Whenever we visit any of the magnificent forts or palaces of Rajasthan, the one thing that we all wonder about is – ‘How Amazing it would be to Live a Royal Life?’. After all, who would not want to experience the splendorous palace lives of Kings and Queens? The best way to make your wish come true and live a life of extreme royal luxury is to set on a journey with the Palace On Wheels.
About Palace On Wheels
The Palace On Wheels is one of the most luxurious trains of India. It was launched by the Indian Railways in association with Rajasthan Tourism and Development Corporation to promote tourism in Rajasthan. The Palace On Wheels offers an enchanting royal journey through the bygone era of Maharajas. You can experience living in complete royal style, the kind only the erstwhile Maharajas could have enjoyed.
The train service was renovated and relaunched in August 2009 with the introduction of a new decor, itinerary and cuisines. Palace On Wheels was voted the 4th luxurious train in the world in 2010. It is rated as the top 10 luxury train journeys in the world.
The train sets you on an exciting week-long trip to splendid forts and palaces of Rajasthan. It also takes you to Taj Mahal, Agra, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Palace On Wheels royal journey starts every Wednesday evening at 6PM from Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi and ends on the following Wednesday at 7:30AM early morning.
History and Royal Background of the Palace of Wheels
The Palace On Wheels started on January 26, 1982.
The concept of this luxury train in India came from the royal background of luxurious coaches, which were used by the erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India. After independence, the luxurious personal coaches used by the erstwhile rulers were parked and kept in the state for several years. But then in 1981-82, the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways launched this special heritage train for tourists to experience royal luxury.
Interiors, Luxury and Comfort
The coaches experienced several infrastructural changes over time keeping the aesthetics of the interiors alive. The Palace On Wheels is a completely self-sufficient and fully air-conditioned broad gauges train, which has:
14 deluxe saloons named on the names of the former princely states of Rajasthan – Jaipur, Jodhpur, Alwar, Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Dholpur, Bharatpur, Jaisalmer, Sirohi, Bikaner, Udaipur and Kishangarh.
2 restaurant-cum-kitchen cars offering Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine and the Chef’s special variety of the day
1 bar-cum-lounge serving Indian liquor and a variety of scotch, wine and cocktails
a newly introduced spasaloon offering Ayurvedic massages
Each one of the 14 saloons has 4 cabins attached with bath and shower and facilitated with all modern amenities. The interiors of each saloon reflect the cultural ethos of the Rajasthan state through the handicrafts, furnishings and paintings placed in them. Also each saloon has personal attendants - khidmatgars at your service. You will also get piped music in every saloon along with interesting games to keep your kids involved.
Delhi-based interior designer Monica Khanna did the interiors of this train.
Souvenirs and gifts bearing the crest of Palace On Wheels are also available along with a coffee table book on the history of the train.
Route Map of Palace On Wheels Tour
7 Nights Tour Program – A Week in Wonderland
The Palace On Wheels luxury train follows an itinerary of 7-8days, starting from New Delhi on Wednesday evening and returning back to New Delhi on the following Wednesday morning.
depart from New Delhi
Jaipur Pink City tour
Friday early morning
Sawai Madhopur - Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Chittorgarh – Hill Fort
Udaipur – City of Lakes
Jaisalmer – oasis in the desert
Jodhpur – Heart of Marwar
Tuesday early morning
Bharatpur - Bird Sanctuary
Agra – City of Taj Mahal
return back to New Delhi
Palace on Wheels: A Week in Wonderland
The Palace on Wheels Train Tour is one of the world’s most exciting rail journeys.
Day1 – Wednesday evening – depart from New Delhi
Report by 4:30PM at Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi
The Palace On Wheels train journey starts with a traditional ceremonial welcome, where you will be treated no less than the royals by turban-wearing attendants.
Complete the check-in formalities for Week in Wonderland Train Tour.
Have a photo shoot with the Palace On Wheels Staff dressed in traditional attires.
Your Personal Attendant will escort you to your saloon cabin and brief you on cabin facilities.
Proceed to the Bar-lounge for complimentary welcome drink if you want.
The train departs from Delhi at 6:30PM and dinner is served on board.
Photo shoot after welcome for the Palace On Wheels Journey
Day2 – Thursday – Jaipur Pink City Tour
On reaching the very first stop of the Palace On Wheels Tour, proceed for sight-seeing by 8:30AM in air-conditioned coaches.
Visit local attractions such as the Albert Hall Museum, the City Palace and the sun observatory Jantar Mantar, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get clicked in front of the Palace of Winds Hawa Mahal.
Enjoy an afternoon excursion to the hill fort of Amber Palace, riding up the fort’s steep ramparts on decorated elephants.
Lunch at 1135AD restaurant located in the premises of Amber Fort
Explore the magnificent 16th century Fort Palace featuring a perfect blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture.
Enjoy some free time for shopping around and return to train by 6PM for departure.
Dinner will be served onboard.
Elephant ride on the steep ramparts of the Amber Fort
The train reached Sawai Madhopur Railway Station at 5:30AM early morning.
