Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan, India

Travel On The Dollar
May 7, 2009  •  9 min(s) read

Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels

Modeled after the luxurious private railway cars of the former rulers of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Palace on Wheels is the subcontinent’s answer to Orient Express, replete with service-pound captains and staff outfitted in crisp tunics and brilliant turbans straight out of The Jewel in the Crown. Each of the fourteen wagons (or “saloons”) is named after a former princely state and decorated in its most representative colors and fabrics. Rich veneered wood paneling and custom-designed furniture with inlaid motifs lend a further touch of class. The train travels mostly through the desert corners of Rajasthan, usually at night to allow full days of sightseeing in such magical cities as Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhput. Guests are treated like royalty onboard and on land as well, with musicians and richly harnessed elephants meetings and greeting the train’s arrival. Luncheons are arranged at former maharajas’ palaces, and camel treks and tiger photo-safaris fill out the exciting week on wheels, culminating in a grand finale visit to the Taj Mahal, before heading back to New Delhi.

The Palace on Wheels travel package takes you to a vibrating journey to the royal land of sand dunes and regal palaces. Visit the majestic expanse where Royal Rajputs lived in a grand style. Explore this imperial land on the Palace on Wheels, the luxurious train of India that carries with it an intrinsic ambiance that goes perfectly well with the majestic charm and beauty spread so lavishly here and there in Rajasthan.

The Palace on wheels is rated as one of the top ten luxury train journeys in the world. It offers you a heart-rending trip to the splendid forts and palaces of Rajasthan in just seven days. Also discover the royal history of Taj Mahal in Agra. The journey to the hinterland of the desert starts every Wednesday evening at 1800 hrs from Delhi and ends on the following Wednesday early in the morning at 0730 hrs.

The Royal Background of the Palace on Wheels
On rolling back wheels of time, they find the rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India travelled by these luxurious coaches. After independence, these coaches were parked and remained in this state for a quarter of a century until in 1981-82, when the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways launched a special heritage tourist train for providing a unique memorable experience to the tourists visiting Rajasthan.

The name Palace on Wheels was derived from it’s royal background of the coaches. Gradually State govt. and railway department brought many infrastructural changes in the coaches while keeping the same aesthetics of the interiors alive, matching the interiors of the royal state. The train was replaced by the air-conditioned broad gauges new train, which had 14 saloons, 2 restaurant cum kitchen cars, one Bar cum Lounge and 4 service Cars. The cabins of each saloon are attached with bath and shower. The train also has a well-appointed lounge, library and bar.

It’s all about Luxury and comfort

Interior of Palace on Wheels
Interior of Palace on Wheels

That’s true! On the Palace on Wheels your journey is full of exuberance and luxurious feeling. A perfect chance to relive the era when kings and queens ruled, when royalty spelt magic. When charm and mysticism was in air. The train is completely self- sufficient and is fully air-conditioned, comprising of 14 deluxe saloons. Especially facilitated for you with all modern amenities of everyday life, you would find the royal past haunting you in the historical coaches. The two dining cars are decked up in true Rajasthani style and each saloon has personal attendants, khidmatgars, for your service. Step aboard for a journey into the past on a luxury train.

Royal Services on Board
Apart from 14 saloons, each having 4 cabins attached with bath and shower, the Palace on Wheels has two restaurants cum kitchen cars offering traditional Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine with the Chef’s special variety of the day. Its well stocked bar serves Indian liquor and variety of scotch, wine and cocktails. It has piped music in every saloon, and interesting games for children.
Apart from this, the other services on request include laundry services, and Doctor on call at each station, barber shop & beauty parlour. The lounge also has a souvenirs shop ‘The Bazaar’ where souvenirs and gift items are sold bearing the insignia of the POW.

The names of the saloons given are based on the princely states of Rajasthan- Jaipur, Jodhpur, Alwar, Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Dholpur, Bharatpur, Jaisalmer, Sirohi, Bikaner, Udaipur and Kishangarh.

