Palace on Wheels (POW), the train which set the benchmark in terms of luxury, is all set to chug along again. The royal train of Rajasthan, in its new avatar, is way more spacious, while its coaches stand out for their elegance. The first look of the train, organized by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), in Jaipur, drew largely positive response from the onlookers. POW began its inaugural run on 26th January in the year 1982. Since then, it has been awarded with the PATA Gold Award in 1987 and was voted the 4th most luxurious train in the world in 2010.
The coming into existence of Palace on Wheels (POW) is also quite fascinating. Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RRoW), another royal train, had been largely unsuccessful in attracting tourists in recent times. On the other hand, PoW had been suffering from some technical glitches in its coaches. This led the RTDC, along with the state department of tourism, to consider the conversion of RRoW into PoW. Albeit, the blue color of the coaches have been retained, the coaches have been renovated in a major way.
This train tour was created with the purpose of providing a comfort laden overnight travel in the carriages while enjoying pre-arranged group sightseeing tours in air conditioned buses during the daytime. Although the total journey is for 7 nights from New Delhi, the guests have the option of booking for a minimum of 5 nights’ part journey (viz. Delhi / Jodhpur etc.) and pay accordingly.
The train runs from the months of September to April, while the services are stopped between the summer months of May till August. While the tariff and itinerary for the train, in its new avatar, has remained the same, guests now have the option of booking deluxe or super deluxe cabins. There are 39 deluxe cabins and 2 super deluxe cabins on the new train with a passenger capacity of 82. The train now contains more stylish cabins along with two spacious resto-bars. In addition to this, an Ayurvedic spa and complimentary Wi-Fi through shared dongles are also available.
The inspiration behind the Palace on Wheels stemmed from the royal background of the coaches. These luxurious carriages served as the means of transportation for the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India. After India attained its independence in 1947, these coaches were put out of operation as it was considered unfeasible to include these coaches in the regular passenger trains. The reason stated behind this was their exquisite furnishings and stately interiors which required a high maintenance cost.
Palace on Wheels (POW) was launched in the year 1982 with a view to promote tourism in Rajasthan and allow the travelers to ride like royalty. The train attained a global reputation fast while gaining an enormous popularity for providing a unique holiday experience. The train departs from New Delhi on day one and covers Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, and Agra before returning to New Delhi on the eighth day. RTDC and Indian Railways hope that the newly introduced train will relive its glorious past and attract the highest number of tourists every season.