Palace On Wheels
Rajasthan is a magnificent land of numerous kingdoms, majestic forts and palaces, diverse cultures, varied landscapes and vibrant colours. The best way to experience this royal land is with the Palace on Wheels. It stands on its tracks, a gleaming sealed carriage, the personification of regal.
The train chugs out of Safdarjung Railway Station, New Delhi on a week-long run through Rajasthan every Wednesday night. The trip includes a visit to Agra and the Taj Mahal. Turban-wearing attendants take over from the moment you arrive at the platform, assigning you your cars and detailing all the facilities that are on board. The train moves by night and arrives each morning at a new destination where novel experiences await you.
The week-long tour also includes special culture shows arranged at some of the cities. If you’re looking for souvenirs, our guides will direct you to government-approved shops.
There are 14 saloons in total, each equipped with four twin-bedded chambers with attached baths that have running hot and cold water and showers. All modern amenities have been thoughtfully provided: sofas to sink into, strategically placed lights to read by, wonderfully appointed beds with comfortable furnishings, inbuilt wardrobes, and massive plain glass windows to watch the countryside roll by.
Each coach also has a common seating lounge where passengers can get together to enjoy a quiet cup of tea and watch cities as they pass. An attached pantry with each saloon provides refreshments on demand.
There is the comfortable bar-cum-lounge where you can relax over your favourite drink, burrow in a book or converse with fellow passengers. Attached to it are two restaurant cars, Maharaja and Maharani. Accompanying chefs can whip up a delicious Indian meal, including Rajasthani food, or Continental and Chinese cuisines.
Indulge your sense in the well-equipped royal spa that offers various massages, therapies and revitalising solutions amidst a majestic ambience.
Special assistance, in the form of wheel chairs, crèches and an attendant are available for disabled individuals.
New-Delhi – The Capital Of India:
Delhi you will be treated like Maharaja & Maharani on welcome by garlanding, Tikka and turban with glass of wine. The Capital city of modern India a city known for its rich valorous and exotic 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.
Jaipur – The Pink Paradise:
On your first day you will be welcomed at the magnificent Pink City, Jaipur. The city with graceful architecture in a unique pink colour was established in the year 1727 by the then Maharaja, Sawai Jai Singh II. Jaipur is known as one of the well-planned cities of its time. The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is predominantly known for its musicians, artisans and craftsmen. Today, it is visited for its fine jewellery, varied textiles and sumptuous cuisine.
In this diverse land of rich cultural heritage, you’ll be first treated to a visit at Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds. This was built for the royal ladies to watch the processions through the myriad windows of the palace. This five-storied palace was also used to store artefacts by the royal family. From Hawa Mahal, we proceed to the impressive palace perched on the rocky terrain of Amer, the earliest capital of erstwhile Jaipur state. Amber Fort was the seat of various Maharajas of Jaipur and has been adorned with mirror glass work, doors with parquet ivory work, and painted maps of various Hindu pilgrimages. Half of the charm of Amber Fort is the Elephant ride you’ll be treated to.
After such an enthralling ride, you visit the Jantar Mantar; the largest observatory built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734. The next in line of exploration is the City Palace. A defining architectural marvel of Jaipur, the City Palace was the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur in the eighteenth century and part of the magnificent palace is still the royal residence.
With an insightful journey through the royal pages of history, it is time to see some of the famous jewellery and carpets that Jaipur is renowned for. After an eventful day you spent exploring the magnificence of Jaipur, its time to head back to your luxurious abode.
Chittorgarh – Resplendent Pride:
Chittorgarh Fort, the gigantic citadel was built in the seventh century and stands witness to chivalry, valour and honour postulated and lived by the Rajput rulers of that era. The fort is dotted with innumerable monuments and beautiful temples. The Vijay Stambh, tower of victory was erected by Rana Kumbha to mark his triumph over the Sultan of Gujarat. Here, you will revisit history where Rani Padmini along with other women performed the heroic act of Jauhar rather than being caught by the enemy, they took a plunge in fire. The sound and light show narrates the history of this majestic land to perfection and is a treat to witness.
Chittorgarh, the land of glory and valour is bound to leave you enchanted. The history of this captivating place is intriguing and spellbinding. The land of devotion and determination, Chittorgarh has produced some of the greatest devotees and courageous warriors in the history of India. Chittorgarh remains replete with historic associations and holds a very special place in the hearts of Rajputs, as it was a bastion of the clan at a time when every other stronghold had succumbed to invasion.
Udaipur – Picturesque Royalty:
The land of marvellous beauty, Udaipur is named after the dynamic ruler of this princely state, Rana Udai Singh. The scenic beauty of Udaipur has earned it various titles in superlatives. This City of Lakes has a long glorious history and is also considered as the romance city of Rajasthan with endless love sagas of its rulers.
