The Indian Panorama 7N/8D

Itinerary -

DAY 1 - Delhi

2045 Welcome & Check-in formalities at Delhi Safdurjung Railway Station

2130 Dinner on board

2200 The Maharajas' Express leaves for Jaipur

DAY 2 - Jaipur

0800 Breakfast on board

0950 Arrive into Jaipur

1000 Proceed for the Amber Fort

1230 Proceed from Amber fort for Elephant Polo Match followed by lunch at City Palace.

1600 Return to the Maharajas' Express to relax OR You may also choose to participate in the optional activities such as Spa facilities at a deluxe hotel OR Private shopping tour OR Golfing at Rambagh Golf club OR Visit to City Palace & Jantar Mantar.

DAY 3 - Ranthambore - Fatehpur Sikri

0630 Proceed for an exciting Game Drive at Ranthambore National Park

0930 Breakfast at Vivanta By Taj, Sawai Madhopur

1030 Return to the Maharajas' Express as it proceeds for Fatehpur Sikri.

1230 Lunch on board

1430 Arrive into Fatehpur Sikri

1515 Visit to the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri

1800 Return to the comfort of the Maharajas' Express

2000 Dinner on board.

DAY 4 - Agra - Gwalior

0630 Arrive into Agra. Proceed to visit Taj Mahal

0815 Champagne Breakfast at Taj Khema

1045 Return to the Maharajas' Express

1100 The Maharajas' Express proceeds for Gwalior

1300 Onboard lunch

1445 De-board at Gwalior to visit the Gwalior Fort,Saas Bahu Temple and the Jain Cave sculptures OR You may choose to avail spa facilities at Usha Kiran Palace

DAY 5 - Orchha – Khajuraho

0630 Breakfast on board

0730 Proceed to visit Orchha Fort Complex.

0930 Return to the Maharajas' Express

0945The Maharajas' Express proceeds for Khajuraho

1200 Lunch on board

1430 Arrive into Khajuraho

1500 Visit Khajuraho Temples

1800 Return to the train OR you may choose from any of the optional such as Spa Facilities at hotel Grand The Lalit OR Sound & Light show.

DAY 6 - Varanasi

0730 Arrive into Varanasi

0800 Breakfast on board

0930 Visit Sarnath ruins and museum

1240 Return to the Maharajas' Express for on board Lunch

1500 Visit the Silk Weaving Centre

1630 Tea-Coffee break with cookies

1700 Proceed for Boat ride at River Ganges to witness Evening Aarti

2030 Return to the Maharajas' Express. Dinner on board.

2300 The Maharajas' Express leaves for Lucknow.

DAY 7 - Lucknow

0800 Breakfast on board

0930 Proceed towards Lucknow to visit The Residency, Rumi Darwaza & the Bara Imambara

1200 Return to the Maharajas' Express for Lunch on board

1730 Proceed for an "Indian Evening" with Dinner at the palace of Raja of Jehangirabad.

2100 Return to the Maharajas' Express

2115 The Maharajas' Express leaves for Delhi

DAY 8 - DELHI

0715 Breakfast on board

0830 Disembark and bid farewell to the Maharajas' Express as your journey comes to an end!

                          Trip Ends With Sweet Memories !!!




Gwalior

1. Saas Bahu Temple :

The Teli ka Mandir is a 9th century edifice, towering at 100 ft high. This is a Pratihara Vishnu temple of a unique blending of architectural styles. The shape of the roof is distinctively Dravidian, while the decorative embellishments have the typically Indo-Aryan characteristics of Northern India. Also dedicated to Vishnu is the graceful little Sas-Bahu-ka-Mandir, built in 11th century. This temple is one of the greatest architectural marvels situated by Gwalior Fort. The entire temple is covered with carvings, notably 4 idols of Bramha, Vishnu and Saraswati above its entrance door. However, limestone erodes over time, and soon portions of the limestone fell, later spurring conflict as to whether it was a Jain temple or a Hindu temple.

2.The Gwalior Fort :

Standing on a steep mass of sandstone, Gwalior Fort dominates the city and is its most magnificent monument. It has been a scene of momentous events : imprisonments, battles and jauhars. A steep road winds upwards to the Fort, flanked by statues of Jain tirthankaras, carved into the rock face. The magnificent outer walls of the Fort still stand, two miles in length and 35 feet high, bearing witness to its reputation for being one of the most invincible forts of India. This imposing structure inspired Emperor Babar to describe it "the pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind." Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for his Gujar queen, Mrignayani. After he had wooed and won her, so the story goes, Mrignayani demanded that he build her a separate palace with a constant water supply from the River Rai, via an aqueduct. The outer structure of the Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into an Archaeological Museum.

