The Far Horizon Magazine

A Kerala Sojourn Meets India’s Most Luxurious Train Journey

To get to really know Kerala, one must first understand her waterways – the lifeline of the entire region. There’s no better way to enrich oneself than to truly comprehend the life of the people of the land. And what better way to visit them at close quarters than in awe-inspiring river cruise boats – it’s like having a floating home on the water.

With this journey, we’ve curated a route that allows travellers to truly understand what life in Kerala, especially by the backwaters, is really like. The experience is then further embellished with an adventure on the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” – the Maharaja Express.

Travellers get to embark upon an immersive holiday through God’s Own Country, Kerala while also exploring different parts of India whilst aboard the Maharaja’s luxurious quarters on wheels.

The Maharaja Express

The Maharaja Express won the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” award at the World Travel Awards for five consecutive years from 2012 to 2016.
It has redefined the luxury travel experience by offering guests the opportunity to explore fabled destinations providing a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of Incredible India.

The Journey

The Maharaja Express takes travellers through the culturally rich states of Kerala, Rajasthan, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and more. Depending on the sort of journey one wants, the Kerala Sojourn can be combined with any one of several different Maharaja Express journeys. 

Guests can look forward to the following:

Amber Fort, Jaipur
  • Visiting ancient fortresses from different eras such as the glorious Ratnadurg which is surrounded by the Arabian sea on three sides, Amber Fort in Jaipur, and the Fatehpur Sikri in Agra.
  • Galavanting around the beach haven of Goa while also seeing first hand, the confluence of Goan and Portuguese culture.
  • Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi. This is a sight with stunning manmade wonders. Observe the group of monuments made from stone, covering a vast expanse of an area.
  • Exploring one of the largest complexes in South India, the Mysore Palace. It is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore. There are 2 ceremonial halls, well- maintained gardens, several courtyards and other wonderful structures.
Chinese fishing nets, as seen near Cochin
  • Getting an authentic glimpse into the life of locals in and around the city of Cochin by heading to a model Eco Tourism village. Guests also enjoy a ride in a tuk-tuk and understand the coir industry which sustains many.


The Vaikundam

Rated the first Eco-Friendly boats in Kerala by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of Kerala. RV Vaikundam is river cruising boat that is a class apart. It has nine well-appointed cabins with attached bathrooms on the lower deck and, a well-functional kitchen, air-conditioned and exquisitely set dining hall and open lounge on its upper deck.

Vaikundam is a modified version of the traditional Kettuvallom or rice barges of the past. The rooms are made using wooden panels, bamboo poles and bamboo mats, following the traditional practices but contain all modern amenities.

What makes Vaikundam different from other large boats in the backwaters is, being a single hull and long boat instead of a catamaran, it still manages to go into the narrow canals to experience the life of the people of the backwaters.

The wooden hull of the boat is made by joining planks of local wood ‘Aanjili,’ using strong coir rope on the segments above the waterline. The wood is coated with a caustic black resin made by boiling cashew kernel and fish oil. The wood is periodically treated with the Neem oil and Fish oil.

The experience on board is well summed up by the former Prime Minister of India, Late Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee in his comment “A Day to be Remembered”. He wrote this in the guest book of the Vaikundam, during a short sojourn on the backwaters when he was the Prime Minister of India.

Highlights of the Kerala sojourn can be found here. 

From paddy fields to aquatic wildlife, and from cultural immersion to luxury – this journey combining the luxurious Vaikundam and the Maharaja Express truly has it all.

Note: If you’d like to look at a detailed itinerary of the journey, you can click here. Alternatively, if you’d like to reach out to us at Far Horizon India to customise this experience for you, please feel to contact us here.

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