Rajasthan: Heritage Palace on Wheels to start from December 22
The train’s interiors have been matched with the state’s royal culture and heritage.
Jaipur: Palace on Wheels, India’s luxurious tourist train, was first launched under the supervision of RTDC and Indian Railways in 1982 to promote tourism in Rajasthan and to provide a royal experience to the travelers. Now a new chapter will be added in the train’s history as the Heritage Palace on Wheels will be operational from December 22 as announced by Tourism Minister Krishnendra Kaur (Deepa) on Wednesday.
According to RTDC, the new train will have unique features. The train’s interiors have been matched with the state’s royal culture and heritage and its coaches have been named after 14 former Rajput states. These include the likes of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Sirohi, Bundi, Kishangarh. The train will start its journey from New Delhi on day one and cover Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra before returning to New Delhi on the eighth day. A jungle safari in Ranthambore and a trip to Taj Mahal are some of the highlights of the three-day tour covering the famous Golden Triangle.
The tourism department will hope that the new train turns out to be a massive success. In 2009, the department and the railways had started a train called Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RRoW), however, it had failed in attracting tourists and ran into losses. The train was stopped last year.
Heritage Palace on Wheels will have a feel of a five-star hotel with all amenities. It will have a restaurant, bar and a luxury lounge area. The ticket has been priced keeping in mind the Indian tourists as well. The price of one ticket is Rs 19,200 per person per night. The same is US$675 for foreign tourists. More than 70 thousand tourists have traveled by the Palace on Wheels and it remains to be seen if the new train also turns out to be equally popular.
The train will operate from September to April and there are no services between the summer months of May until August. The basic concept of the train was derived from the royal background of the coaches. Rulers of princely states of Gujarat, Rajputana, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India traveled by these luxurious carriages. After the country got its independence in 1947, the railways stopped using these coaches for 25 years as it was not feasible to include these in normal passenger trains. High maintenance cost of the interiors being the main reason for this.