India’s Palace on Wheels

by Atula Gupta on November 10, 2009 · 76 comments

If seeing royalty and their affluent lifestyles makes you wish to be a king or Queen, you can do just that, in India, in the Palace on Wheels. This super luxury train has been conceptualized keeping in mind the ardent wish of many tourists who are attracted to the rich cultural treasure of India and also the opulent life of the Maharajas who once ruled the country.

The Palace on Wheels plies from Delhi via Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra then back to Delhi. While all these places encompass a wide variety of natural, historical and ethnic attractions, the journey on the train itself, is something of a majestic treat. Because once on board, you are no more a person of the 21st century, but an honorary guest who deserves to be treated like any other King of the bygone era.

Welcome! courtesy Bahadur Singh, Indien from Flickr

Welcome! courtesy Bahadur Singh, Indien from Flickr

 

Luxurious entourage

The train begins its journey every Wednesday of the week from Delhi. After a day’s visit to various attraction of the National capital, the guests enter the train with much fanfare and a royal welcome. The luxurious cabins are in stark contrast to the other passenger trains of India and easily remind one of a typical Indian palace setting. And the best thing is, although the look is historical the amenities provided to the guest are at par with any modern facilities around the world.

Coaches

There are 14 coaches of the Palace on Wheels and each coach has been named after a former Rajput state, with even the interiors, the décor, matching that of the royal past and suiting the aesthetics of the state. Each saloon has a mini pantry and a lounge to ensure availability of hot and cold beverage, refreshments and a place to relax and get together.

The rooms are lavishly done and make one forget that you are indeed sitting in a train. Wall-to wall carpeting, custom made furniture, music, intercom, the chambers have a distinct aura of regality.

Lavish Interiors. Courtesy Bahadur Singh, Indien from Flickr

Lavish Interiors. Courtesy Bahadur Singh, Indien from Flickr

Restaurant

The train has two lavish restaurants “The Maharaja” and “The Maharani” with a Rajasthani ambience serving palate tickling Continental, Chinese, Indian and Rajasthani cuisines. For those new to the Indian way of dining, the 8 day journey is also a good way to appreciate the varied delicacies of this part of the world.

There is also a bar offering the choicest of spirits and a library with varied collection of books.

The Itinerary

Day 1 begins in Delhi and by late afternoon after a tour of the city and lunch, guest board the train.

Day 2 is for Jaipur, the pink city with its magnificent palaces and thrilling shopping experience. The folk dancers only add to the typical Rajasthan feel of the journey.

Day 3 is a favorite with nature-lovers as it is on this day when the train halts at Sawai-madhopur. Here there is the Ranthambore tiger reserve; the den for tigers and also 24 other species of mammals and 300 species of birds.  With a fort in the background, some beautiful lakes in the foreground and a forest in between, you can’t ask for more for some amazing photo opportunities here.

Day 3 is also reserved for Chittorgarh, which has one of the largest forts of India built in the 5th -8th century.

Day 4 into the journey takes you to Udaipur, the lake city which enchants with the city palace and the dream-like palace on lake seemingly floating on the blue water.

Palace on Lake, courtesy Geoff McGrath from Flickr

Palace on Lake, courtesy Geoff McGrath from Flickr

Day 5 has sun, sand and sensational architectural marvels in the form of the fort of Jaisalmer. The city is the western most desert city with a prominent place in history as the passage to Persia, Africa and other trading countries. Must-see here: the sand dunes, Must-do: the camel ride.

Day 6 takes you to Jodhpur where stands the omnipresent Mehrangarh Fort. It is also home to Umaid Bhavan Palace a grand historical monument that still breathes regality anywhere you see. This palace has 347 rooms and partly still serves as the Royal residence of the Maharaja.

Day 7 you are in Bharatpur where stands the Lohargarh, or Iron Fort. This is the only fort in the state to have bastions of mud, which proved meritorious because they simply swallowed up the cannon shells not allowing them to impact.
The Ghana National Park one of the finest bird sanctuary in the world is also a treat, with over three hundred species of birds, many of them migrant that come from parts as distant as Siberia and China.

Day 7 also takes you to Agra, where stands the most beautiful mausoleum of love known to man: the Taj Mahal. It is as grand as it has been made to sound and as beautiful. The more you see this white structure the more you are convinced that angels must have come to earth to create this mammoth beauty.

Taj Mahal. courtesy Anmol Bhalla from Flickr

Taj Mahal. courtesy Anmol Bhalla from Flickr

Day 8 you arrive back to Delhi with a long cherished dream to lead an aristocratic life fulfilled on the Palace on wheels.

To know more about this royal treat visit,

 http://www.palaceonwheels.net/new/home.htm

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