Monday, June 15, 2015

You want to go on vacation to an exotic place but you don’t want to give up the comforts you are used to having since you are a spoiled American. Where can you go? I suggest visiting India but in style without a care in the world.  Is that possible since it is such a highly populated place with so many poor people? Take an exotic train ride from New Delhi to visit some of India’s most traditional places.  Take the Maharajas Express. It is a train ride fit for a king. In fact it was the king’s ride once long ago. The rail cars have been restored to its original beauty as the rail cars chug along Northern India.
At one time the Maharajas controlled India during the 19th and first half of the 20th Centuries. They were flamboyant rulers as seen in their apparel and palaces. The intention was to show people that they were different and that they were rulers. They were in an alliance with the British and were building railroads across the continent Trains were a symbol of wealth and prestige at the time. The trains were built blatantly luxurious so that they would immediately impress anyone.  Maharajas Express was a result of a partnership designed to boost tourism. Up to 23 coaches can fit as many as 88 passengers. It is as comfortable and complete with two restaurants and bars and private bathrooms with showers. The train generally travels at night. A typical seven day trip will take tourists from New Delhi to Jaipur up to Agra home to the Taj Mahal. So, you get to see major cities in India without the hassle of having to get there.

Then you can go on to other stops in India including Varanasi, considered the spiritual capitol of India with its many temples. Then back to New Delhi after a week of eating and sleeping in luxury as you travel in comfort to city to city. The on board chef has been there for three years and considers the train his home.  He creates western and Indian food from his train car sized kitchen filled with workers. He will visit each and every table to find out the likes and dislikes of his passengers.  He prides himself on accommodating any request. It is a great way to travel with a family because it is formal but at the same time informal. Spending all that time on the train gives you plenty of time to discuss anything with your family. There is nowhere to run off too. Sometimes family should be forced in a way to hang out with each other at least for old  times   sake.

Take in all the sites together and maybe play a little of elephant polo in Jaipur. It is hardly a bargain vacation but neither are cruises. A cabin for  the week costs at least $5,000 dollars but it is complete with everyday comforts that seem luxurious on a train.  For those who really want to splurge, the presidential suite can be yours for $23,000 a week. Visitors to New Delhi’s Rail Museum can see the real thing. The original Maharaja’s trains are there on display. The train cars were built in 1899 with the help from the British. It was built for them and was very opulent for the time. It was part of a three car train.  One   car for a living room setting, one car for dining and another car for sleeping.  It was a very special apartment to travel in.  Why don’t we still do this and why not in our country?


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