India, the land of myriad hues and colours, never fails to surprise you. The seventh largest nation in the world–bounded by the great Himalayas in the north and caressed by the foaming Indian Ocean in the south–India is a haven for the tourists.
Its rich flora and fauna; thousands of year old cultures and traditions; delicious cuisines; awe-inspiring forts and havelis of a bygone era; majestic monuments and historical palaces whose each crevice whispers in your ears the tales of valor and chivalry of the erstwhile warriors and rulers; friendly and smiling people; and pristine and beautiful sea beaches–inspire the tourists to visit this beautiful country time and again.
Many travellers come to India to cleanse themselves and find the true meaning of their life through spiritual and religious tours. Many others come here to have the first-hand experience of the throbbing and pulsating India, while many others come here just to have some fun and enjoyment in peaceful, sylvan surroundings. The purpose may be different but the destination remains the same: India. Certainly, which other countries in the world can offer so many surprises and attractions?
India could be explored through various means, by making use of the many major travel routes that interconnect majority of the tourist hotspots of the country. Several attractive tour packages suiting all budgets, and cooperative tour operators and travel agencies ensure that travellers to the country visit the many destinations of their choice without facing any problem.
Luxury India Trains, as the name suggests, come with luxuries befitting the rajas and the maharajas of the bygone era, and give the tourists the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the wonder that is India in the best possible way.
Such trains are different from the others in the sense that they cater to only the most discerning–mainly those who are rich and famous. What really sets such trains apart from the others is that they greatly pamper the visitors making them feel like Maharajas while they explore the various tourist hotspots of the country scattered in the various states.
Presently, India offers five luxury trains, namely, Palace On Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Heritage On Wheels, Fairy Queen and Golden Chariot. These trains that come with all the major facilities and luxuries that the wealthiest of travellers can think of take the visitors on royal tours to some of the famous tourist hotspots of the country.
Palace On Wheels
Palace On Wheels is the best luxury train on offer. Perhaps, the best luxury train in the world, the Palace On Wheels, is only for those quality-conscious travellers who aren’t ready to compromise on luxury and comfort. The train that operates from September to April takes the tourists on a wonderful journey through the various attractive destinations that they remember all their life.
Covering the three states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan the train gives the tourists the chance to have an insight into the cultural, architectural, natural and traditional facets of many regions. The memorable train journey starts from Delhi and takes the travellers to Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Bharatpur and Agra before bringing them back to the national capital.
Delhi, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh and Udaipur are some of the major Indian cities much renowned for their many imposing monuments, forts and other landmarks that show Indian architecture at its best. Jodhpur–bedsides being renowned for its monuments–is also world famous for its Bird Sanctuary. And, Agra is popular for one of the Seven Wonders of the World–the one and only Taj Mahal.
The train has 14 AC saloons with each saloon having four cabins complete with all modern facilities. The two kitchen cars of the Palace On Wheels–Maharaja and Maharani–serve mouth-watering cuisine ranging from Rajasthani to Chinese to Continental. Laundry, barber and parlour facilities on offer onboard superbly compliment the other services on offer. The Khidmatgars (servants) ensure that the visitors are served in the true Hindustani style, in the best possible way.
Yet another luxury train, the Deccan Odyssey, takes the visitors through the various tourist places of the Indian states of Maharashtra and Goa. The sleek blue luxury train with 21 state-of-the-art coaches complete with all modern facilities can give even the more famous luxury train, Palace On Wheels, a run for its money when it comes to unmatched style, luxury and comfort.
The Deccan Odyssey, which can accommodate 104 passengers, has a well-stocked library, gymnasium, beauty parlour, an ayurvedic body massage centre, and a bar among a host of other facilities. The well-maintained bar car attached to the train offers a variety of international and national brands of finest liquor to the passengers.
On a seven-day sojourn, the train takes the tourists to several forts, beaches, palaces, besides the financial capital of India, Mumbai. The exciting train journey commences from Mumbai and covers Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa, Pune, Aurangabad, Ajanta and Nasik before chugging its way back to Mumbai.
Heritage On Wheels
The huge popularity of Palace On Wheels inspired the Indian government to introduce yet another luxury train to cover the desert state of Rajasthan. The new train, Heritage On Wheels–a joint venture of Indian Rail and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation–covers the Bikaner and Shekhawati region of Rajasthan and has become a huge hit.
The train having 14 deluxe coaches comes equipped with all modern facilities that are the hallmarks of such luxury trains. The two pantry cars of the Heritage On Wheels-Maharaja and Maharani-serve delicious cuisine to the passengers who relish them while the train snakes its way towards its many destinations.
Many passengers after enjoying the sumptuous cuisine settle in the bar-cum-lounge of the luxury train that offers many famous Indian and international brands of liquor. Heritage On Wheels begins its journey from Jaipur and takes the passengers to Bikaner, Haat, Gajner, Taal Chhapar, Ramgarh and Nawalgarh before coming back to the state capital.
This is yet another luxury train that makes visiting tourist hotspots in India a pleasurable experience for the rich and quality conscious tourists. Operational from October to March, the Fairy Queen commences its journey on the second and the fourth Saturdays of the month. This heritage train has a 50-seater AC coach. It begins its journey from Delhi and goes to Alwar and Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary on a two day-one night journey before returning back to the national capital.
The main attraction of Fairy Queen is that it’s run by the oldest locomotive in regular operation in India. The passengers enjoy the sight of the locomotive sitting behind a large glass window in the train.
The pantry car attached to the train serves mouth-watering cuisine to the passengers.
Fairy Queen is mainly for the lovers of wildlife as it takes them to Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary and gives them the opportunity to enjoy jeep safari in the wilds of the sanctuary and have a rendezvous with the big cat, the tiger. There’s something for the culturally inclined passengers also. Cultural programmes are organised at the grand Sariska Palace.
The Golden Chariot
The Karnataka Tourism Development Corporation run Golden Chariot is the latest in the fleet of luxury train services in India and covers the various destinations within Karnataka.
Taking its name from the stone chariot of the Hampi ruins, the Golden Chariot starts its journey from the state capital Bangalore, proceeding to Srirangapatnam, Mysore, Kabini Sanctuary, and Shravanabelagola. From here, it leaves for Belur which is associated with 11th century Hoysala architecture, Halebidu, Hampi, Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal and Shravanabelagola, before culminating in Goa.
The itinerary enables a viewing of palaces, wildlife and beaches. The Golden Chariot promises a golden experience with privacy, comfort and a host of lively attractions all through the seven-night-and-eight-day journey.
The train’s interiors have been inspired by the opulence of Mysore and Hoysala architecture, and each of the cabins is equipped with wi-fi, LCD TV, writing desk and a wardrobe. A lounge bar and two restaurants (Nal and Ruchi), a business centre and wellness facilities (a spa and a gym) are also onboard.
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