The Kalka Shimla Railway line is a noted UNESCO World heritage site in India. The marvelous mountain railway offers luxury train rides in India. To add to the thrill, they are getting their own Vistadome Coach. The glass coach will be adding to the memorable journey as you passing through picturesque scenery of the mountains. This new development will surely make winter holidays in India especially in the hills nothing less than amazing. 

Kalka - Shimla Rail Vistadome coach

In a public Facebook Post, Mr. Piyush Goyal, Union Railway Minister, Government of India announced that the inaugural run was completed successfully. It will very soon begin its operations.

The Vistadome coach with its glass ceiling is similar to the glass ceiling coaches in European trains. The Shimla-Kalka Train coach will be named Nihaar. Passengers aboard the coach can enjoy scenic views while the train journeys through the lush green mountains. In addition, the glass roof come with upgraded windows and air- conditioning system. 

Vistadome Coach: Amazing Features

This coach comes in addition to the Hop-On-Hop-Off services, recently launched by the national transporter in all train services operating on the Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway section.

Also, the Ambala division which falls under the Northern Zonal Railway has come up with the new service. These new measures will provide a memorable ride to passengers traveling on the popular heritage railway section.

The ticket for the Vistadome coach are available for purchase at any railway station on the Kalka-Shimla rail section.

Seating Capacity

Comfortable seating capacity for 36 passengers is available at one go.

Fares

The fares for Vistadome coach on Kalka-Shimla train for a single day is priced at INR 500. While for two days, the cost is INR 800 and passengers wishing to travel for three days have to pay INR 1000. For children (5 to 12 years), the ticket is priced at INR 250, 400 and 500 for one, two and three days respectively.

Other Features

In addition, the coach is equipped with a number of features. Some among them are LED lights, cushioned wooden interiors and window blinds.

Keeping in mind the success of the coach on this route, the Indian Railways is also planning to revamp three more coaches. Altogether the train journey to Shimla to Kalka is going to be an amazing experience!

Having served for almost three decades, India’s fastest Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express will be replaced by yet another Shatabdi train type. Indian Railways has rolled out its first 160 kmph capable self-propelled train set named Train 18. Designed in just 18 months, the engine-less train set will be replacing the aforementioned train next year. Manufactured at ICF Chennai at a cost of Rs. 100 crore, the train consists of 16 fully-AC coaches and flaunts the ‘Make in India’ tag.

Here are some of the interesting facts about Train 18 that will compel you to embark on this engine-less wonder soon.


Exteriors - The color scheme of white and bullet has been taken by ICF – a first for Indian Railways. This is done to get the look and feel of the world-class bullet train.

Cabins - There is an aerodynamic driver cabin at each end of Train 18. According to Sudhanshu Mani, ICF GM, the numerous equipment of Train 18 communicate with each other digitally. Also, the entire set works as a computer unit.

Seats - Two Executive Chair cars come equipped with comfortable European-style seats adorned with golden-colored fabric. Pink and purple headrest remarkably compliment the fabric which is fire and dust resistant. The executive chair car seats have a distinctive feature that they can be rotated 360-degrees to face fellow passengers.

Doors - To bridge the gap between the train and platform, Train 18 features centrally operated automatic doors with sliding footsteps. The entry area of the coach is equipped with automatic sliding doors with optical sensors.

Lighting - Diffused LED lighting in the train is inspired from the ones in the aircraft and can be dimmed or brightened depending upon the time of the day. Personalized reading lights are available at every seat.

Toilets - Bio-vacuum toilets mirror that of an aircraft and are employed for efficient flushing. Optimal consumption of water has been tried to achieve by the use of touch-free sensor-based fittings.

Mini – pantry - Each coach has a mini pantry with world-class imported equipment for better chilling of juices and cold drinks and heating of food.

Configuration - Usual 3+2 configuration has been used to employ seats in the non-executive chair car. The European-style seats feature leather-like covering with the graded coloring of pink and purple. Foldable snack tables are now attached to the middle table area of the coach. This bridges the gap between the table and the seat to make it easy to eat the food.

Ease of movement -
Also for the first time, the train comprises of fully sealed gangways to offer easy movement between the coaches. The more-effective air-conditioning keeps the coaches dust free. Easy movements of the passengers within the coaches has been facilitated by providing handles next to the headrest in the aisle seats.