Proceed at 6:30AM for jungle safari to the Ranthambore National Park in 15 seater canters. Explore the wild side of the place as this tiger reserve is a home to tigers, panthers, sloth bears, pythons, marsh crocodiles, deer and numerous birds. It also houses ruins of ancient forts from the 10th century.
Return back to the train by 9:30AM for departure.
Freshen up. Late breakfast and lunch will be served onboard.
Ranthambore Jungle Safari
Day3 – Friday afternoon – Chittorgarh – Hill Fort
The train reaches Chittorgarh Railway Station at 4PM.
Proceed for an excursion to the 11th century Hill Fort of Chittorgarh, the City of Love and Valour. It is considered one of the largest forts in India and is a World Heritage Site.
Enjoy the evening Light and Sound program organized in the Fort complex.
Return to train for dinner.
The train departs post-midnight.
Chittorgarh Fort – a majestic hill fort in the heart of Mewar
Day4 – Saturday – Udaipur – City of Lakes
The train arrives by 8AM to the picturesque lake city of Udaipur.
Have onboard breakfast and proceed to visit the 17th century City Palace complex of Udaipur, housing 11 constituent palaces, balconies, towers and cupolas.
Enjoy a walk through the Crystal Gallery that exhibits personal collection from the His Highness of Udaipur.
Indulge in a boat ride around the renowned Lake Palace Hotel, which sits atop a small island in Lake Pichola.
Lunch at Palace Hotel
Return to train by 3PM and depart. Dinner onboard
Lake Palace Hotel, Lake Pichola, Udaipur
Day5 – Sunday – Jaisalmer – Oasis in the Desert
Arrive by 9:15AM to Jaisalmer, the Golden Ecstasy and a city of rustic beauty amidst the vast Thar Desert.
Have breakfast onboard and proceed for a leisurely walk through the 12th century built living Golden Fort complex. The fort appears to have come out from some Arabian Nights fable, especially when it glows golden in the afternoon sun.
Enter the fort through a forbidding series of massive gates and visit the five-storey high Patwon ki Haveli that is carved extensively.
A group of beautifully carved 15th century Jain temples is located nearby. They have a library holding some of the oldest manuscripts of India.
Lunch at a 5-star hotel and return to train for some rest
Proceed by 4:30PM for an excursion to the Sam Sand Dunes in the Thar Desert. Camel ride, sunset photo shoot amidst the vast desert expense
Cultural Program and Dinner at 5-star hotel
Return to train by 10PM and depart at 11:45PM
Camel Safari at Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer
Day6 – Monday – Jodhpur – Heart of Marwar
Arrive by 7AM at the station and wake up in the beautiful Blue City of Jodhpur, which is also the second largest city of Rajasthan.
Have breakfast. Proceed by 8:30AM for sightseeing to the Mehrangarh Fort complex perched atop a rocky hill, 125m above the town.
Walk through the Palace, courtyards and visit museum at Umaid Bhawan Palace exhibiting an impressive collection of royal dresses and medieval weapons.
Lunch at Hanwant Mahal Boutique Restaurant
Return back to train and depart at 3:30PM
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Day7 – Tuesday early morning – Bharatpur – Bird Sanctuary
The train arrives by 5AM.
Proceed by 6:30AM to the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, popularly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, which hosts thousands of Egrets, Siberian cranes, migratory Water Fowl and several other species of both local and migratory birds.
Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the national park while watching the different species of birds.
Return to train for breakfast and depart by 8:45AM.
Keoladeo National Park, formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Day7- Tuesday noon – Agra – City of Taj Mahal
The Palace On Wheels drops you at Railway Station on the outskirts of the Agra city at 10:30AM.
Proceed for lunch at ITC Mughal Hotel.
Visit Agra Fort, the seat of the might Mughal Empire from the 16th to early 18th century.
Highlight of the tour - the magnificent Taj Mahal, a flawless architectural marvel built in white marble. It is not only one of the Seven Wonders of the World but also the epitome of love.
Time for some shopping
Get back to the railway station for dinner onboard and depart.
Taj Mahal and the Palace On Wheels
Day8 – Wednesday morning – return back to New Delhi
The Palace On Wheels returns back to Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi by 5:30AM.
Enjoy early breakfast onboard and then start with the check-out formalities at 7AM. Tour Ends.
The Palace On Wheels Journey Ends
Schedule and Tariff
The Palace On Wheels departs on every Wednesday from the Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi. However, the train does not operate from May to August months. To get the detailed schedule of the Palace On Wheels, check - http://www.thepalaceonwheels.com/schedule-tariff.html
The 7 Nights Palace On Wheels Tariff depends on a few things such as:
the month you will be departing
occupancy type – single, double sharing or triple sharing
whether you are an Indian national or a foreign passport holder
10% holiday surcharge extra for Christmas or New Year Eve departs
children less than 5 years, less than 12 years
extra costs for visa arrangements, laundry, spa facilities, tour insurance, etc.
On the lines of same, a function was organized in Birla Auditorium to re-live the feeling of “Dharti Dhora Ri”, the patriotic song of Rajasthan and some other folk songs that have been pillars of Rajasthan folk.