Anything is possible on a train: a great meal, a binge, a spa session, a cards game, DJ night, an interaction with a stranger or a good night’s sleep. Am I kidding??? No, not at all.
For many of us Indian railways often described as “transport lifeline of the nation” are synonymous with huge crowds, horns and sounds like “chai garam garam chai”, “pani ki bottle” and “coolie”. But here in this blog i would like to reveal the other less known side of the Indian Railways exuding Indian aura, Heritage and culture in an extravagant style.
Wanna get transported magically into the royal world of the Maharajahs,spend some days in opulence and 5 star hospitality amidst gastronomical fanfare and stunning ambience without any hurries to reach the destination and instead savour every moment of travel as a lifetime memory????? Then a journey on one of the luxury trains Of India should be on your bucket list. The regal trains which are especially meant for the affluent travelers are uber means of transport traversing through exotic plains, beautiful landscapes while exploring the unparalleled true essence of India. Lets have a look at the list of these luxurious trains of India.
The Maharajas Express train is the most precious gem in the crown of Indian Railways offering once in a lifetime experience to its passengers. It is aptly named as “Maharajah express” as every passenger onboard lives life Kingsize for the eight days long journey completely filled with royal hospitality, finest of indulgence soaked in grandeur in a distinct offering and visits the most beautiful destinations of India.
No doubt it has been awarded as the “World’s leading luxury train” for three years consecutively and is the most expensive train of India. The pan- Indian train solely owned by IRCTC runs on five prominent routes from October to April covering Taj Mahal- one of the seven wonders of the world, Khajuraho temples, Ranthambore sanctuary and pious ghats of Varanasi.
Indian Maharaja Train has 14 Guest Carriages namely Moti (Pearl), Manik (Ruby), Heera (Diamond), Panna (Emerald), Neelam (Blue Sapphire) etc. The carriages are beautifully adorned by soft hues palette and intricate carvings, lavish suites with ,high end boutique and panoramic windows for gazing. All cabins have individual temperature control, LCD television sets, DVD players, direct dial telephones, internet, live television and electronic safe-deposit box.The theme restaurants in Luxury train are Peacock Restaurant (Mayur Mahal) and Haveli Restaurant (Rang Mahal).Here,guests are served food in gold silver plated cutlery in elegant décor of the train The Safari Bar serves the finest labels of spirits in imported crystal glasses. Moreover all passengers are protected under insurance cover against natural catastrophes like quake, fire or burglary.
Destinations covered on four routes : Indian Panorama : New Delhi –Jaipur – Ranthambore and Fatehpur Sikri – Agra- Orchha and Khajuraho -Varanasi – Delhi
Indian Splendour : New Delhi and Agra – Agra and Ranthambore – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mumbai
Heritage Of India : Mumbai – Ajanta – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Agra – New Delhi
Treasurers Of India : Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi
Palace on Wheels
Ideally the concept of luxury train was conceptualized and introduced in 1982 with the first and foremost Luxury train- Palace on Wheels. It was designed with utmost regal touch in order to cater for the rulers of the states of Gujarat, British Viceroy and Nizam of Hyderabad. Now it is open to one and all who want to just hop on to a train, lay back in amazing interiors of decked up colourful suites, relish an array of cuisines in remarkable dining area accentuated with elegant lighting and travel to the land of sand dunes and regal palaces.
The 14 coaches of the palace on wheels have been named after the rajput states which were prevalent in the Pre independence area. Red turbaned hospitable staff courteously welcome the guests onboard, escort them to their lavish cabins and every saloon has a personal “Khidmatgar” appointed to give special attention to the needs of the guests. The interiors of this train are basically beautiful canvas depicting the local ethnic touch of Rajasthan with wall to wall carpeting. The two restaurants “Maharaja ” and “Maharani” serve international cuisine. In addition guests can spend their leisure time in either of the two resto bar lounges or pamper themselves in the ayurvedic spa. The excursion originates and settles in Delhi after a journey for 7-8 days during the period of September- April.
