Palace on Wheels
Traveling in the famed Palace on Wheels is one of the most memorable ways to explore India's stately splendour. Unquestionably it's an unparalleled experience to ride the replica carriages refurbished to look like the original saloons of the Maharajas, the erstwhile rulers of India. The Palace on Wheels is one of India's most fascinating sojourns covering the pink state capital, Jaipur, the golden citadel, Jaisalmer, the blue city of Jodhpur, the National Park Ramthambhor; the symbol of chivalry, Chittaurgarh, romantic city of Lakes Udaipur, the bird sanctuary Bharatpur and the mughal capital, Agra before returning to Delhi.
It stands on its tracks; a gleaming sealed carriage, every bit is royal. The air-conditioning works silently, creating a space where only the excitement of the history of the Rajput kingdoms permeates through, clearly captured in a contemporary mode. In all, there are fourteen saloons, each equipped with two twin-bedded and two double-bedded chambers, with attached baths that have running hot and cold water and showers. The modern conveniences have been thoughtfully provided, sofas to sink into, strategically placed lights to read by, wonderfully appointed beds with comfortable furnishings, inbuilt wardrobes for the storage of one’s clothes and bags, and huge plate glass windows to watch the countryside roll past.
Outside the bedrooms, each coach also has a seating lounge where passengers can get together, just sit watch the cities as they glide past outside the windows, or enjoy a quiet cup of tea. An attached pantry with each saloon helps provide beverages and refreshments to the accompaniment of soothing piped music.
There is the comfortable bar cum lounge where tourist can relax over favourite drink, burrow in a book or converse with fellow passengers. Attached to it are two restaurant cars, Maharaja and Maharani respectively, with opulently draped curtains, exquisitely crafted lights and table settings . Here accompanying chefs serve up a delicious choice of Indian, including Rajasthani, Continental and even Chinese cuisine that are a feast for the palate.
The train chugs out of Safdarjung Railway Station New
Delhi on a week-long run through Rajasthan every
Wednesday night, with a trip also inbuilt to Agra and
the Taj Mahal. Turban-wearing attendants take over from
the moment guest arrive at the platform, assigning
coupes and detailing all the facilities that are on
board. The train moves by night and arrives each morning
at a new destination where new experiences await
- Day 1 Leave Delhi: 1745 hrs boarding starts on train. Dinner is served before departure for Jaipur. Overnight on board train.
- Day 2 Arrive Jaipur: Arrive
Jaipur 0600 hrs. Breakfast on Board. After breakfast
proceed for sightseeing tour of Jaipur at 0800 hrs.
Your first stop will be Amber Fort. En route, make a
photo stop at the palace of winds the Hawa Mahal. A
5-storied building with 25cm thick facade from the 18
century having 953 windows and niches so that ladies
of royal family could see the processions and events
in the city without being visible to the people.
Proceed to the Amber Fort situated 130m high with the
Aravalli hills around and 11 km north of Jaipur. It
was the ancient capital of the Rajputs till 1037.Enjoy
an Elephant ride from the parking to the entrance of
Lunch at Rambagh Palace at 1300 hrs.
1430hrs visit the "Pink City" of Jaipur. The City Palace occupies the center of Jaipur. It now houses the Royal residence and museums with collections of textiles and costumes, armoury, manuscripts, paintings etc. Also visit Jantar Mantar (1728-34) by king astrologer Jai Singh II. The instruments are built of stone with marble facing on the important plains for measuring the harmony of the heavens. Each instrument serves a particular function and each gives an accurate reading.
1700 hrs evening tea on board Palace on Wheels. 1800 hrs proceed for dinner at Jai Mahal Palace. 2145 board Palace on wheels for departure to Jaiselmer. Overnight on board train.
- Day 3 Arrive Jaiselmer: Arrive
Jaiselmer 0615 hrs. Breakfast on Board . After
breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Jaiselmer at
0800. After breakfast, visit the Jaisalmer fort that
stands about 100 meters over the city and in fact
houses a citadel within its huge ramparts. Walking
down the narrow cobbled stone lanes, one can feel the
sheer magic of Jaisalmer. Several entrances called
Pols , including the Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoota Pol
and the Hava Pol guard the Megh Durbar and the Jawahar
Mahal which were occupied by the royal family.
