Luxury rail trains in India

Indian Railways (IR), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and different state governments provide a variety of luxury rail travel in India.[1][2] These are:

Name Image Launch Year Operators Notes Ref
Bharat Gaurav Trains 2021 IR & IRCTC IR rolled out Bharat Gaurav Trains (theme-based Tourist Circuit train) to offer ICF rakes under "Right to Use" model for operations on different routes to registered service providers.

Following two Bharat Gaurav Tourist Trains are currently being operated by IRCTC:

  • Shri Ramayan Yatra:[3] A 20-day journey to promote religious tourism under the Government's Dekho Apna Desh initiative. The train starts its journey of almost 7,500 kms from Safdarjung (in Delhi) to Rameswaram (in Tamil Nadu) covering visits to all prominent places associated with the life of Lord Rama before arriving back at Safdarjung on 20th day.[4]
  • South India Tour[5]: A 13-day journey covering the prominent sacred and heritage destinations of Southern India. The train starts its journey from Safdarjung (in Delhi), making its first stop at Hyderabad and last stop at Ongole before arriving back at Safdarjung on 13th day.
  • Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana: This initiative by Government of Delhi provides various tours under Bharat Gaurav Trains[citation needed]
  • Navratra darshan: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) launched the Navratri special Bharat Guarav train which will operate from Delhi to Katra.[6]
  • India - Nepal tour: According to an official statement issued by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), from February 2023, Indian Railways will run its Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train on a route which will connect pilgrimage sites of Ayodhya in India and Janakpur in Nepal.[7] The train will have a capacity of 600 persons and will cover major cities including Ayodhya, Buxar, Janakpur, Sitamarhi, Kashi, Prayag, Chitrakoot, Nasik, Hampi, Rameshwaram, Kanchipuram and Bhadrachalam.[8]
Deccan Odyssey
2004[9] MTDC & IR The train is based on the Palace on Wheels concept to boost tourism on IR's Maharashtra route.[10] The route begins in Mumbai and travels to cities like Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa, Kolhapur, Belgaon, Solapur, Aurangabad, Ajanta-Ellora Nasik and Pune. The route ends in Mumbai.

It travels on six routes for a period of seven nights and eight days, and operates during the period October to April.[11]

Fairy Queen Express
1997 IR Fairy Queen Express is a steam engine locomotive which runs between the Indian capital, New Delhi, and Alwar in the state of Rajasthan. It was built around 1855 and was one of the first train in India to offer luxurious train travel.[13]

It was certified by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the world's oldest locomotive in regular operation after its restoration to haul a luxury train to increase tourism in Rajasthan. In 1999, the Fairy Queen received a National Tourism Award.[13]

The train only operates on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month during the period October to March.[13]

Golden Chariot
2008[14] KSTDC & IRCTC It connects major tourist areas in states of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry weekly. It is named after the stone chariot at Hampi's Vitthala temple.[15] The train's 19 purple-and-gold coaches bear the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and the body of a lion. Like the Deccan Odyssey, its amenities are based on the Palace on Wheels. The Golden Chariot is operated by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and marketed by Luxury Trains, with hospitality by the Mapple Group.[16][17]

The train has 44 cabins in 11 coaches named after dynasties which ruled the region: Kadamba, Hoysala, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chalukya, Bahamani, Adil Shahi, Sangama, Satavahana, Yadukula and Vijayanagar. It has two restaurants, a lounge, conference, gym and spa facilities[17] and satellite television, and is India's only train with onboard Wi-Fi connectivity.[16]

Mahaparinirvan Express
2007 IRCTC It is a Buddhist Pilgrim Train that offers an eight-day tour. It takes pilgrims to the places where Buddha was born (Lumbini), gained enlightenment (Bodhgaya), first started teaching (Sarnath), and finally attained the state of Nirvana (Kushinagar).[18]

The tour covers the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India, where Buddhism originated over 2500 years ago.[19]

Maharajas' Express
2010[20] IRCTC The train was a joint venture between the Cox and Kings travel company and the IRCTC.[21][22][23][24] It offers five itineraries, which are available from October to April.[25] All of the trips either begin or end in Delhi and include a visit to Agra's Taj Mahal. It arrives at a different station each morning for off-rail excursions, including shopping and visits to monuments, heritage sites, palaces, forts and hotels.[26]

New itineraries include three pan-Indian journeys and two golden-triangle tours of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. The Maharajas' Express is India's most expensive train.[27]

Palace on Wheels
1982; 2009 (refurbished)[28] RTDC & IR The luxury train was introduced by Indian Railways to promote tourism in the state of Rajasthan. The palace-on-wheels concept derives from the royal background of the coaches, which were intended to be the personal railway coaches of the former rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India.