Destinations covered: Delhi (Lotus temple, Humayuns tomb, India gate, Qutab Minar) -Jaipur (Amber fort, city palace, hawa mahal, jantar mantar) – Udaipur (Lake Picchola, jag niwas) – Swai Madhopur (Ranthambore national park) – Chittorgarh (Chittorgarh fort)- Jaiselmer (Yellow sandstone fort) – Jodhpur (Mehrangarh fort, palaces, shopping markets) – Bharatpur (Water bird sanctuary) – Agra (Taj Mahal) – Delhi
Price range – 4,23,600 – 10,00,000/- + taxes based on season and choice of rooms for Indian nationals.(complete 7 day package)
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels is an upgraded classy replica of the “Palace On Wheels” personifying the word” luxury” in all terms. It has been designed and operated by RTDC (Rajasthan tourism development corporation) with an astonishing capability of navigating 88 passengers through imperial cities of Desert state as they get pampered like prince and princess. The coaches have been named after the regal palaces of rajasthan. Guests can comfortably stay in the 14 “Luxury Inn” cabins, relax at the exemplary study table, dine at any of the two regal restaurants Swarn Mahal or Sheesh mahal, enjoy spa at the royal spa coach or shop at the theme based royal souvenir coach. The train operates from October – March and the tour is for a 7-8 days period covering major attractions of Rajasthan. As of now the train has stopped operating and its coaches are used for palace on wheels.
Destinations covered: New Delhi- Jodhpur (Jaswant thada and Mehrangarh fort) – Udaipur (Fots and palaces )- Chittorgarh (Rana Kumbha palace , Vijay stambha) -Sawai Madhopur (ranthambore national park, mahadeo temple) – Jaipur (Palaces, shopping market ) – Khajuraho (Temples) – Varanasi (Ganga Ghats ) – Agra (Taj Mahal ) – New Delhi
The Deccan Odyssey
When it comes to luxury talking, why would Maharashtra and Goa lag behind ? A Beautiful addition to the list of luxury trains is the Decan Odyssey” where imaginations come into reality. Owned and operated by MTDC, the luxurious train is capable of magically transporting you into a golden era unfolding the picture of ironic legacy of India. It was started to boost tourism in Maharashtra while highlighting the Konkan route.
The 21 rich indigo colored carriages of the train are well adorned with royal cabins (elegant beds,plasma TV and internet), high tech conference cart, lounges, cafeterias, bar, mini gymnasium, and health spa coaches. The coaches are named after various regions of Maharashtra and are inspired from different royal eras of Maharashtra ruled by diverse dynasties.The train traverses for 7-8 days through 6 routes and the passengers can always gaze at the enthralling landscapes of Maharashtra through the scenic window arrangements. A journey on this train is a dream come true for every voyager.
Destinations covered: Six routes
Maharashtra Splendor: Mumbai – Nasik – Ellora Cave – Ajanta Caves – Kolhapur – Goa – Ratnagiri – Mumbai
Indian Odyssey: Delhi – Sawai Madhopur – Agra – Jaipur- Udaipur- Vadodara– Ellora Caves – Mumbai
Hidden Treasures of Gujarat: Mumbai – Vadodara – Palitana – Sasan Gir – Somnath – Little Rann of Kutch – Modhera – Patan – Nashik – Mumbai
Indian Sojourn:Mumbai – Vadodara – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Agra – Sawai Madhopur – Jaipur – Delhi
Jewels of the Deccan: Mumbai – Bijapur – Aihole – Pattadakal – Hampi – Hyderabad – Ellora Caves – Ajanta Caves – Mumbai
Maharashtra Wild Trail: Mumbai – Aurangabad –Ramtek – Tadoba – Ajanta – Nashik – Mumbai
Price – 5,00,000 – 11,50,000 based on room type and occupancy and routes chosen
If you wanna discover seamless seashores, picturesque scenery and take a tour through the regal era of South indian dynasties as you travel in luxury and get pampered, then you need to know in detail about Golden Chariot train. Tinted in golden and purple shades, the train itself is capable to give you the feel of the rich culture and heritage of the south.
