Christine Lee speaks to Sunil Tarneja, General Manager Maharajas’ Express about the experience and luxury on-board this train.
How has the Maharajas’ Express lived up to the image of royalty?
Maharajas’ Express has been voted the most luxurious train in the world for four years continuously since 2012 onwards. This in itself speaks for the train which, since commercial run in 2010-2011, in the shortest possible time achieved the pinnacle of luxury accolades. Just like the Maharajas’ of India, this train also gives direct and indirect employment to nearly 3400 families it touches through its various routes, so the villages, cities and it’s extended families await its arrival every year for a prosperous future, truly like a Maharaja.
The government’s goal in creating these amazing itineraries?
The itineraries were designed keeping in mind the need of the discerning travellers who are in need of a single pack and unpack solution and yet visit the best tourist cities and states which they like to visit. So our depth in the product itineraries will have the Golden Triangle, Tiger sanctuary, desserts, palaces, dances, cuisines and colours of India, for the guest to choose from all under one roof.
The factors that go in to make Maharajas’ Express a success?
The investments for Maharajas’ success are just three: Quality, Consistency, Always. The challengeslike any rolling stock are to deliver and achieve a zero error, zero complaint guest experience always,where the means don’t matter but the satisfaction index does.
The difficult task of capturingthe diversity of India within the itineraries?
India being the great country cannot be encapsulated even with a persistent travel for years, but we have tried to keep the ancient and modern India alive by installing a panorama mix of heritage and splendour of our gems and treasure. The names of our itineraries ref lect this.
The ideal Maharajas’ Express traveller profile?
Luxury is a niche segment and a very select few like to be in this club, but once in, they are the travellers who move on recommends of other members of the club. There is no shortcut to be in this club, and people who reach here are only there because they know, understand and enjoy luxury. Our ideal target groups are single women traveller, alumni associations, tourism boards associates and niche Mice segment of CXO, CEO, CMO etc.
How does Maharajas’ Express go about addressing the needs of its international guests?
The needs of each traveller is different even within the country and more so internationally. Our team has thus been trained by experts to cater to all such needs at ease. There are members who speak different languages to make guest at ease, we have all round kitchen teams who can make food served on the table from about 50 countries at any given point of time. We also customise the guests learning by arranging Vedic sessions, astrologer sessions, Bollywood dancing and our Tour Directors deliver interactive mythology and historical sessions.
Attention to safety in a luxury environment?
We have ample security for our guest. Onboard, we have security personnel and CCTV in all areas, dog squads’ checks are mandatory and so are various checks which are done pre boarding. We also have local Police, GRP and Railway Protection Force which does pre and post check at every station of our visit. To add we have a paramedic on board travelling along with the guests for any minor attending as a precaution.
My personal favourite journey…
Our insight into India is ancient so I like to recommend my personal favourite route of “The Indian Panorama” as this covers all the cities that a high end traveller usually has on their bucket list; Jaipur, Agra, Ranthambore, Gwalior, Khajurao, Varanasi, Lucknow and Delhi.
What do train journeys do best for travellers?
To say it in one word “Connect”.
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