Palace on Wheels The Royal Orient Hill Railways
Travel like a maharajah in the Palace on Wheels. The train is built in the style of the saloon coaches of the former maharajahs and makes its journey through beautiful Rajasthan. Itinerary: Delhi - Jaipur - Chittorgarh - Udaipur - Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambor) – Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Bharatpur - Agra - Delhi
Departure dates from Delhi (Cantonment Station): every Wednesday from September to April.
Length of journey: 8 days and seven nights. Departure from Delhi on Wednesday evening, return to Delhi the following Wednesday morning.
Comfort in the Palace on Wheels
Every saloon coach is equipped with a saloon, mini-bar and kitchenette. each cabin has its own toilet with shower and hot and cold running water. Indian or European food is served in separate dining cars. a panorama saloon coach with bar is waiting to be visited. in each saloon coach a chief steward and his assistant look after your needs. a public address system provides background music and is used for important announcements. a library is available. there is a first-aid room on the train; medical assistance is available at every stopping place. a bureau de change which also accepts travelers cheques is also on board the train. Cabins on board the Palace on Wheels
On the Palace on Wheels there are 52 sleeping car compartments each with two beds; the beds are no longer one above another but side by side. The air-conditioned train travels in a leisurely manner so that the ever-changing landscape can be fully appreciated.
Day 1, Wednesday Delhi. NEW DELHI : Reporting Time 16.00 hrs. Dep. 18.30 hrs. The journey of a lifetime begins at the Delhi Cantonment station where the guests are accorded a warm, traditional welcome before the Palace-on-Wheels pulls out into the night.. .for a week-long luxury cruise through fascinating Rajasthan.
Day 2, Thursday Jaipur. JAIPUR : Arrival 02.00 hrs. Departure 19.30 hrs. The first stop of the Palace-on-Wheels is Jaipur, one of the most well planned cities of the world of its time. This capital city of Rajasthan, popularly known as the Pink City,was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, in 1727 A.D.
To explore the city, an air-conditioned coach takes you to Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, which is a remarkable five storeyed building a ong the main street of the old city in pink splendour with semi-octagonal and delicate honey combed sandstone windows. This is followed by a visit to Amber Fort, eight kms. away, where rides on caparisoned elephants add to the ambience. Shop for Jaipur's famous jewellery, handicrafts, carpets, blue pottery and textiles. Near Ajmeri Gate is located Rajasthali- the only Rajasthan Govt. Emporium selling genuine handicrafts at fixed prices. After lunch at a Palace Hotel, you are off to the City Palace, home of the erstwhile royal family. Right across the road from the City Pa ace is the Jantar Mantar, the largest observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh II. The Luxury coaches will take you back to Palace-on-Wheels around 6.30 pm. Dinner on Board.
Day 3 - Friday JAISALMER : Arrival 08.1 5 hrs. Departure 23.00 hrs.
In the heart of the Thar desert lies Jaisalmer, founded by Rawal Jaisal,in 1 1 56 A.D. Here the yellow sandstone fort is an imposing sight,towering magnificently over the city. Discover the painstakingly latticed havelis or mansions with their grand facades. The Nathmalji-ki-haveli, Patwon-ki-haveli and Salim Singh-ki-haveli are fine examples of the stone carver's skill. Shop at Rajasthali-the only Rajasthan Govt. emporium, for fine pattu shawls, mirror work & embroidered articles, wooden boxes, trinkets, silver Jewellery and curios.
After lunch on board, go for an exciting came ride on the sand dunes of Sam, before sipping a refreshing cup of tea.Enjoy the dinner and the cultural programmes at a hotel in Jaisalmer.The train leaves for Jodhpur at night.
Day 4 - Saturday JODHPUR : Arrival 07.00 hrs. Departure 15.30 hrs.
Next morning the Palace-on-Wheels is in Jodhpur, a city ringed by a high stone wall with seven gates and several bastions. This second argest city of Rajasthan, founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 A.D. is known for its rock-solid Mehrangarh Fort. The grand palaces within -Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat
Khana are impressive examples of architectural excellence. Near the fort complex lies Jaswant Thada, and a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble.
After lunch at a Palace hotel, return to the Palace-on-Wheels. While in Jodhpur shop for exquisite handcrafted articles including the famous breeches, embroidered shoes, metal curios, silverware, paintings and tie and dye fabrics.
Day 5 - Sunday SAWAI MODHOPUR : Arrival 04.00 hrs. Departure 10.30 hrs. One can almost sense a life of the wilderness, as the Palace-on-Wheels arrives in Sawai Madhopur, a city named after its founder Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I. After breakfast a visit is arranged to the Ranthambhor National Park, wherein are located the ruins of a 10th century fort. This wildlife sanctuary is considered to be the country's best for observing and photographing the activities of the tiger. The park, covering an area of 392 sq. kms. is home to more than 300 species of birds. The tiger, hyena, rate, jackal and fox are among those constituting the carnivorous population here. Sawai Madhopur is known for its excusive toys, ethnic ornaments and costumes. Upon return to the Palace-on-Wheels, you leave for Chittaurgarh, when one gets an opportunity to watch the colourful countryside passing by in the daylight.
Day 5 - Sunday CHITTAURGARH : Arrival 16.00 hrs. After lunch on board you are in Chittaurgarh. Images of love and valour; scars of battles lost and won...thrice-beseiged, Chittaurgarh Fort is all this and more. Moving legends of honour and pride will echo in your mind as you proceed to Udaipur.
