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Palace on Wheels: Welcome aboard The Palace On Wheels on its splendid and enchanting royal journey through the bygone era of the erstwhile Maharajas.
Though times have changed and the winds have shifted, the Palace On Wheels cruises along in royal style, the kind only the Maharajas of yesteryears could have perpetuated and enjoyed.
The exquisite and exclusive Palace On Wheels has luxurious cabins, wall to wall carpeting, a well stocked bar, two dining cars and a very personalized service… in fact, almost everything that could compromise of heaven on earth for seven days!
The journey of a lifetime begins at the Delhi Cantonment station where the guests are accorded a warm, traditional welcome before the Palace on Wheels pulls out into the night … for a week-long luxury cruise through fascinating Rajasthan
The first stop of Palace on Wheels is Jaipur, one of the most well planned cities of the world of its time. This capital city of Rajasthan, popularly known as the Pink City, was founded by Maharaja Swai Jai Singh II, in1727 A.D.
To explore the city, an air-conditioned coach takes you to Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, which is a remarkable five storeyed building along the main street of the old city in pink splendor with semi-octagonal and delicate honey combed sandstone windows. This is followed by a visit to Amber Fort, eight kms. away, where rides on caparisoned elephants add to the ambiance. Shop for Jaipur’s famous jewellery, handicrafts, carpets blue pottery and textiles. Near Ajmeri Gate is located Rajasthali – the only Rajasthan Govt. Emporium selling genuine handicrafts at fixed prices.
After lunch at a Palace Hotel, you are off to the City Palace, home of the erstwhile royal family. Right across the road from the City Palace is the Jantar Mantar, the largest observatory built by the Sawai Jai Singh II. The Luxury coaches will take you back to Palace on Wheels around 6.30 pm. Dinner on Board.
In the heart of the Thar Desert lies Jaisalmer, founded by Rawal Jaisal, in 1156A.D. Here the yellow sandstone fort is an imposing sight, towering magnificently over the city. Discover the painstakingly latticed havelis or mansions with their grand facades. The Nathmalji-ki-haveli, Patwon-ki-haveli and Salim Singh-ki-haveli are fine examples of the stone carver’s skill.
Shop at Rajasthali-the only Rajasthan Govt. emporium, for fine pattu shawls, mirror work & embroidered articles, wooden boxes, trinkets, silver jewellery and curios. After lunch on board, go for an exciting camel ride on the sand dunes of Sam, before sipping a refreshing cup of tea.
Enjoy the dinner and the cultural programmes at a hotel in Jaisalmer. The train leaves for Jodhpur at night.
Next morning the Palace on wheels is in Jodhpur, a city ringed by a high stone wall with seven gates and several bastions. This second largest city of Rajasthan, founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 A.D. is known for its rock-solid Mehrangarh Fort. The grand palaces within- Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana are impressive examples of architectural excellence. Near the fort complex lies Jaswant Thada, and a group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble.
After lunch at a royal Palace hotel, return to the Palace on Wheels. While in Jodhpur shop for the exquisite handcrafted articles including the famous breeches, embroidered shoes, metal curios, silverware, paintings and tie and dye fabrics.
One can almost sense a life of the wilderness, as the Palace on Wheels arrives in Sawai Madhopur, a city named after its founder Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I. After breakfast a visit is arranged to the Ranthambhor National Park, wherein are located the ruins of a 10th century fort. This wildlife sanctuary is considered to be the country’s best for observing and photographing the activities of the tiger. The park, covering an area of 392 sq.kms. is home to more than 300 species of birds. The tiger, hyena, ratel, jackal and fox are among those constituting the carnivorous population here. Sawai Madhopur is known for its exclusive toys, ethnic ornaments and costumes. Upon return to the Palace on Wheels, you leave for Chittaurgarh, when one gets an opportunity to watch the colourful countryside passing by in the daylight.
After lunch on board you are in Chittaurgarh. Images of love and valour; scars of battles lost and won.thrice-beseiged, Chittaurgarh Fort is all this and more. Moving legends of honour and pride will echo in your mind as you proceed to Udaipur.
The Luxury Coach will take you to Udaipur, the Lake City, the next morning. It was founded by Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar, after the Sisodia dynasty was driven away by the Mughals, in 1559A.D. Perhaps the two most beautiful sites of Udaipur are the dream-like marble Palaces-the Jag Niwas (Lake Palace) and the Jag Mandir, which appear to rise from the blue waters of Lake Pichhola. After lunch at Lake Palace Hotel a visit to City Palace is exhilarating.
The luxury coach then takes you back to the Palace on Wheels at Chittaurgarh, thus winding up a day full of delights.
Early next morning, the Palace arrives in Bharatpur, the capital of Maharaja Suraj Mal. After breakfast pay a visit to the world famous bird sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, the nesting place of thousands of Egrets, Siberian Cranes, migratory Water Fowl and other species of birds.
Arrive at Fatehpur Sikri-the red sandstone Mughal palatial complex. Within the enclosure is a mosque built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and dedicated to the Sheikh Salim Chisti, a muslim Sufi Saint who blessed him with a son. After lunch move on from the Red Fort and arrive at the 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 known for its splendid marble inlay work like the Pietra Dura work on the Taj, leather goods and jewelry.
After dinner on board and a good night’s sleep, arrive at Delhi Cantt. at 6.00 hrs the next morning and let the pleasant memories of the past week linger on your mind for a long, long time.