India's Palace on Wheels

Rail
Duration (in days): 8

From: Delhi

To: Delhi

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Overview

Since it first took to the tracks in 1982, the Palace on Wheels has been consistently rated as one the best luxurious trains in the world. To enjoy this week-long odyssey through magical Rajasthan, is to experience how Indian royalty once travelled. The train's cabins were originally designed to be used as the personal railway coaches of the erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Gujarat and Rajputana, hence the 14 coaches are all named after princely states.

Your journey begins and ends in Delhi and along the way you'll have the opportunity to ride an elephant in the beautiful 'pink city' of Jaipur, take a boat ride to the Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, ride a camel in Jaisalmer and enjoy a ride in a rickshaw in Bharatpur.

What you can expect on board

Attentive service, first class amenities and decadent decor create the setting for an unforgettable experience once you board the train. The Place on Wheels boasts two regal restaurants, a lavishly appointed bar, an elegant lounge and a rejuvenating spa. Each guest also receives a luxurious arrival kit and can call on the services of a personal attendant.

There are 14 sumptuous saloons, each with 4 luxurious en suite cabins. Each saloon has a personal attendant and valet, as well as a mini pantry where guest can helps themselves to tea, coffee and snacks.

Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi

Arrive at Safdarjung Railway station to board Palace on Wheels – a luxury train at 16:00 hrs.

Warm welcome upon arrival at the train station.

The Palace on Wheels is one of the world's most exciting rail journeys, as the train provides more facilities on board. With everything taken care of (dining, accommodation, sightseeing as well as organized shopping), there is nothing for the traveller to do but sleep in the history of the land, soak in the colours and experience the royal life of a Maharaja.

The tour starts from Delhi after taking in Jaipur-Sawai-Madhopur-Chittaurgarh-Udaipur-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Bharatpur-Agra-Delhi, including Udaipur and the Taj Mahal on your trip.

In Delhi you will welcomed like Maharaja & Maharani on arrival with garlanding, tikka and a glass of wine. Delhi is the capital city of modern India, and is known for its rich history. Once the fabled city of the heroes of the Mahabharata and ruled by the Rajputs before they were displaced by foreign invaders.

The tour starts in the evening with a ceremonial welcome aboard the Palace on Wheels at Safdarjung New Delhi. You will be introduced to your fellow travellers. Feel free to explore your new palace and acquaint yourself with its various facilities. Relax with a drink at the bar. Dinner will be served on board in its two restaurants.

Dinner and Overnight on board

Day 2: Jaipur

Jaipur: Your tour begins at the Hawa Mahal Palace of wind followed the amazing Jantar Mantar where you can explore the Astronomical Observatory at your leisure.

The home of previous rulers, the city palace now a museum of full royal splendour. Jaipur also offers a great shopping experience since the city is the country's capital for handicrafts.

Jaipur offers an extensive range of gems and stones, and is also a major international center of cutting and polishing of gems. This region is also known all over the world for hand block printing on textiles. You will have lunch at Amber Fort after which you can enjoy an elephant ride up to the fort.

After lunch, you'll have time to visit the Amber fort to see the fusion of Rajput and Mughal styles of Architecture. The hall of victory, Jai Mandir, has a stunning ceiling adorned with mirror work an inlaid panel.

Make your way back to the train by bus, freshen up before enjoying a sumptuous dinner in one of the best hotels in Jaipur, before returning to Palace on Wheels.

Day 3: Sawai Madhopar - Chittaurgarh

Sawai Madhopur: The Ranthambhore tiger reserve at junction of the Aravali and the Vindhyas is a unique juxtaposition of natural and historical richness, standing conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, barely 14 km from Sawai Madhopur.

You'll see a thousand year old Ranthambhore Fort where historical remains of cenotaphs, tombs, a step well and a summer palace all slip into the sprawling forest as well as three big, turquoise lakes; Padam Talav, Malik Talav and Raj bag.

Though a delicate eco system, Ranthambhore is dynamic in the diversity and density of fauna it supports. The tiger at the apex of the food chain, but quite naturally, exciting tiger sightings are always a matter of chance. If you don't spot a tiger, just the evidence of its activities are equally exciting, and you may have the opportunity to see other beautiful creatures including spotted deer, sambhar, wild boar, Indian gazel, jungle cats, panthers, jackals, hyenas, sloth bears and 300 different kind of birds.

Return back to Palace on Wheels. Breakfast & Lunch on Board.

Enjoy the afternoon on train as it travels the lush green country side before arriving to Chittaurgarh.