Lunch on board at 1400 hrs.
Late afternoon excursion to Sam sand dunes to enjoy a camel ride and a magnificent sunset. Evening tea at dunes only. Dinner at 2015 hrs at Moomal tourist Bunglow. Depart for Jodhpur at 2240 hrs. Overnight on board train.
- Day 4 Arrive Jodhpur: Arrive
Jodhpur 0800 hrs. Breakfast on Board . After breakfast
proceed for sightseeing tour of Jodhpur at 0900 hrs.
Afternoon visit the impressive Mehrangarh Fort on a 37
m low sandstone hill built by Rao Jodha in 1459. From
the top of the fort one can get a bird's eye view of
the old city. You will notice the predominance of blue
houses referred to as Brahmin houses - the colour
being associated with the high caste. Proceed to the
Jaswant Thada, an imposing marble cenotaph built in
1899 for Maharajah Jaswant Singh II, and smaller
memorials to other Maharajahs of Jodhpur. At the end
of the tour enjoy a short walk through the local and
vibrant bazaar of Jodhpur.
Lunch at Umaid Bhawan Palace at 1400hrs. 1515 hrs depart for Swai Madhopur. Dinner and overnight on board train.
- Day 5 Arrive Swai Madhopur: Arrive Sawai Madhopur 0630 hrs. Breakfast on Board . After breakfast proceed for visit of Ranthambhor National Park at 0700hrs. Ranthambhor once a royal hunting preserve is now declared as a project Tiger conservation area, where safaris are organized to wildlife enthusiasts. Return to Palace on wheels at 1115 hrs . Depart for Chittaurgarh at 1200 hrs. Lunch and dinner on board train. Overnight on board train.
- Day 6 Arrive Chittorgarh- Udaipur:
Arrive Chittorgarh 0730 hrs. Breakfast on
Board. After breakfast proceed for visit of
Chittorgarh Fort at 0800. Chittorgarh a place
immortalized by deeds of valour and sacrifice of two
remarkable queens. This was the place where Queen
Padmini preffered jauhar(ritual sacrifice by self
immolation) rather than be taken captive, and be
submitted to the lus of Alaudin Khilji Sultan of
0930 hrs depart for Udaipur. 1130 hrs proceed for visit of Udaipur. Visiting Sahelion-ki Bari an ornamental pleasure garden specially made for the ladies of the palace in the 18th century. It has beautiful fountains, trees and flowers.
1300hrs Lunch at Lake Palace. After lunch proceed for City Palace built on the bank of the Pichola Lake, by Maharana Udai Singh in 1570. The impressive complex of several palaces is a blend of Rajput and Mughul influences. Half of it is still occupied by the Royal family, and part converted into a museum.
1600hrs Evening tea at Fateh Prakash Palace. After high tea return to Palace on Wheels at Chittorgarh. Dinner is served on board. Departure for Bharatpur / Agra at 2200 hrs. Overnight on board train.
- Day 7 Arrive Bharatpur/ Agra:
Arrive Bharatpur 0600 hrs. Breakfast on Board. After
breakfast proceed for visit of Keolodeo Ghana National
Park / Fatehpur Sikri. Lunch at Mughal Sheraton Agra
at 1300 hrs. Later proceed for city tour of Agra.
Afternoon visit the Taj Mahal (1631-1653), a poem in white marble, built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj Mahal. Rabindranath Tagore calls "a teardrop on the cheek of time". Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace" and is in fact the most well-preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world. It is best described by the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones." It is a celebration of woman built in marble and that's the way to appreciate it. As a tribute to a beautiful woman and as a monument for enduring love, the Taj reveals its subtleties when one visits it without being in a hurry. The dome is made of white marble, but the tomb is set against the plain across the river and it is this background that works its magic of colours that, through their reflection, change the view of the Taj. The colours change at different hours of the day and during different seasons.
