Maharajas Express luxury train journey in India

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

The tour operator offering this holiday is a British company with an intimate knowledge of the destination. All their holidays are tailor made which means that they can create a unique holiday for your individual requirements. They offer a range of accommodation from guesthouses and homestays to the more luxurious hotels. Where possible they use properties that are heritage or characterful. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips. They are licenced to sell flights from the UK and will search for the best airfare for your dates. If you book flights with them, then the whole holiday will be protected by ATOL. This tour operator is also a member of ABTA – this means that all their holidays adhere to the ABTA Code of Conduct, their finances, insurances etc are checked regularly and if you have a complaint that cannot be resolved there is an arbitration scheme available to you.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Maharajas Express luxury train journey in India

Environment

This is a tailor-made tour so other that the luxury train section you will be travelling without other tourists. This gives you plenty of opportunities to mix with the local communities. We encourage you to talk to the locals and exchange ideas. Most people in India speak some English – but if you are struggling you will have your driver with you most of the time and he can act as a translator.

As part of their responsible tourism principals the Maharajas’ Express generates economic benefits for the local people as the various destinations it visits by hiring local artists and dancers etc to provide off board activities. They use only Government of India approved local guides for the visits to the monuments and where possible showcase local crafts such as the making of durries, Lucknowi chikan etc. These activities not only give the tourists an enjoyable experience but also provides a meaningful connection with the local people and a greater understanding of the local culture. For the artists it builds local pride and confidence.

Other than the luxury train section this holiday is on a bed and breakfast basis. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to eat out at small restaurants and locally owned establishments.

The two hotels used (in Delhi and Shimla) are both Oberoi owned. The Oberoi group of hotels was founded in 1934 in Shimla and regularly wins the award of World’s Best Hotel Brand as well as other awards. They support philanthropic activities ranging from education to assistance for mentally and physically challenged individuals.

The Cecil was built in 1884 and has been extensively renovated but still retains the elegance and style of the Colonial era. The Cecil is very much part of Shimla’s colonial history and the local community are proud of this distinguished building in their midst.

The ground handling of this holiday is by our local agent based in Delhi – Travel World Experiences. This is an independent company created by a group of experienced and passionate travel professionals who were all working in the travel industry before starting TWX. Although a fairly young company we have been working with many of the individual members of staff for many years. When they announced that they were starting up their own company we immediately agreed to support them. They provide an excellent service and our customers give us very good reports about them. All the owners and staff are local people and because they are such a good employer taking a real interest in their staff’s welfare when a vacancy arises they are swamped with applications.

Tipping is expected in India, especially by the lower paid workers who rely on tips to help to boost their wages. It is important to get it right – enough but not too much. We supply all our customers with details regarding gratuities and we hope these guidelines are followed.

Community

This tailor-made holiday uses low impact transportation. Most of the journeys are by train and train travel is considered one of the most environmentally friendly way of travelling. Greenhouse emissions per passenger per kilometre for rail transport is up to five times lower than that of car transport. On this holiday you spend three nights and four days on a train followed by train travel to and from Shimla.

Through various methods the Maharajas’ Express train and its team of staff put into practice as many energy conservations practices as they can. They train their teams in thinking ‘green’ and encourage their guests to do the same. These include low energy fittings (which not only consume less energy but produce less unwanted heat and last longer); large glazed windows to maximise the use of natural daylight (as well as enhancing the view); environment friendly towel and sheet re-use programme; station friendly toilets; use of electrically operated appliances for cooking; encouraging guests towards optimal use of running water (toilets are all water save models).

The Oberoi group of hotels is committed to employing the best environmental and ecological practices in technology, equipment and operational processes. The group is also a keen contributor to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage. Both the hotels used on this tour are heritage buildings. The Maidens Hotel is one of Delhi’s oldest hotels (since 1903) had retained its charm. It is in a residential area surrounded by gardens extending to eight acres.

During this holiday you will be visiting the National Park at Ranthambhore. This is one of the last remaining habitats for the endangered Bengal Tiger. In fact the population is doing well as this park and sightings are good. But the long term future for wild tigers is not secure as there are major threats from poaching and loss of habitat. We are members of TOFT (Travel Operators For Tigers) and pay an annual membership fee and make a donation for each customer who visits a TOFT Tiger Park (including Ranthambhore). For more information about the excellent work carried out by TOFT take a look at their website – www.toftigers.org

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