Luxury trains are an excellent way of exploring the richness and variety of India. The Department of Tourism runs many a luxury train with predetermined itineraries that cover the best of what the country has to offer, stopping at fascinating destinations and giving guests the time to explore.
These special trains are specifically designed to offer an elegant ride that evokes a strong sense of history, heritage and the decadence of the royalty and nobility of yore. The cabins in most trains are quaintly decorated to resemble the elitist trains of the yesteryear and usually have their private bathrooms and butler. Each train has one or two multi cuisine restaurants and bars that are well stocked with Indian liquor.
Some of the best Luxury trains in India are:
Palace on Wheels (for 7N/8D): Ranked the 4th best luxury train in the world, the Palace on Wheels is ideal for those who want to explore the magnificent land of Rajasthan, with its forts and palaces, deserts and forests. Of course, the Taj Mahal cannot be left out of any true tourist encounter in North India. The concept of the Palace on Wheels was derived from the royal background of its coaches, which were originally meant as the personal railway coaches for erstwhile rulers of Rajputana,Gujarat and Nizam as well as the Viceroy of British India.
Route: Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambhor – Chittorgarh – Udaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Bharatpur – Agra – Delhi
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (for 7N/8D): Modelled on the successful Palace on Wheels, This adventure through Rajasthan and Agra is taken two steps further by giving you the opportunity to explore the ancient and sacred city of Varanasi and the awe-inspiring art and architecture of the ancients at Khajurao. All the destinations on this route are significant tourist, wildlife and heritage sites.
Route: Delhi – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Sawai Madhopur – Jaipur – Khajurao – Varanasi – Agra – Delhi
Deccan Odyssey (7N/8D): An effort to boost tourism in the gorgeous Konkan area, the Deccan Odyssey is a regal journey through the heart of India as this train takes you on a journey of the Deccan Plateau. Once again, the majestic forts and palaces, the beautiful temples and the exquisite untainted beaches make this The train has two restaurants, a bar, a sauna, a business centre and many other amenities are abundantly luxurious and coaches were especially manufactured to compete with 5-star hotels.
Route: Mumbai – Sindhudurg – Tarkarli – Goa/Vasco – Kohlapur – Daulatabad – Ajanta – Nashik – Mumbai
Maharaja Express on the other hand are luxury trains operated by the Indian Railways in association with Cox and Kings India. The all inclusive cost of this extravagant train begins at $800 or Rs. 40,000 per person per day! The Maharaja Express operates on four itineraries, each that begin in Delhi and include a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra. The trains include a 23 guest carriage train, designed once again to recreate the splendid luxuries enjoyed by erstwhile Maharajas in India. The facilities include ornately decorated restaurants, an observation lounge, a well stocked bar and a souvenir shop. There are four categories of guest cabins, including a presidential suite that exudes luxury. LCD TVs, eco-friendly washrooms, direct dial phones, DVD players, internet, individual climate control and electronic safes are features available in all rooms. The four itineraries offered are:
Royal India (8D/7N): Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Vadodara – Mumbai
Classical India (7D/6N): Delhi – Agra – Gwalior – Khajuraho – Bandhavgarh – Varanasi – Lucknow – Delhi
Princely India (8D/7N): Mumbai – Vadodara – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Agra – Delhi
Royal Sojourn (8D/7N): Delhi – Jaipur – Kota – Ranthambore – Agra – Delhi