Luxury Trains around the world are recreating an age of gracious traveling lost in time. Most of us would have heard About the Orient Express made a legend by Agatha Christie. But how many of us know that India has its own share of great rail journeys.
Luxury train traveling in India started with Palace on Wheels on 26th January 1982 and the high point was reached this year as Maharajas’ Express was voted World’s Leading Luxury Train at World Travel Awards; beating the likes of Venice-Simplon Orient Express and the Rovos Rail of Africa. Mentioned below are top 4 great rail journeys in India to make you feel like a maharaja.
1. Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels is the first luxury train to be introduced in India. It was launched to promote international tourism in Rajasthan. This luxury train was composed of the original carriages used by Nizams and maharajas of India to invoke Rajasthan’s royal heritage.
During its 7 night itinerary the Palace on Wheels cover former princely provinces in Rajasthan which include Jaipur, Ranthambore, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bharatpur. This luxury train also halts in Agra for sightseeing tour of Taj Mahal.
Interiors with ethnic motif and traditional hospitality recreate an age of elegant train traveling as once practiced by former Maharajas. The tour packages were crafted to bring out the royal legacy of Rajputana through visits to forts, palaces and former royal hunting grounds.
Palace on Wheels became a huge success garnering many international acclaims and accolades. It has been also voted 4th best Luxury Train in the World.
2. Maharajas’ Express
Maharajas Express is the latest and most luxurious train in India. It is the only luxury train in Asia to be voted World’s Leading Luxury Train. Launched in 2010 by IRCTC, Maharajas’ Express offers 5 journeys cutting across state borders in India.
Maharajas’ Express comes with most spacious accommodation in its class. It also houses one of its kind Presidential Suite spanning over an entire carriage. This suite comes equipped with a master bedroom, living area, kitchenette and a bathroom fitted with bathtub.
All guest cabins come equipped with attached toilets, Wi-Fi internet, individual climate control, writing desk and electronic safe. Additionally, Suites also have large wardrobes, mini bar, direct dial phones and live television and audio/video dock.
What makes Maharajas’ Express unique is an array of cultural interactions at select destinations. It includes activities such as:
- Exhibition Elephant Polo Match in Jaipur in which guests could even participate
- Lunch and High teas with royal families in their palaces
- Folk performance and sundowner champagne in the sand dunes of Bikaner
- Royal Diner in Lucknow with the family of Nawabs.
3. Deccan Odyssey
The Deccan Odyssey is an offering of Maharashtra Tourism. Launched to replicate the success of its Rajasthani counterpart Palace on Wheels, the Deccan Odyssey offers weeklong rail tour along the Konkan Coast and the Western Ghats covering cultural destinations along the way. The train also makes a detour of Goa to offer a slice of sun and sand.
Dressed in its blue livery, the Deccan Odyssey covers World Heritage Site of Ajanta & Ellora, Pristine beach of Tarkali and Sindhudurg, Cultural hub Nashik and Kolhapur and tiny emerald Goa.
To maintain high standard of traveling, Deccan Odyssey has a spa, fine dining, multiple lounge cars, butlers, libraries and two presidential suites. The train has total passenger capacity of 88.
4. The Golden Chariot
The Golden Chariot is the only luxury train offering scenic rail journey across South India. The train offers 2 signature journeys named Pride of the South and Splendor of the South. Whereas Pride of the South focuses on showcasing Karnataka Tourism, Splendor of the South also includes destinations from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry with focus on South India as a whole.
The interiors of the train are evocative of the Mysore and Hoysala traditions. Each guest carriage is named after a different dynasty which held sway over this Dravidian region during a particular era. Elegant décor, modern amenities and gracious hospitality ensure a world class experience on board.
The itineraries of the Golden Chariot has been tailored to offer a dash of heritage, history, culture, wildlife and the modern facet of the South Indian region. Included in the journeys is tour to world heritage sites, beaches, temples, cultural performances, beaches and backwaters of Kerala.