Special features - Not everything in Train 18 imitates the features of an aircraft. Rather than pushing the back support of the reclining system, passengers traveling in Train 18 has to push forward the seat below. This creates the reclining posture and also doesn’t reduces the space of the passenger sitting right behind you. A button is available to do the same in the executive chair cars. The information about the time of arrival, the next destination and the speed will be displayed on the two GPS-enabled information screens at each end of the coach. Train 18 has toilet occupancy indicators and spacious cushioned luggage racks. Use of regenerative braking makes it more energy efficient train. There will be no diesel-based locomotives or power cars and hence the carbon footprint will reduce significantly.

Window - Continuous windows in Train 18 offer a panoramic view of the outside world. Touch-based push up/down blinds on the windows add to their charm.

Internet -
Passengers can avail the onboard Wi-Fi facility to watch pre-loaded content on their personal gadgets. There are device and mobile charging points adjacent to each seat.

Space - Other equipment and the propulsion system are under-slung leaving the entire space on board for passengers. The driver cab coach comes with passengers seats with no locomotives needed to haul it.

Disabled- friendly - The engine-less train caters to all the needs of the specially-abled people and makes their journey comfortable. Space is reserved in the trailing coach adjacent to the driver cabin to park the wheelchairs whereas the driver cabin allows wheelchairs to be rolled in from each end of the train.

Reduction in travel time -
The rigid couplings and propulsion system in the bogie offers jerk free rides with faster deceleration and acceleration. This in return reduces the overall travel time by 15%.
With so many exciting features to benefit from, the Indian Railway passengers can expect of a memorable sojourn in Train 18.
How will one describe an experience where the sojourn is as intriguing as the destination itself? Indian luxury train transfer you to your destination but in a unique manner. There is nothing better than these luxury trains when it comes to extravagance and lavishness. Traveling like royalty is no more a dream now. Red carpets, royal carriages, silverware and all the comforts you can think off, luxury trains in India feature them all.

History of the luxury trains in India

History of the luxury trains in India dates back to the British Raj. It was during the bygone era, that the Maharajas of India got attracted towards the concept of travelling in the lap of luxury. Being born and brought up into royalty, the Maharajas started flaunting their royal status by creating most luxurious carriages. Private suites, salons, air conditioners (electric fans that blew air over blocks of ice) and even billiard rooms were added to the carriages.

All the royal carriages were ceased to be used after India got independence in 1947. It was not possible to add these in the normal passenger trains due to their valuable furnishings which needed heavy maintenance cost.

But, it was on 26th January 1982 that India's tryst with luxury train journeys started once again with the launching of Palace on Wheels train. Since then, luxury trains has been adding stars into their profile one after another.

The best luxury trains in India

There are four luxury trains in India offering incredible ways to explore the country like never before. Read on to know about them in a brief and distinctive manner.

Palace on Wheels

The pioneer of the Indian luxury trains, the Palace on Wheels was introduced in 1982. It was due to a remarkable collaboration between Indian Railways and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, that the train was launched to promote Rajasthan tourism. Nothing comes closer to the royal train tour on Palace on Wheels that navigates along picturesque routes adorned with historical landmarks. The luxury rail in India has won many awards which include PATWA award in 2018, voted as the ‘Best in Asia’ in 2009 and PATA Gold Award in 1987.

Cabin categories and facilities onboard the Palace on Wheels

Deriving their name from the former princely Rajput states, there are 14 meticulously-designed coaches. Each coach is equipped with 4 twin bedded cabins featuring ethnic Rajasthani d├ęcor. 

State-of-the-art facilities give you an opportunity to pamper yourself even when you are on the move. A personal attendant called as 'Khidmatgar' is available in each saloon to cater the needs of the guests 24*7. Each saloon also houses a mini pantry and a lounge equipped with DVD player, television and small library. Cold and hot beverages are served to guests along with refreshments. There are two restaurants onboard. A spa, a lounge car and a small gym are also available.

Routes and itineraries on the Palace on Wheels

Running from September to April annually, the Palace on Wheels covers 7-night long routes, departing and returning to Delhi.  But, this can also be customized from Delhi to Jodhpur lasting for only 5 nights. This moving palace crisscrosses through the royal land of Rajasthan covering amazing destinations.

Palace on Wheels

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, Agra, Delhi

Palace on Wheels Tariff

High Season (Oct 2017-Mar 2018) – US$ 12,600 – US$ 6,055
Low Season (2 months of Sept 2017 and April 2018) - US$ 12,600 – US$ 4,550

Maharajas’ Express

Reckoned as the most opulent and exclusive of all the four luxury trains, Maharajas’ Express is excellence at par. Giving the Orient Express of the West a run for money, this elite train is redefining the luxury train travel in India since 2010. The train crisscrosses some of the renowned destinations offering a glimpse of rich cultural heritage of India. The royal sojourn will bestow you with loving memories of the train to be cherished forever. The train boasts of various accolades including CNBZ AWAAZ Travel Award for Best Luxury Train in 2010 and 2015, World Travel Award from 2012 – 2017 and Seven Stars in 2015 and 2016.