Also built by Raja Mansingh is the Man Mandir Palace, built between 1486 and 1517. The tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived, but at the entrance, traces of these still remain. There is a charming frieze here of ducks paddling in turquoise waters. Within, the palace rooms stand bare, stripped of their former glory, mute testimony to the passing of the centuries. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of the day. Below, circular dungeons once housed the state prisoners of the Mughals. The Emperor Aurangzeb had his brother, Murad, imprisoned, and later executed, here. Close by is Jauhar Pond, where in the Rajput tradition, the 'ranis' committed mass 'sati' after their consorts had been defeated in battle. Though the major portions of the Fort were built in the 15th century, references to this gigantic complex can be traced back to 425 AD. Older than the city is the Suraj Kund within the Fort walls, the original pond where Suraj Sen, or Suraj Pal as he was later known, was cured by the Saint Gwalipa.

3.Jain Cave Sculptures:

Sonagiri means 'golden peak'. Sonagiri is primarily the site of the Digambar sect of Jains. History speaks that King Nanganag Kumar had conquered salvation and was liberated from the cycles of death and life in this very place. Millions of his devotees took his path to liberation. Thus, Jain saints who seek deliverance or practice the paths to nirvana, flock to this place. There are more than 100 temples that magnetize visitors and tourists. The leading temple has an idol of Chandraprabhu in meditation, 11 feet in height. There are 77 striking Jain Temples in the hills and 26 temples in villages. Temple no. 57 on the hill is actually the main temple. It consists of a charming spire. Two other idols of Lord Sheetalnath and Parsvanath are installed beside the chieftain. There is a column of dignity (Maanstambh), 43 feet in height, also a model of Samavsharan. This is a outstanding place known as Laghu Sammed Shikar covering the area of 132 acres, straddling two hills. A pillar of white stone outside the temple is bound to catch one's eye, with its intrinsic carvings; there are 'chatris' (cenotaphs) on three sides of the pillar showcasing images of all Jain Tirthankaras.

4.Jai Vilas Palace :

A splendour of a different kind exists in the Jai Vilas Palace, current residence of the Scindia family. Some 35 rooms have been made into the Scindia Museum, and in these rooms, so evocative of a regal lifestyle, the past comes alive. Jai Vilas is an Italianate structure which combines the Tuscan and Corinthian architectural modes. The imposing Darbar Hall has two central chandeliers, weighing a couple of tonnes, and hung only after ten elephants had tested the strength of the roof. Ceilings picked out in gilt, heavy draperies and tapestries, fine Persian carpets, and antique furniture from France and Italy are features of these spacious rooms. Eye-catching treasures include: a silver train with cut-glass wagons which served guests as it chugged around on miniature rails on the tables; a glass cradle from Italy used for the baby Krishna each Janamashtami; silver dinner services and swords that were once worn by Aurangzeb and Shah Jehan.

There are, besides, personal mementoes of the past members of the Scindia family: the jewelled slippers that belonged to Chinkoo Rani, four-poster beds, gifts from practically every country in the world, hunting trophies and portraits. The Scindia Museum offers an unparalleled glimpse into the rich culture and lifestyle of princely India. Open everyday except Wednesday from 10 am to 5.30 pm. Entry fees are Rs. 40/- for Indian and Rs. 300/- for foreign visitors.

KHAJURAHO

1.The Temples :

The architectural style of the Khajuraho temples is very different from the temple prototype of that period. Each stands, instead of within the customary enclosure, on a high masonry platform. Combined with the upward direction of the structure, which is further accentuated by vertical projections, the total effect is one of grace and lightness, reminiscent of the Himalayan peaks. Each of the chief compartments has its own roof, grouped in such a way that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico, a triumph of skill and imagination in recreating the rising peaks of a range. The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three geographical groups: Western, Eastern and Southern.

Lucknow

1.Asafi Imambara (Bara Imambara) :

Also known as the Bara Imambara, it was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 and is one of the architectural wonders of that era. Its central hall is said to be the largest vaulted chamber in the world. Except for the galleries in the interior, there is no woodwork in the entire structure. It has large underground passages which have been blocked up. A staircase from outside leads to a series of labyrinths known as Bhool-Bhulaiyan which is a complicated entanglement of zig-zag pass. Visitors are advised to visit only with authorized guides. Within the compound of the Imambara is the grand Asafi Mosque. Shahi Baoli is another attraction here.

