The land of numerous kingdoms with an intriguing saga of palatial forts and diverse cultures, Rajasthan is famous for its timeless architecture and imperial life. Magnificent palaces and courtyards are testimony to those glorious reigns of mighty Rajasthani rulers. Lamentably, the reign of the kings is no more. The comfort of their royalty, however, can still be experienced through the plush, royal train rides across the royal state.
The 4th largest railway network in the world, Indian Railways along with Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) operate a number of luxury trains throughout the country, out of which 3 traverse through the state of Rajasthan, namely Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and the Maharajas’ Express.
1. Palace on Wheels: It was India’s first pan-country luxury train and began its journey on 26th January, 1982. Run by the Indian Railways and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, the train has 14 salons in total, each designed to reflect the grandeur of the bygone Rajputana kingdom. Rated among the best luxury train journeys in the world, the journey begins at Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi and comes back to the capital after passing through Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra (in this specific order). The journey lasts for 8 days and 7 nights and passes through some of the most prominent historical cities in northern India. Journey highlights:
– Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
– 7th Century Chittorgarh Fort (a UNESCO world heritage site)
– City Palace, Udaipur
– Amber Fort, Jaipur
– Sandstone Haveli, Jaisalmer
2. Royal Rajasthan on Wheels: Launched in January 2009, this luxury ride is modeled on the Palace of Wheels and is a more luxurious and spacious version of it. Embroidered in contemporary royalty and affluence, the train features exquisite interiors and fabulous service and is a heritage train oozing out luxury and vibrancy. It follows a similar route to the Palace on Wheels and lets you witness the vivid state of Rajasthan. Some highlights that would remain etched in your mind forever:
– Amber Fort, Jaipur
– Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
– Ranthambore National Park
– Boat Cruise, Udaipur
– Taj Mahal, Agra
3. Maharajas’ Express: Maharajas’ Express is among the most expensive luxury trains in India and was launched by the Indian Railways as recently as 2012. It features six carriages for junior suites, five for deluxe cabins, two for grand suites and one for the Presidential Suite. The opulent train also features wall to wall carpeting, deluxe tapestry, furnishings and upholstery. Maharajas’ Express covers 5 itineraries namely, The Indian Splendour, The Heritage of India, Treasures of India, The Indian Panorama and Gems of India, all of which either begin or end in Delhi and moves through Agra.