Cabin categories and facilities onboard the Maharajas’ Express

The half-a-mile long Maharajas’ Express consists of 14 carriages with 43 individual cabins. Guests can settle in the comforts of 5-star equivalent accommodation in 20 deluxe cabins, 18 junior suites, 4 suites and a presidential suite. 

Dine like royals at the two dining cars with modern kitchen car designed to offer a gastronomical experience. Choose from a fine selection of wines, spirits, liqueurs and beers available at the well-stocked dedicated bar carriage. Facilities like Wi-Fi, attached bathroom, live television and souvenir shop will render guests speechless.

Routes and itineraries on the Maharajas’ Express

Seven meticulously designed itineraries help you to embark on a saga of adventure, elegance and romance.

·         Heritage of India

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Mumbai - Ajanta - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Bikaner - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Agra – Delhi
Heritage of India Tariff
Adult – US$ 6,840 – US$ 23,700   Single Supplement - US$ 5,160 – US$ 23,700

·        Gems of India Tour

Duration - 3 Nights / 4 Days

Destinations Covered - Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur – Delhi
Gems of India Tour Tariff
Adult – US$ 3,850 – US$ 12,900  Single Supplement - US$ 2,190 – US$ 12,900

·         Indian Panorama

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Delhi - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Gwalior - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Lucknow – Delhi
Indian Panorama  Tariff
Adult – US$ 5,980 – US$ 23,700  Single Supplement - US$ 4,510 – US$ 23,700

·         Treasures of India

Duration - 3 Nights / 4 Days

Destinations Covered - Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur – Delhi

  Treasures of India Tariff

Adult – US$ 3,850 – US$ 12,900    Single Supplement - US$ 2,910 – US$ 12,900

·         Indian Splendour

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Delhi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur - Bikaner - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Balasinor – Mumbai
Indian Splendour Tariff
Adult – US$ 5,980 – US$ 23,700 

Single Supplement - US$ 4,510 – US$ 23,700

·         Southern Sojourn

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Ratnagiri – Goa – Hampi – Mysore – Cochin – Kumarakom – Trivandrum
Southern Sojourn Tariff
Adult – US$ 7,530 – US$ 20,070 Single Supplement - US$ 5,680 – US$ 20,070

·        Southern Jewels

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Trivandrum – Chettinad – Thanjavur – Mahabalipuram – Mysore – Hampi – Goa – Ratnagiri – Mumbai

Southern Jewels Tariff

Adult – US$ 7,530 – US$ 20,070 Single Supplement - US$ 5,680 – US$ 20,070

Deccan Odyssey

Indian Railways had joined hands with Cox & Kings to come up with the Deccan Odyssey, another finest luxury trains in India. Treat your eyes to the beauties of Goa and Maharashtra.  The grandeur of the royal train is apparent in the majestic environment, lavish interiors, strict security arrangements and almost everything you can think of. The very sight of Deccan Odyssey painted in blue, casts a spell on the passengers. Step into a world overflowing in luxury, while oozing an aura which takes you back to the days of kings and queens of bygone era.

Cabin categories and facilities onboard the Deccan Odyssey

The 12 guest coaches of this Indian luxury train echo the penchant of the erstwhile Maharajas. Each of them come fully packed with facilities of a 5-star hotel. The coaches are elegant, spacious and designed flawlessly to exude the various eras of the Deccan dynasties. A specially equipped cabin is dedicated to the differently-abled guests. ‘Pankh’, the conference car can cater to all the business needs.   

Spend your time on-board by indulging in various activities like savoring scrumptious food at multi-cuisine restaurants or enjoy relaxing massages at the spa.

Routes and itineraries on the Deccan Odyssey

A journey aboard Deccan Odyssey includes excursions to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a palatial residence, stunning vineyards, tranquil backwaters and sun-kissed beaches. All the six tours offered by the Deccan Odyssey takes you on a voyage like no other. The train is operational from September to May.

