India by Rail

The country's lifeline, Indian Railways symbolizes the nation's cultural integration. Running through big cities, past the beautiful countryside, over huge rivers, through dense forests, by the sea... a journey by train in India is as richly rewarding for the scenic beauty, as for experiencing India's Unity in Diversity. The narrow-gauge Darjeeling mountain railway is now a world-heritage site.

The size of India is such that trains running for days together are not uncommon. During any such trip, people from different regions, religions and economic status socialize as if they have known each other for ages! People from adjoining compartments join in the conversation uninvited and exchange eatables (and to think that Grandma told you to not accept anything from strangers!!). The atmosphere is always of warm informality and cordiality. In fact a train in India is a mini India on rails.

The railway stations are some of the liveliest places that one can find on Planet Earth! Buzzing with incessant activity and the inimitable cries of chai-wallahs, snacks-wallahs and magazine-wallahs, they have become focal points around which local commercial activities flourish... the ideal place to go if you want to buy something at odd hours. An interesting aspect of the platform is its emotionally charged theatrical value - one half joyously welcoming close friends and relatives, and the other half bidding wailing farewells.

Palace on Wheels

The royal families traveled in style. Their luxurious saloons were wood-paneled with glittering chandeliers, and had separate bedrooms, changing rooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, libraries, lounges and formal drawing rooms. The Palace on Wheels recreates the opulence and grandeur of the bygone era, with excruciating attention to the minutest of details.

Starting and ending in New Delhi, the 8-day tour is one of the world's most exciting journeys and takes you to right royal destinations every single day - Jaipur, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Ranthambhor, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur and Agra.

With everything taken care of - dining, accommodation, sightseeing, organized shopping - there won't be much for you to do but seep in the history of the land, soak in the colors, and experience the royal life of a maharaja/maharani. Doesn't sound too bad, does it ?!

Other captivating train journeys in India are the Mountain Railways, Royal Orient, Fairy Queen (Oldest working steam engine in the world) and Konkan Railways.

Mountain Railways, Royal Orient, Fairy Queen Konkan Railways.