. The larger suites additionally offer a bathtub, while the Presidential Suite, which occupies an entire carriage, has two double bedrooms, two bathrooms and an independent living area with a complimentary bar.
The real luxury, of course, is the 24-hour private butler service that comes with every cabin to ensure your every comfort. Gourmet meals are freshly prepared on board by celebrated chefs using the impressive onboard larders and fresh ingredients sourced en route and served in its two restaurants with complimentary house wines and beers. The paid wine cellar and bar also deserve close scrutiny! You’re not short of entertainment either, with a cocktail hour each evening and a club lounge equipped with a library, electronic games, DVDs, etc.
Local specialist guides conduct sightseeing excursions in the places visited, but if you want to relax at a spa or do a spot of shopping, that too can be arranged.
Cultural Holidays Wildlife Holidays River Cruising Holidays Luxury Train Holidays Family Holidays Honeymoons Beach Holidays Adventure Holidays
Fly from the UK to Delhi. We recommend starting your journey right by taking an upgrade to premier Economy or Business Class.
On arrival at New Delhi Airport, you will be met and escorted to your luxurious hotel in the heart of New Delhi. Depending on the international flight chosen, you may have the remainder of the day or night at leisure time to relax and adjust to your new time zone.
Delhi, India’s capital, is a compelling mix of the ancient and modern. It holds the vestiges of at least seven great centres, with crumbling Afghan mausolea adorning traffic roundabouts; millennia-old fort walls stand next to eight-lane expressways; and Sufi shrines the huddle beside concrete flyovers.
More amazing still is the fact that so many cultural transmissions from Delhi’s past eras endure. Five-star hotels host recitals by ghazal singers, sarod players and kathak dancers whose arts have been painstakingly preserved since the days of the Mughals. Echoes of the British Raj abound, too, from the 1930s elegance of the Imperial Hotel to the uniforms of the sentries strutting down Raj Path.
The most evocative place to get one’s bearings has to be the Jama Masjid, the magnificent sandstone and white-marble ‘Friday Mosque’ constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in Old Delhi. Climb one of its minarets for a matchless view over the surrounding roofscape to the ramparts of the Red Fort, where the Mughals held court in a hidden world of cusp-arched pavilions and pillared audience halls. You may want to make the most of the city’s clean, efficient metro to travel across town to the National Museum, with its priceless collection of antiquities, or go onto Delhi’s southern fringes, where the exquisitely carved Qutub Minar has dominated the skyline since 1202 AD.
This morning you will be escorted from your Delhi hotel to the Railway Station, where you will be welcomed onboard the Maharajas Express to a music, song and dance fanfare. After settling in, the train departs for the Pink City of Jaipur, where you spend an afternoon sightseeing, ending with dinner at one of its most iconic landmark hotel restaurants. Overnight on board the train for your first night in your beautiful cabin.
Following an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be collected from your hotel at 7 am and escorted to Safdarung Railways station, where you will be welcomed onboard the Maharajas Express to a fanfare of music, song and dance. After settling in, the train departs at 8:30 for the Pink City of Jaipur.
Lunch will be served on board in the elegant restaurants before arrival in The Pink City of Jaipur shortly after 3 pm., where you proceed for an escorted tour of the walled city of Jaipur, founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II.
One of India's earliest examples of planned cities in India, Jaipur's wide Avenues and sheltered walkways were designed to facilitate ease of living, movement and commerce. Your visit will include The City Palace with its beautiful halls and galleries, including the iconic Palace of Winds, and admire some of its most precious collections of historical arms, silver coins, elegant textiles, and other glorious antiquities.
The day ends with a sumptuous dinner at the world-famous Rambagh Palace Hotel. Built in 1835, the place remained the official residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur until 1957, when it was converted into a luxury hotel. Even today, it retains much of its original royal splendour and showcases the living style of the Maharaja at its most elegant.
After a sumptuous breakfast on board, you will be driven to the outskirts of Jaipur to the ancient capital of Amber to explore the fabulous Amber Fort, a sprawling complex of courtyards and halls perched high up at a vantage point on a hillock. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. After lunch, on board the train, your afternoon is free either to hunt for a bargain in Jaipur's famous gemstone bazaars or for further sightseeing. You dine on board this evening with a chance to enjoy the bar and wonderful restaurants on the train. Overnight on board the train.
After on-board breakfast, deboard at around 0830 hrs to visit the Amber Fort.
