Central and North India has had super-luxury trains like Palace on Wheels (Rajasthan) and Deccan Odyssey (Maharashtra) for close to 3 decades. These luxury trains offer a royal treatment with facilities that are as good as a five-star hotel provides.
Keeping this in mind, the IRCTC will run the luxury train, Maharaja Express on two new tour circuits named as ‘Southern Sojourn and ‘Southern Jewels’. The train has lavishly decorated rooms and a presidential suite.
"IRCTC has spent several crores to furnish the interiors like high-end hotels. There are two restaurants on board," a senior official said adding that IRCTC has been getting several inquiries for organising weddings and engagements on the train.
The train has a capacity to host 88 people. An 8-days, 7-nights trip could cost 3.77 lakhs for the Deluxe Cabin and 17.33 lakhs for the Presidential Suite.
Named `Southern Jewels', the tour starts in Trivandrum on July 1 and the train will stop in Karaikudi, Mamallapuram, Hampi and Goa before terminating in Mumbai. The price is inclusive of all meals, sightseeing, complimentary liquor and excursions. Also, passengers will be able to opt for part of the journey by paying a fixed price of 33,250 per day per person.
"This tour package targets the high-end clientele, especially those looking for a different kind of experience within India," said a senior IRCTC official.
IRCTC is also trying to attract the corporate sector with this luxury train as its spacious suites can be used for holding special board meetings. This is being termed meetings incentives, conferences and exhibition (MICE) tourism in the industry. "There would be facilities like internet and LCD screens which can be used to facilitate meetings," the official said.
Packaged with visits to the temple towns of India, the train has attracted reservation by tourists from Australia and Canada, said G Viswanathan, CEO of Footprint Holidays. "Corporates will be interested in the single day (break journey) offer it is positioned well. Short itineraries would work well with the rich and young if the pricing is right," he said.