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Palace on Wheels

Delhi • Jaipur • Sawai Madhopur • Chittaurgarh • Udaipur • Jaisalmer • Jodhpur • Bharatpur • Agra • Delhi


There cannot be a more majestic way to explore Rajasthan than a journey on the famous 'Palace on Wheels'. The week long train tour passes through Rajasthan, visiting many of the cultural and historical highlights, and travels mainly by night, presenting you fresh each morning to a new destination, ready for a new day’s exploration.

The train is made from the former carriages of the erstwhile rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India. These have been carefully restored to its regal splendor.

Tour Schedule:

The Palace on Wheels operates starting on every Wednesday of the week from New Delhi Safdarjung Railway station.

Months of Operation:

This train operates from September till April of the following year. During summer and monsoon months (May to August), the train does not operates and is closed for annual maintenance.

Peak Season: September to March
Lean Season: April to May & August

Coaches

The name "Palace on Wheels" was derived from its royal back-ground of the coaches. The 14 sleeping cars are named after the states of Rajasthan, and contain four bedrooms each with en suite facilities, a mini-pantry and two members of staff to each saloon called "Khidmatgars", to take care of their guests. The interiors of the saloons reflect the aesthetics of the former Royal states of Rajasthan. It has a well stocked bar, two dining cars (The Maharaja and Maharani) with very personalized service as well as a lounge and library.

Alwar Saloon Coach:
Alwar is home to several species of flora and fauna.The ceiling of the Alwar Saloon lounge has been done aesthetically in mix-media of cone work, and oils in relief, depicting a hunting scene.The royal emblem and a miniature adorn the lounge.Subtle tones of pink enhance the romantic ambience of the lounge.

Bharatpur Saloon Coach:
Once a fortified township, Bharatpur is now an ornithologist's paradise, and well known for the Bharatpur water-bird sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to over 376 avian species. Echoing the vividness of nature's gift to Bharatpur the relief work on this coach depicts various species of birds on the tree of life. A replica of the royal crest of Bharatpur adorns the valance of the blind. The 'nature' theme is further endorsed by the white cedar inlay work depicting birds and painted peacocks, sitting on a haveli worked on a mirror. The colour scheme, with its profusion of beige and aqua green, is a vivid reminder of lush green forests of Bharatpur and Ghana.

Bikaner Saloon Coach:
The royal state crest is placed on the valance along with some handicrafts of Rajasthan. The ceiling is done up in relief work and oil painting on canvas depicting the legendary lovers Dhola & Maru on camel back. The artwork in the lounge belongs to the Mughal influenced Bikaner School of Art style.

Bundi Saloon Coach:
The royal crest is highlighted on the valance. The famous Bundi School of painting is depicted in the famed and mounted art pieces and also serves as the basis for the colour scheme and overall decor, including a delightfully frescoed ceiling.

Dhaulpur Saloon Coach:
The rails in the coach are made in teak ply to depict the fine craftsmanship as done in stone. The Dholpur crest decorates the valance in zardozi work.

Dungarpur Saloon Coach:
Dungarpur literally means “hill town “in local dialect. The Lounge roof reflects the Bhil tribal areas in coloured glass form.

Jaipur Saloon Coach:
The ceiling of the state lounge has been created using the famed 'Phad' or foil work, depicting festivals like Teej, Gangaur, Holi, Diwali etc. The royal emblem of the state is worked out in Zardozi work on the valance. The walls have been decorated with miniature paintings of the famous Jaipur style of painting. The ceilings have painted frescoes, done in complimentary colours, reflecting the state's colour scheme of Blue & Gold.

Jaisalmer Coach:
There are intricately carved jharokhas on the lounge ceiling. It is done on teak wood with a mirror backing. The famous Jawahar Niwas facade has been depicted in the state lounge using cone, metal, copper and silver medium. The royal insignia adorns the valance of the blind. The colour scheme reflects the beige of the desert sands.

Jhalawar Coach:
The ceiling has been worked out in a medium used by the local inhabitants of Jhalawar to decorate their home. A play of colours and mirror work has been used in the medium of Plaster of Paris to create a unique ambience. The royal insignia of the erstwhile state in Zardozi work is seen on the valance along with handicrafts supporting the table tops of the state lounge.

Jodhpur Coach:
Mughal influenced designs of the Moti Mahal are recreated in mother of pearl work on the ceiling. The royal crest is highlighted on the valance along with the miniature paintings in the lounge which is typical of the Jodhpur School of art.