2.Chhota Imambara :

Though Popularly called as the Chhota Imambara, the Hussainabad Imambara stands to the west of Bara Imambara. Built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah (1837-42), it is more ornate in design with exquisite chandeliers, gilt-edged mirrors, silver mimbar and colourful stuccos which adorn the interiors. A golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exterior of the building makes it a truly exceptional monument of Mughal architecture.

3.Residency :

Built for the British Resident during 1780-1800, it was originally a large complex of many buildings. It was the scene of dramatic events during the first war of independence in 1857. The main building overlooks the river Gomti and is surrounded by terraced lawns and gardens. Today, only the scarred ruins bear witness to the turmoil of 1857.

4. Rumi Darwaza :

The 60 feet high Rumi Gate was constructed under Nawab Asafl-us-Daula in 1786. It is said to be identical in design to an ancient portal at Constantinople. Its uppermost part consists of an eight faceted chhatri, approachable by a staircase.

JAIPUR

1. Amber Palace :

Amber (pronounced Amer) is situated about 11 kilometres from Jaipur and was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachwahas of Amber, before the capital was shifted to the plains, the present day Jaipur.

The Amber Fort set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh the fort was made in red sand stone and white marble. The rugged forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful fusion of art and architecture. Amber is the classic and romantic fort-palace with a magnificent aura. The interior wall of the palace depicts expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. In the foreground is the Maota Lake providing a breathtaking vista. Built mainly for the warring enemies as a safe place, the heavily structured walls could defend the residents within the ramparts of the fort.

All means of survival and luxuries for the royal families and the people who were concerned with the functioning of this small kingdom of the Kachhawas were well provided. The Rajputs who had apparently won a small structure passed on by Meena tribes, later on renovated it into the grand Amber Fort. Holding a history as old as seven centuries, this place vibrates with its legendary past. Although many of the early structures have been literally ruined but at the same time, those dating from 16th century onwards are remarkably well preserved by sincere efforts.

2.City Palace : 

Located in the heart of the walled city, the City Palace Complex gives you an idea about the farsightedness of the founder of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. He left behind a legacy of some of the most imposing and magnificent architecture in the city. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh built many buildings but some of the structures were also built by later rulers. The palace is a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture and the ex-royal family still lives in a part of the palace.

On entering the complex and before the proper palace lies the Mubarak Mahal, the palace of welcome or reception. Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh built the palace in the nineteenth century. It was used as a reception centre for the visiting personage. The building now forms the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and on display here are a wide array of royal costumes, some very exquisite and precious Pashmina (Kashmiri) shawls, Benaras silk saris, Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery. An unusual display is that of voluminous clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I (ruled 1750-68).

The Maharani's Palace, the palace of the Queen paradoxically puts on a display of the Rajput weaponry. The inestimable collections of weapons date back to even 15th century and are in a remarkable state of preservation. Remarkable amongst them is scissor-action dagger. This deadly weapon were so designed that the handles were released to spread the blades when thrust into bodies. The dagger was then withdrawn fatally tearing limb to limb of the body of the hapless victim. Other exhibits include protective chain armours, pistols, jewelled and ivory handled swords, a belt sword, small and assorted cannons, guns, poison tipped blades and gun powder pouches. The frescoes on the ceiling are amazing and well preserved.

The art gallery is located in the Diwan-I-Aam, which literally means the hall of public audience. The exhibits here include some very precious and ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures. Particularly intriguing are miniature copies of Bhagwat Gita made in such a manner that it could be protected from Emperor Aurangzeb's onslaught on Hindu scriptures. Some delicate miniature paintings pertaining to Rajasthani, Mughal and Persian schools on various themes including the Ramayana are engrossing displays. Visitors must take a good look at the preserved painted ceilings. Also on display are elephant saddles called "haudha".

Between the armoury museum and the art gallery is the Diwan-E-Khas meaning hall of private or selective audience. This is a marble paved pavilion and puts on display the world's largest sterling silver objects, two gigantic silver vessels. These vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who filled these vessels with holy Ganga water and took them along with him during his journey abroad. The idea was to drink exclusively the water from the river Ganga. The Guinness Book of Records declared the silver vessels as the biggest silver objects in the world. The ceiling also has large chandeliers, which are mostly protected by dust covers and opened only for festive occasions.

The Chandra Mahal Palace is still occupied by the ex-royal family but visitors can visit the ground floor where some exhibits are on display. A visit here is worthwhile for the exquisite Peacock gate in the courtyard outside.

The present day royal family that takes charge of the museum has done exceptionally well in preserving and maintaining this legacy for presentation to visitors. A visit to the palace is both interesting and enlightening.

