- Palace on Wheels
The "Palace on Wheels" was the first of four luxury
trainson Indian Railways. It was launched to promote tourism in Rajasthanand has been highly popular since its launch. It is one of the top ten luxury train in the world and following its success another luxury train is being launched on the same circuit.
Palace on Wheels was started on the 26th January 1982. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, The
Indian Railways, the Tourism Department of Rajasthan and the Government of India launched Palace on Wheels as a special heritage tourist train for providing a unique and memorable experience to the tourists visiting India.
The concept of the Palace on Wheels was derived from the royal background of the coaches, which were originally meant to be the personal Railway coaches of the erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India.
There are 14 coaches in the train and each of them is named after former Rajput states matching the aesthetics and interiors of the royal past. Each saloon has a mini pantry and a lounge to ensure availability of hot and cold beverage, and refreshments and a place to relax and get together. Each coach also offers a good collection of books to choose from.
The train has two lavish restaurants "The Maharaja" and "The Maharani" with a Rajasthani ambience serving palate tickling Continental, Chinese, India and Rajasthani cuisines.
It also has a well stocked bar offering the choicest of sprits of Indian and international brands.
The train departs from
New Delhi, and during its eight day journey travels around Rajasthan, with stops in Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Bharatpur, and Agra. The trip includes visits to a number of sights, including Hawa Mahal(the Palace of Winds), Ranthambhore National Park, Jag Niwas(Lake Palace), the Jag Mandir(City Palace), Keoladeo National Park, and the Taj Mahal.
Earlier the "Palace on Wheels" was restricted to foreign tourists, but it was later opened up to Indians too - although prices are quoted in US$, and "Indian passengers can pay an equivalent amount in Rupees at the exchange rate prevalent at the time of payment".
* [http://www.rtdc.in India rail section on the train]
* [http://www.palaceonwheels.net/ Official Website of the palace on wheels]
* [http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/11/stories/2007041105190900.htm http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/11/stories/2007041105190900.htm]
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