Kishangarh Coach:
The Banio Thani paintings of the state with their exaggerated features like eyes and long fingers are well-known. One of these famous paintings is recreated on the ceiling in acrylic, painted with enamel and foil. The crest appears in zardozi work on the blinds of the window with the Kishangarh School of Art highlighted in an artwork on the wall of the state lounge.

Kota Coach:
Kota is well known for Kota school of design. These elements have served as the basis for designing the decor of this coach. The distinctive features of the Kota school of art can be seen in the oil paintings titled 'Raja aur Praja' (The Monarch and his subjects on the ceiling. It depicts Raja Ram Singh II (1826-66) of Kota amidst a royal procession.

Sirohi Coach:
This erstwhile state has earned an enviable reputation the world over for its gold fort and with coloured glass work that is done near Pratapgarh. The style of work has a typically Indo-European flavour as European influence is quite conspicuous. The rooms highlight this style through the framed works of art done in the same styles through the framed works of art done in the same styles. The ambience and colour scheme has also been designed in keeping with this school of Art. The Gold foil and glass work also has semi precious stones embedded in it, and has been done in a mix media created from cone and paint embossed particle boards. The royal insignia has been placed prominently. Mounted miniatures done in the Sirohi school style lend a unique character to the decor.

Udaipur Coach:
The state lounge and bedrooms take their colour schemes-dominant blue and white. The lounge decor is influenced by the 'Mor Chowk' or the Peacock Court. The medium used is a combination of relief work and Patra or oxidized white metal work. The royal crest of the state, in alluring zardozi work is set on the valance of the blinds.

Palace on Wheels: Facilities

The facilities on board the train are marked by affluence and exuberance. The train is self-sufficient with all modern amenities and facilities.

The decor speaks of the culturally rich past of Rajasthan. The paintings, carved furniture and elegant handicrafts represent Rajasthan's fascinating heritage of art and craftsmanship. Period furniture and the elaborate costumes of the attendants make up the royal ambience.

Palace on Wheels: Dining

The Maharaja and Maharani restaurants offer seating arranged in groups of twos and fours near the windows. Chefs in the attached pantry prepare Continental and Indian specialities, with an emphasis on the cuisine of Rajasthan.

Palace on Wheels: Bar and Lounge

The bar-lounge is embellished in period furniture, created especially for this coach. The bar has ample space and choice of soft and alcoholic beverages on offer.

Palace on Wheels: Bed Room

The 14 Saloons are made up of 104 passenger berths in Twin Bedded Cabins. A third bed, for an additional person, or an accompanying child, is in the form of a fold-away bed on a higher tier. Each compartment has an attached bath with running hot/cold water and showers, built-in wardrobes, overhead and night lights, piped music, reading lights etc.

Palace on Wheels: Lounge

At the end of each coach is a separate lounge where passengers can relax when they wish to move out of their bedrooms. Here they can unwind with a book or magazine, engage in conversation, or simply watch the panoramic vista of the great Indian country side.

Palace on Wheels: Safety

Palace on Wheels is jointly run by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways, Government of India. The guests can be assured of a trouble free journey without any unfavorable instances and unwanted surprises.



Relish the lifestyles of the erstwhile Maharajas and Maharanis on board the Palace on Wheels, while listening to the silent tales of glory and valor told by the majestic forts and splendid palaces of Rajasthan.


DAY 1, WED: DELHI - JAIPUR

Late afternoon, a Hi-Tours representative will escort you to New Delhi Safdarjung Railway station from where your journey begins for a week-long luxury cruise through fascinating Rajasthan.

(Note: reporting time at the railway station is 4:00pm).

On arrival you will be accorded a warm, traditional welcome before you board the train.

6:30pm: begin your fascinating journey as your train departs to Jaipur.

8:00pm: dinner on-board.

Meals included: Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 2, THUR: JAIPUR - SAWAIMADHOPUR (RANTHAMBORE)

03:00am: arrive in Jaipur.

Jaipur, "The City of Victory", was first intended to be "Sawai Jaipur", named after the boy Prince who commissioned it - Maharaja Jai Singh II - a warrior, astronomer and politician who reigned over the Mughals from 1699 to 1743. Today's Jaipur is pink, visually described as the city shaded with the autumn colors of a sunset. Although originally the walls were render set and pigmented the color of red sandstone, Jaipur's universal coat of pink only came in 1876 to coincide with the visit of the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII). Almost the entire city was given a coat of pink paint, thus giving it the name "The Pink City.

07:00am: breakfast on board.

