The forerunner of luxury trains in India, Palace on Wheels was launched by the Indian government to promote and support tourism in Rajasthan.
The 14 coaches of this train are named after erstwhile Rajputana states, and accordingly are decorated with Rajasthani art and crafts work. The train has recreation amenities as well including a mini pantry, a lounge and also facility of sitting area for enjoying the views of the desert whilst dining.
Palace on Wheels begins its journey on every Wednesday and functions for an entire week leaving the guests back at Safdarjang Train Station, New Delhi early in the morning. This luxury train in India is preferred the most by rich people desiring to enjoy India travel, and thus bookings for the train are done months in advance. Tickets are available on a single, twin and triple sharing basis, and the prices thus differ. However the most convenient way of booking for Palace on Wheels is through agents or opting for online bookings. The train operates throughout the year except for May-July.
The itinerary for Palace on Wheels includes a trip to most fascinating cities in India. The sightseeing tour of these cities provides a preview of Indian culture and lifestyle, including:
Jaipur: In Jaipur the sightseeing tour will include a visit to Hawa Mahal. Also, known as Palace of Winds, this semi- octagonal edifice is an erstwhile regal residence of royal ladies. The city tour will include a visit to an elegant fortification known as Amber Fort followed by visit to Rajasthali- the only Rajasthan Government Emporium which sells exquisite traditional handicrafts. Post lunch visit to City Palace is availed which is followed by a visit to Jantar Mantar a royal observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh II.
Jaisalmer: The sightseeing tour in the city of Thar Desert takes the passengers to various scrupulously fretted mansions or havelis. The tour of the city will include a visit to Nathmalji- Ki- Haveli, Patwon- Ki- Haveli and Salim Singh- Ki- Haveli. Travellers are escorted to Rajasthali at Jaisalmer which is the only Government emporium exhibiting beauteous pattu shawls, famous embroidered articles, silver jewellery and mirror work. A camel ride on the sand dunes of Sam is scheduled for the evening.
Jodhpur: In Jodhpur the sightseeing tour will include first a visit to the famous landmark of the city, Mehrangarh Fort. Visit to grand palaces present inside the fort is scheduled on this day including visit to Moti Mahal, Sheeh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana examples of magnificent architecture. A royal cenotaph, Jaswant Thada is next on this tour of the city. Shopping excursion will provide an opportunity to shop for famous breeches, colourful juttis, silverware and paintings also for dye fabrics.
Sawai Madhopur: On arrival at Sawai Modhopur travellers are taken for a wildlife safari in Ranthambhor National Park. Covering an area of 392 km2 (151 sq mi) Ranthambore National Park is home to a wide variety of carnivorous population.
Chittaurgarh: The sightseeing tour of this city includes visit to renowned Chittaurgarh Fort to explore its regal premises indulging in complete classic splendour.
Udaipur: The City of Palaces, Udaipur will open up a gateway to world’s most extravagant palaces. The sightseeing tour of Udaipur will bring an opportunity to visit Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir situated on the azure waters of Lake Pichola. Post lunch the tour guide takes visitors to view City Palace.
Bharatpur: In the city of birding tour, Bharatpur travellers will visit the renowned Bharatpur National Park. The sanctuary houses verdant flora and numerous species of birds such as Egrets, Siberian Cranes, water birds and various other migratory birds.
Agra: The first halt in Agra will be the red sandstone structure of Fatehpur Sikri to view the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Moving on to Red Fort, travellers will finally reach the ultimate emblem of love, Taj Mahal.
In order to not miss your departure, you might want to play it safe and stay with your group. The streets can prove to be quite confusing.
The luxury coaches of Palace on Wheels reach its final junction at Safdarjung Train Station, New Delhi early in the morning. Later passengers are served morning meal in the train itself. Thereafter one can either opt for cool cabs, local taxis or even for much cheaper auto rickshaw drive for commuting to Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi to catch the flight back home.