Luxury Train : Palace on Wheels
Travel Rajasthan by palace on wheels and witness the history unfolding itself gracefully at Rajasthan. Rajasthan is also famous for its hospitality. The men with long moustaches and their brightly coloured turbans and the attractive ladies in their resplendent ghaghra-cholis are always ready to go out of their way to make you feel special. The traditional music and dance are genuinely captivating.
The Palace on Wheels tours makes you experience all the luxuries worthy of the affluent Indian maharajas of yore. Exuberance and extravagance are the key words. This royal journey by palace on wheels is a first-hand experience of the lavish lifestyles of the Indian kings. The decor, food and hospitality speak of sheer luxury and opulence. So relax, enjoy and indulge yourself!
The ornate passenger coaches were originally meant to be the personal Railway coaches of erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India. The Indian Railways did not use these coaches after Independence in normal passenger trains on account of the very rich and traditional interiors. The coaches were very old and were meant to run on meter gauge. As a result they were parked in different yards and cited as part of heritage that was far too ornate, old and historical to be of any practical use. They remained in this state for a quarter of a century until 1981-82 when the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, the Indian Railways and the Tourism Department of the State launched them as a special heritage tourist train to provide a unique memorable experience to the tourists visiting Rajasthan.
The name "Palace on Wheels" (POW) was derived from the royal background of the coaches. The Train undertook its inaugural trip on 26th January 1982. Only five promotional trips were run for the purpose of familiarization and publicity. It started to roll on its regular operations from October 1982 and undertook 13 weekly and 13 short trips.
The original coaches that belonged to the rulers of the erstwhile princely states of India become unworthy for the smooth rail journey after their continuous running for 9 years from its inception. This was replaced in 1991 by the air-conditioned meter gauge train whose interiors were done in accordance to the aesthetics of the old saloons. This train was fabricated at the Integral Coach Factory of Madras.
In order to further increase the amenities on the train and due to over all gauge conversion in the state, a new broad gauge Palace on Wheels was constructed with the same amenities and facilities like its predecessors - 14 Saloons that are now inter connected, 2 Restaurant-cum-Kitchen cars, 1 Bar-cum-Lounge and 4 Service cars. The train also has a well-appointed lounge, library and bar.
Apart from this other services include - laundry services at Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur, Foreign Exchange, Doctor on call.
The names of the saloons are based on the princely states of Rajasthan - Jaipur, Jodhpur, Alwar, Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Dholpur, Bharatpur, Jaisalmer, Sirohi, Bikaner, Udaipur and Kishangarh.
The decor of each saloon has highlighted the cultural ethos of the state, represented through the use of furniture, handicrafts, paintings and furnishings. The ceiling in the lounge is of particular interest. Each coupe is different but the over all ambience of the decor of the saloons has been taken care of to provide continuity. Each saloon has cream yellow colour on its exterior walls and bears the Coat of Arms (logo) of the erstwhile princely states.
Each saloon has 4 coupes (sleeping rooms) with attached bath and toilet. In every saloon, there is one saloon captain and 2 attendants to look after the personal needs of its guests. Each saloon has a mini pantry properly equipped to provide ready tea/coffee and snacks.
Services On Board
14 saloons attached with bath and shower.
An additional upper berth is available in case 3 persons wish to travel together.
Each Saloon is equipped with a Lounge.
Separate Dining Car offering Continental and Indian Cuisine and snacks with the chef's special variety of the day.
Separate Lounge-cum-Observation car with a Bar.
Each cabin has its own wash basin with mirrors and sockets for shavers and dryers.
Saloon captain in each Saloon for personalized service.
Sound system for announcements and music.
Laundry service is available in Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur.
First aid facilities and foreign exchange counter is also provided.
A well stocked bar serving Indian liquor and variety of scotch, wine and cocktails.
A souvenir shop "The Bazaar" in the Lounge where souvenirs and gift items are sold bearing the insignia of the POW