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Palace on Wheels
6 Nights/7 Days
Places to Visit:
Delhi - Jaipur - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Sawai Madhopur
- Ranthambhor - Chittaurgarh - Udaipur - Bharatpur - Agra
Wednesday Day 01: Delhi
city of modern India, a city known for it's rich, valorous and exotic history.
Once the fabled city of the heroes of the Mahabharata, and ruled by the Rajputs
before they were displaced by foreign invaders. The tour starts in the evening
with a ceremonial welcome aboard the Palace on Wheels at Delhi Cantonment.
>> The train departs from Delhi.
>> You will be introduced to your fellow travelers.
>> Feel free to explore your new home, and acquaint yourself with its
>> Relax with a drink at the bar.
>> Dinner will be served on board the two restaurants.
Thursday Day 02: Jaipur
>> Arrive in Jaipur
>> Jaipur, the Pink City, known for it's colourful and fascinating Architecture.
Your tour begins next morning with the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, followed
by a visit to the Amber Fort, riding on canopied elephants in pomp and royal
style of ancient maharajas.
>> After indulging oneself in shopping at Rajasthali, the State's Handicrafts
emporium for souvenirs and crafts, an exotic and sumptuous lunch awaits you
at the majestic Rambagh Palace. The home of the erstwhile rulers, The City Palace,
now a museum, full of royal splendor and the amazing Jantar Mantar - Astronomical
Observatory, are to be explored at leisure. In the evening after a cultural
program of enthralling dance and music, dinner is a celebration under the canopy
of the star-lit skies at exotic Jai Mahal Palace.
>> The train departs from the Pink City at 22.30 hours. Jaipur became
the capital of the Kachchwaha dynasty when they shifted here from their hilltop
fort of Amber. It was built according to the principles laid down in the ancient
Architectural Treatises, but with all the opulence deserving to a royal city.
At its center rose the seven-tiered palace of the royal family, and around it
came up gardens and temples, its Astronomical Observatory and the myriads of
mansions and business houses.
>> Jaipur also offers a greats shopping experience since the city is the
country's capital as far as handicrafts go - and they include a very extensive
range - as well as a major international center for the cutting and polishing
of gems and stones. It also has a large number of palace hotels, and both Rambagh
and Jal Mahal, which are the venues for their lunch and dinner, are intimately
linked with the history of this former princely state. Rambagh, in fact, was
the last palace in which the former maharaja and his glamorous Maharani, and
now Rajmata or Queen Mother of Jaipur, the popular Gayatri Devi, resided. The
palace not only has most of the original furnishings and artifacts, but its
famous Polo Bar also has pictures of the last maharaja with English Aristocracy
and other important guests.
Friday Day 03: Jaisalmer
>> Arrive at 06.15 hrs at Jaisalmer. Spend the day in this isolated, but
Architecturally, one of the greatest Royal Bastions of the World. After a safari
dinner served under the stars, at a campsite, come back to the train to resume
was the stronghold for the Bhatti Rajputs, and a hardier race never lived. Bandit
marked their earlier settlement, as they looted caravans at will, stealing horses,
and inviting the wrath of the West Asian invaders. Over time they began to settle,
the 12th century fort with its ninety-nine bristling bastions was established
on top of Trikuta hill, exactly as prophesied for these descendants of Krishna.
Isolated Jaisalmer may have been a lost city in the sands of the Thar, more
mythic than real for those of who heard it, but the caravans that passed through
its territories enriched the coffers of the treasury. It also kept Jaisalmer
in touch with the world, for such caravans carried not merely goods but also
artisans and master-craftsmen.
>> The Maharawalas of Jaisalmer thought little of making use of their
services to build the magnificent, sandstone architecture for which it has become
known around the world. However, even more magnificent, along the cobbled stone
pathways of the fort, arose the havelis, the mansions of the Jain merchants
who were as powerful in the court of the time, as they were adept in business.
Their homes are poetry of sandstone, carved and pierced incredibly into different
patterns, and though they are opulent and effusive, the result is in perfect
harmony, and never offending the eye.
