A journey aboard the luxury trains in India is the best way to explore the heritage and culturally vibrant parts of the country. Indian Railways had taken the effort to bring back the luxury of the days of the kings and princes by providing the same venerable royal palaces on rails. Trains like “Palace on Wheels”, “The Fairy Queen”, “Royal Orient” are some of the luxurious trains that cover fascinating historic cities and picturesque towns in India. These trains offer luxurious journeys trying to illustrate the extravaganza of the princely era that once existed in this country. Take a Ride of 10 Luxury Trains in India to not only enjoy the comforts of life but to explore the rich heritage of India. These trains are a true reflection of Indian hospitality and how our age old traditions have blended with modernity.
Following are the Top 10 Luxury Trains in India:
Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels has been recognized as one of the world’s top ten luxury trains. A journey on Palace on Wheels takes you the bottom of the cultural, traditional and architectural affluence of India. As its name implies the train reflects the appearance of a magnificent palace with full comfort and enjoyment for the passengers. Palace on wheels was launched by the Indian Railways to promote tourism in Rajasthan. It earned great popularity and prestige since its launch. There are 14 coaches in the train. Each of them is named after former Rajput states and counterparts the interiors of the royal past. Other facilities include a bar with selected Indian and international spirits, a lounge with a good collection of books and a television with DVD player. The train departs from New Delhi and during its eight day journey travels around Rajasthan with stops in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Bharatpur, Chittaurgarh, Sawai Madhopur and Agra.
Royal Orient running on meter gauge train tracks is one of the luxurious trains in India. It takes you through two culturally enthralling states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, covering important tourist locations in the two states. The train started in 1994-95 as a joint venture of the Indian Railways and the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat. There are 13 coaches in the train, named after erstwhile kingdoms of Rajputana. The coaches provide five-star hotel comforts to passengers. Cabins are fully furnished and have spacious baths attached. Other facilities include channel music, TV, DVD system, intercom and massage-cum-beauty parlor.
Built in 1855, Fairy Queen is the worlds oldest steam locomotive running between New Delhi to Alwar in India. The train was certified by the Guinness Book of Records to be the oldest operational steam engine. The Fairy Queen runs on the lines of the Palace on Wheels. For a pleasant weekend trip between Delhi and Alwar, the Fairy Queen gives a perfect way of journeying to your destination leaving behind the same old ways of traveling.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
The luxurious Royal Rajasthan on Wheels takes you through a seven day tour of the culturally active city of Rajasthan. The magic of the journey begins at New Delhi and takes you through various erstwhile princely states of Rajasthan like Udaipur, Jodhpur, Chittor, Swai-madhopur, and Jaipur. After experiencing multifaceted Rajasthan the train takes you to visit Khajuraho temples, India’s unique gift to the world and then Varanasi, the city of temples and ghats and finally The Taj Mahal at Agra. The entire journey has been planned thoroughly to take you back into the history. Facilities include luxury and space for each traveler with the option of Super Deluxe Saloon for those who wish to enjoy more luxury. Other amenities include study table & chairs within cabins, spacious bathing space, channel music system, laundry service, public address system, Internet Wi-Fi System and souvenir counter.
Deccan Odyssey is a luxury train started to boost tourism on the Konkan route of the Indian Railways. The route starts in Mumbai and travels to Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Belgaum, Pune, Goa, Kolhapur and then back to Mumbai. It is a venture of the Maharashtra Government and the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. The train aims to give its boarders a complete feeling of 5-star hotel on wheels, with two restaurants and a bar, a sauna, business centre and other such amenities on board. The duration of the tour is 7 nights starting every Wednesday from Mumbai.
The Golden Chariot is also a luxury train that connects the important tourist spots in the states of Karnataka and Goa. There are 19 coaches on the train and are colored purple and gold with a logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion. Golden Chariot operates weekly. Golden Chariot, along with the Deccan Odyssey is designed on the lines of internationally renowned Palace on Wheels with luxurious accommodations, spa treatments and dining. Other than this, there are the lounge bar ‘Madira’ and the restaurant ‘Nala’, a conference coach, Spa and gym, a staff car and a couple of generator car. The train includes 44 cabins in 11 coaches named after dynasties that ruled the region of Kadamba, Rashtrakuta, Ganga and many others.
Maharajas’ Express operates on the Indian Railways from early 2010. It’s a joint venture between Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation and the travel agency Cox and Kings India Ltd. It is one of the avant-garde luxury trains of India equipped with large LCD TV’s with DVD players, Wi-Fi internet, direct-dial phones and other modern conveniences including bar, lounge, two restaurants, butlers and valet service among others. The train offers 4 distinct itineraries to the guests known as Princely India, Royal India, Classical India and Celestial India.
Darjeeling Toy Train
Darjeeling Toy Train officially known as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 2 ft narrow gauge railway operating from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal by the Indian Railways. The toy train is a century old ‘legacy’ that passes through the hills of the Kanchenjunga and vibrant tribal villages. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2005 is a prized remainder of the British Raj. The train covers a distance of 8-hour from New Jalpaiguri begins at about 9 AM every morning. The toy train has become synonymous with Darjeeling and continues to mystify its guests with a journey and a rich experience one of its kind.
Shimla Kalka(Shimla Toy Train)
Shimla Kalka is a toy train route that meanders through some of the most scenic routes between Shimla and Kalka. It’s a 2 ft narrow gauge railway built in 1903 when English ladies would take their leave of the heat and “summer” in Shimla. Known for the magnificent views of the hills and surrounding villages that the train ferries through, this ‘small wonder’ is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest narrow gauge engineering success in India.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Nilgiri Mountain Railway is 46 km long meter gauge single track in the marvelous Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu state. This railway track connects Mettupalayam town with the wonderful hill station of Ooty. During the journey Nilgiri toy train runs through 16 tunnels, 250 bridges and 208 curves. The uphill journey takes around 5 hours while downhill journey takes just 3.5 hours. Nilgiri toy train is also one of the luxurious train ride in India and earned the position as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 20th July. Throughout the journey the charismatic beauty of Nilgiri hills mesmerizes the tourists.