Climb aboard the legendary Palace on Wheels train for a week-long odyssey recreating the ambiance and glorious past as you travel through the heart of Rajasthan. You will feel like royalty on board one of the top ten luxury trains in the world as you visit little-seen and well-known attractions, including the famous Taj Mahal.
Welcome aboard the Palace on Wheels on its splendid and enchanting royal rail journey through the bygone era of the erstwhile Maharajas. Though times have changed and the winds have shifted, the Palace On Wheels cruises along in royal style, the kind only the Maharajas of yesteryears could have perpetuated and enjoyed.
The exquisite and exclusive Palace On Wheels has luxurious cabins, wall to wall carpeting, a well stocked bar, two dining cars and very personalized service… in fact, almost everything that could promise heaven on earth for seven days!
The Palace on Wheels has been rated one of the ten best luxurious train journeys in the world. Originally the train had 12 fully furnished non-air conditioned saloons, once owned by former Maharajas, Governor Generals and Viceroys of the British period. The Palace on Wheels started as a unique holiday concept hauled by a steam engine with its inaugural trip on January 26, 1982.
In 1991, a new air-conditioned meter gauge Palace on Wheels on the lines of the old heritage train was launched. The interiors of the current 14 saloons are authentic replicas of the historic coaches. Each saloon is equipped with twin-bedded cabins, each with channel music, intercom, with attached baths and running hot and cold water and a shower.
Day 2 – Explore the Pink City – Jaipur
Thursday: The first stop of Palace on Wheels is Jaipur, one of the most well planned cities of the world in its time. This capital city of Rajasthan, popularly known as the Pink City, was founded by Maharaja Swai Jai Singh II in 1727 A.D. To explore the city, an air-conditioned coach takes you to Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds, which is a remarkable five story building along the main street of the old city in pink splendor with semi-octagonal and delicate honeycombed sandstone windows. This is followed by a visit to Amber Fort, eight kms. away, where rides on caparisoned elephants add to the ambiance. Later, you may enjoy shopping for Jaipur’s famous jewelry, handicrafts, carpets, blue pottery and textiles. After lunch at a Palace Hotel, you are off to the City Palace, home of the erstwhile royal family. Right across the road from the City Palace is the Jantar Mantar, the largest observatory built by the Sawai Jai Singh II. The luxury coaches take you back to Palace on Wheels where dinner is served on board.
Day 3 – In search of the tiger at Ranthambore National Park
Friday: One can almost sense a life of the wilderness as the Palace on Wheels arrives in Sawai Madhopur, a city named after its founder Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I. After breakfast, visit the Ranthambore National Park, where the ruins of a 10th century fort are located. This wildlife sanctuary is considered to be the country’s best for observing and photographing the activities of the tiger. The park, covering an area of 392 sq.kms. is also home to more than 300 species of birds. The tiger, hyena, ratel, jackal and fox are among those constituting the carnivorous population here. Sawai Madhopur is known for its exclusive toys, ethnic ornaments and costumes. (Please note that the Ranthambore National Park is closed during the month of September, instead guests will be taken to Mansigh Sanctuary.) Upon return to the Palace on Wheels, depart for Chittaurgarh, where you have the opportunity to watch the colorful countryside passing by in the daylight.
After lunch on board you are in Chittaurgarh. Images of love and valor, scars of battles won and lost, the thrice-beseiged Chittaurgarh Fort is all this and more. Let the legends of honor and pride echo in your mind as you proceed to Udaipur.
Day 4 – Beauty and romance are in the air in Udaipur
Saturday: Arrive this morning in Udaipur, the Lake City, which was founded by Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar in 1559 A.D. after the Sisodia dynasty was driven away by the Mughals. Perhaps the two most beautiful sites of Udaipur are the dream-like marble palaces – the Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) and the Jag Mandir, which appear to rise from the blue waters of Lake Pichola. After lunch at one of the fine hotels, take an exhilirating visit to City Palace. In the evening, visit the crystal gallery and later proceed to Jaisalmer on board Palace on Wheels.
Day 5 – Jaisalmer, a jewel in the Thar Desert
Sunday: In the heart of the Thar Desert lies Jaisalmer, founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 A.D. Here the yellow sandstone fort is an imposing sight, towering magnificently over the city. Discover the painstakingly latticed havelis or mansions with their grand facades. The Nathmalji-ki-haveli, Patwon-ki-haveli and Salim Singh-ki-haveli are fine examples of the stone carver’s skill. Shop at Rajasthali, the only Rajasthan Govt. Emporium, for fine pattu shawls, mirror work, embroidered articles, wooden boxes, trinkets, silver jewelry and curios. After lunch on board, go for an exciting camel ride on the sand dunes of Sam before sipping a refreshing cup of tea. Enjoy dinner and the cultural programs at a hotel in Jaisalmer before the train leaves tonight for Jodhpur.
Day 6 – Explore the history of the Rajputana Empire in Jodhpur
Monday: This morning, the Palace on Wheels arrives in Jodhpur, a city ringed by a high stone wall with seven gates and several bastions. This second largest city of Rajasthan, founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 A.D. is known for its rock-solid Mehrangarh Fort. The grand palaces within – Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana are impressive examples of architectural excellence. Near the fort complex lies Jaswant Thada and a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble. After lunch at a royal Palace hotel, return to the Palace on Wheels. While in Jodhpur, shop for exquisite handcrafted articles including the famous breeches, embroidered shoes, metal curios, silverware, paintings and tie dyed fabrics.
Day 7 – Visit the Taj Mahal and Bharatpur bird sanctuary
Tuesday: Early this morning, the train arrives in Bharatpur, the capital of Maharaja Suraj Mal. After breakfast, pay a visit to the world famous bird sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, the nesting place of thousands of egrets, Siberian cranes, migratory water fowl and other species of birds. From Bharatpur you board the train again and arrive at the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. This pristine monument of undying love was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Also visit Agra Fort and see other monuments and tombs about town. Agra is known for its splendid marble inlay work like the Pietra Dura work on the Taj, leather goods and jewelry. Enjoy dinner on board as the train departs for Delhi.
Day 8 – Your journey ends in Delhi
Wednesday: After a good night’s sleep, arrive at the Safdarjang train station at 6:00 a.m. and let the pleasant memories of the past week linger on your mind for a long, long time. Enjoy breakfast on board. Disembark the train by 7:30 a.m.
Palace on Wheels
Camel ride on the sands of Jaisalmer
Restaurant on board the train
Taj Mahal, Agra
City Palace, Udaipur
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
The train’s lounge
Your luxurious cabin on board the train