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Maharaja Express - Celestial India

Duration: 08 Days/07 Nights
Destinations covered: Kolkata - Gaya - Varanasi - Bandhavgarh - Khajuraho - Agra - Gwalior – Delhi


Day 01 / Saturday: Board the Maharajas’ Express in Kolkata – Onto Gaya
Welcome on board the Maharajas’ Express.

Commence your epic journey at the Kolkata railway station. On arrival, you will proceed towards the Maharajas' Express and complete the pre-boarding formalities as you enjoy a welcome drink.

The Maharajas' Express departs Kolkata in the evening and travels to Gaya.
Dinner and Overnight on board.


Day 02 / Sunday: Gaya
An early morning arrival gets you into Gaya.

Gaya, with a rich cultural past, is one of the most sacred centres for Hindu pilgrims.

Following breakfast, proceed to Nalanda, an important seat of learning in ancient India. Its ruins indicate the presence of more than 2000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the world.

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After visiting these magnificent ruins enjoy lunch at Rajgir.

After lunch, drive to Bodh Gaya – the place where Prince Gautama attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree and came to be known as Lord Buddha. Visit the Maha Bodhi Temple complex dedicated to Lord Buddha; originally believed to be a small shrine erected by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, the temple was later restored in the 11th and 18th centuries. Today, the temple complex is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Return to Gaya and rejoin the train for your onward journey.
Dinner and Overnight on board.



Day 03 / Monday: Varanasi
Rise early and arrive into the legendary city of Varanasi. Following an early morning tea / coffee, get ready to witness a spectacular sunrise over the sacred Ganges.

One of the oldest living cities in the world, Varanasi (also known as Kashi or Benares) has a spiritual legacy of over 3000 years. A place of pilgrimage, this holy city is set on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Varanasi epitomizes the chaos and colour of India. Lively bazaars, exquisite and bright silks, festivals, temples, mosques and palaces – all can be found here.

Begin the morning with a scenic cruise on the river Ganges. Watch the sunrise over the river amidst the sound of temple bells and religious chants. Witness the spectacle of pilgrims ritually bathing, holymen practicing yoga and invoking the dawn. Continue for a walk through the twisting alleys absorbing the hustle and bustle of the Old City.

After breakfast, visit the world famous Varanasi Silk Weaving Centre. You can even shop for some world famous Banarasi silk saris and brocades.

Following lunch, visit the ancient ruins of Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon expounding the principles of Buddhism. Visit the ruins, stupa and the Ashoka Pillar, whose four back-to-back lions have been adopted as India’s national emblem.

Return to the comfort of the train and get ready for a thrilling ride into the wild.
Dinner and Overnight on board.

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Day 04 / Tuesday: Umaria (Bandhavgarh National Park)
Very early this morning, you will arrive into Umaria. Following a quick tea / coffee, prepare yourself for an exciting morning in the wild as you proceed on drive to the Bandhavgarh National Park for an exciting game drive. Watching tigers is never an easy task and the thrill of finally sighting this incredible animal in its natural surroundings more than makes up for the early wake up call.

A wildlife retreat where history and nature meet, Bandhavgarh is a small national park with the highest known density of tigers. Dominated by a large fort, said to have been built by Lord Rama, the hero of the Indian epic Ramayana, this park was the former hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Rewa. The grasslands and sal forests harbour a healthy population of tigers, as well as deer, langur monkeys, sloth bear and wonderful birds. On top of the escarpment is a temple with its own priest, whose approach is guarded by a beautiful, sleeping Vishnu at the base of the cliff.

Following brunch, you will enjoy some time at leisure and also have the opportunity to visit a village and familiarise yourself with the local culture.

Return to the station at Umaria and continue the journey to your next destination.
Dinner and Overnight on board.


Day 05 / Wednesday :Khajuraho
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and get ready to spend the day exploring the erotic architecture of the temples of Khajuraho.

Located in Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is renowned for its architecture and exquisite sculptures. Built between 950 and 1050 AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity, the temples are superb examples of Indo-Aryan architecture. The highly sensual engravings depict the whole range of human emotions and relationships.