>> Not only is Jaisalmer's Architecture magnificent, the meandering lanes,
the many homes within the ramparts and the resounding rhythms of the Langa and
Manganiyar musicians have frozen this citadel into a medieval time warp. Escape
from here to the desert sands around the fort, and see them drift in the breeze,
or take a Camel ride, or simply enjoy the mesmeric dances of its folk performers.
So must the kings have watched over their kingdom? However, you no longer need
to travel to Jaisalmer in a caravan; your carriage is a luxurious train - fitting
in the royal context. Enjoy dinner and Cultural programme.
>> Depart for Jodhpur
Saturday Day 04: Jodhpur
>> Its time for you to visit yet another desert kingdom, Jodhpur, where
you arrive at 08.00hours. You can spend the morning at Mehrangarh Fort that
towers over the city like an eagle's eyrie and then come downhill to lunch at
Umaid Bhawan Palace, the largest art-deco residence in the world and now home
to the head of the royal family, museum and luxury hotel.
>> The 500 year old history of Jodhpur, the bastion of the valiant Rathore
Rajputs, bristles with conflicts and sieges, with battles and savage skirmishes,
so it is difficult to believe that they found the time to not only build the
impossibly invincible looking Mehrangarh Fort. Its lavish and delicately embellished
>> Within the Fort, reached by a steep path with huge guarding at its
turns and places at angles, to prevent elephants from storming them, are a large
number of apartments where the maharaja's retainers now serve as guides. Within,
the apartments are painted and gilded and have windows and balconies to allow
them an uninterrupted view of the desert around it, now peopled with homes.
The vintage battle arms of the royal past are well presented - swords and daggers
and spears and matchlock guns; a battle tent seized from Emperor Jehangir; howdahs
and chariots and carriages; cribs and beds; the royal, octagonal throne; musical
instruments, large drums, even a collection of turbans. From the ramparts of
the fort, where the cannons are still mounted, the sweeping view also takes
in a huge palace located on top of another lower hill.
>> This is Umaid Bhavan, the palace the Maharajas set out to build as
a famine relief project, but also ambitiously as the World's largest private
residence. It was intended to and did rival the presidential palace coming up
then in Delhi. Build by a British Architect; while the planning has incorporated
the elements of the Rajput life-style (large county yards, for example, or a
zenana wing), there is a formal western sense of symmetry and restrained sense
of ornamentation. Only in the royal suites does exuberance take over, since
a Polish artist, then traveling in India, was given the permission to create
huge paintings to suit the art-deco theme of the architecture and furniture
in the palace.
>> The grounds of the palace are huge and towards the back, there is a
bougainvillea garden, perhaps the only of its kind in the world, and at the
end, a Baradari, a pillared pavilion where the maharajas held Mehfils, entertainment
courts. Within the palace the courtrooms are more formal, while the ballrooms
resounded, till recently, with the sounds of revelry, now captured in the whispered
conversations of tourists.
>> Departure, after unwinding and relaxing at the palace. Dinner and overnight
Sunday Day 05: Sawai Madhopur - Ranthambhor - Chittaurgarh
>> Steam into Sawai Madhopur, to spend the day in the wilds of Ranthambhor
where your hosts are, of course, royal.Ranthambhor National Park is home to
the Royal Bengal Tiger, the most majestic of the big cats, and magnificent in
its agility and grace. As it moves through the underbrush, its tawny gold hide
striped with black bands, merges with nature, and the jungle stands to attention.
Ranthambhor is also very picturesque. >> A number of lakes from the shallow
land where tiger sightings are quite common, and where herds of deer can be
seen foraging, while crocodiles bask in the sun. The lofty hills ring the park,
and in the distance, the ramparts of Ranthambhor fort create a dramatic silhouette.
