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Luxury trains travel in India

Indian Railways has recently made significant upgrades to its facilities and services, with the aim of improving connectivity to some of the country's most popular tourist attractions. In particular, the railway network has begun operating special tourist trains that are designed to take visitors to iconic sites such as the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. 

Top special tourist trains in India 2023

If you're fascinated by the idea of travelling back in time and experiencing the grandeur and intrigues of royalty, then India's luxury trains are sure to exceed your expectations. There are a total of 7 luxury trains in India, managed by Indian Railways and the IRCTC, including Maharajas' Express, Palace on Wheels, The Deccan Odyssey, Golden Chariot, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Royal Orient Train, and Fairy Queen Express.

Take a look at our comprehensive list that includes important information such as luxury train fares in India and more! Need more convincing? Keep scrolling for all the details!

1. Maharajas’ Express

Ranked among the finest luxury trains globally, the Maharajas' Express holds its place as one of the world's top five opulent train journeys. Stretching over half a mile, this train embodies the epitome of lavishness, boasting a dedicated team of professionals committed to delivering impeccable hospitality, well-stocked bars, sumptuous suites, personalised butler services, and various other extravagances. It stands as one of the most high-priced train experiences in India.

Luxury Trains

For travellers on board, the Maharajas' Express offers an unparalleled opportunity to embrace the essence of the country's opulence in the most distinguished manner possible. Worth noting, it secured the title of 'World’s Leading Luxury Train' for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013, and 2014.

The train journeys encompass five distinct routes:

  • The Heritage of India (Mumbai – Ajanta – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Agra – Delhi)
  • Gems of India (Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi)
  • The Indian Panorama (Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambore – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Gwalior – Orchha – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Lucknow – Delhi)
  • Indian Splendour (Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Balasinor – Mumbai)
  • Treasures of India (Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi)

As for dining options, the train serves vegetarian fare along with egg-based dishes.

2. Palace On Wheels

Palace on Wheels stands among India's roster of luxury train journeys, having undergone refurbishment and reintroduction in 2009 as a means to promote tourism. With lavish cabins, intricate wallpapers, a well-stocked bar, impeccable hospitality, and a portrayal of local culture through paintings and handicrafts, it evokes the ambiance of a mobile palace, reminiscent of an era when kings and their grand palaces flourished. 

Luxury Train Journeys

It's no wonder that it clinched the position of the world's fourth most luxurious train. This esteemed train ranks high as one of India's premier royal train experiences, especially if you're seeking a lavish voyage across Rajasthan.

The designated route encompasses the following destinations: Delhi – Jaipur – Sawai Madhopur – Chittorgarh – Udaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Bharatpur – Agra – Delhi. Operating from September to April, this 7-night, 8-day journey includes 7 stopovers, allowing travellers to explore various cities. The train's itinerary covers key attractions:

  • Delhi: India Gate, Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb
  • Jaipur: Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, Rajasthali, City Palace, Jantar Mantar
  • Sawai Madhopur & Chittorgarh: Ranthambore National Park, Chittorgarh Fort
  • Udaipur: Jag Niwas, Lake Pichola
  • Jaisalmer: Yellow Sandstone Fort, ancient mansions
  • Jodhpur: Mehrangarh Fort, grand palaces, shopping tour in Jodhpur
  • Bharatpur: Keoladeo Ghana National Park
  • Agra: Fatehpur-Sikri, the Taj Mahal

In terms of dining, the train caters to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences, offering a diverse range of cuisines including Chinese, Continental, and Indian.

3. The Deccan Odyssey

Taking inspiration from the opulent voyages of ancient Indian kings and rulers, the Deccan Odyssey presents a lavish 5-star hotel on wheels, venturing into captivating corners of India. The passengers are treated royally, and the cabins' interiors resemble palace chambers. With multi-cuisine dining venues, inviting lounges, a conference car, an onboard spa, and other cutting-edge facilities, this train ascends to the echelons of top luxury train experiences in both India and the world.

Dining Venues

The Deccan Odyssey navigates through various routes:

  • Maharashtra Splendor: Mumbai – Nasik – Ellora Caves – Ajanta Caves – Kolhapur – Goa – Ratnagiri – Mumbai
  • Indian Odyssey: Delhi – Sawai Madhopur – Agra – Jaipur – Udaipur – Vadodara – Ellora Caves – Mumbai
  • Hidden Treasures of Gujarat: Mumbai – Vadodara – Palitana – Sasan Gir – Somnath – Little Rann of Kutch – Modhera – Patan – Nashik – Mumbai
  • Indian Sojourn: Mumbai – Vadodara – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Agra – Sawai Madhopur – Jaipur – Delhi
  • Jewels of the Deccan: Mumbai – Bijapur – Aihole – Pattadakal – Hampi – Hyderabad – Ellora Caves – Ajanta Caves – Mumbai
  • Maharashtra Wild Trail: Mumbai – Aurangabad – Ramtek – Tadoba – Ajanta – Nashik – Mumbai

Culinary offerings encompass both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices, spanning Indian and continental cuisines. The train is truly a symbol of opulence, evoking the grandeur of a bygone era while venturing through India's captivating landscapes.