Day 6 - Monday UDAIPUR : Departure 20:00 hrs. from Chittaurgarh The Luxury Coach will take you to Udaipur, the Lake City, the next morning. It was founded by Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar, after the Sisodia dynasty was driven away by the Mughals, in 1559A.D. Perhaps the two most beautiful sites of Udaipur are the dream-like marble palaces- the Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) and the Jag Mandir, which appear to rise from the blue waters of Lake Pichhola. After lunch at Lake Palace Hotel, a visit to the City Palace is exhilarating. The luxury coach then takes you back to the Palace-on-Wheels at Chittaurgarh, thus winding up a day full of delights.
Day 7 - Tuesday BHARATPUR : Arrival 06.30 hrs.Departure 9.00 hrs. Early next morning, the Palace arrives in Bharatpur, the capital of Maharaja Suraj Mal . After breakfast pay a visit to the world famous bird sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, the nesting place for thousands of Egrets, Siberian Cranes, migratory Water Fowl and other species of birds. AGRA : Arrival 14.30 hrs.Departure 21.00 hrs. Arrive at Fatehpur Sikri-the red sandstone Mughal palatial complex. Within the encosure is a mosque built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and dedicated to Sheikh Salim Chishti, a muslim Sufi saint who blessed him with a son. After lunch move on from the Red Fort and arrive at the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. A pristine monument of undying love. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Agra is known for its splendid marble inlay work like the Pietra Dura work on the Taj, leather goods and jewellery.
THE ROYAL ORIENT
Culture - Nature - Beaches
A further similarly equipped train, the Royal Orient, takes passengers from Delhi through the previously undiscovered state of Gujarat. As well as Udaipur with its romantic palaces on Lake Pichola and the pink city of Jaipur in Rajasthan the guests also visit the following places during the one-week trip. Palitana where there are 863 Jain temples of breathtaking beauty on the Shertrunjaya mountain which overlooks the town. Most of the temples with their exquisite sculptures, richly ornamented pavilions and towers were built in the 11 th century by the most outstanding artists of their time. The next highlight is the temple of Somnath, one of the twelve holiest Shiva temples. Built in the l 1 th century is was repeatedly destroyed and each time rebuilt in a more magnificent manner. Relaxation is the next topic. Anyone who does not want to lie in the sun on the beach of Ahmedpur-Mandvi can explore the former Portuguese island of Diu. In the Sasan Gir wildlife conservation park the more adventurous spirits will get their money’s worth as this is the reserve for the last Asian lions. Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat, is famous as it was here that Mahatma Gandhi founded his Sabarmati ashram.
The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla is entrancing with 107 tunnels and lofty arched bridges. The dazzling view and the stops at the picturesque stations along the way - Dharampore, Taksal, Gamma and Solan, all add up to an exhilarating experience. This train runs on 2and a half feet gauge.
Introduced on the lines of Shatabdi Express this train has only one stop - Barog. The journey time - 4 hrs 45 mins. The amenity fittings match the modern times. Wall to wall carpet, wide glass windows, reversible cushioned chairs, improved toilet facilities, cabin for couple, tables for meal, tube lights, music system, microphones to communicate with the guard to name just a few. With a sitting capacity of 120 it connects the Howrah - Kalka mail.
For an exciting and charming journey for the elite class tourist between Kalka and Shimla. The Shivalik Palace (Tourist Coach) has on board catering with exclusive range of kitchenware. Special features include decorative lights, musical cordless bell, music system, variety of indoor games, magazines and books, etc. Shivalik Palace is meant normally for a party of 6 persons. The fare is Rs 8225 ( both ways). Meals are provided on board as well as two retiring rooms at Shimla for one day.
The Nilgiri Railway Mountain starts from the town of Mettupalayam and thus begins a journey full of twists and turns, as this metre gauge train ascends 46 km, on its way to the hill resort Ooty.
At a maximum speed of 33km per hour, this tiy train treks across plains, plantations and forest clad hills. The 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges on the way, along with the breathtaking view make this toy train journey to Ooty, something not to be missed.
The most famous of the little trains, is the one linking the town of New Jalpaiguri in the plains to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. With a 2 ft gauge, the Darjeeling Hill Railway is indeed a 'toy train' being the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The tiny century old engine is a connoisseur's delight. It also enjoys the status of being a world heritage site. The 86 km Darjeeling line has no tunnels, thus allowing the traveler an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas. The seven-and-a-half hour ride up is journey specially for the rail buffs.
The 77 year old line, connecting Neral on the main line of Central Railway to Matheran, is the main way to reach the tiny hill resort, close to Mumbai. As the little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air, one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The lack of vehicular traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat. This train runs on a 2 ft gauge.
Running alongside the beautiful Kullu valley, the rolling greens of Kangra valley unfold before the scenic white ridge of the Dhaula Dhar range. It is one of the snowy ridges which has verdant forests on one side and cheerful hill cultures on the other. The Kangra valley is situated between the Dhaula Dhar and the Shivalik foothills in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The valley starts near Mandi and runs north west to Shahpur near Pathankot. Named after the town Kangra, the largest and main center, at present, is Dharamsala. The train run on 2 1/2 feet gauge.