Rising from a craggy escarpment to the north of the city, Amber is the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Rajput fortress palaces, enclosing a wonderland of sumptuously decorated halls, pavilions, ornamental entranceways and gardens, all enlivened by intricate mirrorwork and mosaic. Built in red sandstone and white marble by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh, the rugged, forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful fusion of art and architecture.
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. Before leaving the Fort, our guide will help you explore the village below the fort, where an ancient, beautiful old stepwell offers a worthwhile detour or the nearby stands Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, where you can admire fine antique fabrics and watch block printers in action.
After lunch, on board the train, your afternoon is free either to hunt for a bargain in Jaipur's famous gemstone bazaars or for further sightseeing with a private guide, car and driver. Please contact the Guest Relations Executive for the optional activities.
Dinner will be served on board as the train rolls towards Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore).
Overnight on the Maharajas’ Express.
This morning your butler will awaken you with tea and toast before you head out for an early morning game drive into the Ranthambore National Park. The first of India's many National Parks and an outstanding example of conservation aiming to protect the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. You return to the train for a much-needed brunch on board as the train hurtles toward your next excursion, the remarkable abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri. Your dinner will be on board the train.
Ranthambore National Park was created in the 1970s to spearhead 'The Save the Tiger Project' and remains a shining example of conservation. As a result of this and several subsequent National Parks, India's Tiger population in the wild has grown from under 1,000 in 1970 to over 4,500 today.
The park lies on the margins of the Aravalli range of hills amid a tract of dry deciduous forests and grassland and offers the perfect terrain for these magnificent animals. Close to the park entrance sits a long flight of stone steps that winds up to the ramparts of a medieval fort, affording fine views over the reserve and its much-photographed lake. On your search for the Tiger, you will also get to see several other animals, including Sambar deer, Chital, Hyena and wild Boar and the elusive Nilgai, a blue-hued cow. Around eighty Tigers currently survive in reserve, and your chances of spotting one here are better than average.
On return to the train, you enjoy a sumptuous brunch as the train travels towards Emperor Akbar's spectacular former capital, which he abandoned shortly after, as local wells ran dry. It remains beautifully preserved, in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago.
Arriving early morning at Agra Station, you disembark for a lingering visit to The Taj Mahal at sunrise. One of the world's great architectural wonders and the Jewel of India, and among the first to be awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status. You will have breakfast locally at a rooftop restaurant overlooking The Taj Mahal before returning to the train for an afternoon at leisure. You may wish to consider a Spa or beauty treatment on board before dinner or spend time socialising in the bar.
Today's early morning visit focuses on the Taj Mahal, the Jewel of India and one of the world's great architectural wonders. Among the first to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, the mausoleum was built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632. Crafted entirely of white marble and decorated in elaborate geometric forms, screens cut out of solid marble and delicate pietre dure inlay work showcasing elaborate plants, flowers and fruit, so admired by the Empress, the Taj Mahal is so perfect in its geometry and artistically accomplished that it took 22 years and over 20,000 craftsmen to complete.
You will have plenty of time at the Taj Mahal before heading for breakfast at a nearby rooftop restaurant from where you can continue gazing at its magnificence.
Later, you return to the train for lunch and an afternoon at leisure to gaze at the countryside, read or choose from an array of optional onboard activities as the train heads for Central India.
You may wish to consider a Spa or beauty treatment on board before dinner or spend time socialising in the bar. Overnight, I will be on board the train.
The train arrives in Orchha, a small and sleepy little town on the banks of the Betwa River with a collection of UNESCO-listed palaces, a fort and fascinating temples. You re-board the train and enjoy a relaxed breakfast as the train continues to Khajuraho to visit the famous 950 AD magnificent temples of exceptional stone construction and sensuous erotic carvings that adorn the exterior walls. You later have a choice of activities before returning to the train for dinner.
Often considered the unexpected highlight of the tour, Orchha is little more than a sleepy town on the banks of the Betwa River, but it once served as the capital of the Bundela Dynasty, which has left a superb collection of architectural delights in the form of deserted palaces, temples, havelis and cenotaphs. The defining landmark, however, is a line of huge chhatris, or memorial shrines, whose great towers soar in a line along the riverbank, and a wander around Orchha can feel like a genuine walk into the past.
You disembark at Orchha at 7 am and take a short Tuk Tuk ride into the hinterland to experience village life before proceeding to the 16th-century Orchha Fort. You return to the train for a relaxed breakfast as it continues its journey to Khajuraho.