Jag Niwas, the City Palace, one of the largest palaces in India, is an interesting blend of Rajput architecture and Mughal interiors that carve this fortress as a distinctive structure. The palace also homes a well-maintained museum that upkeeps the armoury, costumes and other belongings of its rulers. The other captive interests in the mystic land are the Lake Palace, the Jag Mandir and numerous other forts and temples. A stunning masterpiece, Sahelion ki Bari also known as the ‘Garden of Maidens’ is a true delight to experience.
Udaipur is a shopper’s paradise and has fine marble mementoes, miniature paintings and handicraft items. There are other exquisite attractions like the ballads and compositions woven in melody by artists in traditional Rajasthani style. Overall, the excursion to this overwhelming city is a true delight.
Jaisalmer – The Golden Ecstasy:
The journey unfolds on day two when you enter the heart of the desert at Jaisalmer, the Golden City of India. Jaisalmer is christened after its founder Rawal Jaisal and means ‘the hill fort of Jaisal’ which was established in the year 1156. The bustling city of Jaisalmer is full of rustic beauty and the yellowish hue of sand justifies the name rendered to the monochromatic landscape. The once affluent Havelis, intricately carved balconies, cornices and facades ornate the city and have made it an architectural delight.
The massive sandstone wall of the Jaisalmer Fort stands witness to the era of its rulers and the ruled. The colossal Fort is still occupied and resided by a quarter of the city’s population.
The colourfully dressed women in traditional attire behind the golden desert hues make the camera drool over such picturesque shots. The City takes you through various Havelis that stand witness to the history of regal living through centuries. These finely carved sandstone structures are an embodiment of the Rajwada culture. Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Nathmalji ki Haveli are some of the most preferred tourist attractions in the Golden City. The camel ride on the sand hills is an unforgettable experience characterised by splendour of the desert…a perfect adieu to the city of desert.
Jodhpur – Glory Yonder:
Jodhpur, the land of majestic and mystic glory welcomes you. Currently, the second largest city of Rajasthan, Jodhpur was established in the year 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajput king.
The weather in this erstwhile state is always bright and sunny, hence has earned another title of the Sun City. In this royal paradise, you will find the most ordinary houses on street sides with exquisite stonework, traceries and carved latticed windows.
The panoramic view of the city in tones of blue appears like a painter’s masterstroke of indigo charm. You will be delighted to witness the charisma of the regal legacy at Jodhpur, especially at the Mehrangarh Fort. This majestic fort is one of the largest forts of India and still preserves the artefacts like royal cradles, palanquins, musical instruments of diverse backgrounds spread over centuries.
The magic of imperial living comes alive when you visit some of the finest specimen of Rajput architecture viz. the lavish Umaid Bhawan Palace. The mesmerising royal charm has not left you untouched by now. You will begin the next regal escapade at Sawai Madhopur.
Bharatpur – Unbound Magnificence:
Established in the seventeenth century by Maharaja Suraj Mal, Bharatpur was once an invincible and well-fortified city, thus was aptly called the iron fort. The premise of its stern military construction was to avoid foreign sieges.
Bharatpur is in close proximity with the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, world heritage site declared by UNESCO. This sanctuary is named after an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, located amidst this forest. This region is flocked by a huge variety of birds, like cranes, storks, herons, kingfishers, partridges, owls, song birds, pigeons, doves, ducks, geese, pelicans and bee-eaters. Many of these birds migrate from different parts of the world.
The Siberian Cranes, who stand tall on ground with an approximate height of 1.35 meters, are the most distinguished visitors of this park. They visit the Park during winters, stay here until March and head back home to Siberia for breeding.The rickshaw ride with the trained rickshaw-puller guide, through the sanctuary adds wonder to that indescribable experience of watching a huge variety of bird species, lakhs in numbers at one place.
8. Agra – Royal Romance:
Agra is located on the banks of river Yamuna and was established in 1504 by the then ruler of Delhi, Sultan Sikandar Lodi. The medieval era city, Agra is a witness of the rise and fall of numerous dynasties. The city is home to the gem of finest architectural monument, Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal, is the mausoleum that reminiscences of the love shared between Shah Jahan, the king for his beloved queen Mumtaz after her demise. This white-marble-wonder expands on the design traditions of Persians and Mughals and is one of the most visited sites in India. After a heartfelt visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, you’ll be ushered to the Lal Quila or the Red Fort of Agra. This fort is also called the Palatial City because of its enormous size. The fort was the largest state treasury and welcomed ambassadors from other princely states.