Trains offer a relatively unmatched comfort level compared to most other forms of transport apart from flights. Some trains are far more luxurious than others, with first class services and fine dining experience. Only a handful of such trains exist in India. They offer a ride through cities, various tourist hotspots, and historic centres.
There are a total of seven of such heritage and luxury trains currently operating in India:
Palace on Wheels:
One of the original luxury trains in India, it was founded way back in 1982 and has since been refurbished and voted the 4th most luxurious train in the world. The concept was derived from the personal coaches of erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, etc. It is eight days & seven nights trip starting from New Delhi, then covering Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, and Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels:
A similar concept modelled after the Palace on Wheels, it passes through most of Rajasthan as well as some wildlife and heritage sites. Founded in 2009, it offers most of the amenities that the palace on wheels offers but differs vastly in routes taken. The eight-day journey starts in New Delhi and passes through Jodhpur, Udaipur and Chittorgarh, Ranthambore National Park and Jaipur, Khajuraho, Varanasi, and Sarnath, Agra and then ends in New Delhi.
A recently founded luxury express, the Maharajas Express, has been consistently voted the world’s leading luxury train five times in a row. It is the most expensive luxury train in the world. This train offers five different routes to tour India in the most royal of ways.
This is a train operated by the IRCTC solely for Buddhist pilgrims traveling in India. The Mahaparinirvan Express traverses various Buddhist places in North India for seven nights and eight days on a very spiritual and soul-soothing journey.
The Golden Chariot is a luxury train that runs through the four states of South India, namely, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Goa. The train also passes through the Union Territory of Pondicherry. It has been consistently voted as Asia’s most luxurious train and has received a fair bit of accolades. The train was modelled around the palace on wheels and has two itineraries namely ‘Pride of the South’ and ‘Splendour of the South.’
This train that passes through the heart of Maharashtra. Operated by the Maharashtra government to boost tourism, it aims to be a complete five-star hotel on wheels. It has six different itineraries and passes through the Deccan plateau, Western Ghats, and the Konkan regions.
This is the world’s oldest functional steam locomotive. It was built in 1855 and restored in 1997 to continue running between New Delhi and Alwar, Rajasthan. In 2011, it was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest functional steam locomotive.
The luxury trains are easily available via the Indian Railways reservation webpage and app. It can also be accessed through various other travel-booking websites.