The Lavish Interiors
Sit in these beautiful carriages and look around. You will find that each saloon highlights the cultural ethos of the state, represented through the use of furniture, handicrafts, painting and furnishings. The ceiling in the lounge is of particular interest. Each saloon is different but the overall ambiance of the décor of the saloons has been taken care of to provide continuity and harmony.

Each saloon has cream yellow colour on its exterior walls and bears the Coat of Arms (logo) of the erstwhile princely states.

Sita Travels in Delhi conducts Palace on Wheels tour. Contact:
Mr. Prabhat Verma
Vice President
Tower B, Delta Square
M.G. Road, Sector – 25
Gurgaon- 122001, Haryana
Tel: +91 124 4703400
Fax: +91 124 4563100

Wed departures, Sep-Apr
Best time: Oct-Mar

Map of Palace on Wheels tour
Map of Palace on Wheels tour

Tour Itinerary:

Day 01 – WED : Delhi Depart
1600 hours : Self report at Safderjung Railway Station (Motibagh) for check in and board 7 Nights Palace On Wheels maharaja train tour.
1745 hours : Depart for the adventure of a lifetime.
2000 hours : Dinner on board

Day 02 – THURS : Jaipur
Early Morning: Arrival in Jaipur.
0730 hours : Breakfast on board.
0830 hours : Morning Sightseeing Tour of Amber Fort Palace complex & enjoy Elephant joy ride.
1300 hours : Lunch in Restaurant of Five Star Hotel

Famous as “The Pink City”, Jaipur, is the capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur has witnessed the splendor of the Rajput and Mughal royalty and its monuments are the living testimonies of the magnificence of that era. Visit the Hawa Mahal – Palace of Winds – with a profusion of windows and stone screens. The Jantar Mantar is the 18th century stone observatory. Behold the stunning architecture of the City Palace and the Amber Fort.

1500 hours : Afternoon Sightseeing tour of City Palace complex.
1700 hours : Departure for Jaisalmer.
2000 hours : Dinner on board.

Day 03 – FRI : Jaisalmer
0615 hours : Arrival in Jaisalmer.
0730 hours : Breakfast on board.
0830 hours : Morning Sightseeing tour of Golden Fort town.

Jaisalmer is the land of ancient sandstone “Havelis” (mansions). The attractions of this 12th century city comprise of monuments that have retained their age-old style and character. A fourth of the city’s residents still reside within the walls of the Jaisalmer Fort. Famous for its latticed windows and balconies, the Patwon ki Haveli is the most magnificent mansion. Visit the three-hundred-year-old Salim Singh ki Haveli. The Gadsisar Sagar Tank is a scenic lake enveloped by lovely shrines and archways.

1300 hours : Lunch on board and rest.
1600 hours : Excursion to Sam sand dunes and experience the thrill of a camel safari.
2000 hours : Dinner while enjoying a cultural programme in City Heritage Hotel.
2300 hours : Departure for Jodhpur.

Day 04 – SAT : Jodhpur
0730 hours : Breakfast on board.
0800 hours : Arrival in Jodhpur.
0830 hours : Sightseeing tour of Mehrangarh Fort Palace complex & Jaswant Thada.
1300 hours : Lunch at the Umaid Bhawan Palace.

The old Jodhpur city, founded by Rao Jodhaji in 1459 AD, is encircled by a ten kilometer long wall having eight gates that serve as entrances. The new city is settled around this walled area. Jodhpur is a fine blend of modern and traditional buildings. Housed within the Mehrangarh Fort are the famous palaces, Moti Mahal and Phool Mahal. Jaswant Thada is the 19th century royal cenotaph, which is constructed out of thin sheets of white marble that allow the sun to filter through. A portion of the Umaid Bhawan Palace has been converted into a museum. The architectural splendors of these remnants will enthrall you.

