A trip to India will never be complete if you don’t travel by train. My first time traveling by train in India was in the wonderful Kerala. There I made some trips by train-some accompanied, others alone-and all fascinated me: of each one I carry experiences and memories very different, all positive. Travelling by train in India implies wonderful situations. The first and most important-and the one that captivates us tourists-is the hospitality of the locals with whom you can talk for hours, sharing a masala chai, hanging out just talking about life and learning about the way you look at things. But traveling by train in India also implies most of the time, uncertainty. Buy a ticket to travel where and when you had thought it may seem many times mission impossible. In addition, some trips can be extended almost 24 hours and after the trip, your main desire is to give you a good shower. Until very recently I was unaware that there was another way to travel by train in India. Trains are not only first, second and third class. In addition, there are a number of luxury trains that manage to create a unique experience for the passenger. A 5-star experience. And unexpectedly, I came to India to live this experience aboard the Palace on Wheels, the luxury train with the best itinerary to explore Rajasthan.
- India by luxury train: Palace on Wheels
- The best itinerary
- An incomparable service
India by luxury train: Palace on Wheels
On board the palace on Wheels-or what is the same thing, the palace on Wheels-travelling through India becomes an easy one. In any other way the overwhelming amount of people, the incessant noise of hundreds of horns at the same time and the heat play a leading role in the experience. In addition, the Palace on Wheels has in my opinion the best itinerary to travel to Rajasthan. If it is your first time visiting this state, this route covers the most important points of the same including the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Jaipur and Agra *). * Agra actually belongs to the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh but because of its proximity to Delhi-about 3 hours by car-and for the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, it is a must in any itinerary by Rajasthan.
The best itinerary
Day 1: Departure from Delhi
The trip begins in Delhi with a reception with music and flowers, an advance of what would be the beginning of each day aboard the Palace on Wheels. Entering the train stepping on a red carpet and being greeted by our butlers, we boarded the Palace on Wheels to enjoy a week touring the most important places in Rajasthan.
Day 2: Jaipur, the Pink City
With Palace on Wheels we visit the most emblematic places of Jaipur: Albert Hall, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amber Fort and Jantar Mantar. This day we became eternal but in a good way. We visited so many places that at mid-afternoon it seemed that we had been there for two days. Especially in Amber Fort I could have spent a whole day discovering every nook and cranny. I don’t know if it’s because it was the first city we visited, or because it’s painted pink, but Jaipur became automatically my favorite. So much so that I decided to go back once the train trip was over so I could visit again. Discover here the locations that you should not miss in Jaipur.
Day 3: Ratambhore and Chittorgarh National Park
The safari in Rathambore National Park was one of the most amazing experiences of the trip. In fact, if I could only choose an experience to stay on this trip, it would be this. Although he did not have the right objective to prove it, we were fortunate to see a tigress (Arrowhead name) doing a Jeep safari. Arrowhead was still enjoying a long sleep when we arrived so we didn’t make much case… At first. Then he decided to get up, to take a walk… And he crossed the road ahead of our jeeps! Is there anything more amazing? Ratambhore National Park Although it has fewer tigers than other parks in India, is the best place to find them why? Basically, because the extension of the park is much smaller and it is easier to find them. [Gallery columns = “2” size = “full” ids = “286,287”]Photo Credits: Jinson Abraham/Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India
I had never heard of Chittorgarh before this trip, I did not even know that this city that houses the largest fortress of all Rajasthan-and in my opinion, the prettiest one I visited during this week (there were few!). During our hours there we did not meet any other tourist. Only local, many monkeys and puppies, accompanied by an unforgettable sunset. It was definitely another of the nicest places we visited.
Day 4: Udaipur, the City of Lakes
Udaipur was an oasis on our journey. Known as the Venice of the east, Udaipur stands out for its beauty, its amount of havelis around Lake Pichola and other surrounding lakes. For something is chosen by many to celebrate their wedding. The City Palace of Udaipur was one of my favorite palaces. Although labyrinthine-it took me almost 20 minutes to get out of it! -It has a lot of stays where I could spend hours and hours just enjoying the architecture, the art and the views to the city. From there we take a boat to the Jagmandir island that now houses a hotel and a restaurant.Photo Credits: Jinson Abraham/Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India
Day 5: Jaisalmer, the City of the Sun
I would have loved to have extended our stay in Jaisalmer. If we could add a night in the Jaisalmer desert to the Palace on Wheels itinerary, I think it would add a magical point-who wouldn’t want to sleep under the stars? Jaisalmer is known as the city of the sun and we were able to give good account of it: It was the hottest city we visited and we finished the visit really tired. Still Jaisalmer captivated me. It is as if time had stopped at Jaisalmer Fort: daily life is still in and out of the fortress, Atrapándote. We end the day in the sand dunes riding a camel, another of the most typical activities of Jaisalmer.
