Plusher ‘Palace on Wheels’ rolls out this season
Jaipur: With a new spa, gym, cuisines from around the world, latest upholstery and other modern amenities, one of the world`s luxuries trains - The Palace on Wheels- is all set to roll out in a plusher avatar to woo international and domestic tourists.
The new look luxury train from Rajasthan would sport upgraded facilities and different and improved interiors along with other services which, according to official sources, were inevitable with other luxury trains like Maharaja Express, Indian Maharaja - Deccan Odyssey and Golden chariot plying in the country.
Along with PoW a second luxury train from the desert state - `Royal Rajasthan on Wheels` (RRoW)- is also being upgraded to attract tourists and make their experience most enjoyable.
"Tourists would have option of a Dubai-like desert safari when the train halts at Jaisalmer. More varied food including Mexican, Thai and seafood will be served. The bar is also being upgraded and some of the world`s best wines would be made available on the train, while interiors have also been upgraded to give a fresh look besides improving quality of existing services," Manjit Singh, Chairman and MD, Rajathan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), told PTI.
"Currently both the trains - Palace on Wheels and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels are undergoing major revamp at cost of around Rs 2 crore. The PoW will start its journey this season from August while RRoW will be on track again from September," says Singh.
Facilities of spa and gym and upgraded interiors would also be present in the RRoW. "We are planning an aggressive marketing campaign to promote both the trains and make these the most preferred by tourists, worldwide. There is competition with rising number of luxury trains in the country in the recent times, but we hope our distinguished trains would get good responses," he says.
At present reservations on the luxury trains are being done online with some tourists preferring to do so via tour operators. The RTDC however, is looking to make distribution channel more viable and systematic by appointing more agents and thereby increasing group and charter bookings.
The Palace on Wheels, which was adjudged recently as the fourth best among the top ten luxury trains of the world by the prestigious travel magazine Conde Nast is in profit of around Rs 9 crore.
However, the RROW introduced in 2009 has incurred a loss of around Rs 2 crore and Singh hopes that the RRoW would also register profits in the 2010-11.
Named after the former Rajput states the aesthetics and interiors of the 14 airconditoned coaches of the PoW reflect the royal grandeur of the past.
With a mini pantry filled with hot and cold beverages and refreshments, each saloon sports all the modern conveniences thoughtfully provided- sofas to sink into, strategically placed lights to read by, wonderfully appointed beds with comfortable furnishing, inbuilt wardrobes and a huge glass window to watch the countryside roll past.
The PoW has two lavish restaurants `Maharaja` and `Maharani` with a Rajasthani ambiance serving palate tickling continental, Chinese, Indian and Rajathani food, and a well stocked bar offering the choices of spirits of Indian and international brands.
The train moves by night and arrives each morning at a new station. The week long tour starts in the evening from New Delhi, then the train reaches Jaipur the second day where tourists visit Hawa Mahal followed by Jantar Mantar (observatory), Albert Hall museum, Amber fort and then shopping.
On the third day, the train reaches Sawaimadhopur where tourists visit tiger reserve- Ranthambore National Park. On the same day, tourists visit fort in Chittorgarh district.
Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bharatpur are covered on fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh day respectively, and finally after sight seeing at Taj Mahal in Agra on seventh day, the leisurely sojourn journey ends and the train heads back to the national capital with memories of incredible trip.
"This season the PoW with a capacity of 104 tourists would begin its journey in August, while the RRoW would be on track again from September," says Manjit Singh, Chairman and MD, RTDC.