1530 hours : Departure for Sawai Madhopur.
2000 hours : Dinner on board

Day 05 – SUN : Morning Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary
0400 hours : Arrival in Sawai Madhopur Railway Station.
0630 hours : Visit the Ranthambhore National Park in open air Canter Trailer Trucks with cushioned seats..
0930 hours : Return to Maharaja Train for breakfast & freshening up Sawai Madhopur is the gateway to the Ranthambhore National Park, the famous Tiger Reserve. The reserve has a variety of diverse wildlife, including the Indian tiger, hyena, nilgai, wild boar, fox and over three hundred species of birds. Built in 994 AD, the Ranthambhore Fort still has ruined pavilions, walls, chhatris and impressive monuments.

Day 05 – SUN Afternoon : Chittaurgarh Fort
1000 hours : Departure for Chittaurgarh.
1300 hours : Lunch on board.
1530 hours : Arrival in Chittaurgarh.
1600 hours : Sightseeing of Chittor hill fort.

Chittaurgarh was the abode of passionate men and women whose courage and dignity have become legendary. The Chittaurgarh Fort, built in the 7th century, has many vestiges of heroism. Padmini’s Palace is also situated in the fort. Visit the Vijay Stambh (Tower of Victory) and the Kirti Stambh (Tower of Fame).

2000 hours : Dinner on board.

Day 06 – MON : Udaipur
0700 hours : Early morning Train arrives in Udaipur
0730 hours : Breakfast on board.
0830 hours : Morning Sightseeing of City Palace & enjoy boating in Lake Pichola.
1230 hours : Lunch at the Heritage Hotel.

Udaipur has come to be known as the “Venice of the East”. The rugged fortresses, charming palaces, sandy terrain, lakes and forested hills brimming with wildlife will become a part of your most cherished memories. The Lake Palace and Jag Mandir are situated amid the Lake Pichola. Also explore the City Palace and Sahelion ki Bari.

1500 hours : Afternoon city tour & time free for shopping
1900 hours : Departure for Bharatpur.
2000 hours : Dinner on board.

Day 07 – TUE Morning : Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
In the morning, you arrive at Bharatpur. It is known for the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, which is the home to a large variety of exotic birds that fly in from the distant lands of Siberia and China.
Option of Late breakfast.

Tue Afternoon – Agra (Taj Mahal)
Lunch in Agra 5 Star Hotel.

Afternoon visit to the eternal symbol of love, the Taj Mahal. Dressed in white marble, this splendid monument was built in the 17th century by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Continue your journey with sightseeing to Agra Fort & time free for shopping before returning to the Maharaja Train.

In the night,depart for Delhi.
Dinner is served on board.

Day 08 – WED : Delhi Return
Back to Safderjung Railway Station (MotiBagh) to step back from fantasy to reality.

Note:- While the royal train arrives at the platform by 0600 hours you can disembark after early breakfast by 0730 hrs.



Occupancy Type For August 2009 From September, 2009 to April, 2010
On Triple Sharing US$ 2,380+taxes US$ 3,150+taxes
On Twin Sharing US$ 2,625+taxes US$ 3,500+taxes
On Single Occupancy US$ 3,500+taxes US$ 4,90+taxes

2.58% Government Service Tax extra
* 10% Holiday Season Surcharge Extra
* for 23 Dec & 30 Dec, 2009 departs.
* Children below 5 yrs complimentary without bed
* Children below 12 yrs charged 50% of adult rate & provided bed
* Indians can pay in equivalent INR Rupees,as per RBI policy.
* US$ 15 commercial tax extra per person

Cost includes: 7 Nights Stay in A/C sleeping chambers with private washrooms; Daily three meals (choice of both vegetarian & non vegetarian cuisine) ; Bottled drinking water; Group Excursions & Sightseeing Tours with English speaking guides in each tourist town ; Monument entrance fees; Elephant ride in Jaipur,Camel ride in Jaisalmer, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve canter drive, Boat ride in Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Cycle Rickshaw ride in Bharatpur.

Extra Costs (Not included): Video camera fees at monuments & game parks; alcoholic & non alcoholic beverages; laundry; tour insurance; telephone calls; gratuity; tips & all other expenses of personal nature.

Travel On The Dollar