Day 6: Jodhpur, the Blue City
Jodhpur is known as the Blue City by the color in which the Brahmans ‘ families painted their houses to differentiate themselves from other castes. There we visited Meharangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada. Meharangarh Fort is one of Rajasthan’s most impressive strengths. From it you get a brutal panoramic view of the Blue city. Jaswant Thada, meanwhile, is a beautiful marble mausoleum on the shores of a lake.Photo Credits: Jinson Abraham/Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India
Day 7: Bharatpur and Agra
Our last day aboard the Palace on Wheels, we woke up at 5 a.m. to visit the tricycle-ridden Ghana bird sanctuary. Although the visit was during a foggy morning, it was very nice to visit it and discover different types of birds and of course also monkeys. [Gallery size = “full” ids = “304,305,306”]
In Agra we visited Agra Fort before visiting the Taj Mahal. We dress our saris for the occasion! There are no words to describe the Taj Mahal. It is the greatest monument created by Love, one of the wonders of the world-my favorite of the 3 I have visited so far-and visiting it at dusk was magical. A marvel that should go at least once in a lifetime and that alone justifies a trip to India. So much so that I came back once more, once I finished the train ride. And I’ll be back.Photo credits: Jinson Abraham/Ministry of Tourism, Govt of IndiaPhoto credits: Jinson Abraham/Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India
Day 8: Back in Delhi
The check out of the train is made very early so you can take advantage of the whole day to do some sightseeing in the capital of India. Some places to visit in 1 day in Delhi: Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate and Agrasen Ki Baoli. Find out more about these places here.
An incomparable service
Keith and Rajendra were our butlers for a week aboard the Palace on Wheels. Every day we woke up at the appointed time, bringing to the room coffee and biscuits and treating us literally as princesses. The service is amazing at all levels: every time we were received in a new city with music, flowers and tikka, by our tour guides at each location-we were given the most valid tips to explore each place to get the most out And by each and every one of the team members.
The rooms are small but with enough space to feel at ease. Martha and I shared our room and we were delighted. Each room has an ensuite bathroom, with hot water 24 hours and with all the amenities you may need. The beds have space under the same to store the suitcases, and the cupboard and desk although small, are very useful, including a small safe. Although of course, the train is perfectly safe.
Palace On Wheels has two restaurants: Maharajas and Maharanis. Most of the meals of the day were made on board, except for the days when we were in the cities, we ate in restaurants in 5 star hotels. The menu each day included a wide variety of dishes: about 13 to be exact! In addition, with a variety of cuisines: Continental, India or China. Alcoholic beverages are paid in part, costing a beer on board about €8. Photo Credits: Jinson Abraham/Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India
In Palace on Wheels have thought about the needs for all tastes and have added a small stay as a gym, a small hairdresser with Manipedi services and also include the possibility of a relaxing massage for those who need it after a hard Tourism day.
The rates at the Palace on Wheels range from $4550 to $13862 per double room (price for the entire stay for two people) varying the price between low season and high season. This rate includes not only the train and all meals but also all tickets to the attractions you visit, tour guides, transportation and bottled water, coffee and tea. If this train doesn’t fit your budget-I’m honest, it’s getting out of my way! -You can take advantage of the itinerary that I have indicated above and try to replicate it on your own, either by train, bus or a mixture of both transport. That yes, spend at least a couple of full days to Jaipur and Jaisalmer, and has more days to spend on commuting from one place to another.
Although everything is included in the initial price, tips are expected from the tour guides, the kitchen team and the butlers. Do not forget to make your pre-visit to India as a visa, vaccination and travel insurance. Despite being a luxury train and that is the least stressful way possible to travel in India without giving up on a train ride, you should keep in mind that it is not a relaxed trip. Every morning the activities start early and visit places since the sun rises until it is put back. On the other hand, although it is a luxury train you should keep in mind that it is a train that travels along the same roads as the rest of trains in India, so sometimes the train can get to move a lot and make enough noise. As always, things with humor get better so benefit to laugh while you see how the coffee moves from your cup by the window of the train. You can book your travel insurance to India with a 5% discount through this link. Tell me, have you ever imagined that there was such a thing?