·         Maharashtra Splendor 

     Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days
  
    Destinations Covered - Mumbai - Nashik - Ellora Cave - Ajanta Caves - Kolhapur - Goa - Sindhudurg – Mumbai
Maharashtra Splendor Tariff
Single Occupancy – US$ 6,100 – US$ 13,210  Double Occupancy - US$ 8,750 – US$ 13,210

Indian Odyssey 

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - New Delhi - Sawai Madhopur - Agra - Jaipur - Udaipur - Vadodara - Ellora Caves – Mumbai

Indian Odyssey Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,100 – US$ 13,210 Double Occupancy - US$ 8,750 – US$ 13,210

·        Jewels of the Deccan

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Mumbai - Bijapur - Aihole - Pattadakal - Hampi - Hyderabad - Ellora Caves - Ajanta Caves – Mumbai

Jewels of the Deccan Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,100 – US$ 13,210 Double Occupancy - US$ 8,750 – US$ 13,210

·         Maharashtra Wild Trail

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Mumbai - Ellora Caves - Aurangabad - Pench (Ramtek) - Tadoba - Ajanta - Nashik – Mumbai

Maharashtra Wild Trail Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,100 – US$ 13,210 Double Occupancy - US$ 8,750 – US$ 13,210 

          Indian Sojourn

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Mumbai - Vadodara - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Agra - Sawai Madhopur - Jaipur – Delhi

Indian Sojourn Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,100 – US$ 13,210 Double Occupancy - US$ 8,750 – US$ 13,210

·        Hidden Treasures of Gujarat

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Mumbai - Vadodara - Palitana - Sasan Gir & Somnath- Little Rann of Kutch - Modhera & Patan - Nashik – Mumbai

Hidden Treasures of Gujarat Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,100 – US$ 13,210 Double Occupancy - US$ 8,750 – US$ 13,210

The Golden Chariot

Deriving its name from the famous ‘Stone Chariot’ at the Hampi, the Golden Chariot makes its way to some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, tranquil beaches and wildlife sanctuaries. The elite luxury train of India cater to the needs of guests who wish to discover the rich cultural heritage of India without giving up the comforts of the luxuries. Experience world-class hospitality and bask-in the beauty of natural scenery of South India. Adorned with purple and golden compartments, the award-winning train presents a sight to behold. After completing a majestic run of a decade, the regal train is being revamped to beguile you with its grandeur. The Golden Chariot enjoys winning the award of ‘Asia’s Leading Luxury Train’ in 2013.

Cabin categories and facilities onboard the Golden Chariot

Visually appealing interiors complement the quaint landscapes. Deccan Odyssey comprises of 11 guest cabins which have derived their names from the ruling dynasties. The cabins are intricately designed and are furnished with stylish Mysore-styled furniture. In-house fine-dining restaurants, an Ayurveda spa and wonderful ambience of the lounges are just a few add-ons which make you feel like royalty.

From en-suite washrooms, lounge, Wi-Fi internet, two dining cars, to the lounge, you’ll be spoilt for the choice of comforts available onboard.

Routes and itineraries on the Golden Chariot

Two tastefully crafted itineraries are offered by the Golden Chariot which provides its services in the months of October to March.

·        Pride of the South

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days

Destinations Covered - Bangalore - Mysore - Kabini - Mysore - Hassan - Shravanabelagola - Hospet - Hampi - Badami – Goa

Pride of the South Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,135 Double Occupancy - US$ 10,040 Triple Occupancy – US$ 10,040

·        Splendor of the South

Duration - 7 Nights / 8 Days
Destinations Covered - Bangalore - Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Thanjavur - Madurai - Nagercoil (Kanya Kumari) - Alleppey – Kochi

Splendor of the South Tariff

Single Occupancy – US$ 6,915 Double Occupancy - US$ 10,485 Triple Occupancy – US$ 13,385

Choose any of the Indian luxury trains, a wonderful expedition is guaranteed.
Indian Railways Minster Piyush Goyal has announced the launch of IRCTC’s (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) two new Ramayana Circuit Trains. Ramayana is not just a holy text but a way of life for Indian society and to trace the epic journey of Lord Rama is a dream come true for pilgrims. The proposed trains to run on the circuit are named as ‘Shri Ramayana Express’ and ‘Ramayana Yatra’. These journeys are carefully planned to cover most places related to Lord Rama-from his birth, childhood, exile, war and other aspects of his life.


The Ramayana Yatra train is scheduled for its first journey on August 28 from Kochuveli. The 12-day holy tour will cover Nashik Road, Chitrakoot, Allahabad, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Ayodhya, Rameshwaram and Madurai.

The 16-day train tour of Shri Ramayana Express is scheduled to start operations from 14th November. The journey will start from Delhi and will cover destinations like Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, Varanasi, Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Nasik Road, Hospet, Rameshwaram, Madurai and Chennai.

While the first package will range between INR 39,350 to INR 60,750 per person while the second one will charge INR 15,120 per passenger.

