Royal Rajasthan on Wheels

Key Info

  • DURATION 7 nights / 8 days
  • ACTIVITY GRADING Easy
  • BEST TIME TO TRAVEL October to April

Highlights

  • Untamed wilderness of Ranthambore National Park
  • Udaipur - The enchanting city of lakes
  • Jaipur - Forts, Palaces and the City
  • Taj Mahal - The Monument of Love

DAY 1:

DEPART DELHI

Welcome on board at Delhi with the ceremonial greetings at the Safdarjung station at 21:00 hrs with traditional garlanding.

After check in, you would be escorted to the respective cabins. Feel the difference of the World in the moving Palace which empowers luxury and tradition hand to hand.

DAY 2:

ARRIVAL SAWAI MADHOPUR SAWAI MADHOPUR – UDAIPUR

Early morning proceed for safari at Ranthambore National Park.

Ranthambore is most famous for its large tiger population. As tourism in the park increased, so did the population of neighboring villages. This lead to increasing amounts of fatal human-tiger interactions and poaching. The Indian Government started Project Tiger in 1972 with an allotted area of 60 m2. It was later expanded to become what is now called, the Ranthambore National Park. Besides tigers, the reserve has thriving bird population with more than 270 different species of birds here.

In 2005, there were 26 tigers living in Ranthambore. This was significantly lower than the recorded tiger population of the reserve in 1982, which then stood at 44. In 2008, more than 14 tiger cubs were recorded. This was largely attributed to sustained efforts by forest officials to curb poaching. Villagers in the region were being given incentives to stay out of the park and surveillance cameras were also fitted across the reserve. The Indian government also committed US$153 million for the efforts. These efforts have been successful with Ranthambore having enough tigers to participate in the Sariska Tiger Reserve relocation efforts.

Back to train for Breakfast.

After the Lunch you will proceed for afternoon safari at Ranthambore National Park.

After the safaris return backtrain for onboard journey

DAY 3:

ARRIVE UDAIPUR

After breakfast at train you will proceed to visit the vast and exquisite CityPalace, a well-fortified, majestic white monument. The main entrance, a triple-arched gate named the Tripolia, was built in 1725 and is a marvel. The Suraj Gokhada, the Balcony of the Sun, where the Suryavanshi Maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in times of trouble to the people to restore their confidence, is also a fascinating sight.

Later visit the Jagdish Temple, a 16th-century temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is the largest and most splendid temple in Udaipur. Drive past Fateh Sagar Lake and visit Sahelion-ki-Bari, the Garden of the Maids-of-Honor, which has numerous fountains in four pools, embellished with delicately chiseled kiosks and elephants. The garden brings to the fore the unique lifestyle of the royal ladies, who once strolled through these gardens.

Later in the afternoon, take a boat cruise on Lake Pichola to visit Jag Mandir Palace by common boat, which covers almost four acres and is noted for its marble pavilion and an imposing dome. You'll see people doing their laundry on the shores of the lake against the backdrop of the massive City Palace and the old city.

After the sightseeing tour proceed to the train for onboard journey.

DAY 4:

ARRIVE JAIPUR

Morning after breakfast, you will proceed to visit City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.

Jaipur's Jantar Mantar is the most famous of five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh in India. Jai Singh was a great admirer of progresses and research made in the fields of science and technology, but he was passionate about astronomy. There is a very interesting story behind the construction of this observatory, considered as the largest stone observatory in the world. Sawai Jai Singh sent his emissaries to all parts of the world before commencing the construction of this observatory. The emissaries returned with many manuals on astronomy containing cutting-edge technological information. One of these manuals was a copy of La Hire's "Tables". The king ordered the observatory to be built according to the details contained in this manual. When the construction ended, for the astonishment of the king and others, the observatory was 20 seconds more accurate than the one mentioned in "Table.

In the afternoon after lunch proceed for capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar's most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenulated walls lattice the surrounding area.

Jeeps will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress. Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room.

En-route to Amber Fort you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds', otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city.

After the sightseeing tour proceed to the train for onboard journey

DAY 5:

ARRIVE BHARATPUR & BHARATPUR – AGRA

Upon arrival at Bharatpur, proceed to Agra en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to wander around with its buildings in near perfect condition.