Proceed on a tour of the magnificent temples of Khajuraho, a 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. Visit the exquisite Jain Temples and admire some of the finest sculpture and carvings.

Following lunch, familiarise yourself with the local culture and the rural lifestyle of the villagers on a guided Village Walk.

Return to the luxury of your train, looking forward to another exciting journey.
Dinner and Overnight on board.

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Day 06 / Thursday: Agra
Early this morning, you will arrive into Agra. Relish a sumptuous breakfast; following which, you will disembark.

Agra, the jewel of India, is home to one of the world’s great architectural wonders - the Taj Mahal. With its spectacular monumental masterpieces and picturesque setting, Agra is a city glorified by time.

Proceed to the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, it is a maze of courtyards and lavish private chambers which reflect the grandeur of the Mughal Empire. Visit the Diwan-e-aam (House of Commons) and royal pavilions like the Shah Jahani Mahal. Wander through lavishly decorated halls, courtyards and alcoves glimpsing the Taj Mahal in the distance.

Head to the Taj Khema, a tableland overlooking the Taj Mahal where colourful ‘khemas’ (decorated tents) are set up for a romantic Champagne Lunch. You will be welcomed by colourfully attired dancers and musicians who escort you to the gardens.

Continue on a visit to the Taj Mahal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was built by Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. This incomparable marvel is constructed entirely out of white marble and is an architectural masterpiece with beautiful inlay work.

Enjoy shopping at Agra, famous for its marble and soapstone inlay work, as well as handicrafts, embroidered fabrics, leather goods, brassware, carpets, pashmina shawls, textiles, precious and semi-precious gems and exquisite jewellery.

Rejoin the train and continue your eventful journey to princely Gwalior.
Dinner and Overnight on board.


Day 07 / Friday: Gwalior
Early this morning, you will arrive into Gwalior. Following a leisurely breakfast, set out to explore the city.

A living heritage of heroism steeped in the splendour of its past, the ancient capital of Gwalior has made a successful transition into a modern Indian city, vibrant and bustling. A multitude of reigning dynasties, of the great Rajput clans have left indelible etchings of their rule in this city of palaces, temples and monuments. Gwalior's tradition as a royal capital continued until the formation of present day India, with the Scindias having their dynastic seat here. The magnificent mementos of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an appeal which is unique and timeless.

Enjoy a visit to the magnificent Gwalior Fort, the city's most famous landmark that contains within its wall several interesting temples and ruined palaces - the marvellous Man Mandir Palace, Gujari Mahal, Sas Bahu Ka Mandir and Suraj Kund.

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Continue for lunch to the Usha Kiran Palace and get welcomed in true Gwalior tradition. Enter this 120-year-old palace, which has played host to the King of England and is now a heritage hotel. Set amidst 9 acres of beautifully landscaped lawns, this regal palace, rich in history, is outfitted with artistic stone carvings and delicate filigree work.

Following lunch, explore the Jai Vilas Palace and Scindia Museum. Located in the new town, the palace belongs to the Scindia family. Although the current Maharaja still lives in a portion of the palace, a large part of it is now a museum. The Scindia Museum displays royal memorabilia and a remarkable collection of artefacts from around the world. The crystal staircase, arched ceiling with stunning gold leaf work, two of the world's largest chandeliers, each weighing over three tons are extremely noteworthy items found within the palace.

Revisit the Usha Kiran Palace for Cocktails, following which, you will head back to the station and board the train for your onward journey.
Dinner and Overnight on board.


Day 08 / Saturday: Disembark in Delhi
Early this morning, following breakfast, you will disembark in the capital city of Delhi. Bid farewell to the Maharajas' Express as you proceed on a tour exploring the fascinating sites of Delhi where the ancient and modern co-exist in perfect harmony. Savour gastronomic delights over lunch, as your 'Celestial India' journey comes to an end. The mystical journey is over, but the memory of which, will live on forever!

Our tour concludes: Caper assists you with your transfer to the airport for boarding onward flight, thanks you for your patronage and looks forward to serving you again in the near future.

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