Golden Chariot operates from october – march for a week’s period. The coaches of this royalty train are named after the splendid empires of Karnataka. In addition to gracious hospitality and professional guides, the train has two dining cars, lounge bar named Madira, mini gym and ayurvedic spa. One of the restaurant onboard is named “Nala” based on the character of a famous cook in the epic Mahabharata and the other is known as “Ruchi” literally meaning flavours” whose interiors are inspired by the royal aesthetics of Hampi and Halebid temples. Moreover the cigar lounge bar is inspired by the 20th century Mysore Palace. Discover the charm of elegant travelling as you explore Dravidian culture, impeccable services, in five-star lavishness on board!
Pride of karnataka : Bangalore- Bandipur – Halebidu – Chikmagalur – Hampi- Badami- Goa- Bangalore
Jewels of South : Benagaluru- Mysore – Hampi – Mahabalipuram – Thanjavur, Chettinad kumarakam – Cochin – Benagluru
Glimpses Of Karnataka : Bengaluru – Bandipur – Mysore – Hampi – Bengaluru
Price range : 300000-560230 based on journey route and occupancy
Fairy queen express
The Fairy Queen, is the oldest Steam Locomotive in the world put up in 1885, and was Certified as the world’s oldest working locomotive by the Guinness Book of World Records making it a heritage luxury train. Even though the train runs for a short duration of 2 days and covers lesser distance as compared to other luxury trains, it does not compromise on the luxury at all. This train offers you a chance to spend time in elegant ambience and gives you a taste of the opulent style of the kings and the queens. The train rambles from Delhi to Alwar from October to March on second and fourth saturdays. It has two coaches and can accomodate 50 people. In addition to visit to the historical monuments of Delhi and Alwar, the tourists visit the sariska wildlife sanctuary.
Route – Delhi – Alwar – Sariska- Alwar – Delhi
Price: Rs. 6,000 – 7000 per person
Royal Orient Train
A royal sojourn the royal orient train is a perfect amalgamation of technology and sophisticatIon while exuding royal majesty. It is run as a joint venture by Tourism govt of Gujarat and IRCTC. A trip on this train undoubtedly lures you into the world of magnificence and indulgence. Developed on the theme of Palace on wheels, it has 13 coaches fully equipped with regal comfy lodging, spa, restaurants, gym, shopping gallery, library and what not. The hospitality of the crew members makes the journey a memorable one. Moreover,every saloon has two attendants offering 24 hrs personal service. The royalty on wheels traverses through the forts of Junagarh, palaces of Jaipur, wildlife sanctuary of Gir, temple of Somnath and stops for desert safaris and other sightseeing tours.
Destination Covered :
Delhi – Chittorgarh or Udaipur –Junagarh or Veraval- Sasan Gir or Dilwara – Palitana- Sarkhej- Ahmedabad- Jaipur- Delhi
Price : INR 20,000 per person
Follow the Buddha’s journey on this Buddhist pilgrim train launched by IRCTC in 2007 by modifying the carriages of an Air-Conditioned Rajdhani Express sleeper train. The train derives its name from ‘Mahaparinirvana Sutra’, which is a final explanation of the Buddha’s teachings. This train journey gives you the experience of soaking the history and culture of the places where the Buddha travelled.
The Mahaparinirvan Express has three types of cabins with 18 first AC berths, 92 two-tier AC berths and 256 three-tier AC berths. Drinking water and tea is offered after short intervals. Scrumptious meals are served from the most hygienic kitchen car. There is also a library for travelers who care to read while traveling. The travelers are assured completely security and service as security guards are present onboard the train and 24 hrs CCTV surveillance is conducted. Although not a luxury train per se, the Mahaparinirvan Express still affords great levels of luxury and comfort to its passengers
Total Cost: INP 62,400-76,800 per person
Journey Duration: 7-8 Days
Destination Covered: New Delhi – Bodhgaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Varanasi – Sarnath – Nautanwa – Lumbini – Kushinagar – Balrampur – Sravasti – Taj Mahal – Delhi
Hope you enjoyed reading my blog as you virtually tavelled in these luxurious heritage trains and the ideas shared increased the respect for our great Indian railways.