The Palace on Wheels is endlessly charming! Every bit of India’s first luxury train recalls the bygone grandeur of Rajasthan. As it rhythmically cruises through valleys, moorlands, and leaves behind the dramatic backdrop, you look out from the huge windows of your plush cabins and replenish your drinks. This gleaming train on the track is indulgently luxurious and enures a carefree travel. The week-long odyssey is not just about exploring latticed mansions and ornate palaces but also about experiencing an enchanting rail journey.
The very idea of taking a ride in a coach that had ferried the mighty kings is overwhelming. Some of the coaches of Palace on Wheels, originally used by the kings and the viceroys, were acquired and refurbished. The rest are designed in close imitation of the erstwhile palaces. After almost four decades since its inception, the train still reminds you of the “forgotten pomp and show.”
Only recently, the Palace on Wheels went on an absolute overhaul in its interiors. One look at the tapestry and furnishings gives you the feeling that the train is worth its fame. While the hand-embroidered pelmets for all the 480 windows look ultra-elegant, the Persian silk carpets give a regal feel to the decor. The brass inlay work on the stools add an ethnic look to the bar. Intricate glass carvings, mahogany paneling, and wall lamps give a yesteryear feel to the restaurants. In fact, the traditional motifs and miniatures in panels and ceilings of all the 23 coaches look impeccable.
The train, spanning an area of 7,500 sq. ft., has all the components of a luxury hotel. While the spa keeps you pleasantly engaged, the en-suite amenities in every saloon ensure that comfort never abandons you. The Maharaja and The Maharani are the two restaurants on board that have the reputation of serving the most authentic Continental and Chinese cuisine. Traditional Rajasthani dishes with regional variations are quite a delicious experience. The bar-cum-lounge with assorted wines is where you raise a toast and enjoy a high-spirited chat.
Within five years of its introduction, the Palace on Wheels bagged the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Gold Award in the Heritage & Culture category. In a survey conducted by a global travel magazine Conde Nast, Palace on Wheels was voted the best luxury train in Asia and 4th best luxurious train in the world.
#5. Heritage & Culture of Rajasthan
The train connects the significant heritage hubs in Rajasthan. From the City Palace and Albert Hall in Jaipur to Chittorgarh Fort and the famed ‘Golden Fort’ in Jaisalmer, the journey takes you into the recesses of history. When you breakfast at a hunting lodge in Udaipur, lunch at the Amber Fort in Jaipur, and take dinner at the Sam Sand dunes in Jaisalmer, you know you are at the right place at the right time. This week-long sojourn is also a rare chance to explore the vibrant folk culture of Rajasthan.
#6. The Taj Mahal Experience
After your rendezvous with Rajasthan comes to an end, the Palace on Wheels transports you to a different epoch – the Mughal Era. As you behold the magnificent Taj Mahal – the Seventh Wonder of the World and the most extravagant monument of love ever built – the imaginative vision of the Emperor leaves you awestruck.
#7. Wedding on Wheels
Yes, Palace on Wheels is a wedding destination for all those who want the glitter and the frills. The entire train can be booked for a week-long wedding extravaganza, which is an unforgettable experience and way more glamorous than the weddings in forts and palaces.
If you are ready for a magical journey, just check the Palace on Wheels packages and set off.
Image Credit: Magnus Manske
Published On: Monday, September 7th, 2015