Also visit the Agra fort, built alongside the Yamuna river stretching almost 2.5 km. The fort's colossal double walls rise 20 m in height and measure 2.5 km in circumference. The fort is surrounded by a moat. The lofty battlements of the Agra fort cast its protective shadow over the far stretching mansions of nobles and princes built along the riverfront. The magnificent towers, bastions and ramparts and majestic gateways symbolized the confidence and power of the third Mughal emperor. The fort contains splendid palaces both in red sandstone and white marble built by two generations of prolific builders, Akbar and later on by Jahangir and Shahjahan. Of the nearly 500 Akbari buildings built in the Bengal and Gujarati traditions, only a few have survived, arrayed in a band on the riverfront.
1800 hrs return to Palace on Wheels. Dinner on Board and then depart for Delhi at 2000hrs.
- Day 8 Wednesday Arrive Delhi: Arrive Delhi at 0600 hrs. Depart for onward destination.
The Royal Orient - 8 Days / 7 Nights
8 day tour of - New Delhi | Chittorgarh | Udaipur | Ahmedabad | Sasan Gir | Jaipur
- Day 1 (Wednesday) Leave Delhi: Depart Delhi cantt railway station at 1500 hrs. Tea and Dinner on board The Royal Orient
- Day 2 Thursday) Arrive Chittaurgarh:
Arrive Chittaurgarh at 0530 hrs. Visit
Chittaurgarh Fort and proceed to Udaipur. Breakfast on
board. On arrival in Udaipur, proceed for lunch at a
hotel. Afternoon city tour of Udaipur visiting the
City Palace, Tripolica Gates and Sahelion-ki-Bari.
Depart for Mehsana at 1750 hrs. Dinner on board.
- Day 3 (Friday) Arrive Mehsana /Ahmedabad: Arrive Mehsana at 0645 hrs. Breakfast on board and then visit the Sun Temple at Modhera. Also visit Ran Ki Vav and Patola weaving centre at Patan. Departure for Ahmedabad at 1115 hrs. On arrival in Ahmedabad, transfer to hotel for Lunch . Afternoon sightseeing of Ahmedabad visiting Adalaj Step Well, Gandhi Ashram, Calico Museum of Textiles and Sidi Sayyad Mosque. Dinner on board. Departure for Sasangir at 2015 hrs.
- Day 4 (Saturday) Arrive Sasan Gir Early Breakfast on board. Arrive Sasan Gir at 0800 hrs and visit the Lion Sanctuary. There is optional sightseeing of Somnath Temple. Leave for Delwada and after lunch on board, arrive Delwada at 1430 hrs. Visit to the Ahmedpur Mandvi beach followed by an excursion to Diu (Fort and St. Paul's Church). Leave for Palitana at 2000 hrs. Dinner on board.
- Day 5 (Sunday) Arrive Palitana: Arrive Palitana at 0800 hrs. Breakfast on board followed by a visit of the 863 Jain temples atop Shatrunjaya Hills. Leave for Sarkhej and after lunch on board, arrive Sarkhej at 1900 hrs and visit Vishala Village. Dinner at Hotel. Departure for Udaipur at 2230 hrs.
- Day 6 (Monday) Arrive Udaipur Breakfast on board. Arrive Udaipur at 0715 hrs. Excursion to Ranakpur Jain temples. Lunch at hotel. Afternoon return to Udaipur and visit the Shilpgram Craft Village. Departure for Jaipur at 2000 hrs. Dinner on board
- Day 7 (Tuesday) Arrive Jaipur: Breakfast on board. Arrive Jaipur at 0750 hrs. Excursion to AMBER FORT via HAWA MAHAL. Enjoy an elephant ride. Lunch at a hotel. Afternoon city tour visiting CITY PALACE, JANTAR MANTAR. Leave for Delhi at 2155 hrs. Dinner on board.
- Day 8 Wednesday - Arrive Delhi: Reach Delhi Cantt. Railway Station at 0700 hrs