India is a land where Rajputana kings, Nawabs and Nizams ruled before the country gained independence from British Rule. Born and brought up in an environment where extravagance was a tradition, their idiosyncrasy and penchant for lavish lifestyle is still very famous.
Each and every aspect of this luxury train journey is quite similar to what the erstwhile maharajas of India used to practice when they traveled aboard their personal carriages. One such aspect is the royal Indian welcome given to all passengers in the beginning of the luxury rail journey. It includes a traditional red carpet welcome wherein the band musicians offer a royal salute and women clad in saris put a vermilion mark on the forehead and garland around the neck.
Red Carpet Welcome:
‘Roll out the red carpet’, you might have heard this idiom many a times. This idiom is generally used to welcome guests with great hospitality or ceremony. On the first day of the Maharajas’ Express journey, a strip of red carpet is laid for the guests to walk on following their arrival at the railway station. The red carpet lead guests to their respective bogies.
Royal Band Salute:
A group of band musicians, most likely from military, beats the Indian drums (Nagadas) and play trumpet to offer a royal salute to the guests getting on board this luxury tourist train. The band ceremony lasts up to around half an hour.
Vermillion Mark and Garland:
When the ertstwhile Maharajas ventured out for war, conquest or adventure they were garlanded and ladies of the house adorned their forehead with ‘raj tilak’ vermillion mark. This tradition is still followed when someone is about to begin something new and auspicious. Guest traveling on Maharaja Express are treated with same gusto of yore as they embark on a journey of a lifetime.