08:15am: begin your city tour with a visit to Hawa Mahal or Palace on Winds; a remarkable five storied building a one the main street of the old city in pink splendor with semi-octagonal and delicate honey combed sandstone windows. Proceed to the awe inspiring Jantar Mantar Observatory, a stone astrological and astronomical Observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century. The unique Jantar Mantar Observatory, which was built in the 1700’s, yet even today still looks futuristic or almost surrealistic. Continue to City Palace Museum, which has a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, and armoury of Mughals and Rajputs including swords of different shapes and sizes with chiselled handles.

1:30pm: lunch at Amber Fort.

Post lunch, visit Amber Fort. Make your ascent to the palace fortress on the gaily caparisoned elephant back. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace which are famous for the excellence of their design and decoration.

6:00pm: return on-board.

7:00pm: departure for night tour of Jaipur. Enjoy sumptuous dinner at hotel Jai Mahal Palace! Later return on board.

11:30pm: depart for Sawai Madhopur.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 3, FRI: SAWAIMADHOPUR - CHITTAURGARH - UDAIPUR

05:30am: arrive in Sawai Madhopur.

Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore), dominated by a vast 11th-century fortress of the same name, Ranthambore is a 400sq-km park situated in an area of rocky hill country, clothed in dry, deciduous forest, grassland, and scrub, and dotted with several small lakes that can be alive with birds. Some five years ago, the Tigers of Ranthambore were decimated by an outbreak of poaching; fortunately the situation is improving and we once again have a good chance of encountering the largest and most powerful of the world's big cats. Seeing tiger will be a priority, and it requires covering much ground every morning and afternoon, eyes directed at every angle. Besides tigers, large mammals are particularly well represented at Ranthambore, and among the species we might see are Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Dorcas Gazelle (Chinkara), the ubiquitous Northern Palm Squirrel, Hanuman Langur, Small Indian and Ruddy mongooses, Wild Boar, and Indian Flying Fox. Leopard and Sloth Bear are also present in the park, though both are seen infrequently. Ranthambore also boasts an exciting array of birds.

06:00am: enjoy game viewing by an open 4x4 jeeps or canter (large safari vehicle). Go in search of the magnificent Royal Bengal Tiger and other wildlife. Visit Jhoomar Baori - It was a hunting loudge of Jaipur ruler Sawai Madho Singh and Jogi Mahal - a former forest guest house from where you can view the picturesque scenery of Padam Talab.

09:15am: leisurely breakfast at Hotel Vinayak.

10:00am: return on board.

10:30am: leave for Chittaurgarh. Lunch on board.

4:00pm: arrive in Chittaurgarh.

4:30pm: visit Chittaurgarh Fort. There is no place in Rajasthan with a history more romantic than that of Chittaurgarh. The centre of Rajput resistance against Mughal rule; it was here that Sisodia Rajput warriors on many occasions gave their lives preferring death to dishonour and surrender. This city was sacked at least three times before it was finally abandoned and the capital moved to Udaipur. The glory of Chittaurgarh is the Tower of Victory-Jaya Stambha erected by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohammed Khilji of Malwa in 1440. Its nine stories are covered with sculptures of Hindu divinities.

6:00pm: evening Tea & Light sound & light show at the fort.

7:30pm: return on-board.

8:00pm: dinner at Panna Hotel cultural program, music & bar-be-que.

Post dinner, return on-board.

2:00am: leave for Udaipur.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 4, SAT: UDAIPUR - JAISALMER

08:00am: arrive in Udaipur.

08:15am: upon arrival, proceed for breakfast at hotel Shikarbadi.

09:00am: enjoy an orientation tour of Udaipur.

Udaipur, the city combines real beauty with a picturesque association of a great and glorious past. It stands in a valley, amidst green hills on the banks of the wide, steel blue Lake Pichola. On little islands in the lake, from the water's edge, raise marble palaces of pure white that glisten like fairy castles. Crowning the ridge in which the city clusters, along the shore of the lake is the palace of the Maharana. Possibly no city in Rajasthan is quite as romantic as Udaipur and is replete with fantastic hill top fortresses, exotic fairy tale palaces and gripping legends of medieval chivalry and heroism. Udaipur rivals any of the world's famous creations of the Mughals with the Rajput love of the whimsical and it's superbly crafted elegance.

Begin your tour with a visit to City Palace! Here you will marvel at rooms with mirrored walls and ivory doors, colored glass windows and inlaid marble balconies; and the Peacock Courtyard. Also visit the lovely Sahelion-ki-Bari Gardens - the Jagdish Temple.

Also visit Crystal Gallery. It has a rare collection of Osler's crystal ordered from England by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877.

1:30pm: lunch at Sun set open point - an open air restaurant.

2:30pm: embark on a boat cruise on the placid, mystical waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the midst of the enigmatic deserts of Rajasthan (Subject to water level in the lake).

