The ambience of India can hardly be any more perplexing. An utter feast for the senses, curious travellers have long been caught in a helpless love affair with market stalls and copper pots of freshly brewed chai. After our flight, we’re chaperoned through the mayhem of Delhi to our hotel. The Taj Palace allows for tranquil respite - a contrast to the bustling streets just beyond the walls.
Two worlds await. Old Delhi and New. The quintessential divergence of culture permeates between a pleasant harmony of modern cafes and ancient architecture. One foot in front of the other, we approach the differences with an inquisitive touch. This evening, we come together for a sumptuous Welcome Dinner.
Perhaps wander the streets of New Delhi this morning. An early afternoon flight whisks us to Jodhpur where we transfer to the Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace. This evening, choose from a hand-picked selection of restaurants.
This morning, inspiration and sandalwood incense entice us out of bed. An ocean of cerulean rooftops, the Blue City of Jodhpur is a true architectural treasure. Rising from the rocky hilltop, Mehrangarh Fort casts a gaze upon the city. Continue to the Jaswant Thada memorial – the peaceful cenotaph provides a haven in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. This afternoon is set aside for relaxation or exploration on your own terms. Perhaps roam the labyrinth of streets or escape the hubbub with a poolside cocktail at our hotel.
This morning, a visit to the Jain Temple of Ranakpur illuminates deep religious and historic significance. Built in the 15th century, the complex of temples is structured with four doorways leading to the chambers and main hall where an image of Adinath is shown to symbolise the spiritual teacher’s quest along the four paths of Jainism. After an enlightening tour, we enjoy lunch amid the locals.
From here, our journey continues to Udaipur, where we rest our heads for two nights at the unique and luxurious Taj Lake Palace.
Built under the order of several kings, enter the sprawling City Palace this morning. A curious assortment of European, Medieval and Chinese architecture abounds. We later visit Saheliyon Ki Bari, a delightful ornamental garden originally built for the enjoyment of the royal ladies. Spend the afternoon as you so please, or choose to embark on the following Your World experience:
From blue to pink, we trace the spectrum to Jaipur. Surrounded by seven gates, the Pink City is a chaotic palette of rosy sandstone buildings commissioned by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727. Befitting the noble air of the city, we check into the Rambagh Palace. Originally a royal guesthouse, we delve into the luxurious lifestyle of those who boarded here before us.
The day culminates in an opulent dinner, served in the palatial grounds of our hotel. We feast upon the lavish combination of cuisine and vistas.
This morning commences with a visit to the Amber Fort. After tracing the exquisite inlay, we continue to the Hawa Mahal. Here, at the Palace of the Winds, we are met by a towering facade. Like a veil through time, we can almost see the ladies of the court concealed behind precious lace. Later this afternoon, venture to the World Heritage-listed Jantar Mantar.
Take this morning at your own pace. It’s early afternoon when sounds of the Maharajas’ Express can be heard along the iron railway. Become familiar with the fourteen carriages, each named after precious stones, and after settling into your appointed cabin, dress for dinner – an elaborate affair befitting our first night aboard.
Our train rolls through the clear night. By the time we pull into the station, sleepy tigers are stretching stiff paws. We embark on an early morning game drive at Ranthambore National Park before enjoying lunch back on board. The abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri looms ever closer. Fleeting scenery begs a linger. A ghost city of royal proportions, the town was built after the Emperor Akbar caught wind of a prophecy predicting the birth of an heir to the throne. When it came true, the Emperor declared Fatehpur Sikri to be his new capital. These days, however, the city is merely a desolate remain of its former grandeur.
It would be almost unforgivable to visit India without seeing the Taj Mahal. The marble declaration of love deserves to be appreciated on only the most indulgent scale - toast its beauty over a champagne breakfast in the light of the morning sun. Rejoin the Maharajas’ Express, arriving in Gwalior just in time for lunch at Usha Kiran Palace. Afterwards, visit Gwalior Fort. An appropriate close to the afternoon offers high tea at the Jai Vilas Palace.
We begin our day’s adventure at Jahangir Mahal, completed in 1598. As we roam the halls, we hear the footfall of elephants - ancient steps echoing the war. You’ll notice that the building’s doorways and framework are large enough to accommodate these creatures.
Our train continues to Khajuraho. Second only to Paris in the fight to claim itself as the city of love, we touch on the fascinating collection of aphrodisiac temples. These rare buildings house some of the most provocative (in more ways than one) samples of temple art that can be found in the world.
Overnight, we are delivered to the holy city of Varanasi. Worship is ritual and the mundane intricacies of everyday are treasures to travellers’ eyes. Visit Sarnath, where Buddha gave sermon to his first disciples, explore the ruins of an ancient monastery at Dhamek Stupa and observe the delicate practice of silk weaving. This evening, embark on a cruise along the Ganges bearing witness to an evening aarti, a Hindu ceremony of light which takes place on the steps of the river.
As today is our last complete day in India, exploration has been prepared on a grand scale. We uncover the streets of Lucknow before visiting the City of Nawabs and the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Afterwards, visit the gateway, Rumi Darwaza. Imposing yet delicate, the structure is almost identical in design to a gateway that can be found in ancient Constantinople. Continue to the Bara Imambara shrine.
In true Captain’s Choice style, your belongings will be taken care of behind the scenes, conveniently appearing at the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi. Both lunch and dinner will be served at our hotel before we board an evening flight.
Touch down in Australia this morning.
Sometimes travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the fascinating places you are in. That’s why everything mundane has been moved behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map, luggage, small change for tips or bargain for a taxi fare.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included – flights and other travel arrangements, luxurious accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, and even sightseeing trips - including those by helicopter or horseback. Even the Your World experiences within your itinerary and internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
While the waters of Lake Pichola lap the white marble walls of Taj Lake Palace, contemplate its history of Maharanas, Hollywood and grand soirees. Built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur, it served the purpose of a private pleasure palace after the prince was caught frolicking at moonlight picnics with ladies of the court. Years later, after being restored to its former glory, it was made famous when it appeared in the James Bond film, Octopussy.
Since it was built in 1835, the Rambagh Palace has been used for a number of colourful occasions. From home to the queen’s favourite handmaiden to the royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, and as the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen. Wonderfully restored in recent times, the palace has retained its original splendour. Admire its hand-carved marble latticework, sandstone balustrades and elaborate Mughal Gardens.
Redefining luxury rail travel, the Maharajas’ Express is considered the finest train in India - fit only for the highest order of nobles. Reclaim the elegance of a bygone era, tangling and twining through the country’s rich history. On board, lose yourself in the scenery through panoramic windows and dine in one of two restaurants offering a refined selection of local cuisine and complimentary beverages throughout.
Fares are in Australian dollars and include Singapore Airlines flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Prices from other cities available on request. All regional flights are in Economy Class with strict luggage restrictions.
Land Only guests join in Delhi for overnight accommodation on Day 1 and depart Delhi after dinner on Day 15.
Rail Upgrades add per person, twin share
Junior Suite $5,200
Solo Supplements add per person
Deluxe Cabin $10,500
Includes supplements for single hotel rooms.
Solo availability at above price is limited. Junior Suite, Suite and Presidential Suite upgrade prices available on request.
This journey is reserved for a group of just 36 guests.