Updated: Oct 27, 2021
Ever wished to travel like royalty? Well, thanks to IRCTC and various state tourism boards that dream of yours can certainly come true. If you have the time and the money and wish to explore India in utmost royalty, then you might want to journey through India on these luxury trains.
Travel is fuel for the soul and we want to keep refuelling our souls with experiences of a lifetime. If you’ve always had an affinity towards old-style-yet-modern train coaches, always wished to travel like royals, wished to sneak a peek back in time, all while seeing a new place; then this might just be the read for you.
Move over business class on airplanes, in India we have the ultimate luxury travel experience, all thanks to the luxury trains in India. Managed by Indian Railways and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), these luxury trains in India will make you feel like a royal while you explore truly incredible India, its rich heritage and experience grandeur on wheels like no other. So let’s begin, shall we?
1. Maharajas’ Express
The Maharajas’ Express is touted as the World's Leading Luxury Train and has been bestowed with many accolades. So much so that it has bagged the coveted title at World Travel Awards for seven consecutive years (2012-2018). This is your ticket to see India truly like a maharaja. Offering world class amenities in 23 exquisite coaches, each cabin comes with an ensuite washroom. There are two world-class restaurants and there are two bars on wheels too. It presently offers four itineraries, which all start from and end at Delhi. You can pick and choose from Heritage of India, The Indian Panorama, The Indian Splendour, and Treasures of India. Along the way, you get to see twelve or more fascinating destinations. More details, here.
Pocket pinch: Rs 2,21,810 onwards per person.
2. Palace On Wheels
Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (RTDC) has collaborated with IRCTC to offer travellers a peek into luxury with Palace on Wheels. It has been rated as one of the most luxurious trains in the world since its first run on 26 January 1982. It has 14 exquisite air-conditioned coaches that are named after former Rajput states. They have four twin-bedded chambers that come with an attached washroom.
The super-deluxe cabin on the Palace on Wheels (Image credit: Palace on Wheels)
It houses two resto bars that whip up a delish fare of Continental, Chinese, Indian and Rajasthani cuisines; with choicest alcohol.
Maharani restaurant on the Palace on Wheels (Image credit: Palace on Wheels)
If you wish to feel like king or queen and witness how they travelled, this is the closest experience you can get. And probably the best way to explore Rajasthan. The journey starts from Delhi and ends at Delhi and covers key attractions along the way. More details, here.
Pocket pinch: Rs 37,400 onwards for Deluxe Double occupancy
3. The Deccan Odyssey
The British aristocracy and Indian Royalty rolled into a journey that will allow you to romance India by rail, The Deccan Odyssey is managed by the Taj Group of hotels. So, onboard is the famous Taj hospitality that will leave you feeling like a royal yourself. There are a total of 21 coaches with suites, conference car, restaurants, spa and bar. The hues of blue and gold all around exude royal-ness and you will receive the best of hospitality.
The Deccan Odyssey (Image credit: Deccan Odyssey Trains)
It traverses through six different routes starting from Mumbai or Delhi. It operates from October to April and the packages are of 7 nights, 8 days. So hop on and experience the luxe life. More details, here.
Pocket pinch: Rs 5,12,400 onwards for single occupancy
4. The Golden Chariot
One of the best ways to explore South India, The Golden Chariot is managed by Karnataka State Tourism Board and IRCTC. All journeys start and end at Bengaluru and show the best of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala. There are 11 guest cabins and each is named after the ruling dynasties.
The Golden Chariot - interiors and exteriors (Image credit: The Golden Chariot)
They boast of exquisite interiors and are inspired by the extravagant lifestyle of erstwhile kings and queens. They offer three routes and splendid itineraries that are curated for a bespoke modern day traveller like you. So go get onboard and soak in the royal vibe. More details, here.
Pocket pinch: Rs 1,82,930 onwards for Deluxe Cabin
5. Royal Orient Train
Inspired by the Palace on Wheels, the Royal Orient Train offers the best of Gujarat and Rajasthan on wheels. It starts from Delhi and ends at Delhi, covering the rich heritage of the two states in between. There are 13 blue coloured coaches that have a touch of royalty. The interiors are done in such a way that the regions covered during the journey are represented in some nook and cranny. Equipped with two restaurants and a bar and more services, your journey on the Royal Orient will be as delightful as that of a noble. More details, here.
Pocket pinch: Rs 7,480 onwards for double occupancy
Well, that’s not all folks! There’s Fairy Queen (Steam) Express, Heritage On Wheels, Buddha Express (Mahaparinirvan Express), and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels too which are luxury and semi-luxury trains that journey across various scenic routes.
So, plan in advance as these trains operate only during certain months and are also open to foreign tourists who vouch for it to be the best way to travel. If you happen to take on the enchanting journey, don’t forget to tag us in your beautiful clicks on Instagram at mycityscope.
A special note - Due to the COVID-19 induced pandemic situation, many train journeys stand cancelled or are postponed for this travel season. So check the availability beforehand.
Edited by Aparna Chandrashekhar.
Some video resources to help you learn more on luxury train journeys -