Tours on luxury trains in India have become extremely popular. They’re an excellent way to explore the country without having to compromise on comfort. These luxury trains, which offer every indulgence imaginable right down to customized cutlery, inject glamor and romance into seeing some of India’s best tourist attractions.
The luxury trains generally run from September to April each year. You can expect to pay around $9,000 for two people, for seven nights (there are often discounted rates for Indian citizens). It’s definitely not cheap! All meals, tours, and entrance fees to monuments and cultural sites are included in the price though. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the regal experience. Travel at night and explore new destinations during the day!
01 Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels luxury train.
The Palace on Wheels is the oldest and most iconic of India’s luxury trains. It’s been operating since 1982 and is rated as one of the best train journeys in the world. The train’s 7-night itinerary includes some of the most popular cities in Rajasthan, as well as the Taj Mahal.
The Palace on Wheels has received a makeover for the 2017-18 tourist season. It’s now using the carriages from the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, which has ceased operating. These carriages are more spacious and luxurious than the train’s previous ones, and they’ve been refurbished to recreate the feel of the Palace on Wheels.
02 Heritage Palace on Wheels
Heritage Palace on Wheels
The old carriages of the Palace on Wheels have been used for a new Heritage Palace on Wheels luxury train, which commenced operating in late December 2017. The train’s tariff is more affordable than the other luxury trains, with the aim of attracting domestic Indian tourists along with foreigners. It offers two different, shorter itineraries. Both depart from Delhi. The 3-night Golden Triangle Circuit covers Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park, and the Taj Mahal. It costs $1,800/115,200 for two people. The 4-night Desert Triangle Circuit visits some lesser-known destinations in Rajasthan, including the painted havelis of the Shekhawati region, Black Buck deer sanctuary at Taal Chappar, Bikaner, Jaipur, the Taj Mahal, and royal town of Dholpur. It costs $2,400/153,600 rupees for two people.
03 Golden Chariot
The only luxury train to operate exclusively in south India, the Golden Chariot gets its name from the Stone Chariot in historic Hampi, one of the many places it visits in Karnataka. The train started running in early 2008 and offers two different 7-night itineraries, both of which depart from Bangalore. The Pride of South focuses on Karnataka and includes Mysore, Hampi, Badami and Pattadakkal, the temples at Belur and Halebid, Kabini and Nagarhole National Park, plus Goa. The Southern Splendor has an expanded route that encompasses Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, and Kerala.
04 Deccan Odyssey
The Deccan Odyssey primarily covers Maharashtra, as well as popular destinations in neighboring states such as Goa, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. This luxury train has been operating since 2004 and offers six diverse 7-night itineraries, most of which depart from Mumbai. These are the Maharashtra Splendor (covers Ajanta Ellora caves, Nashik wineries, Kolhapur, Konkan Coast and Goa), the Indian Odyssey (departs from Delhi and journeys through Agra, Ranthambore National Park, Jaipur, Udaipur, Vadodara, to the Ellora caves in Maharashtra), the Jewels of the Deccan (heads south to Hampi and Hyderabad), the Maharashtra Wild Trail, Hidden Treasures of Gujarat, and Indian Sojourn (similar to the Indian Odyssey but departs from Mumbai and ends in Delhi).
05 Maharajas’ Express
The opulent Maharajas’ Express was introduced by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation in 2010 as the only luxury train in India to travel across the whole country. It has consistently won the Leading Luxury Train of the World Award. There are five main tour circuits to choose from, with an emphasis on north India. Two are short Golden Triangle (Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Ranthambore) tours and the remainder are 7-night voyages. In addition, two new tours have been introduced, focusing on south India. However, these only operate in September. The train is priced higher than other luxury trains, with rates starting from around $12,000 for two people, for seven nights.
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