Maharajas’ Express, considered India’s most luxurious tourist train might not continue its run in 2012. Maharajas Express was launched in 2010 amid much fanfare and was touted to be the India’s answer to the Orient Express of the West.  Equipped with amenities which technology can offer and money could buy, Maharajas Express is renowned in the international luxury travel fraternity for its opulence and impeccable hospitality. The train was a joint venture between the IRCTC and the Cox and Kings, one of the oldest tour operators in the world. Whereas the train was owned by the IRCTC, the journeys were promoted and managed by the Cox and Kings.
maharajas express
Maharajas Express Train

Maharajas Express offered 4 luxury rides spanning over 168 hours across various destinations in India, each promising an unparalleled manifestation of Indian kaleidoscope. The attractions included in itineraries included various World Heritage Sites, tiger reserve, forts and palaces and the spectacular Taj Mahal in Agra.

To offer a complete experience of luxury living the train was equipped with Wi-Fi internet, LCD television, direct dial phones, restaurants, bar, lounge with libraries and a souvenir shop. Accommodation on board was offered in various categories such as Deluxe Cabins, Junior Suites, Suites and an ultra lavish Presidential Suite spanning over whole train carriage.

The quality of the luxury experience on board was equally matched during the off train excursions at various destinations included in the itineraries of Maharajas Express. Whereas air conditioned buses and cars with English speaking guides were offered to the guests of Deluxe Cabins and Junior Suites, personal deluxe car were made available for the guests in Suites and Presidential Suite category.

To create far superior travel experience as compared to the other luxury tourist trains, Maharajas Express itineraries also offered unique offerings such as guest speakers of international fame on board, sun downer campaign and cultural show in desert sand dunes, son et lumiere at various attractions and high teas and lunch with actual maharajas in the original royal diners of palaces.

Just imagine that your cuisine on board one of the restaurants of Maharajas Express is prepared by the like of guest chef Vivek Singh who regularly appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and UKTV Food’s Market Kitchen. Not to mention a tête-à-tête with the Maharajas over lunch in one of the palaces of India. The journeys on board the Maharajas’ Express were meticulously crafted to offer an unparalleled experience in sheer opulence.

The announcement by IRCTC to formally end the agreement with Cox and Kings comes as a royal shock. It is as sad for the travelers intending to experience this journey drenched in grandeur as it is for the connoisseurs of luxury living and luxury travel fraternity at large. IRCTC have formally announced their stand that the Maharajas Express should not offer booking beyond 31st of December 2011.

A few journeys available till 31st of December may well be the last which tourists looking for ultimate luxurious train travel experience should expect. Although, it is hard to predict the future course of the Maharajas’ Express but the announcement by the IRCTC regarding the termination of agreement may well be the beginning of the end of this royal train travel extravaganza. Visit the website of Indian Luxury Trains (ILT) for details and booking of the train.