4. Golden Chariot

The Golden Chariot stands out as a remarkable luxury train within India, offering journeys to some of South India's most renowned tourist destinations. Introduced in 2008, the Golden Chariot has gained a reputation for its exceptional hospitality. 

The train boasts air-conditioned chambers adorned with regal interiors, along with bars, restaurants serving an array of cuisines, a mini gym, Ayurveda spa, and various other 5-star amenities that define luxury train travel. Renowned among travellers as one of India's premier luxury train experiences, it earned the title of 'Asia’s Leading Luxury Train' in 2013.

The train operates on two routes:

Pride of the South: Bangalore – Kabini – Mysore – Hassan – Hampi – Badami – Goa – Bangalore

Southern Splendour: Bangalore – Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Thanjavur – Madurai – Thiruvananthapuram – Alleppey – Kochi – Bangalore

Culinary offerings encompass both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. The Golden Chariot continues to be a beacon of luxury, encapsulating the essence of South India's allure and grandeur while ensuring travellers a remarkable journey.

5. Royal Orient Train

Indulge in a regal expedition aboard the Royal Orient Train and relish a delightful odyssey to renowned tourist destinations, all while experiencing the pinnacle of luxury train travel in India. The journey on this luxury train is an impeccable blend of chivalry and opulence, creating an unmatched royal experience that is truly one of India's finest.

The opulent cabins, designed in a palatial style, are complemented by well-trained hospitality staff. A multi-cuisine restaurant named "Watering Hole" Bar, spacious bathrooms, a library, and virtually every facility akin to a 5-star hotel, the Royal Orient Train brings these luxuries onboard.

The train's route covers: Delhi – Chittorgarh/Udaipur -Junagarh/Veraval- Sasan Gir/Dilwara – Palitana- Sarkhej- Ahmedabad- Jaipur- Delhi.

Operating throughout the year, the Royal Orient Train journey spans 7 nights and 8 days. Along the way, passengers can explore various city attractions:

  • Delhi – Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate
  • Chittorgarh/Udaipur – Chittorgarh Fort, City Palace, Lake Pichola boating, Shilpgram, and Royal Gardens
  • Junagadh/Veraval – Ashokan Rock EDICT of the 3rd Century BC, Darbar Hall Museum, Mausoleum of Nawab Mahabat Khanji, Somnath Temple on the Arabian Sea shore
  • Sasan Gir National Park – Lion Sanctuary
  • Dilwara – St. Paul’s Church and Mandir Beach
  • Palitana – Jain Temple atop Shatrunjaya Hills
  • Ahmedabad – Gandhi Ashram, Calico Museum of Textiles, Sidi Sayyad’s Mosque
  • Jaipur – Amer Fort and elephant ride, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar (observatory)

In essence, the Royal Orient Train offers an extraordinary journey that epitomises luxury and royalty, allowing passengers to traverse India's scenic beauty while indulging in unmatched opulence.

6. Fairy Queen Express

Concluding our exploration, we have the timeless Fairy Queen Express, one of India's pioneering luxury train offerings. A nostalgic journey awaits as this train is hauled by the oldest operating steam locomotive dating back to around 1855. The Fairy Queen's allure shines bright as it winds its way to Alwar in Rajasthan. Having secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and graced with the National Tourism Award, the Fairy Queen undoubtedly stands among India's most opulent train experiences.

Pioneering Luxury Train

The designated route is: Delhi – Alwar – Sariska- Alwar – Delhi.

The Fairy Queen Express operates between October and March, on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month. The journey spans 1 night and 2 days. The attractions at its two stopovers – Sariska and Alwar – encompass:

  • Sariska – Lake Palace, Sariska National Park
  • Alwar – Alwar Museum

In sum, the Fairy Queen Express is a testament to enduring luxury train travel in India. Driven by a historic steam locomotive, it imparts an enchanting journey, making it a cherished and timeless part of India's opulent train heritage.

7. Heritage On Wheels

Unveiling the timeless traditions and cultural legacy of Rajasthan passed down through generations, the Heritage on Wheels stands as one of India's oldest luxury train experiences. The train's interiors gracefully transport travellers to the glorious bygone era of the state, rendering it one of the nation's most exclusive and expensive train journeys.

Oldest Luxury Train

Embracing the essence of Rajasthan, the Heritage on Wheels features floors adorned with a local restaurant, serving up a delectable blend of authentic and continental cuisines. The rooms exude an ambiance that distinctly resonates with royal grandeur, making this a journey that should be cherished at least once in a lifetime. Evoking a regal sentiment, this luxury train promises an unforgettable experience that makes passengers feel like queens and kings.