Arrive Agra and visit Red Fort. After lunch, move on to pay a visit to Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. A pristine monument of undying love; It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal.

Agra is also known for its splendid marble inlay work like the Pietra Dura work on the Taj, leather goods and jewellery.

Later return back to the train, have your dinner on board.

DAY 6:

ARRIVE KHAJURAHO

Today morning after breakfast at the Train, later proceed to visit the Chandela Temple Complex. The tour of Khajuraho this morning concentrates on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India. The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven.

They were built during the mighty Chandela dynasty; the majority was constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries. After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious centre of Khajuraho was abandoned. The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana. Of the eighty-five original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition.

You visit the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples, each remarkable for its beautiful design and architecture.

Later return to the train, onboard journey.

DAY 7:

ARRIVE VARANASI

IN Varanasi - Very early in the morning you will take a boat ride along the bathing ghats on the Holy River Ganges. At sunrise the Hindu faithful flock to the river to cleanse themselves of their sins. You see the cremation ghats and the Deswameedha ghats. To die in Varanasi is to end the Hindu cycle of re-birth, thereby making it a popular place to end one's life. After sunrise you will visit some of the temples in the surrounding area.

After buffet breakfast at the hotel, visit "Bharat Kala Bhavan" which lies within the sprawling grounds of Banaras Hindu University. Its outstanding collection of sculpture, paintings and textiles began with the private collection of the enlightened Rai Krishnadasa. The sculpture collection includes terracotta and clay objects, stone and bronze and cast metal objects. Ancient terracotta varying from ritual icons to toys to utilitarian objects date to the Indus Valley Civilization, Mauryan, Sunga and Gupta period.

In the afternoon, you will proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, a major Buddhist center in the world. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the 'Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here. It was the sixth century then, when he also set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as 'Rishipatana' (the place of the Rishis or sages). Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park where he initiated his first five disciples into Buddhist monkshood. Buddhism found its roots in Sarnath, the birthplace of this way of life.

Later return to the train for onboard journey.

DAY 8:

ARRIVE DELHI

Upon arrival at Delhi railway station, de-board from the train.


Recommended Luxury Trains

Program 1- Indian Maharaja

Program 2- Palace on Wheels

Program 4- The Golden Chariot


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DELHI

India's capital city, Delhi is the second most widely used entry point into the country, being on the route of most major airlines. It is well linked by rail, air and road to all parts of the country. The remains of seven distinctive capital cities – among them Shahjahanabad and QutabMinar – can be seen. Here, museums, art galleries and cultural centers attract the finest exhibitions and performances from India and abroad. Shopping encompasses virtually everything that can be bought in the country; hotels range from the deluxe to the more modest. Most fascinating of all is the character of Delhi which varies from the 13th century mausoleum of the Lodi kings set in a sprawling park to ultra modern chrome and glass skyscrapers; and from imperial India's Parliament House and the President's Palace to the never ending bustle of the walled city surrounding Jama Masjid. Delhi also makes the ideal base for a series of short excursions to neighbouring places, all connected by road.

The capital of India, Delhi blends an historic past and a vibrant present. The Imperial city planned for the British by Lutyens is set in parks and shaded avenues. Legend has it that Delhi, then called Indraprastha, was originally founded around 1200 B.C. by the Pandavas, the august heroesof the epic Mahabharata. Present day Delhi is built around the ruins of seven ancient cities

HARYANA

This state could well be called a perfect vacation land: A state that blazed a trail of holiday traditions, with its highway tourism policy. The bird named complexes of Haryana Tourism dot the five national highways passing through the state. They also await the holiday maker at district headquarters towns and place of tourist interest. Here you get in touch with Nature. Kick off your shoes and relax with pampered treatment. Eat out at well appointed restaurants. Crowd the icecreamparlours. Gift shops, bars.

Whereas the seventies saw the initial establishment of the tourism strategy and infrastructure, the eighties saw Haryana Tourism concentrate on promoting cultural and pilgrim tourism. The nineties brought in Adventure and Golf Tourism. The turn of the century is seeing Haryana Tourism venturing into privatization, village tourism, development of new locations and the opening of crafts centres. Beginning with one resort in 1966, today Haryana Tourism runs 44 tourist complexes dotted all over the State. The resorts provide a wide range of tourist facilities such as a hotel, motels, restaurants, bars, fast food centres, health clubs, conference halls and recreational facilities like lakes for boating, picnic hides and children's parks. 777 guest rooms are available in the resorts run by Haryana Tourism.