RANTHAMBORE

1 .Ranthambore National Park :

It was once the private hunting grounds of the Kings and Royals of Jaipur. Spread over 392 sq km, the park has steep crags embracing a network of lakes and rivers. The terrain is a blend of impregnable forests and open grasslands. The forest is open deciduous type with Dhok being the most prominent tree. The park can be visited in the morning and evening either by canter or gypsy.

At Ranthambore, tigers are readily observed during daylight, hunting or lazing around, oblivious of jeep load of tourists and their cameras. Apart from tigers, the park has a wide variety of animals, birds and reptiles. One can find Marsh Crocodiles, Hyenas, Leopards, Jungle Cats, Fox and Jackal apart from Chital, Nilgai and Chinkara. Sambhar Deers are the pride of Ranthambore.

The park has more than 300 varieties of avian population including Black Storks, Quails, Crested Serpent Eagles and Painted Storks.

AGRA

1.The Taj Mahal : 

Taj Mahal was built by a grief stricken Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. A world-renowned wonder, Taj Mahal sits pretty on the northern side of this green paradise. It looks the same from all the four sides! The Quranic inscriptions on its four entrances are carved in such subtle increase in size that may appear to be of the same size from top to bottom! Shahjahan invited master craftsmen from as far as Italy and Persia to help design his ambitious tribute to love.

The Taj Mahal is phenomenal not in the beauty alone that shines forth, but in the deep planning and design that went into its making, and the ethereal idea of immortalizing love. Delicate carvings in marble vie with gorgeous pietra dura for attention. Lapis-lazuli, Cornelian, Mother of pearl, Agate and Emerald are inlayed in floral and geometrical patterns in the marble itself. This enchanting mausoleum, on the bank of river Yamuna started in 1631 and it took 22 years to complete with the help of an estimated 20000 workers.

Fatehpur Sikri

1.Fatehpur Sikri Fort :

Perched atop a rocky ridge 37 km west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri came into being four centuries ago when the Emperor Akbar, not yet 28 years old, created the first planned city in Indo-Islamic style. The city was actualised with great energy, but was completely abandoned a little more than a decade later.

In 1568, Akbar was secure and powerful but he had no son and heir. His search for blessing for the birth of a successor brought him to the Sufi mystic Sheikh Salim Chishti, who lived in Sikri village. The saint prophesied the birth of three sons and soon after was born Prince Salim, later to become Emperor Jahangir. In gratitude for the blessing Akbar decided to create imperial residences in Sikri, which would function as a joint capital with Agra. As a mark of his faith and his recent victories, he named his new city Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar was a keen builder and the plan of Fatehpur Sikri reveals an architectural mastermind at work. Research has proved that it was planned on a definite mathematical grid.

The siting of the Jama Masjid marked the actual beginning of the city which came up around it. The palace courts were laid out parallel to the cardinally aligned mosque and the sequential order of the palaces were emphasised by change in level. The most public space was at the lowest level, while the royal harem was at the highest.

Fatehpur Sikri is built in red sandstone, and is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural elements. The sandstone is richly ornamented with carving and fretwork. Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned 14 years after its creation. A shortage of water is believed to be the reason. Today it is a ghost city, its architecture is in a perfect state of preservation, and wandering through the palaces it is easy to imagine that this was once a royal residence and a dynamic cultural centre.

A Panoramic view of Treasures, Heritage and Splendour of India, the Maharajas Express is one of the most lavish trains that operates in five different journeys. The train has been awarded as the leading luxury train of India, at 2012 World Tourism Award function. The Maharaja Express luxury train covers North-Western India, mainly glorious forts and palaces of Rajasthan with champagne breakfast along with the Taj Mahal and Exhibition Elephant polo match. Operating from October to April, the journey has been often compared to the Orient Express of Europe. 


By Maharaja Express Booking, one can avail the facilities and services offered that are luxurious to the extent of being pampered. From 'Namoh', you can book a luxury train ride in Maharaja Express and live a life that is akin to the emperors, which is not something you get in your day-to-day routine.

Relish Royalty,Spirituality and wilderness.

Explore the hidden treasures of India! Embark on an unforgettable escapade that starts off with the capital city of Delhi. Make your way through the sacred city of Varanasi and cruise on the River Ganges to observe ancient spiritual rites. Witness the immortal beauty of the Taj Mahal in Agra, the sensuous moods of the temples of Khajuraho, the elegance and imperial splendour in Lucknow and the wilderness of the Ranthambore National Park.

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The Indian Panorama 7N/8D

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