Indian Railways’ Buddhist circuit get a new luxury train on its route. IRCTC will start operations of the new train from December. Developed with lavish features like luxury trains in India, the train will offer an 8-day journey. The itinerary includes all those places that hold significance to the life of Buddha, such as Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Sarnath, Varanasi, among others.

Buddhist Circuit Train

The special train (rake) in colors of beige and brown is a LHB (Linke-Hofmann-Busch) model. It is manufactured in India, at Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory (RCF). Following the structure and features of Indian luxury train – Maharajas’ Express, the train similarly has many lavish amenities, many of which are tailor-made for the comfort of passengers.

Buddhist Circuit Train Coaches

Buddhist Circuit Train Coaches

Built in a short duration of only 6 months, the special Buddhist circuit train is a 12-cocah rake. There are four First AC coaches, two Second AC coaches, two dining cars, two power cars, one Third AC coach for staff and one pantry car. Statements from RCF coach factory stated that modifications are done in the rest of the train. IRCTC made specific demands in Second AC coaches, dining car, power car, Third AC coach and pantry car.

While the First AC coach can accommodate 24 passengers, the Second Ac coach has a capacity of 30.

Luxury features of Buddhist circuit train

Some unique features are namely, separate pantry for vegetarian and non-vegetarian passengers, modular bio-vacuum toilets, personalized digital lockers, Venetian windows, and shower rooms among many others.

Exteriors

Exteriors of Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train

The new IRCTC Buddhist circuit train’s exterior has an anti-graffiti vinyl wrapping. Also as tribute to the rich heritage and culture of India, on display are numerous monuments and symbols.

Features

Features of Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train


CCTV cameras, passenger announcement system, an advanced fire detection and suppression system, sofa with adjustable reading lights.

Modular Bathrooms: Shower rooms (for first and second AC coaches), modular fittings in the toilets such as touch-less tap, soap dispenser, hand dryer, etc.

Dining Car

Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train - Dining Car

Lavish in design and feel, the dining car onboard can seat up to 64 passengers. Dine seated at teakwood finish glass top tables. In addition, the serving area has the latest equipment. There are facilities such as plate dispenser, wine chiller, Baine marie for serving hot food, programmable coffee vending machine, microwave oven, and automatic dish washer. While you savor mouthwatering delights, enjoy pictorial views without disturbance. Each seating has stainless steel partition frames and electrically-operated venetian blind windows.

Pantry

Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train - Pantry Car

Truly meant for luxury, the Buddhist circuit special train has special arrangements for veg and no-veg eating guests. Amenities here include salamander, combi ovens, electric hot plate, deep fat fryers, dough making machine, deep freezers, ice-cream chest freeze, under counter freezers, RO water dispenser and many more.

Journey

The Buddhist circuit train by IRCTC will journey through places related to Lord Buddha. From the site of birth, enlightenment, sermons, and almost every aspect of the Lord’s life, the train will have stopovers at Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Varanasi, Lumbini, Kushinagar and Sravasti.

The IRCTC tourist train aims to attract tourists from Indian and countries like Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand, China as well, with huge number of Buddhist pilgrims.

This Buddhist circuit tourist train is the latest addition on the website of the Indian Luxury Trains. Know about tariff, schedule and itineraries along with booking and cancellation policy and other details of the Buddhist Circuit Special Train.
Indian Railways’ Train 18 may soon ply on the Varanasi route. As a matter of fact, India’s first self-propelled 160 kpmh capable train was introduced to replace Shatabdi Express trains. According to the two sources in the know-how of the matter, many routes are in consideration for the upcoming train. Out of them, some also connect Varanasi.

Besides the Delhi-Bhopal route, Patna-Varanasi, Lucknow-Varanasi and other are under considerations as inaugural routes for the train. Previously, Indian Railways pointed out that India’s fastest Shatabdi on the Delhi-Bhopal route will be replaced by the first Train 18 prototype. However, the Railway Ministry hasn’t come up with any finalized route yet.



Interestingly, the manufacturer of Train 18, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, will start working on the second rake in December. According to an ICF official, the second rake of Train 18 is expected to be ready by February 2019. RDSO is currently working on the trials for Train 18. However, the latest air-conditioned engine-less train may run only by January 2019. Thus, there are chances that Train 18 may ply on both Varanasi and Delhi-Bhopal routes with two rakes.

What’s special about Train 18?

Coaches: Train 18 is an LHB platform 16-coach air-conditioned chair car with executive and non-executive coaches.

Increased speed: The train boasts of several firsts – an all underslung self-propulsion system, rigid couplers for jerk-free rides and ability to decelerate and accelerate faster. All of these come together to reduce the total travel time and increase the speed.