The itinerary follows the route: Jaipur – Bikaner – Tal Chhapar and Shekhawati – Jaipur – Depart.

The Heritage on Wheels embarks on a 3-night and 4-day journey, with a slew of popular attractions to explore:

  • Bikaner: Junagarh Fort, Haat, Camel Safari, Lalgarh Palace, National Research Centre
  • Tal Chhapar & Shekhawati: Laxmangarh Fort, Goenka Haveli, Sikar, Churu, Mandawa, Nawalgarh
  • Jaipur: Hawa Mahal, Amber Palace, City Palace, Jantar Mantar

An array of culinary choices awaits passengers, spanning Indian, Continental, and Chinese cuisines. The Heritage on Wheels offers an immersive journey into the heart of Rajasthan's cultural richness, making it an unparalleled and unforgettable escapade.

Importance of Indian trains in enhancing connectivity to popular attractions

  • Vast Network and Accessibility

Indian trains, with their extensive railway network, provide an unparalleled level of accessibility to popular attractions. They connect even remote destinations, allowing tourists to easily reach places that might be difficult to access by road or air.

  • Cost-Effective Travel

This affordability makes it an attractive option for both domestic and international tourists, enabling them to explore various popular attractions without breaking the bank.

  • Multi-Destination Journeys

Special tourist trains offer multi-destination journeys, allowing tourists to visit multiple popular attractions within a single trip. This saves time and effort, as travellers do not need to arrange separate accommodations or transportation for each destination.

  • Comfort and Convenience

Modern amenities, well-equipped cabins, dining facilities, and entertainment options on luxury trains ensure that tourists have a comfortable journey while heading to their desired attractions.

  • Cultural Immersion

Train travel allows tourists to immerse themselves in the local culture and scenery as they traverse different regions. This enhances the overall travel experience, giving tourists a glimpse of the diverse landscapes and lifestyles that make up India's rich cultural tapestry.

Overall, Indian trains play a significant role in enhancing connectivity to popular attractions by providing an efficient, cost-effective, and culturally immersive mode of transportation that caters to a wide range of travellers.

Popular attractions improved by Indian Railways' efforts

  • Taj Mahal

The iconic Taj Mahal, located in Agra, is one of the most famous attractions in India. Indian Railways has improved connectivity to Agra through various train services, making it easier for tourists to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Red Fort

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort in Delhi, has also benefited from Indian Railways' efforts to enhance connectivity. Tourists can easily access the historical and architectural marvel of the Red Fort through well-connected train routes.

  • Jaipur

The capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur, is known for its rich history and vibrant culture. Indian Railways has improved connectivity to Jaipur, making it a popular destination for tourists exploring the "Pink City."

  • Varanasi

Varanasi, the spiritual and cultural heart of India, has witnessed improved rail connectivity, making it easier for travellers to experience the ghats, temples, and the spiritual atmosphere of this ancient city.

  • Hampi

The historical and archaeological site of Hampi in Karnataka is renowned for its ruins and ancient temples. Indian Railways' efforts to enhance connectivity to nearby towns have made it more convenient for tourists to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These are just a few examples of popular attractions that have benefited from Indian Railways' endeavours to improve connectivity, making these iconic destinations more accessible to both domestic and international tourists.


How has Indian Railways improved its facilities for tourists?

Indian Railways has upgraded its facilities by renovating and modernising railway stations to provide better amenities, cleanliness, and improved waiting areas. This enhances the overall travel experience and portrays a positive image of Indian hospitality to tourists.

What are special tourist trains?

Special tourist trains are luxury trains designed to provide unique and themed travel experiences for tourists. These trains are equipped with modern amenities, comfortable accommodations, dining cars, and sometimes even entertainment facilities on board.

How does Indian Railways enhance connectivity to popular attractions?

Indian Railways has improved connectivity to popular attractions by enhancing rail routes, increasing train frequency, and streamlining schedules. This makes it easier for tourists to reach iconic destinations like the Taj Mahal and Red Fort without the hassle of changing accommodations.

What are some examples of popular attractions improved by Indian Railways' efforts?

Examples of popular attractions include the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. These historical monuments have seen improved connectivity through Indian Railways, allowing tourists to visit them conveniently.

What are the benefits of special tourist trains?

Special tourist trains offer a seamless and luxurious travel experience, allowing tourists to explore multiple destinations without the need to change accommodations. They provide comfort, entertainment, and a unique theme, enhancing the overall tourism experience.

What is the significance of the Taj Mahal and Red Fort?

The Taj Mahal and Red Fort are iconic historical monuments in India. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of love, while the Red Fort is another UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its architectural grandeur and historical importance.

How has Indian Railways' focus on tourism been recognized?

Indian Railways' efforts have been recognized through awards and accolades. Special tourist trains and facilities have contributed to India's tourism sector, and certain luxury trains like the Maharajas' Express have received awards for their excellence in providing luxurious travel experiences.