The iconic Palace on Wheels embarks on a new journey
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels converted into PoW.
Jaipur: Palace on Wheels (POW), India’s luxurious tourist train, has resumed its operation. The royal train of Rajasthan has been revamped with more spacious and elegant coaches. The first look of the train, organised by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) on Saturday in Jaipur, drew a positive response from the onlookers. POW was first started on January 26 in the year 1982. The train got PATA Gold Award in 1987 and was voted the 4th most luxurious train in the world in 2010.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RRoW), another royal train, hadn’t been able to attract the tourists in recent times while PoW had some technical issues in its coaches. Thus RTDC and the state department of tourism decided to convert RRoW into PoW. While the blue colour of RRoW has been retained, the coaches have undergone a massive renovation. The first trip, which has departed from New Delhi on Wednesday, will have 35 tourists on-board. The train has reached Gandhinagar station on Thursday. The train management has got confirmed bookings of 1,032 passengers for this season, thus making up around 50 per cent of advance bookings.
The basic concept of the train tour is the overnight travel in comforts of the carriages and enjoying pre-arranged group sightseeing tours in air conditioned buses during the day time. The total journey is for 7 nights from New Delhi, however, the guests do have the option of booking for minimum 5 nights part journey (viz Delhi/Jodhpur etc) and pay accordingly.
The train operates from September to April and there are no services between the summer months of May till August. The revamped version has retained the same tariff and itinerary with added features like the option for guests to book deluxe or super deluxe cabins. There are 39 deluxe cabins and 2 super deluxe cabins on the new train with a total passenger capacity of 82. Along with more stylish cabins, the train has also added two spacious resto-bars – news that will surely lift the spirits of its patrons! Other facilities include an aryuvedic spa and Complimentary Wi-fi through shared dongles.
The concept of Palace on Wheels was derived from the royal background of the coaches. The rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India travelled by these luxurious carriages. After India got its independence in 1947, the railways stopped using these coaches for 25 years as it was not feasible to include these in the normal passenger trains. The reason for this being their precious furnishings and the interiors which required a high maintenance cost.
In 1982, with a view to promote tourism in Rajasthan and to provide the travellers a royal experience, POW was launched under the supervision of RTDC and Indian Railways. The train soon caught global attention and became massively popular for proving a unique holiday experience. It departs from New Delhi on day one and covers Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra before returning to New Delhi on the eighth day. RTDC and Indian Railways will hope that the new train emulates its glorious past and attracts maximum tourists in every season.