Amenities:

  • Aircraft-like lighting and personalized reading lights
  • European-style seats
  • Automatic entry/exit doors with sliding footsteps
  • Fully sealed gangways 
  • Modular bio-vacuum toilets
  • GPS-based passenger information screens
  • Luggage racks with glass bottom
  • CCTV cameras
  • Wi-Fi-enabled pre-loaded infotainment
  • Rotating seats in the executive class!
  • Swanky pantry

RDSO is making Train 18 undergo extensive tests on various stretches of the Indian Railways network. Train 18 will also undergo tests on some parts of the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani route at speed of around 180 kmph. According to the sources, the trials are expected to get completed between December 15 and December 20. Thereafter, RDSO will analyze the data and will prepare a report. The train will get a green signal to run after the final nod from the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS).
Indian Railways provides an experience like never before, as Tejas Express caters to travel business-class. The ‘Make in India’ initiative, the luxury train in India is similar to business-class of an airline. The lavish executive coaches of Tejas Express have awed its passengers. In fact, it is the first time Indian Railways have allotted so many airline –like features in its air-conditioned coaches.

Improved with business-class facilities at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, it is an upgraded version of the 2017 Tejas Express train that was launched between Mumbai and Goa. The new and improved luxury train takes after aircraft-like business travel with comforts to a whole new level. 


Coaches of Tejas Express

  • The upgraded Tejas Express has executive chair car coach with bucket-like comfortable seats in 2+2 configuration. 
  • 56 passengers can comfortably travel in one coach. While there are 23 passenger coaches.
  • Seats are available in beige-colors which is further covered with a leather-like material.
  • Comfortable headrest and footrest are added to the comfortable seats.
  • Headrests also have a hidden snack table, which can be easily taken out according to the needs of the passengers.

Entertainment facilities

  • Also passengers can enjoy a personalized LCD screen, at the back of every seat. 
  • Entertainment options includes play music, watch movies etc.

Other amenities

  • Additionally, the coaches have airline-like amenities such as the USB charging point, personalized reading lights, and attendant call button.
  • Although the seats are not equipped with full reclining facility, it is similar in comfort level of business-class of an aircraft.
  • Automatic sliding doors, modular bio-vacuum toilets, CCTV cameras inside the coach area and the entrances, along with swanky pantry equipment.
  • Also, bathrooms in the train coach will maintain cleanliness as they have anti-graffiti vinyl wrapping.
  • In addition, mirror in the bathroom will be integrated with a ‘Make in India’ touch-enabled light.

The new Indian luxury train, Tejas Express rake has been allotted to Southern Railways and will run between Chennai Egmore and Madurai. If the track permits, the LHB model will go as high as speed of 160 kmph.

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Come winter and we are all geared up with our festive and holiday mode on! There are many places to visit in India in December offering a warm welcome to the tourists during this vacation-friendly month. Head towards the northern part of the country for the love of snow. Go to the south to celebrate unique festivals.

While north-east India welcomes the newly wedded couples, the western part portrays the vividness of India. If you want to trace the imprints of the history, look forward towards central India without any second thought. All in all, there is a plethora of winter holiday destinations in India. Read on, to know more about them.

1. Kashmir


How about spending your winter holidays in paradise? Kashmir gets covered with a blanket of snow in December and presents a sight to behold. Whether planning a honeymoon or a family trip, the state is an ideal place to feel the bliss of winters. From scenic lakes, green valleys to rugged mountains, Kashmir has them all. 

Delightful Experiences
  • Gondola ride in Gulmarg
  • Embark on the Chadar Trek
  • Shikara Ride on Dal Lake
  • Sledging at Sonmarg
  • Making snowman at Patnitop
  • Soak-in the beauty of lakes in Leh
  • Trek to Thajiwas Glacier
How to reach

By Air: Srinagar Airport (169 km)
By Train: Jammu-Tawi Railway Station (198 km)

2.  Himachal Pradesh


Reckoned as one of the best places to visit in December, Himachal Pradesh is a haven for backpackers. Partake in winter sports activities or admire the natural beauty, the state has something for everybody. Mere the mention of the word Himachal gives a clear idea of what to expect here; as it translates to the ‘Land of Snow’.

Delightful Experiences
  • Trek to Kheerganga
  • Visit Khajjiar
  • Trek to Churdhar
  • Soak in the beauty of Solan
  • Enjoy ethnic rural life at Kalpa
  • Snowfall at Kufri
  • Honeymoon in Shimla
  • Zorbing at Solang Valley
  • Witness beautiful monastery in Spiti Valley
  • Explore Dalhousie
How to reach

By Air: Jubbarhatti Airport (20 km)
By Train: Kalka Railway Station (14.6 km)

3. Uttarakhand



Next on the list of best places to visit in December in Uttarakhand. Dotted with pilgrimage sites and scenic beauty, the state is famed for housing sites of the Chota Char Dham Yatra. Overlooked by the majestic peaks of the Himalayas, the destination will make you fall in love with it. Forget all your worries behind and embark on a spiritual sojourn to find the inner peace.

