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Luxury Rail Trip Across India on the Decan Odyssey

Luxury Rail Trip Across India on the Deccan Odyssey With Cox and Kings…

Day 1 – Checking-in to the stunning Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai

Having never been to India before, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai. I needn’t have worried though, as from the moment I arrived I was in awe of this stunning hotel, especially as we entered our rooms with a wonderful view of the Gateway to India. It was an oasis of calm and tranquility after the intense sights and sounds that greeted us on arrival in Mumbai (which has a population of over 20 million people). The Taj Mahal Palace hotel dates back to 1903 and is a Mumbai landmark that demonstrates Indian hospitality at its best.

After checking into our rooms we were taken to a local restaurant by our Cox and Kings guide, where we feasted on local Indian dishes that were a delight to the taste buds and reasonable in cost too.

Day 2 – Morning tour of Mumbai before being taken to the train station to await our moving hotel on wheels – all aboard the Deccan Odyssey!

No one could prepare us for the sublime red-carpet, true Indian welcome. This included cold drinks on the platform, traditional Indian dancers and a delightful band as the train pulled into the station. We felt like royalty as we sat on beautifully decorated chairs enjoying our drinks and watching the performers.

We then got the red carpet entrance onto the train. With our luggage already tagged with our cabin numbers, we were taken to our individual cabins, complete with our very own butler, who was to be there for us every step of the way whilst on board. 

We were following the Maharashtra Splendour itinerary, which is off the beaten track, taking us from Mumbai all the way down to Goa.

The cabins were extremely roomy – some with double beds and others with twins.  There are also three Presidential Suites that are ideal for families. The children, however, must be 12 years of age or older.  The train has a bar and lounge area, two dining cars, a gym, library and even a spa.  Again, the service and prices were very good value for money.

Day 2  – Nashik

We pulled into Nashik after having breakfast on board – a choice of omelettes, fruit platters, cereal and pastries.  We disembarked for a morning visit to the Godavari Ghats, a series of steps leading to the river that are of major religious significance.  We walked along the Ghats and were lucky enough to witness the annual Shraddha – a Hindi event to commemorate the dead.  It was a sight to behold and captures India with all its mystique and splendour, with people bathing in the waters and taking blessings.  I sat in awe of the people gathered around the waters and the temples.

We then headed off to the Wine Valley region of Nashik to undertake a tour of the vineyards and of course indulge in some wine tasting before lunch.  There is the opportunity to buy a bottle or two for family and friends back home, or just keep for yourself!

After lunch and wine tasting it was time to head back to our luxury train for a relaxing evening on board and enjoy an authentic Indian Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic or two in the comfortable bar with the other passengers before another sumptuous dinner.

For dinner there is a choice of an authentic Indian curry – both meat and vegetarian – or you can choose from international dishes such as vegetable lasagne, sea bass and much more.

DAY 3 – Aurangabad

After a sumptuous breakfast the Deccan Odyssey arrives into Aurangabad.  With each new place visited there’s yet another incredible welcome, with more traditional Indian dancers and musical performers.

We also got taken to a room to have traditional turbans fitted.  They are a vibrant orange in colour, capturing yet again the vibrancy of colours in India. I think I carried it off quite well! ????

We then headed out to visit the extraordinary Ellora Caves, a World Heritage Site.  You cannot believe the sight that welcomes you on arrival, with over 100 caves carved into the side of the basalt cliffs. They are one of the finest examples of cave-temple architecture in the world and it felt like I had stepped onto an Indiana Jones movie set!

We then returned to the train to savour lunch before heading to our next destination.

DAY 4 – Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves is also a World Heritage Site, over 30 caves carved into the most magnificent green hills. You also meet monkeys, there to keep you company as you wander round the site.  Again, it features Buddhist carvings that took my breath away.

DAY 5 – Kolhapur

Today we had a free morning, to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and look forward to the next adventure on this incredible trip.