All complexes are dotted with beautiful lakes, picturesque landscaping, golf courses, bath complexes, tennis and billiards facilities. Here Adventure sport means canoeing & kayaking, trekking & rock climbing, camping and river rafting.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Himachal Pradesh is a tiny hill state whose pleasant summers make it a popular holiday resort. The Raj still lingers in Shimla, the state capital and former summer capital during British rule. Kullu-Manali are neighbouring resorts, surrounded by pine covered hills and lush meadows. Himachal has, in addition to popular resort towns, a series of secluded hill retreats ideal for interested anglers, trekkers and those wanting a quiet getaway. Many of these include: from Shimla – Mashobra, Kufri, Naldehra; those around Kullu-Manali include Manikaran, Naggar and Brighu Lake; the barely accessible valleys of Lahaul and Spiti are a trekker's delight.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Jammu and Kashmir, India's fascinating northernmost state consists of three regions differing in topography and culture. Jammu was the stronghold of Hindu Dogra kings and abounds with popular temples and secluded forest retreats. Kashmir's capital city, Srinagar offers delightful holidays on the lakes with their shikaras and houseboats.

Ladakh is the northern most province of the state, with a bleak terrain of barren mountains. Hilltop monasteries and a colourful way of life, completely at one with the surroundings, make Ladakh one of the best living traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the world today.

Amongst the three regions of Jammu & Kashmir State, Jammu, perhaps, offers the widest diversity of terrain and beauty. The entire region is pocketed with lakes and valleys, some still little explored. The foundation of the settlement of Jammu is attributed to King Jambulochan of the 9th century BC. In 1730 AD, it came under the Dogra rule of Raja Dhruv Deva and Jammu became an important centre for arts and culture, now renwned as the Pahari School. Religion, too, played an important part in its development, so beautifully evidenced in its various shrines and temples spread throughout the region.

PUNJAB

Punjab, the land of five rivers and integrated cultural history,is a treasure trove for an avid tourist.For this land of the great gurus not only boasts of ancient monuments but throbs with historical embodiments.It is no secret that whoever comes to this land of yellow fields with blue mountains providing the romantic and picturesque backdrop has never gone back without imbibing the essence of Punjab.

There is no dearth of breathtaking palaces,for Punjab was the seat of royality,as the imposing Quila Mubarak will tell you. Museums galore and so are the religious places with the Golden Temple offering succour to the mind and soul of any one visiting. If you are a wild life freak, then Punjab can take you on a tour of the sanctuaries,which are hot favourites with migratory birds.Since this state borders Pakistan,there are two main posts from which you can peep into the land that was once an integral part of Punjab and experience the feelings of the people separated by a line. The much truncated India's portion of present Punjab is divided into three natural regions :theMajha,theDoaba and the Malwa. Punjab, the chief wheat producing area of the country, is the overland entry point into India. The state is also known for its production of sports and hosiery goods. The holiest shrine for the Sikhs is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, so called because the dome is covered with gold leaf.

AMRITSAR

Amritsar - the holy city of Sikhs, has grown from a sacred village pond intoa spiritual temporal centre of Sikh culture. The city gets its name from thepool-Amritsar (Pool of Nectar), which was constructed by the fourth religiouspreceptor of the Sikh faith. It also lies on the Asain Highway.

CHANDIGARH

The city of Chandigarh lies in the valley surrounded by Shiwalik Hills that hem the great Himalayas. From here one can travel northwards to the hill resorts of Shimla Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie. Chandigarh is not only the most modern city in the country but has been planned to perfection by the world famous French architect le Corbusier.

RAJASTHAN

Rajasthan, India's desert state, was once a collection of princely kingdoms where feudal traditions still carry on amidst forts and palace hotels.

Bharatpur is famous for its 29 sq km bird sanctuary which has the largest concentration and variety of birdlife in Asia. Throughout the year Bharatpur's native population of tree and water birds can be seen, the latter breeding in July-August. However, the sanctuary has gained worldwide attention as being the winter home of several migratory species including the endangered Siberian crane.

