Explore India's rich history on this exciting 11-day luxury rail journey aboard the opulent Maharajas' Express. Highlights of this unforgettable sojourn include the sacred city of Varanasi, a scenic cruise on the River Ganges, the immortal beauty of the Taj Mahal, the temples in Khajuraho, the elegance and imperial splendor of the Nawabs in Lucknow and the wilderness of Bandhavgarh National Park.
Call 877-929-7245 to book your Classical India rail tour.
- Train accommodations aboard the Maharajas' Express in well-appointed cabins with en suite bathrooms
- Meals as indicated
- Complimentary domestic beers and wines, as well as soft beverages and bottled water
- Guided off-train excursions inclusive of entrance fees
- Services of a professional tour director throughout
- Hotel accommodations in Delhi including breakfast daily
- International arrival and departure transfers by private car and driver
- Porterage at stations
Exclusions: International airfare, visa fees, any optional tours as mentioned in the itinerary, taxes, travel insurance, gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, alcoholic beverages (apart from house brands of wine, spirits and beer served in the restaurants and bar), video, and film and professional still camera fees.
- Enjoy high tea atop Taj Khema overlooking the legendary Taj Mahal
- Feast over a lavish spread of delicacies from the Royal kitchens of Gwalior
- Explore the quaint environs of Orccha and its marvelous palaces and temples
- Witness the splendid Son-et-Lumiere show in Khajuraho
- Participate in the "Forest for Tigers" program in Bandhavgarh
- Discover ancient Indian rituals in Varanasi
- Experience Nawabi splendor during an enchanting evening in Lucknow at the royal haveli of Muzaffar Ali, Maharaja of Kotwara
Day 1 - Depart USA for Delhi, India
Fly from your U.S. gateway to Delhi, India's capital city. (International airfare not included)
Day 2 -
Arrival in Delhi
Your international flight arrives in Delhi this evening. Transfer by private car and driver to your hotel. Overnight The Imperial Hotel.
Day 3 - Delhi Sightseeing
This afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of India's capital city beginning at the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Continue to Raj Ghat, the sight where Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948. Overnight The Imperial Hotel. (B)
Day 4 - Maharajas' Express to Agra
This morning proceed to Delhi's Safdarjung Railway station, where you will be escorted aboard the Maharajas' Express for yor epic journey.
Enjoy a leisurely brunch aboard the palatial train as you journey through the picturesque countryside to Agra, home to one of the world's greatest architectural wonders, the Taj Mahal. With its spectacular monumental masterpieces and picturesque natural setting, Agra is a legendary city glorified by time. Visit the magnificent Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture and the seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Shah Jahan, the Taj's cretaor, spent the last years of his life imprisoned at the fort by his son Aurangzeb. The highlight of this afternoon is tea atop the Taj Khema at sunset. Re-board the train for dinner en route to Gwailor. Overnight train. (B, T, D)
Day 5 - Gwalior
The Maharajas' Express journeys through the dramatic Chambal Ravines this morning. Admire the stunning landscape of deep, narrow gorges and undulating sandy hills. Arrive in the royal city of Gwalior late this morning. The city has been home to many reigning dynasties, leaving indelible mementos of their history in well-preserved palaces, temples and monuments.
Today you will lunch at Usha Kiran Palace, a 120-year-old palace which has played host to the King of England. After lunch you will enjoy a tour of the magnificent Gwalior Fort, admiring its enclosed temples and palaces. Your visit continues to the opulent Jai Vilas Palace and its collection of memorabilia and Scindia family treasures. Dinner this evening is a grand affair served in the compound of the palace. Late this evening, return to the Maharajas' Express for the overnight journey to Orccha. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Orccha / Khajuraho
As you enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, the train continues its journey to the bejeweled town of Orccha. Upon arrival, embark on a tour of the quaint domain of the Bundela Kings. Visit the Jahangiri Mahal, an excellent example of Rajput Bundela architecture. The multi-layered palace has 132 chambers. A striking feature is the sandstone walls embellished with lapis lazuli tiles and ornate jali screens.
Return to the train and continue your journey to the temple city of Khajuraho, enjoying lunch and the rich landscapes along the way. On arrival, begin a tour of the incredible temples of Khajuraho, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the western group which constitutes some of the finest examples of Chandela art at its peak. Visit the Kandariya Mahadev Temple and the Chaunsath Yogini Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the 64 Yoginis respectively. Continue to the eastern group of temples to visit the exquisite Jain Temples and admire some of the finest sculptures and carvings. Later, experience the fascinating Son-et-Lumiere spectacle, which evokes the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and traces the story of the unique temples from the 10th century to the present day. Return to the comfort of the train and continue your journey to Bandhavgarh National Park. Overnight train tonight. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Umaria / Bandhavgarh National Park
Following tea onboard this morning, journey to nearby Bandhavgarh Game Reserve, renowned for the ebst sightings of the elusive tiger in its natural habitat. Lunch at one of Bandhavgarh's wildlife resorts before returning to Umaria where you will re-board the train for your overnight journey to Varanasi. Overnight train. (T, L, D)
Day 8 - Varanasi
Today visit Varanasi, set on the banks of the sacred River Ganges. Varanasi epitomizes the chaos and color of India. Lively bazaars, exquisite bright silks, festivals, temples, mosques and palaces can all be found here. Your city tour begins with a visit to the ancient ruins of Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon. Visit the ruins, stupa and the Ashoka Pillar, whose four back-to-back lions have been adopted as India's national emblem. After a sumptuous lunch, visit the world-famous Varanasi Silk Weaving Center where you can shop for Banarasi silk saris and brocades. Your touring continues with a scenic cruise on the River Ganges this evening. Later, there will be an opportunity to visit the Varanasi Silk Weaving center famous for its Banarsi sarees and brocades. Rejoin the train this evening as it heads to its next destination. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Lucknow
Late this morning the Maharajas' Express pulls into the fabled City of Nawabs, Lucknow. Explore the dramatic ruins of imperialistic Lucknow as you visit 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 the ruins and visit the main buildings which house a museum displaying the original model of the Residency, old lithographs, photographs, paintings, documents, and period objects. Continue with a tour of the famous Rumi Darwaza, a beautifully ornamented gateway, and the spectacular Bada Imambara considered to be the largest vaulted apartment in the world comprised of ornamental gateways, corridors and galleries. This evening you will be transported into the glorious era of the Nawabs of Awadh as you experience the traditional hospitality typical to the Royal Houses as you celebrate a special Indian evening. Return to the train tonight and settle in for the overnight return journey to Delhi. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 10 - Return to Delhi
The train pulls into New Delhi's Safdarjung Station this morning. Proceed on a sightseeing tour of Delhi's "Imperial City" including the granmd Viceroy Palace-now the home of the President of India-and the nearby Secretariat and Parliament buildings. No visit to Delhi is complete without a visit to the impressive Qutab Minar complex. Your sightseeing ends at the stunning Humayun's Tomb, an important landmark in the history of Mughal architecture, as it marks the advent of grand tombs set in gardens designed in the Persian manner. Overnight The Leela.
Day 11 - Tour Conclusion
Depart this morning for your flight home.
Please contact a Vacations By Rail travel specialist at 1-877-929-7245 for 2012 departure dates, prices and availability for this tour.
Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy and subject to change. Passport and visa required. Service tax as per the current rates will be additional. Suite Double and Presidential Suite also available. Call for details.