We disembarked from the train around lunchtime and drove into Kolhapur. Here we visited the New Palace Museum, a basalt and sandstone octagonal palace from the 19th century, then visited the neo-Gothic Town Hall Museum.  We later stopped at the local market to visit a Kolapuri chappal workshop where you could purchase some genuine Indian leather sandals, some of the most comfortable in the world.  We then got to enjoy a vibrant folk performance with high tea.

The highlight of the day ended at the 1,300-year-old Mahalakshmi temple to witness the riot of colours in the complex and see this unique temple with the locals.  We then saw the most amazing traditional martial arts performance (called mardani khel), which was truly spectacular as we had front row seats!

Day 6 – GOA

We were greeted on arrival with green foliage, palm trees and the feel of the tropics.

We drove to the Fontainhas – the Latin Quarter in Panjim – which has preserved houses built in a Portuguese-style of architecture and is another World Heritage Site.

Next stop was the Sahakari Spice Plantation for a traditional Goan Feast and a tour round the plantation.  We also visited an old Portuguese house and got spoilt with high tea and local afternoon tea, perfect for our British love of a good ol’ cuppa!

We got time to see the beach and sunset and dip our feet in the Arabian Sea, taking in the warmth of the sun and feeling thankful for such wonderful memories of an incredible journey.

Day 7 – Sindhudurg

This was our final stop and our last day on board the train.

We visited the village of Pinguli and Sawantwadi Palace, with lunch at the palace with a Mahajara and his family and a performance by local artists from this coastal region of Maharashtra.

We arrived back to a complimentary gift of a sari for a fantastic Bollywood evening on the train, with the chance to kick off your shoes to some Indian dancing with the staff and share our wonderful experiences with other passengers.

DAY 8 – Back to where it all began in Mumbai

Today we left the train, with all the staff waiting outside to wave us off – a very emotional farewell.

Our guide at the beginning of the trip gave us a walking tour of Mumbai and the chance for some free time to get last minute souvenirs for friends and family back home. This was followed by the most incredible lunch at the Khyber restaurant, which has a setting of a cave.  This seemed appropriate after our visits to some of the most awe-inspiring caves in the world, and is also a celebrity hangout and a highly recommended restaurant in Mumbai.

We checked-in for our last night in Mumbai at the Trident Hotel and dinner at the Oberoi, one of the most exquisite hotels in Mumbai.  It was soon time to head to the airport to return to London after what I can only describe as an unforgettable trip of a lifetime.

The Deccan Odyssey features in five itineraries, the most well-known being the classic Golden Triangle.

Please see the list below – there’s an itinerary to suit everybody!

Deccan Odyssey Itineraries

  • Hidden Treasures of Gujurat – A truly off-the-beaten-track itinerary, round trip from Mumbai – our shining star Aditi’s favourite itinerary!
  • Indian Sojourn – The perfect itinerary for newbies to India – Mumbai to Delhi via Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ranthambore and Agra.
  • Jewels of the Deccan – Round trip from Mumbai, featuring the caves we visited, Hyderabad and Hampi (UNESCO World Heritage Site, the group of monuments that we discussed after our Deccan talk).
  • Maharashtra Splendour – The itinerary for my trip.
  • Maharashtra Wild Trail – A bit of overlap with our itinerary, but featuring the Taj Mahal Replica and with a Game Drive at the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

If you have ever wanted to travel to India in style, luxury and with everything fully taken care of with seamless effort and superb guides, and to stay in one place without continual unpacking and packing as you move to different hotels, then this could be for you!  It really gives you the chance to travel so far and off the beaten track, which would be incredibly challenging any other way.

We travelled over 2,200km in comfort and relaxation, and got to parts of India that others do not get the chance to see, with the chance to meet other guests and enjoy a G&T, reminiscing about the day you have just had and the days ahead.

It was a truly unique experience and one that I’ll never forget.

So if you’re considering a trip to India, either by train or plane,  please call me on 0121 213 0012 or email [email protected] for help in choosing the right trip to India for you. Plus, as Cox and King  specialists, we can offer you the very best prices with extras and exclusive benefits! Take a look at what other customer say about us on TrustPilot!

I hope to help you experience the colours, sights and sounds of India very soon!

-Deana Manser, Senior Travel Consultant.

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