On arrival, you tour the magnificent temples of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its architecture, exquisite sensual carvings and engravings depicting the Kamasutra and the full range of human emotions and relationships. The temples were built between 950 and 1050 AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity.
You can choose optional activities in the evening, from a dance performance at the nearby Kandariya Shilpgram Academy to enjoy the Spa and pool facilities at a Hotel or the Sound and Light Show at the temple complex. These can be pre-booked on board the train. You dine and overnight onboard the train.
You enjoy a more leisurely breakfast on board the train before visiting Sarnath where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to preach his message on the path to nirvana following his enlightenment. You return to Varanasi for lunch in the city before enjoying a walking tour of the city and visiting an artisanal Silk Weaving Centre. Later in the evening, there will be an opportunity to cruise the holy water of the Ganges to watch the evening arti on the Ghats leading down to the water. You return to the train for dinner.
You enjoy a more leisurely breakfast on board the train before visiting Sarnath, where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to preach his message on the path to nirvana following his enlightenment. Modern-day Sarnath is a green and peaceful place where you will find ancient Buddhist ruins, monasteries, and an excellent museum with some of the most haunting carvings of the Buddha.
Later, you return to Varanasi, the holiest of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities. Standing on the banks of the Ganges, this is one the oldest cities in the world, with traces of habitation, have been unearthed dating back to around 1,200 BC. Countless pilgrims travel to Varanasi for a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges and pray in the numerous shrines that line the waterfront for redemption and liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
Rituals begin before dawn and continue through the day to a crescendo in the evening with a spectacular prayer with Chanting, drumming and the ringing of temple bells.
You return to the train for your last dinner and night on board.
Following breakfast on board, it will be time to pack in readiness for your arrival at Delhi's Safdarjung Railways Station around midday. You will be collected from the station and taken to your hotel for the night. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. Overnight in Delhi
Back in pre-colonial times it was common for Delhi’s Mughal aristocrats and wealthy merchants to host recitals of Urdu poetry, music and dance in the courtyards of their mansions, or ‘havelis’. You can sample the magic of these bygone ‘mehfils’ at a beautifully restored heritage hotel called Dharampura Haveli in the lanes of Old Delhi, where performances of traditional Kathak are staged three nights each week by dancers in swirling pleated skirts and glittering jewellery. Watch the show over a candle-lit meal in the groundfloor restaurant, or from one of the balconies above – a magical experience.
Today you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the international airport for your return flight to the UK
✓ International flights from London
✓ 6 nights’ luxury accommodation aboard the Maharaja's Express and two nights at a five-star hotel in Delhi
✓ All internal transportation and transfers in private chauffeur driven vehicles
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Full board a'le carte service on the train, breakfast in Delhi
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
25% Discount on Luxury Train journeys on selected routes The luxury train travel concept originated in the British Raj when India’s status-obsessed Maharajas commissioned specia…
Delhi, India’s capital, is home to an estimated 20 million people. A compelling hotch-potch of ancient and modern, it holds the vestiges of at least seven great urban centres: Afgh…
The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, has a markedly different feel from the other two corners of the ‘Golden Triangle’. The traffic is no less intense, but the architecture of its wal…
Everyone wants to see a tiger when they visit India, but for a chance to sight one sprawled on a lakeside domed pavilion or against the backdrop of a Rajput castle, there’s only on…
The forts of Delhi and Agra may have lost much of their former lustre, but it’s not hard to envisage the lavish lifestyle led by the royal inhabitants of Akbar’s court, thanks to t…
Erotic sculpture adorns many temples in the subcontinent. None, however, depict sexual ecstasy in so many forms and with such consummate skill as the sandstone shrines of Khajuraho…
Tailor-made tour 7 days from £5995 per person
An introduction to India, this short 7-day journey takes us to the Capital, Delhi, staying in the city's premier 5* Heritage Hotels and goes on…
Tailor-made tour 10 days from £8795 per person
Designed to recreate the elegance, exuberance and opulent style of India's Maharajas, The Indian Splendour showcases the highlights of Rajasthan at its best without the…
Tailor-made tour 10 days from £8245 per person
Starting your journey in the bustling commercial capital of India, Mumbai and ending in the cultural and National Capital, Delhi, this journey passes through the…
Tailor-made tour 11 days from £6195 per person
A luxury rail journey of Maharashtra, India's magnificent west coast Experience the unique landscapes, wildlife and wondrous historic sites of northern Maharashtra in regal style,…