Photographs: Courtesy, Palace on Wheels website. Rediff Business Desk
India's luxury trains take you on an unforgettable journey across the country's best destinations, offering a glimpse of its rich cultural heritage and historic places. Check out these wonders that attract tourists from across the world...
The Palace on Wheels
The Palace on Wheels has been rated among the top ten luxury trains of the world. As the name signifies, the train is built like a palace with a royal aura. A majestic train, it has 14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, equipped with world class amenities.
Each saloon has a mini pantry for refreshments and a place to relax. The 4-twin bedded chambers have channel music, intercom, attached toilets, running hot and cold water, shower, wall to wall carpeting and other amenities. The furniture with its inlaid motifs has been specially created for the Palace on Wheels.
The train has two restaurants with a Rajasthani ambience serving Continental, Chinese, India and Rajasthani cuisines.
The tariff on triple sharing basis is between $3,150 and $2,380 (off season), per head. On twin sharing, the rates are $3,500 and $2,625(off season). For single occupancy, it is $4,690 and $3,500 (off season).
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The Fairy Queen
The historic Fairy Queen has the oldest working steam locomotive in the world. It started its maiden journey in 1855 for the erstwhile East Indian Railway. The Fairy Queen today holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest locomotive in operation.
The train has one 50-seater AC passenger coach and a pantry coach, which serves Rajasthani cuisine. The train travels to Delhi, Alwar and the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. The train also won the National Tourism award given by Prime Minister of India for the most innovative and unique tourism project.
The full package trip costs $7,500 for adults and $3750 for children. One-way train journey between Delhi and Alwar and sightseeing/stay at Sariska is priced at $5,500 and $2,750 for children. One-way train journey, between Delhi and Alwar costs $2,200.
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Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
Photographs: Courtesy, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels website.
This magnificent train offers a taste of royalty onboard. A trip through Varanasi and Khajuraho, Jaipur, Udaipur and Agra offers a glimpse of India's rich cultural heritage.
There are 3 itineraries to choose from. The train has hi-tech facilties which includes Internet, Wi-Fi system exclusive restro lounges, provision to regulate air conditioning in the super deluxe room, and pantry in each sleeper car.
While is the deluxe saloon is priced at $590 on twin sharing basis, the Super Deluxe Saloon is for $1,600 per person per night.
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Photographs: Courtesy, Golden Chariot.
The Golden Chariot is named after the famous Stone Chariot in Hampi, a world heritage site, in Southern India. The trip takes you through historical heritage sites, palaces, wildlife and beaches.
A seven-day journey, it begins every Monday from Bangalore and traverses through Mysore, visiting Srirangapatna, Mysore Palace; the Nagarhole National Park (Kabini) and historical sites of Shravanabelagola, Belur, a world heritage site, Halebidu, Hampi and passing through the triangular heritage site of Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole, and the beautiful beaches of Goa. The journey ends at Bangalore.
The train has fully air-conditioned cabins, 26 twin beds, 17 double bed cabins and 1 cabin for the physically challenged. Every cabin is equipped with Wi-Fi, LCD television, DVD with 6 satellite channels, wardrobe, and bathrooms with luxurious amenities and accessories.
The tariff for single occupancy is $590 per day and $4,130 for 7 days. For double occupany, it is $425 per day and $2,975 for 7 days.
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The Deccan Odyssey
Photographs: Courtesy, The Deccan Odyssey website.
The Deccan Odyssey travels across the heart of India. You can see some of India's best beaches in Goa and Maharashtra, the grand forts and palaces of the Marathas and the Osho Ashram in Pune.
The week-long trip also takes you to the historic sites of Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad. The journey culminates at India's financial capital, Mumbai.
The train has 13 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, each a combination of 4 twin bedded chambers with channel music, intercom, CD/MP3 player, attached toilets, wall to wall carpeting and other amenities.
Special assistance is available in the form of wheel chairs, creches and a special attendant for assistance. An attendant is always available at your service. You can also choose various cuisines on the Deccan Odyssey.
The fares for single occupancy range from $415 to $540. Double occupancy rates are between $320-390. The Presidential Suite ranges from $750-$950 and $550-$700 for double occupancy.
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The Maharajas Express
Photographs: Courtesy: Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd.
The Maharajas Express is a super luxury train. It promises a royal experience, with five carriages for deluxe cabins, six for junior suites, two for suites and one for the grand presidential suite.
Designed by the Integral Coach Factory, the train has cabins with individual temperature controls and LCD televisions, DVD players, direct dial telephone and high-speed Internet facilties.
The train also has two fine dining restaurants, one bar, an observation lounge with its own bar, game tables and a comfortable club. The Maharajas' Express promises to offer 'Luxury travel like no other.'
This train is run by a joint venture between Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Cox and Kings India called Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd.
The deluxe cabin, junior suite, suite and the presidential suite is priced at $800, $900, $1,400 and $2,500 on a twin sharing basis. The rates for deluxe cabin, junior suite, suite and the presidential suite for single occupancy are $600, $800, $1,400 and $2,500.