3:00pm: return on-board.

3:30pm: depart for Jaisalmer.

7:30pm: dinner will be on board.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 5, SUN: JAISALMER - JODHPUR

07:30am: breakfast on board.

09:15am: arrive in Jaisalmer.

There is something magical about Jaisalmer, which rears out of the inhospitable Thar Desert like a mirage from the "1001 Nights". Once a staging post on the trading routes west, it is a walled citadel, formidably fortified, of a sand colour that turns golden in the setting sun, and it contains a complex fort surrounded by palaces and temples. Below the forest of intricately carved spires and turrets is a merry jumble of buildings, alleys, animals, humans, shops and cafes, wonderful golden havelis and numerous fine Jain temples. Camel trains can often be seen taking visitors out into the desert on camel safaris.

Enjoy a city tour where you visit Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli, Jaisalmer Fort and Gadi Sagar Tank.

1:30pm: lunch will be at Moomal hotel.

3:30pm: leave for Camel Ride at Kuldhara & Sam sand dunes. Your camel will take you deep in the Thar Desert, the set hare is the most awaited experience! Evening Tea will be served at the dunes.

7:45pm: enjoy a special bar-be-que dinner at Samdhani. Traditional Rajasthani food will be served as you witness cultural dance performance.

11:00pm: return on-board.

11:45pm: leave for Jodhpur.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 6, MON: JODHPUR - BHARATPUR

07:00am: arrive in Jodhpur.

Jodhpur, also called the 'Blue City' was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan, the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur. It is still a marvelously medieval city. While the graceful palaces, forts and temples bring alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city. 07:30am: breakfast on-board.

9:00am: enjoy an orientation tour of Jodhpur city. Visit the magnificent Mehrangarh fort which dominates the town ringed with its massive protective walls. There are seven gates that lead into the fort. Inside the fort is a series of courtyards and palaces.

The palace apartments with marvelously carved panels, latticed windows have evocative names such as Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) and the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). These palaces house a fabulous collection of trappings of Indian royalty including a superb collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs (used when the Maharajas rode their elephants in processions), miniature paintings, musical instruments and costumes.

Continue your tour to Jaswant Thada, located a short distance from the fort, just off the fort road, is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The cenotaph built in 1899, was followed by the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs that stand nearby.

1:30pm: lunch will be at the Umaid Bhawan Palace.

2:45pm: return on-board.

3:30pm: leave for Bharatpur.

7:30pm: dinner on-board.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 7, TUE: BHARATPUR - AGRA - DELHI

05:00am: arrive in Bharatpur.

6:00am: visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary - a UNESCO world heritage site. Bharatpur (Ghana) once the former hunting preserve of the royal family of Bharatpur, the sanctuary is home to storks and nearly every other kind of bird imaginable. You'll see more than 250 different species nesting on the tops of trees and along the roadside, as well as snakes, lizards, exotic fish and monkeys. Lucky visitors can spot the rare Siberian Crane that migrates to this preserve annually. Also found are chital, black buck, deer and other varieties of animals.

08:00am: breakfast will be at the Bird sanctuary.

08:30am: return on-board.

08:45am: leave for Agra.

10:30am: arrive in Agra.

Agra - Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today, a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices of red sandstone and white marble, narrow lanes and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favourite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously. A walk down the narrow bustling streets of the city will introduce the visitor to the wafting aroma of Mughlai cuisine.

11:00am: visit Agra Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)

An imposing structure with walls of red sandstone, almost two miles long and contains palaces, audience halls and mosques. The fort presents a good sampling of Islamic and Hindu architectural styles. It was built by the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Subsequent additions were made to the fort by his son Jahangir and grandson Shahjahan.

1:30pm: lunch at a Palace hotel.

3:00pm: enjoy a visit to Taj Mahal (a UNESCO World heritage site). The Taj Mahal is the mausoleum of Empress Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved spouse of Shah Jahan, who died in 1630. The Taj is remarkable for its perfect proportion and rich pietra dura, with minute details executed with great skill. The building, often styled "a dream in marble" is said to have taken at least 22 years (1631-1653) to build.

6:30pm: light & sound program.

8:00pm: enjoy Gala Dinner at hotel Mughal Sheraton.

11:00pm: depart for Delhi.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: On Board - Train



DAY 8, WED: ARRIVE DELHI

04:00am: arrive at Safdarjung Railway Station.

07:00am: breakfast on-board.

07:30am: disembark Palace on Wheels. A Hi-Tours representative will meet you and assist you prior to your departure to onward destination.


         


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