Delightful Experiences
  • Skiing in Auli
  • Play hide and seek with clouds at Chakrata
  • Excursion to Dehradun and Mussoorie
  • Enjoy solitude at Binasar
  • Trekking in Chopta
  • River rafting in Rishikesh
  • Ganga Aarti in Haridwar
  • Admire nature at Kausani
  • Star Gazing at Ranikhet
  • Explore Valley of Flowers National Park
How to reach

By Air: Jolly Grant Airport (179.7 km)
By Train: Haridwar Junction (186.1 km)

4. Rajasthan


Rajasthan ranks on the top on the list of winter holiday destinations in India. Come December and the royal state beguiles with its various charms. Ditch your blankets and move out to delight in a treasure trove of various attractions and unique experiences. Spicy Rajasthani food is the best way to battle with the winter chills. Try to resist the magic of traveling to the royal state on Palace on Wheels, one of the prominent Indian Luxury Trains.

Delightful Experiences
  • Camel Safari in Sam Sand Dunes
  • Dune Bashing at Jaisalmer
  • Flying Fox at Mehrangarh Fort and Neemrana Fort
  • Pay homage at one of the rare Brahma temples in Pushkar
  • Explore Jaipur
  • Bow down at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah
  • Excursion to Udaipur
  • Wildlife Safari at Ranthambore
  • Bird Watching at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
  • Visit Osian
  • Light and Sound Show at Kumbhalgarh Fort
How to reach

By Air: Jodhpur Airport (196.7 km)

By Train: Jaipur Junction (192.4 km)

5. Maharashtra


Winters are nothing less than a bliss in Maharashtra. This makes it appear in the bucket list of travelers planning to spend holidays in India in December. Soothing getaways, salubrious weather, serene hill towns and sun-kissed beaches, the state flaunts them all. Tucked between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, the amazing place will urge to visit here often.

Delightful Experiences
  • Mumbai’s nightlife
  • Pay homage at Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur
  • Explore Baby Taj in Aurangabad
  • Seek the blessings of three Jyotirlingas out of the twelve
  • Explore the Ajanta and Ellora Caves
  • Embark on the Deccan Odyssey
  • Visit Mahabaleshwar
  • Enjoy at Matheran
  • Vine Tasting in Nashik
  • Marvel at the waterfalls of Chikhaldara
  • Camping at Bhandardara
How to reach

By Air: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (392.2 km)

By Train: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Terminus (407.7 km)

Read More:

6. Goa


Nothing can beat the festive vibe of Goa in December. The popular winter holiday destination in India is flocked by youths, honeymooners, solo travelers and holidaymakers with family. The ‘Party Capital of India’ features, beaches, churches, shacks, lively nightlife, cruises, water sports and what not! The zeal to celebrate Christmas and New Year is worth witnessing. When in Goa, don’t forget to shop at the famous flea markets.

Delightful Experiences
  • Embark on the Mandovi River Cruise
  • Worship at the churches
  • Enjoy water sports
  • Gaze at beautiful sunset views
  • Attend popular festivals in Goa
  • Try your luck at Casinos
  • Observe the nesting of turtles
  • Bird Watching at Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
  • Dolphin spotting
  • Savor delectable seafood and Goan cuisines
How to reach

By Air: Goa International Airport (43.8 km)

By Train: Madgaon Railway Station (28.6 km)

[See our tastefully crafted honeymoon packages here]

7. Varanasi


The unique spectacle of the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti in Varanasi is sure to render you speechless. Although a large number of devotees visit the holy city throughout the year but December is the best time to visit Varanasi. Well-known for its ghats adorning the banks of River Ganga, the spiritual and vibrant city is believed to provide Moksha. The enlightening trip to one of the seven holy cities in India is best experienced by traveling on the Maharajas’ Express.

Delightful Experiences
  • Boat ride on River Ganges
  • Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
  • Take a holy dip in River Ganga
  • See cremation rituals at Manikarnika Ghat
  • Temple hopping
  • Visit the Ramnagar Fort
  • Excursion to Sarnath
  • Explore the Gyan Vapi Well
  • Pay homage at the Alamgir Mosque
  • Shop for Banarasi silk sarees
  • Marvel at the Man Mandir Observatory
How to reach

By Air: Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (23 km)

By Train:  Varanasi Railway Station (1.9 km)

8. Kerala



Fondly known as the ‘God’s own country’, Kerala has a myriad of places to visit in December. From visiting the coffee plantations to sailing on waters in kettuvallams, there are lots of things to do in Kerala. The list of various charms includes Munnar - a honeymooners’ paradise, enchanting Kerala backwaters and Golden Chariot traveling to Alleppey, etc.

