Aboard the Luxury Tourist Train: DAY TWO
After twenty-four hours R & R at the West End Taj, the following late afternoon we were driven to the railway station to board our train, the Golden Chariot.
I have traveled extensively by people’s trains in India. Most Indians choose train as the mode of long distance transportation because a network of trains criss-crosses the whole sub-continent and the fare is low.
The country has one of the world’s largest railway networks that were introduced by British in 1853. Since then new routes have been added and steam engines replaced with diesel and electric engines.
Indian Railways introduced the luxury tourist trains as recently as 1980s. The first luxury train, Palace on Wheels was launched in 1882. These trains were inspired by the comfort and décor of personal railway coaches of the rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, Nizam of Hyderabad and Viceroy of British India.
Each coach has three or four cabins with twin beds, wall-to-wall carpeting, air-conditioning, attached toilets, running hot and cold water, with a personal attendant. Royal Rajasthan on Wheels was launched in 2009 and modeled after Palace on Wheels. The two trains follow similar route through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
In 2013, we chugged aboard Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, and this year we traveled by Golden Chariot. The latter train, gold and purple, is equipped with 11 coaches (four cabins in each coach), spa and gym facilities, a lounge bar and two dining cars.
On day two, the train tour manager and his staff received us. We met other travelers, settled in our coach and then joined them for a sumptuous meal. As we tried to sleep, our Golden Chariot chugged towards Mamallapuram, Chennai.
The photographs posted were shot on different days.