If the royalty intrigues you and you have an urge. A strong desire to relive the by gone era then there is a viable option you can book your tickets on the palace on wheels. For 7 nights and 8 days you will sure feel like a Maharaja you will be given a treatment befitting a royalty. This is a dream come true. The welcome, the décor, the food, the ambience it all resounds the era long bygone.
Palace on Wheels History
Around 40 years back in 1982 the Rajasthan tourism corporation and Indian railways got together and worked on this idea. The saloons and carriages of the east while kings were refurbished and those were used to make a train befitting the royalty, an itinerary covering the state of Rajasthan was conceived, the royals of India have always been a fancy for the rest of the world. The attire of the royalty, the palaces, the décor of the palaces, the gourmet, the life style of the king were all taken special care while designing the palace on wheels train . The tourist are made to feel like a king and a Queen on their dream rail journey. The attendants are dressed up in traditional dress decked up with rajputani head gear “Safaa”. The idea was very well liked and the journey continues in the twenty first century the train was given a new look in the 2009, the sight of the yellow hued coaches of the palace on wheels reminds nothing but luxury. Today the coaches are all technically very modern but the décor and the interiors of the train still reminds of the legacy of the kings.
How are The Palace on Wheels Coaches?
Palace on wheels has total 23 coaches these coaches are named after the former royal rajput states of the state of Rajasthan. Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Sirohi, Dholpur, Bharatpur, Bundhi, Dipalgarh are the names of the coaches respectively. Every coach has four chambers to accommodate the guests and every set of two chambers have two attendants at duty. The chambers have plush king-sized beds and very modern attach bathrooms and toilets.
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Palace on Wheels Facilities
The bed overlook large windows offering a picturesque view of the country side as the train chugs along. There are two dining coaches called Maharaja and Maharani. These restaurants serve continental, Indian, Chinese cuisine. If you love your spirit then the bar cum lounge is a place for you. The best brands are served here. After a long day the tourist love the hospitality of the restaurant staff another star attraction is an on board Spa.If the tourist desire they can have massage, hair care, manicures, pedicures, facial etc. on board while the journey continues.
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Brief History of Palace on Wheels locomotive
As the train was started in 1982 it was hauled by a steam locomotive named “ Desert queen” later in 1989 the steam locomotive was replaced by a modern diesel locomotive. Recently to relive the by gone era the railways on a 20km stretch employed a steam locomotive UP 7200 “Azaad” this paints a picture of a puffing steam locomotive people have long forgotten. These images immediately connect you with British times when Indian rails were all hauled by the steam engine. The train starts from a not very famous station of Delhi “Safdarjung” this nondescript station is all decked up at 6:30 Pm welcoming the guests with traditional dances, an application of tilak on the face head of the esteemed guest, the band pipes playing a welcome tune. The palace on wheels is one amongst the world’s best five trains.
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Palace on Wheels Itinerary
the train covers not only the most sought after destinations of Rajasthan but also the world famous Taj Mahal. So many famous forts and palaces, the forest reserves of Ranthambore and Bharatpur all cornered in just 7 days in utmost luxury. The journey starts from Safdarjung railway station at 6:30 Pm. The guests are given a royal welcome. The males are offered Turban and the female guests are offered “dupatta” as a mark of respect. The vermillion is applied on the fore head and the garlands. A brief welcome ceremony is held. After the grand welcome the guests are taken to their respective royal chambers. As the night draws the train slowly chugs out of station with the guests on board.
Places Covered by Palace on Wheels
Day 1:- Jaipur- The sun rises in the pink city Jaipur. The guests after the sumptuous breakfast are given a grand welcome at the railway station. The drums are beaten the folk dancers dance to the tunes and the elephants with their trunks up in salute welcoming the esteemed guests. Very comfortable air-conditioned Volvo bus coaches are used as local transport, knowledgeable and experienced guides detail the clients about the famous city Jaipur. The palace of winds – Hawa Mahal, the Amber fort where the guests ride on caparisoned elephants walking to the hilltop. The palace in the lake- Jal Mahal – water palace, the city palace of Jaipur. Jaipur Tour covers all important aspects of Jaipur city, the guests also get an opportunity for shopping at well-known stores of Jaipur. After the hectic day, the guests ride back to their palace on wheels. The train once again moves to the next destination. The royals lead a life of opulence as they had access to money and power but after Indian Independence, the state were corroborated into the Indian union, and the royals were given a privy purse as a sort of compensation later the Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi abolished the privy purse. As tourism prospered some of the royals converted their palaces into five state category hotels today in Jaipur you will have lunch at one such five-star hotel known as Rambagh Palace. The dinner will be hosted at another palace and the guests will be entertained by live performance of folk dancers.
