Indian Railways serves up one of the world’s most amazing travel services. Feeding some 7,000 stations, the network sees 18,000 train doing trips across the country every day. There’s something infinitely romantic, exciting and soothing about travelling by a luxury train in India from one unique destination to another, thanks to its astounding range of topographical splendour. One just needs to step aboard and the journey makes you feel like a King.
India has the largest number of luxury trains on offer, in addition to all those lovely toy trains. Many more luxury trains are in the offing. Today, the visitor can travel to some of the most incredible vacation spots in the country (stopping in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered along the way) by these beautifully appointed trains with their fabulous range of facilities on board, no less than five-star luxury on wheels for some of the world’s most exciting holiday destinations.
Palace on Wheels: The train run by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) is a special tourist train that operates weekly tours of Rajasthan, departing from Delhi every Wednesday from September to the end of April. The train pioneered luxury train traveling in India and during its weeklong trip covers Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur and also Agra. It’s a hell lot of ground to cover in a week, but most of the traveling is done at night.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels: Sibling to the Palace on Wheels, this train is also operated by RTDC and offers a seven nights, eight days exploration of the princely states of Rajasthan along with Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Varanasi and Agra in Uttar Pradesh. During this season (October 2012 – March 2013), the train will make a total of 10 journeys.
Deccan Odyssey: Itinerary features the most popular and charming tourist destinations of Maharashtra and Goa. The 7-day tour includes World Heritage Sites, beaches, sea forts, wine country and more. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Ltd in association with Indian Railways and Ministry of Tourism operate this super deluxe luxury train. Owing to conducive and pleasant weather conditions, this train like other luxury trains in India operates from October to April every year.
Indian Maharajas: Another avatar of Deccan Odyssey, Indian Maharajas, makes the travelers discover Central-North India through Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. In its weeklong journey, the train covers Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, major tourist attractions in Rajasthan and Agra as well. The train runs two journeys, namely Delhi to Mumbai and Mumbai to Delhi, which cover the same destinations but in the reverse order.
The Golden Chariot: The Golden Chariot is run by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, a Government of Karnataka undertaking. It takes you across exotic locations of Karnataka and Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and makes you discover archeological sites of Hampi, Belur, Badami and Pattadakal. Goa’s beaches, Puducherry, Mammallapuram and Kochi backwaters. It runs two journeys namely -Pride of the South and Southern Splendour.
The Maharajas Express: Being the newest luxury train in India and the only one offering 5 exclusive itineraries, Maharajas’ Express is growing in fame and goodwill. It’s the only train, which has the Presidential Suit – speared over an entire carriage. The train that got a green signal in October 2010 is run by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and what makes it stand apart from others are its on board facilities and off train exclusions. Equipped with facilities like elite bars and lounge, beautifully decorated restaurants and a well-trained crew, the train is all set for the new season which starts from the end of Splendour and will continue till April next year.