Journeys on this Train
The Palace on Wheels, with its cream-colored livery, is a joint venture of Indian Railways and the state of Rajasthan’s tourism office. Starting service in 1982, it was India’s first hotel train and has been gaining in popularity ever since. We recommend booking far in advance.
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The train has 14 air-conditioned carriages, each with 4 compartments with two lower beds. Curtains and bedspreads are silk. Each compartment has a private sink, toilet and shower; the compartments also have stereo speakers with a number of music programs available (and an “off” switch if you want silence), intercom and wall-to-wall carpeting. Each sleeping car has a lounge at one end. Breakfast is no longer served there. What a shame! That was one of my favorite times of the day.
The Society's most recent travelers loved the scenery, tours, forts, palaces, train meals and the excellent on-board service. They liked the choice of meals, including Indian cuisine and rated the train very highly for cleanliness, service, value and scenery.
The restaurant cars serve Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisines. When you’re off the train touring, Indian cuisine buffets are held in magnificent hotels. Overall, the food either on board or off-train is plentiful but not memorable. On-board service is cheerful. Our recent travelers gave on-board service a 10+, the highest possible.
The bar is well-stocked and small sofas are welcoming. Drinks are additional.
One way to look at this train is where it goes and what it does––and the spectacular region through which it travels. It is a great way to experience Rajasthan. A few changes––thicker towels, nicer amenities, better food––could vault this train into true luxury service. A few tweaks in the program would make passengers much happier: The major complaint of our travelers is they do not like organized shopping stops. But our most recent travelers have given the Palace on Wheels very high marks, stressing the excellent service, which means the train is taking our evaluations seriously.
Rajasthan Tourism has also started a new train called Royal Rajasthan on Wheels which covers much (but not all) of the same sightseeing as the Palace on Wheels, but including a stop in Varanasi on the Ganges. IRT has not reviewed it, but plans to do so.