There are many types of vehicles and ways to transport yourself from one side of a region to another, but there are not so many fun and unforgettable journeys to take. Now, imagine yourself full of excitement for a new adventure in the foreign Hindu ground, ready to explore every bit of the what India has to offer riding the special Palace on Wheels.
Rajasthan is the homeland for Maharajas. Their palaces and forts are placed around the hills of the famous province, forsaken deserts, and vivid cities. It will take you one week to visit everything it can essentially enrich your traveling memories. With the help of the Palace on Wheels, your days are gonna be culture-filled with different locations.
Located at the north-west of India, Rajasthan was the area where Rajputs resided for a long time to defend the lands with a great code of honor that made them legendary and an example of sacrifice to the country for centuries.
How to get there
At Delhi Station, the Palace on Wheels starts its ride. As soon as you step in, you’re gonna feel like you live now with ancient Maharajas. Elegant khidmatgars (attendants) dressed in classy suits and traditional clothing will help you with your bags and disappear to surprise you with cold drinks so you can get comfortable and find your own mood. As if this royalty-like treatment isn’t surprising enough, you will also be addressed as Maharajas or Marahanee. You can book your stay in the Palace on Wheels through tourism agencies (like Trans Indus), but they get booked quickly so you need to plan this early.
Wagons nowadays are a replica from the old ones that used to roll at the beginning of this working train line, but the designing is still pretty similar and Maharajas would spot any recognizable material. On the inside, walls are decorated with a deep cherry red color and velvet texture embellished with gold here and there, and traditional Indian ink drawings that illustrate court life hanging in the corridors and sitting room.
As the train moves forward and you get out of Delhi’s station, the tracks open a way to the countryside. You can see farmers working with sacred cows as their company, all looking ghostly through the dust clouds. You can sit at the bar and have a good chat while drinking anything of preference and taste. Bedtime arrives and you can sleep heavenly without even realizing the train is moving to your first stop: Jaipur, an active city where traffic is created by camels, cows, and India’s Ambassador cars, which makes it even busier.
Start your journey
When you arrive to the city, also known as the ‘Pink City’ thanks to its pink sand buildings, such as the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) which is the perfect example of this type of architecture, you might as well fasten your pace to prevent any drivers or traders on the way. The Jantar Mantar is not that far away, this open nature space is always open with artifacts that are still used for astrology studies. You can have a quick historical moment at Amber Fort, where you can get a deeper look into the Maharaja lifestyle.
Going westward, you will find the center of the Thar Desert, ‘The Golden City’ is waiting for you to take a short walk around Jaisalmer, a sandstone fortress that lookspale yellow in the day and glowing gold in the sunset, looking down to the small city below. Often compared to a big sandcastle, it all opens up to alleyways and streets. The beautiful bright brown havelis, where Rajasthan merchants work, are inside.
Take a trip through the desert by exchanging the Palace on Wheels for a ‘ship of the desert’ to ride on a camel through the lonely yet extended sand dunes of Sam, 40 km away from Jaisalmer. You can get used to sitting on its hump after some time, but don’t let yourself escape from living this experience.
All the way to the east, you will encounter the ‘Blue City’ located in Jodhpur, named after the hill filled with blue colored houses that resemble an ocean just in the middle of the city, giving a colorful touch to the orange-ish tone around it. The houses are owned by Brahmin people of all kinds. The eye-catching Mehrangarh Fort just on top of the hill creating a view on its own.
The Ranthambore National Park provides a different kind of view, giving tours to track tigers, which are famously known around the world for being the best animals to see up close in India. You will have a professional guide by your side aboard the safari vehicle, patiently waiting for a tiger to appear through the woods. Your heart racing every time one of these big striped cats appears.
New ways to see colors are lying at the waters of Jag Niwas Island as you can admire the sun hiding and creating a colorful show over the water, touching it with every color instantly. Giving the romantic tones that define the city of Udaipur as the ‘Venice of the East’.
As you go back to Delhi, you can have the last stop of the tour at Agra to see India’s most famous and romantic monument: the Taj Mahal. One of the wonders of the world, a touching dedication from Emperor Shah Jahan to his wife.
Yes, there are many ways to travel around Rajasthan to get to know it, but nothing compares to fully educate yourself in its history-abundant ground while traveling in your own mobile palace.
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