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The Good Life

Royal Ride
From multi-cuisine dining to ayurvedic spa, hop onto these luxury trains for an exquisite journey

Tanya Baisoya

What’s not to admire about travelling in a luxury train. You get a magnificent cabin all to yourself and are served delectable multi-cuisines. All you have to do is book your ticket and hop on for your next trip.

To make the experience a memorable one, Maharaja Express provides a one-of-a-kind itinerary. “We started Maharaja with the concept of giving our customers their privacy. We have two kinds of cabins, so that the traveller can have the room to himself,” says Rajiv Jain, managing director of the Maharaja Express. The train started functioning in 2010 and it has been bestowed with the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” award from the year 2012-2016. The train can accommodate 88 people and has a long list of services to keep their travellers happy, including, a complimentary mini bar. The price for the double occupancy depends on the suite you are booking, the lowest is the Deluxe priced at $12,000 and goes upto $47,400 for the Presidential suite. The fare is inclusive of three multi-cuisine meals and beverages. That is not it, to make it even more worthwhile, they arrange cultural dance performances in the evening and golf sessions. And at the end of your day, when you plan on going out for your mouth-watering meal, you get an option between two gastronomic dining restaurants: Rang Mahal and Mayur Mahal. The restaurants are designed in Rajasthani style and you are served in gold edged plates and Swarovski hand-cut crystal glasses.

The next on the list of most luxurious trains is the Deccan Odyssey. Now owned by Cox and Kings, the train was previously under the Maharashtra government till 2010. Talking of awards, just like Maharaja, Deccan was also voted as the best luxury train at the “World’s Luxury Travel Awards” three times in a row. “Our customers are mainly foreigners and now Cox and Kings is planning to build biochemical toilets, something that will help the train stand out,” adds Jain. The price range of this train is almost 30% lesser than the Maharaja Express. It starts at $8,750 and goes as high as $13,210. There are a total of 21 grandeur coaches, comprising 12 salons, one mini gym, an opulent bar, and an ayurvedic spa. Deccan Odyssey operates from October to April and covers six different journeys in seven nights. “People have booked their cabins for 2019 already. Almost 60% of the bookings for the next year are done because we have the tariffs for that year,” he adds. Jain elucidates that the booking depends on the rate, which usually increases every two years.

Another one in the industry is the Palace On Wheels train. With its rich interiors, the train takes you to regal palaces in Udaipur, Jodhpur, Rajasthan and Agra. The train has lavish suites which are Rajasthani-styled. The cost of these suites starts from $9,100 and goes upto $12,600. The train does not service during summer months of May to August, just like Maharaja and Deccan they operate between September to April. It has a passenger capacity of 82 people, 14 decked up salons and historical restaurants. It also comes with attendants or khidmatgars for your personal service in each salon. Jain elaborates that they only have online booking services and it is the best way to also take feedbacks from the customers. “For a traveller, especially one who is from a foreign land, guide plays an imperative role. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) strict rules ensure that we get the best guides. Our feedback service and guides are two features that are really liked by the people who travel in our trains,” he adds. If you are still pondering over your next visit to the land of sand dunes, then these trains are the beginning of the most luxurious journey of your life.

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