Day2:- The next destination is Sawai Madhopur. This day is reserved for an early morning tiger safari at Ranthambore national park. The park is spread in a huge area of around 400 Kilometers. There is a 12th-century fort on top of a hill in the tiger reserve. This tiger reserve has the highest density of tiger population so the chances of tiger sighting is very high. The forest is divided into zones and the experienced guides very well know the regular movement of the big cats thus they facilitate the sighting of the master predator. Comfortably seated on custom-made vehicles you will enjoy the tiger safari. After the safari, you will once again be welcomed back on your palace on wheels and the train starts the journey in the daytime to Chittaurgarh offering a charismatic view of the Indian countryside. You enjoy your lunch at the onboard restaurant. evening is reserved for a close quarter chat across a serving of favorite foreign liquor in the lounge. The train moves in the dark. As the forest safari is an early morning affair and starts at 6 am in the morning. Guests return back to the train in time for breakfast- the day is good for a date with the onboard luxury spa and the clients can go for a beauty treatment procedure or a simple massage at the fabulous spa.
Day3:- Though the royal welcome at the station lacks the royal elephants but the horse riding lancers sort of make up for the elephants. The day is spentt in exploring the grand chittorgarh fort which is famous for many famous epic saga. The tales of valour very well narrated by the dexterous tour guides. The dinner is at your palace on wheels as it sets on for Udaipur.
Day4:- The sun rises in the Palace on wheels at a railway station of Udaipur, the city of lakes. Numerous tales mesmerizing city palace, gardens, a lunch at the epitome of luxury a palace in the midst of lake pichola certainly the guest enjoy Udaipur. The dinner is served at the restaurants on board. The Maharani restaurant is done in golden hue while the Maharaja restaurant has blue décor with blue tinted glasses and silver cutlery the setting is truly royal and luxury. The palace travels overnight to the golden city Jaisalmer.
Day5:- Now the guests are used to the royal welcome, once again the guests are greeted with folk songs and dances the ladies are applied tilak on the fore head . A tour of the golden fort of Jaisalmer the guides describe all the history and the architecture. The engravings are so intricate and detailed that they appear like being done on wood rather than hard yellow sand stone. The city of Jaisalmer once was en-route the famous silk route and the traders made grand mansions for their personal use. These mansions known as havelis are striking example of art and architecture. The evening is reserved for a sunset across the sand dunes of Sam, the dinner is served around a bon fire made lively by the performances of local Kalbeliya dancers. The palace on wheels once again travels in the night to next destination the blue city of Jodhpur.
Day6:- After a good night sleep the guests wake up to explore the blue city Jodhpur. The high seated fort overlooking the city of Jodhpur – Mehrangarh .it is a sort of never-ending series of rooms with exhibits of the bygone era. Your guide explains the fort in detail. The Jaswant Thada is the cemetry of the royal clan of Jodhpur with memories crafted in white marble. The dexterous craftsmen have showcased their skills. The lunch is at a five star deluxe Hotel- The Umed Bhawan palace another striking example of desert architecture made around 100 years ago to aid the famine struck residents of Jodhpur state. The evening is at leisure and you are driven back to the palace which sets again in motion traveling across the desert to its next destination Bharatpur.
Day7:- Today is another day reserved for the wilderness. The Keoladeo bird sanctuary is a world-renowned bird sanctuary. Famous ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. Mostly migratory birds from cold nations hibernate to north India and stay here till the onset of summers. These winged guests travel thousands of kilometers to reach Bharatpur. The sanctuary is accessed by non-motorized vehicles. Rickshaws pulled by humans drive around five kilometers to the core of Keoladeo national park.
Day 8:- This day is the last day of this magical journey and the best is reserved for the last day. Today after a royal welcome at the Agra railway station you will board your super luxury Volvo buses which will take you to Agra fort. The fort is a majestic monument with some really beautiful palaces, the series of palaces have amazing stories and architecture. Your experienced guide will tell you some very intense interesting stories of the Mughal era. The mystical Taj Mahal is our next destination. The epitome of beauty, the white marble monument of love is the best in beauty on this trail. You will be spellbound as you stand in front of this majestic edifice. If you are interested you can explore some other Mughal monuments in the city of Love. The lunch is hosted at a five-star deluxe hotel. The evening is again at the palace which starts Its journey back to Delhi on the way mementos are presented to the guests as memorabilia. The evening is spent in music and dance and the guests get prepared to part off after a dream week well utilized in exploring the royal Rajasthan.