Once, this was the scene for fierce battles, and for fiery Jauhars, but all
that is of the past now, though former-hunting lodges such as Jogi Mahal, close
to the lakes, is still retains its former grandeur and glory. Ranthambhor is
particularly well known for its tiger sightings because the undisturbed ambiance
and the spreading, shallow lakes provide them the surroundings best suited to
their needs, and therefore sightings by day time are quite common. Various conservationists
and wildlife photographers have worked at length here to document the life cycle
of the tigresses of Ranthambhor, even giving them names, so that they are now
a part of the regional lore. Since the best time to visit the park is early
>> Leaves for its destination, Chittaurgarh.
>> Arrival at Chittaurgarh.
>> Chittaurgarh is India's most valorous fort, its history an unending
saga of passion, chivalry and romance. Within its sprawling ramparts were beautiful
palaces, but few of them remain, the fort having been sacked by invaders. Lunch
and dinner are served on board the train.
Monday Day 6: Udaipur
>> Arrive, Udaipur, the capitals of the Sisodia Maharanas, enjoy pre-eminence
among the Rajput clans of Rajasthan. Spend the day sight seeing at Udaipur.
>> Lunch is at Lake Palace, the beautiful island palace built as a summer
resort by the royal family, and now converted into one of the world's finest
hotels. The train departs again at 20.00 hours, and dinner will be served on
>> Maharana Udai Singh, laid the foundation for a new kingdom-Udaipur-situated
by Lake Pichola, where the impressive City Palace was lavished with aesthetic
and imaginative works of art, and the art of miniature painting was encouraged
as decor-et-al. Subsequently, the princes built the seemingly floating Island
Palace, the royal summer retreat, offering a spectacular view of the lake and
surrounding mountains. Besides the Lake Palace, there are other such retreats
that have been converted into modern hotels, one of them, Shiv Niwas, being
run by the current head of the family.
>> A graceful, valorous race, the Sisodias and their city bring alive
the excitement of a medieval kingdom as it once was, and with a little imagination,
can still almost be...
Tuesday Day 7: Bharatpur - Agra - Delhi
>> It must be Bharatpur. Arrive at a royal kingdom where the Jats, rather
than the Rajputs, ruled. Bharatpur's Jat history is not too old, with Suraj
Mal establishing a firm stronghold in a region contested by both the Rajputs
and the Mughals. Suraj Mal's exploits are legendary, and the fort, Lohargarh,
or Iron Fort has a history that recounts it with pride.
>> The only fort in the state to have bastions of mud, these proved meritorious
because they simply swallowed up the cannon shells, not allowing them to impact.
However, it is not for its fort, or palace, or even the close by fortified resort
of Deeg that passengers of the Palace on Wheels are here; Their attention is
drawn to the bird sanctuary, one of the finest in the world. The Keoladeo Ghana
National Park was developed by a royal edict when dykes were created so that
water could be canalized for the hunting preserve at the maharaja of Bharatpur
wished to create. In the early decade of this century, Bharatpur became famous
among visiting British royalty and aristocracy for the amount of game the visitors
bagged. These days, thankfully, only shooting by cameras is permitted in this
sanctuary with over three hundred species of birds, many of them migrant species
that come from parts as distant as Siberia and China.
>> After visiting the sanctuary in the morning, visitors travel by couch
to Fatehpur Sikri, the red sandstone city build by Emperor Akbar on a lavish
scale, but which he had to abandon soon after because of shortage of water.
>> From here to Agra, first for lunch at hotel and then for a visit to
the world's most well known monument and well worth its fame; The Taj Mahal.
Built in the memory of his beloved empress by Emperor Shah Jahan, this marble
mausoleum is the greatest gesture of love known to mankind, and is breathtakingly,
bewitchingly beautiful. Land for the building of the Taj Mahal in Agra came
from the maharaja of Jaipur and the marble used in its construction was from
the mines of Makrana, also in Rajasthan. The precious stones used in its inlay,
and the craftsmen employed for the twenty-two years its construction took, came
not only from India, but from all over the World. The Taj Mahal is the perfect
finale to your Royal Sojourn.
>> Palace on wheels departs for Delhi.
>> Dinner and overnight on board.