Delightful Experiences
  • Observe the working of the Chinese Fishing Nets
  • Explore backwaters of Kumarakom
  • Houseboat rides and stays in Alleppey
  • Trekking in Munnar
  • Visit Periyar National Park in Thekkady
  • Stroll along the beaches in Kovalam
  • Excursion to Kozhikode
  • Celebrate Christmas at Thiruvananthapuram
  • Admire natural beauty at Malampuzha
  • Soak in the romantic charm of Vagamon
How to reach

By Air: Cochin International Airport (95.3 km)

By Train:  Ernakulam Junction (119.9 km)

9. Jim Corbett


Jim Corbett tours are better enjoyed during winter. Nestled amidst the foothills of the Himalayas, the Jim Corbett National Park enjoys popularity for housing Royal Bengal Tigers. The oldest National Park in India also preserves a number of species of flora and fauna. Jungle Safari in Jim Corbett is the major highlight and attracts various tourist from all over the world.

Delightful Experiences
  • Elephant Safari
  • Jeep Safari
  • Canter Safari
  • Excursion to Lansdowne
  • Explore Sattal
  • River Rafting
  • Soak in the beauty of Corbett Waterfall
  • Visit Corbett Museum
  • Pay homage at Garija Temple
How to reach

By Air: Phoolbagh Domestic Airport (50 km)

By Train:  Ramnagar Railway Station (1.1 km)

[Interested in wildlife? Check out these awesome ideas for Wildlife Vacations in India]

10. Andaman Island


Andaman Island is an ideal destination to plan your winter holidays in India. Transform your vacations into a magical affair by spending days exploring the fascinating archipelago. Grabbing the attention of scuba diving enthusiasts worldwide, the island is a must-visit at least once in a lifetime. Adventure activities, island hopping, awe-inspiring sunset views, picture-perfect beaches and shopping will keep you engaged for days.

Delightful Experiences
  • Sunset views from Radhanagar Beach
  • Stroll along Laxmanpur Beach
  • Scuba Diving at Havelock Island
  • Light and Sound Show at Cellular Jail
  • Watersports at Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex
  • Explore Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
  • Sea Walking at North Bay Beach
  • Relax at Corbyn’s Cove Beach
  • Observe limestone caves at Baratang Island
  • Excursion to Neil Island
  • Day trip to Kala Pathar Beach
How to reach

By Air: Veer Savarkar International Airport (31.8 km)
By Sea:  Sail from Vizag, Chennai or Kolkata

If you’re also looking for the best places to visit in India in December, do consider these amazing destinations on a priority basis.

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The Indian Railways put into service its revamped heritage steam locomotive Azad WP 7200 to bring alive the magic of steam-hauled trains. The 71-year-old engine hauled the iconic Indian Luxury Train, the Palace on Wheels. The short yet sweet sojourn started from Safdarjung Station to Patel Nagar Station, both in Delhi, on the Ring Railway circuit this Wednesday. Ashwani Lohani, Railway Board Chairman flagged off the steam-hauled luxury tourist train. The event took place in the presence of senior officials of the board and the Northern Railways.

The Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, USA built the WP 7200, also popular as Azad, in 1947.

History of the WP steam engine

The bullet-nosed WP locomotives, the pride of the steam loco fleet, were the backbone of broad gauge passenger train operations of the Indian Railways. Having served the Railways for a long time, these engines finally retired in 1995. Subsequently, a committed Railway team revived these heritage steam engines. Currently, they undergo regular repair and maintenance work at the Railway’s Steam Centre, Rewari.

The Railways deals with the running of the heritage steam trips on the popular tourist sections from time to time.

Fare for a tour on Palace on Wheels

At present, a seven-day tour aboard Palace on Wheels, India’s oldest luxury train costs INR 363000 to INR 756000. The above prices are for the peak season depending on the kind of accommodation.

Features of the Palace on Wheels

Palace on Wheels, one of the popular luxury trains in India features wall to wall carpeting, lavish cabins, two dining cars, a well-stocked bar and a very personalized service.



Luxury Saloons in Palace on Wheels

Prominent personalities like the President of India, Prime Minister and senior railway officials, use the luxury saloons or the inspection coaches in the luxury train. They cherish an opulent sojourn in these saloons. The inspection cars or saloons flaunt a lounge, two bedrooms, a toilet, a pantry and a kitchen. Two families can easily accommodate in these saloons.