Arrival 4.00 PM / Departure 2.00 AM:

Chittaurgarh Fort is considered the largest fort in India, built by various Mauriyan rulers during 5th to 8th century period. The fort itself covers an area of 680 acres and most of the structure is now ruins. You will enter the fort through seven ceremonial gates. Rana Kumbha palace and Padmini Palace in the fort are considered as master pieces of Rajput architecture Padmini Palace had been the residence of beautiful queen Rani Padmini.

In the year 1313 Alaudhin Khilji after knowing about the beauty of the queen attack on the fort. But the Rani performed Johar (taking one's own life by fire). The victory tower built by Maharana Kumbha in memory is the symbolic identity of Chittaurgarh.

Sound and light programme at the fort.

Day 4: Udaipur

At the capital of the Sirodia Maharanas, you'll enjoy a day's sightseeing at Udaipur Maharana Udai Singh. Udaipur is situated on Lake Pichola where the impressive City Palace still rests. Subsequently, the seemingly 'floating' Island Palace was built with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains, as a royal summer retreat.

New Arrangement for this Season:

  • Breakfast on board
  • Lunch at Palace Hotel
  • Visit to the Crystal Gallery - see crystal glass furniture, crockery and antique chandeliers
  • Boat Ride and back to train

Day 5: Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer: The golden city of Rajasthan has a charm of its own. The western most citadel of the desert, Jaisalmer has an ancient history linked with its development as a trading center. Located on a trade route between India and Persia, Egypt, Africa and the West. The Sonar Quila Fort, made of yellow sand stone will immediately command your attention here.

The city is also known for its old mansion better known as 'Havelis'. Shopping and lunch at Moomal Hotel.

Nearby, the sweeping sand dunes evoke the romance of solitude as your camel takes you deep in the Thar desert, for an eagerly anticipated experience: watch the sun set over rolling golden dunes - a truly magical experience. During winter, sunset is followed by a cultural performance, campfire and dinner in the dunes.

New Arrangements for this Season:

  • Enjoy Rajasthani Food with traditional music
  • Evening tea, sunset
  • Dinner at the Palace Hotel

Day 6: Jodhpur

First, a special welcome on arrival, followed by a trip to the mighty fort and lunch at the gorgeous Umaid Bhawan Palace and time to shop for local handicrafts.

Jodhpur, the former capital of the Marwar is best known for its indigo-hued homes and buildings and the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort situated 120m high on a rocky hill. This gigantic fort stands on walls which are 20 to 120 feet high and 12 to 70 feet thick, but its finely carved intricate sculptures are a treat for eye.

Umaid Bhawan Palace is therandest and largest palace in the world, with 347 rooms built around the central dome that has become the identity of the palace. The royal family still reside in part of the palace.

Lunch at a good hotel. After lunch, return to the Palace on Wheels, dinner on board

Day 7: Bharatpur - Agra

Bharatpur: A royal kingdom where the Jats, rather than the Rajputs, ruled. Bharatpur's Jat History is not too old, with Suraj Mal establishing a firm stronghold in a region contested by both the Rajputs and the Mughals. Suraj Mal exploits are legendary, and the fort, Lohargarh, or Iron Fort, has a history that recounts it with pride. The only fort in the state to have bastions of mud, these proved meritorious because they simply swallowed up the cannon shells not allowing them to impact.

The Keoladeo Ghana National Park one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world with over 300 species of birds from distant  as Siberia and China.

New arrangement for this season:

  • Breakfast at Bird Sanctuary - a world heritage site, this park is one of the world's greatest heronries. Its shallow, fresh water marsh attracts thousands of migratory birds.

Agra: A visit to the Taj Mahal, the world's most well known monument and well worth its fame. Built in the memory of his beloved empress by emperor Shah Jahan, this marble mausoleum is the greatest gesture of love known to mankind and is breathtakingly, bewitchingly beautiful.

New arrangement for this season:

  • Lunch at Palace Hotel.
  • A visit to the Taj Mahal - the perfect finale to your royal sojourn!

Day 8: Delhi

Arrive in Delhi and bid farewell to the Maharajas' Express after breakfast on board.

Info

What's included: 

  • Full board, including morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner
  • Guided sightseeing tours in deluxe air conditioned coaches
  • Entrance fee for monuments
  • Cultural entertainment
  • Elephant ride at Jaipur, Camel ride at Jaisalmer, Boat ride to Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, Canter drive in the park at Ranthambore, and Rickshaw ride at Bharatpur
  • Doctor on call at each station
Accommodation
Palace on Wheels
The elegant and sumptuous accommodation is situated in 14 fully air-conditioned saloons, with 4 cabins per saloon. Each cabin features wall to wall carpeting, regal furnishings, comfortable beds and chic en-suite bathrooms.
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