Kochi: The ultra luxury Maharajas’ Express operated by Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC), will commence its journey in South India from September. Designed on the lines of the famed Orient Express, Maharajas’ Express offers seven-star hospitality.
The specially customised train, manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, has 23 compartments with two bogies functioning as restaurants and another two as bars. The ‘Presidential Suite’ takes one full bogie and has almost four times the area of that in the Orient Express.
“In fact, all accommodation units (rooms) are bigger than the ones in the globally-acclaimed Orient Express and in Indian luxury trains like Deccan Odyssey, Golden Chariot and Palace on Wheels,’’ says Rajni Hasija, Group General Manager, North Zone, IRCTC. Another major difference is that while all the other luxury trains have bunk beds as an accommodation category, Maharajas’ Express has avoided them.
Starting at $7530 per person for a deluxe cabin (twin sharing basis) for an 8 days-7 nights trip (full board including alcoholic beverages) from Mumbai to Kerala (Mumbai-Goa-Hampi-Mysore-Kochi-Kumarakom-Thiruvananthapuram), ‘The Southern Sojourn’ package is certainly for the rich and famous. There are two in-house restaurants – Mayur Mahal and Rang Mahal – serving international and Indian delicacies. Both restaurants can seat 42 guests each, so there is absolutely no need to wait for your turn as there are more seats than the total guests on the train.
The Rajah Club and Safari Bar are the two watering holes on board serving beer, wine and alcohol. The Safari Bar also has game tables and a fabulous collection of books.
Increasingly, business houses are hiring Maharajas’ Express as a unique venue to host their high profile customer events.
With gold-plated crockery and cutlery, well-appointed interiors, en-suite bathrooms et all, each train costs about Rs. 80 crore to Rs.100 crore to make and a 55-member highly trained on-board team to run. Add to that, menu recipes curated and prepared by master chefs, and this is a real lifetime experience worth every penny.
Apart from royal hospitality on-board, including round-the-clock valet service, the excursions undertaken from each station en-route is also packaged ‘king style’ with visits to palaces on chariots, folk dance performances and other royal pastimes. It does not get more stately than this.
For more details, log on to www.the-maharajas.com DK