India, the kaleidoscopic land is known throughout the world for its unique cultural, natural, regional, religious and geographical diversities. I always dreamed to explore incredible beauty of India in a royal manner. I have heard and read about this mesmerizing land several times which inflamed my curiosity of India visit. Basically I belong from Australia so I have planned my India tour during vacations and fortnight Christmas vacation was the most ideal time.
After lot of internet surfing I decided that Palace on Wheel Train Tour is the most royal and regal way to explore enchanting and heritage destinations of India. This train tour is the best way to feel the glory of Indian royalty and experience the interwoven charm of India scenic beauty and cultural heritage.
While booking Palace on Wheel train tour I contacted several India tour operators but the most affordable rate was provided to me by the Caper Travel Company Pvt. Ltd. I with my wife arrived Delhi a night before our luxurious journey was to begin. On the morning via complementary taxis courtesy of the Taj we reached the Delhi cantonment station where we have to embark our journey.
When we arrived the station we were received by the attendants of Palace of Wheel (POW). They garland us and apply the large red mark on our foreheads. This is a way in Indian culture to welcome guests.
Palace on Wheels is the epitome of luxury and comfort which beckons you to travel back in time to the era of raja-maharajas. It is one of the most luxurious trains in the world reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan. This train was once the personal railway coaches of the Maharajas of the princely states of Rajasthan, Gujrat and the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Every Wednesday, from September to April, 14 carriages Palace on Wheel leave New Delhi and make their way westwards into the deserted land of Rajasthan. The enchanting journey of 7 nights/ 8 days covers Jaipur (the Pink city), Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ramthambhor National Park, Chittorgarh, Udaipur (the city of Lakes), the Bharatpur bird sanctuary and the symbol of love and romance, Agra, before returning to Delhi, the capital of India.
The 14 air-conditioned saloons of this train are equipped with all the facilities to ensure a comfortable time in the train. The elegant furnishings are specially created to appease the travellers with an imperial feel. I like everything at the first glance. The lounge is nice and cozy, and the cabin too. Here we met our cabin stewards Hari Nath and Sambhu. These guys will be at our service for the entire 7 days. Sambhu provides us all the basic information about this train and its time table. He narrated it so nicely that we don’t required to ask again regarding anything.
The Maharaja and the Maharani are the two restaurant where you can gorge on a variety of Rajasthani, Indian, Continental and Chinese dishes. There is a bar too where you can taste several Indian and International alcohol brands.
Day 2 – Jaipur
The highlight of today is the sprawling Amber fort and palace complex which is reached by a twenty minute elephant ride through a cobblestones and snaky pathways. It was the thrilling ride which gave us a majestic feeling of royalty. The fort is the architectural splendor made up of white marble and red sandstone. Maharaja Man Singh constructed this fort by combining the Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. This fort is known worldwide for its architectural beauty, exterior as well as interior decorations, frescoes, paintings and murals based on various themes. Intricate carvings, mosaic work and minute mirror work are the most charismatic features of this imposing structure. The other captivating chambers of this fort are Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Khas, Diwan-e-Aam and Ganesh Pol which will surely leaves you spellbound.
Other such arresting historic establishments which I visited in Jaipur were:
Once the abode of the erstwhile rulers, City Palace is an outstanding architectural piece reflecting a perfect blend of the traditional Rajasthani and Mughal style of architecture. Done to perfection, the interiors of the palace are adorned with mesmerizing mirror work and beautiful paintings. The courtyards, gardens and structures of the Palace have their own unique charm. Nakkarkhana-ka-Darwaza is the fabulous gateway of the palace which is adorned with stone elephants. The other well known attractions of this fort are Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-I-Khas, Diwan-I-Aam, Chandra Mahal, Chavi Nivas, Badal Maha Shobha Nivas.
This is among the five astronomical observatories of India which was constructed by Maharajah Jai Singh II in between 1727 to 1734. It was used for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits and determining the celestial altitudes of various heavenly bodies. The grand construction of this structure will surely a true feast for visitors eye.
Soon I will share my Day 3: Sawai Madhopur …