Royal experience on wheels: India's luxury trains
Visiting historic places in India can in itself be an overwhelming experience, but travelling to these places on luxury trains with royal coaches can transport you to the times of Maharajas. These trains are fitted with special amenities and aim to complete with 5-star hotels in terms of services.
The concept of these trains were 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.
There are several such trains which cater to tourists willing to spend for a royal experience such as The Palace on Wheels, Maharajas' Express, Golden Chariot and Deccan Odyssey.
The royal Maharajas' Express
The Maharajas' Express is a luxury tourist train owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. It runs on 5 circuits covering more than 12 destinations across North-West and Central India, mainly centered on Rajasthan between the months of October and April.
The Maharajas' Express was voted "The World's Leading Luxury Train" four times in a row at The World Travel Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. It is the most expensive luxury train in the World.
(Image courtesy: Twitter @RailMinIndia)
Palace on wheels
Palace on wheels was launched by the Indian Railways in association with Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation to promote tourism in Rajasthan. 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.
(Image - Twitter @luxtrainsindia)
Interiors of palace on wheels
Each saloon highlights the cultural ethos of the state, represented through the use of furniture, handicrafts, painting and furnishings. Delhi-based interior designer Monica Khanna did the interiors of the train.
The dining room
There are 23 coaches in the train. 104 tourists can travel in train. Each coach is named after former Rajput states and matches the aesthetics and interiors of the royal past.
The train has two restaurants, The Mahārāja and The Mahārāni, with a Rajasthani ambience serving continental, Chinese cuisine, one bar cum lounge, 14 saloons and a spa.
(Image courtesy - Twitter @luxtrainsindia)
The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist spots in the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as Pondicherry, depending on the selected itinerary.
It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi.
The 19 coaches on the train are coloured purple and gold, and sport the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion.
(Image courtesy -Twitter @luxtrainsindia)