It is a weeklong journey which begins and ends in New Delhi. It operates between September and April every year.[11] The journey tracks a figure eight route through nine cities, which include cities like Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Agra.[29]

Each coach has four cabins (known as chambers or saloons) with twin beds,[30] wall-to-wall carpeting, air-conditioning, satellite television,[31] an intercom, toilets, hot and cold running water and personal attendants.[32]

The train was refurbished and reintroduced in August 2009 with new decor, itinerary and cuisine to promote tourism.[33]

Royal Orient 1994-95 The train operates between Gujarat and Rajasthan, covering important tourist locations in the two states. It is modelled on the Palace on Wheels train.

The train was introduced in 1994-95 as a joint venture between the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat and Indian Railways. The journey covers cities such as Delhi, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Junagarh, Veraval, Somnath, Sasan Gir National Park, Ahmedpur, Mandvi, Palitana, Sarkhej, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur.[34]

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels 2009[35][36] IR & IRCTC[37] It is operated by Indian Railways and is modelled on the Palace on Wheels. It follows a similar route through Rajasthan. The train visits several major tourist, wildlife and heritage sites across the state of Rajasthan,[38]

Attractions visited are the Hawa Mahal, Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Ranthambhore National Park, Chittorgarh Fort, Lake Palace, Keoladeo National Park, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.

References Edit

  1. ^ "10 facts about Indian Railways we bet you didn't know". Deccan Herald. 20 January 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  2. ^ "9 luxury trains of India, before which 5-star hotels fail". Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  3. ^ "Shri Ramayana Yatra by Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train (NZBG01)". Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  4. ^ "IRCTC to start Shri Ramayana Yatra train tours from today. Check fare, schedule". mint. 7 November 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  5. ^ "South India Tour by Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train (NZBG02)". Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  6. ^ "IRCTC launches Bharat Gaurav train on Delhi-Katra route for Navratra darshan". Financialexpress. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Indian Railways to run Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train between Ayodhya and Nepal". Mint. 14 January 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  8. ^ "IRCTC to connect India, Nepal through tourist train under Bharat Gaurav". Business Standard India. 9 June 2022. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  9. ^ Pate, Neil (9 January 2004). "Deccan Odyssey to start on Jan. 16". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Luxury train Deccan Odyssey, halted since pandemic, may start ferrying tourists again next year". The Indian Express. 10 November 2022. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  11. ^ a b Law, Abhishek (19 December 2022). "India's luxury train operations hit by Covid, occupancy levels still low".
  12. ^ "The world's top 25 luxury trains". 3 December 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  13. ^ a b c "Luxury on wheels: Royal trains of India". Hindustan Times. 2 December 2022. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  14. ^ "Golden Chariot train's first commercial run on March 10". The Times of India. 28 February 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  15. ^ "The Golden Chariot : Introduction". The Golden Chariot: Official website. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  16. ^ a b "The Golden Chariot is a totally wired train". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  17. ^ a b Somashekar, G.R.N. (6 September 2008). "Rajavilas on rails". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  18. ^ Jha, Anjali (28 April 2018). "Buddha Purnima 2018: Significant destinations to visit on the auspicious day". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train Gets Swanky New LHB Rake With Upgraded Amenities, Attractive Deals and More | 📝 LatestLY". LatestLY. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  20. ^ Boler, Sandra (3 April 2010). "A carriage through India". The Independent.
  21. ^ "Supreme Court Dismisses plea against Maharaja Express". Bihar Prabha. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  22. ^ Gupta, Jayanta (19 March 2010). "1 lakh a night on Maharajas' Express". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  23. ^ Ghosh, Dwaipayan (5 October 2009). "For Rs 1 lakh a day, travel like a maharaja". The Times of India. India. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  24. ^ India's Maharajas' Express rail journey,
  25. ^ "Maharaja Express Train Tour, Luxury Train Travel, Online Ticket Booking, Fare, Route, Maharaja's Timings, Schedule, Departure Dates, Images". Maharajas' Express by Yatra. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Maharajas' Express Train".
  27. ^ "Billed as Asia's costliest luxury train". The Times of India. 3 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  28. ^ "New-look Palace on Wheels set to chug off on Aug 5". The Times of India. 2 August 2009. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011.
  29. ^ Potter, Everett (19 August 2022). "See the world's most epic landscapes on these 9 train trips". National Geographic. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  30. ^ See the "chambers"
  31. ^ "Watch Dish TV on Palace on Wheels". DNA.
  32. ^ Though the word खिदमतगार - khiḍhmatgār (servant, steward) is used by the company, it is there to evoke a luxurious past.
  33. ^ "From Maharajas' Express To Golden Chariot: Here Are The World's Most Luxurious Trains". IndiaTimes. 13 February 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  34. ^ "5 most luxurious trains in India". India Today. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  35. ^ "Royal Rajasthan on Wheels to be launched in Dec". The Times of India. 26 August 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012.
  36. ^ "Railways to launch Royal Rajasthan on Wheels". PTI. Livemint. 26 August 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  37. ^ Garg, Arjit. "Most Expensive Train Journey in India". Zee News. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  38. ^ "Super luxury train 'Royal Rajasthan on Wheels' flagged off from New Delhi". The Times Of India. 6 September 2010.

External links Edit