An add-on tour, where you can travel to Sri Lanka is available with Shri Ramayana Express itinerary at an extra cost. Opt for a flight to Colombo from Chennai by paying additional charges. The 4-day tour will cover Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Colombo and Negombo in Sri Lanka and is priced at INR 36,200. The Sri Lanka Ramayana journey comprise visit to the Ashok Vatika (Hakkagala Botanical Garden), prayers at ancient temples of Munneshwari, Munnawaram and Hanuman Temple, tours of tea gardens, cities and visit to an elephant orphanage.

Very soon the official website of IRCTC will offer online booking for the Shri Ramayana Express. There are 800 seats in standard category. The packages include travel, accommodation, food and sightseeing arrangements.

Related Post:

Plans for Odisha to receive its first luxury train are underway. The proposal was mooted at a joint conference between the Odisha government officials and the Indian railways which was held recently. The luxury train will be modelled on the same line as the Palace of Wheels. The meeting was presided over by Odisha chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and attended by the board’s additional member, Sanjeev Garg. 


According to official sources, the chief secretary directed the tourism secretary Vishal Dev to look into the financial, administrative and managerial aspects of the board’s proposals and prepare a feasibility report. An Odisha government official said, “It’s just in the proposal stage. We will study feasibility of the proposal from all angles”.

There was a common feeling in the recently held meeting that the running of such luxury trains in Odisha might be a possibility in the event of a joint collaboration between the Indian railways and the state-run Odisha Tourism Development Corporation. In the recently held meeting, it was also brought to light that luxury trains ran in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and that it contributed significantly to the increasing of tourism in the region.

These luxury trains, which boast outstanding services and luxurious amenities, are Palace on Wheels, Golden Chariot, Deccan Odyssey and Maharajas Express. At present, Indian Railways runs several luxury trains to various tourist circuits like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Assam and Uttar Pradesh. These luxury trains boost the tourism potential of these states to a great extent and attract a large number of foreign tourists. The luxury coaches are equipped with world class facilities which include bar, large dining, lounge, generator, LCD TV’s and internet connectivity.

Presently, Indian Railways operates a number of luxury trains which cater to various tourist circuits in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. Plying of luxury trains has vastly improved the tourism potential of these States and attracted a large number of foreign tourists. With regard to the potential of Odisha for luxury trains, a tourism department official said, “Odisha has a rich tourism potentials with attractive tourist destinations such as the Chandipur beach, Puri-Konark marine drive, Bhitarkanika and Similipal national parks, Konark Sun Temple, Jagannath and Lingaraj temples, Chilika Lake and the Hirakud reservoir. These can be included under the Train Cruise project. Hence, the board's proposal for running luxury trains seems feasible here."
Cruise on the Arabian Sea from Mumbai to Goa is a dream come true. Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) in association with Sea Eagle Cruises Pvt. Ltd. have started the passenger cruise ship-Angriya. Board the lavish cruise from at Victoria Dock, Mazgaon, the floating terminal of Mumbai Port’s newly constructed domestic terminal.

The cruise is named Angriya, to honor the Admiral (Sarkhel) Kanhoji Angre, the 1st notable admiral of the Maratha Navy and also from the great coral reef, the Angria bank that lies between Maharashtra and Goa. 

The cruise finally made its first trial journey on Wednesday after a series of delays. Keep reading the blog for complete information about the cruise from Mumbai to Goa.


Cruise Timings

The Mumbai-Goa cruise is scheduled to depart every evening from Mumbai, Victoria Dock at 5:00 PM and will reach Goa around 9:00 AM. The return will be made by the ship every alternate day. The total time to complete the Mumbai-Goa sea journey is almost 15 hours.

Halts

Sources said that the assumed ‘intermediate halts’ of the cruise are- Dighi in Raigad, Dhabol and Jaigad in Ratnagiri, Vijaydurg and Malvan in Sindhudurg and Panaji.

Accommodation

Angariya Cruise for Mumbai to Goa can host almost 350 passengers comfortably. According to sources, there will be seven categories of accommodation to choose from.

Fare

The fare for Mumbai- Goa cruise tickets start from 7,500/- one way. The tariff will vary depending on the room category and size. Fares will be inclusive of meals, refreshments, and breakfast.

Facilities

Well-equipped with modern facilities, the Angariya Cruise has eight restaurants, bars and 24 hours coffee shops located on all the decks. Guests can treat their taste buds to varied offerings from all over India, according to mood and interest. Other amenities onboard include state-of-the-art lounge, an infinity pool, recreation room, etc. Furthermore, the cruise is decorated with interesting facts about maritime, beautiful displays of the ecology of the region of both Mumbai and Goa, charts and other memorabilia.