The capital city, Jaipur, was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. Known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city, Jaipur's bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. Western Rajasthan itself forms a convenient circuit, in the heart of the Thardesert which has shaped its history, lifestyles and architecture. Jodhpur's exquisitely lovely fort, now a museum; art deco royal palace converted into a hotel, and quaint markets, all vividly testify to the history of the princely state. Jaisalmer, in the heart of the desert, is surrounded by sand-dunes which rendered the sand coloured fort impregnable. Today it is an inhabited city whose chief attraction is lacy filigree of pierced stonework facades of private houses, and a series of ornately carved Jain temples.

Bikaner too has echoes of the past in its sandstone palace, temples and cenotaphs. In the north of Rajasthan, Shekhavati is approachable by road from Jaipur. The greatest attraction here are the deserted mansions of local merchants decorated with a profusion of wall paintings. The subjects and styles vary greatly, and are not encountered elsewhere in India. Nearby Dundlod and Mandawa are forts, now converted into charming hotels. Bundi is remarkable for its palace fort and gallery of fine frescoes, executed in the style for which the state is famous.

Approachable by road from Jaipur are Ajmer and Pushkar. Ajmer's pre-eminence is due to the shrine of a Muslim saint who is believed to fulfill one's wishes. Nearby Pushkar has one of the very few temples dedicated to Brahma the Creator. The sleepy town with its placid lake is catapulted into prominence for 10 days every November as India's most splendid camel fair takes place here, attended by thousands of locals flashing jewellery and exuding colour. For the thousands of tourists who visit Pushkar, accommodation is in the form of tents which cater to all budgets.

Also in Rajasthan is the wildlife sanctuary of Sariska where a royal hunting lodge has been converted into a hotel. Sariska's wildlife includes the tiger, panther, deer and antelope.

UTTARAKHAND

Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India in November 2000. Carved out of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand mainly comprises the hilly regions of Uttar Pradesh. The state borders Himachal Pradesh in the north-west and Uttar Pradesh in the South, and has international borders with Nepal and China. A picturesque state, Uttarancahal has magnificent glaciers, majestic snow-clad mountains, panoramic views of the Himalayas, dense forests and the valley of flowers, as well as some of Hinduism's most sacred pilgrim sites. The State's 13 Districts can be grouped into three distinct geographical regions, the High mountain region, the Mid-mountain region and the Terai region. This is the land where the Vedas and Shastras were composed and great Indian epic, The Mahabharatha, was written.

The state is very rich in natural resources especially water and forests as it has many glaciers, rivers, forests, mountain peaks. The famous peaks of Uttarakhand are Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Trishul, Bandarpunch and Mt Kamet. The major glaciers include Gangotri, Pindari, Milam and Khatling. The Ganga, The Yamuna, Ramganga and Sharda are principal rivers of this region.

The name Haridwar means "gateway to God", and it is from here that the pilgrimage to two famous temples, Kedarnath (Lord Shiva) and Badrinath (Lord Vishnu) starts. It is situated on the banks of river Ganga, at the foothills of the Shivalikmountains. It is one of the four places where the Kumbhmela is held every 12 years. During this fair, millions of devotees take a holy dip in the river Ganges to wash away their sins. It is said that the pitcher of Amrit was kept in hiding here by Devtas when it was unearthed from SagarManthan. The same pitcher was taken to the other places, i.e. Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik. In the struggle with Asuras the pitcher broke spilling some sacred water (amrit), since then these places became very holy and the Kumbhmela is held every 3 years in these cities in succession. Every evening, after sunset, aarti of the Ganga is performed in Har-ki-Pauri.

UTTAR PRADESH

In Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow was associated with the princely court of Oudh and then with the British, both traditions lingering on in the city whose finest monument is the Bara Imambara. Further east, Varanasi is the oldest city in India. An important centre of Hindu pilgrimage, it is believed that those who die in Varanasi will be released from the cycle of rebirth. Pious Hindus still come to Varanasi to spend their last days, living in spartan communes run by a multitude of religious trusts. The focus of interest to a visitor is the sacred River Ganga. At the series of steps leading down to it, people come to wash away their sins by bathing in the river, the dead are cremated and holy men meditate. In the narrow bylanes of the city are crowded bazaars selling brassware and silk brocades.