Luxury Train Awards, 2013

Luxury Train Awards, 2013

At the recently held World Travel Awards on 30th Nov, 2013 in Doha,
Maharajas Express has got awarded the title of World’s Leading Luxury Train for the 2nd time in a a row.

The other nominees were:

Andean Explorer
Eastern & Oriental Express
Hiram Bingham
Rocky Mountaineer – GoldLeaf Service
Royal Canadian Pacific
The Blue Train
The Golden Chariot
The Indian Maharaja Deccan Odyssey
The Queen of Scots Luxury Touring Train
Venice Simplon Orient-Express

http://www.themaharajatrain.com/

Special mention to Golden Chariot, that won in “Asia’s Leading Luxury Train” Category.

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Indian Luxury Train Travel demographic trends

This post is an overview of the inbound travel trends in India, over the years, taking a case of The Palace on Wheels Luxury Train in particular.

In 1982, Palace on Wheels started its operations but it didn’t reach it’s full potential till late 90s when entire charters were booked for the train & hardly any seats were available for departures.

From the beginning, the demographic mostly remained, US & UK citizens. They made up 50% of the passengers. The rest were mostly Europeans; Italian, Spanish, Russian, German & French. You would see middle aged married couples experiencing India for the first time & they loved it. They loved the romance of the journey. Although the train doesn’t discourage children, the journey is mostly meant for adults. You would still see a child on a few departures. 

Image

 

(Palace on Wheels Group on an excursion to Chittorgarh Fort)

http://www.thepalaceonwheels.com/

The demand kept growing over the years & you had to book 6 months in advance to get a reservation.  

The trend remained the same till 2008 & then the financial crisis had truly become global with most of Europe also in debt.

For the first time in over a decade there was a fall in overall demand. Groups from Europe became lesser, the US traveller was not to keen with so much uncertainty in the market & Mumbai’s 26/11 terrorist attack made the inbound travel scenario very grim.

 But there were positive signs from South East Asia, Japan & Singapore. Also, a new type of traveler for India was the big spending NRI (Non Resident Indian); They wanted to rediscover India, teach their children about their heritage and culture with first-hand experience. They started inquiring about Palace on Wheels. The train’s wheels kept churning even though some cabins remained empty.

After a while, by 2010, the train was running at full capacity again with US, UK & Russia again leading the numbers. There was a sharp decline of European travelers though. One could say, South East Asians had taken their place.

Now, since the last few seasons we are witnessing the following trend:

  • Australia: Their economy has grown & maybe it’s the cricket but India has become a very popular destination for them.
  • Middle East (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar): They’re probably just bored of seeing everything else & they really do define ulta luxury so Palace on Wheels is perfect for them.
  • China, HK : When neighbours become really rich, they do come to your house to show off.
  • South America, mainly Argentina : India’s an exotic destination for them & it’s always exciting to discover an entirely new culture in luxury.

 

Did you know?

China has surpassed the US on most amount spent, on an average by an international traveller (among many other things.)

Also, there have been more than a few repeat visitors to Palace on Wheels. 

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Maharajas Express Safari Bar

Maharajas Express Safari Bar

The Safari Bar & lounge is a perfect place to unwind after a day’s sightseeing with it’s sleek design and elegant ambiance & drinks are on the house.

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The Palace on Wheels – Origins

The Palace on Wheels - Origins

The history of India’s original luxury train.

At the time of the British Raj, when trains were revered as the most convenient form of transportation (many still swear by it in today’s date.); Maharajas and British royalty of course, had to travel in style. Thus, the concept and initiation of the Indian Luxury Train was brought about. Considered, a 5 star hotel on railway tracks, The Palace on Wheels was specifically designed for the purpose of transporting royalty from one destination the the next.

Rulers of princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India travelled by these luxurious coaches. After independence, these coaches were parked and remained in this state for a quarter of a century until in 1981-82, when the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways launched a special heritage tourist train for providing a unique memorable experience to the tourists visiting Rajasthan.

The name Palace on Wheels was derived from it’s royal background of the coaches. Gradually State govt. and railway department brought many infrastructural changes in the coaches while keeping the same aesthetics of the interiors alive, matching the interiors of the royal state. The train was replaced by the air-conditioned broad gauges new train, which had 14 saloons, 2 restaurant cum kitchen cars, one Bar cum Lounge and 4 service Cars. The cabins of each saloon are attached with bath and shower. The train also has a well-appointed lounge, library and bar.

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Indian Luxury Train journeys: Taj Mahal

Indian Luxury Train journeys: Taj Mahal

A dream on rails,
Destinations with royal tales.

Maharajas of the past, would take leisure in this sojourn,
There’s a beauty in heritage, we are yet to learn.

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Palace on Wheels, Day 4: Udaipur

Palace on Wheels, Day 4: Udaipur

After onboard breakfast proceed to visit 17th Century built — City Palace complex ,standing on a rocky promontory with eleven constituent mahals (palaces), balconies, towers and cupolas. Walk across to nearby located Crystal Gallery, -personal collection from H.H. of Udaipur & later enjoy boat ride around the world famous “Lake Palace Hotel” perched atop a small island in Lake Pichola. Proceed for lunch to Palace Hotel. Time free to visit the Royal Gardens at Saheliyon Ki Bari & return to train by 3 pm & depart.

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New look for the luxury trains of Rajasthan

Indian luxury trains competition is heating up this summer.

Rajasthan Tourism Buzz

The popular luxury trains of Rajasthan – Palace on Wheels and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels are soon going to get a major makeover.  Being sensitive towards the expectations of the travelers, the Indian Railways and RTDC have decided to refurbish the trains with new heritage look adorned by the finest trappings one can expect from a luxe train.

All the facilities  in the trains are being modernized including water purifiers in washrooms aside from superior communication and entertainment devices. Even the dining cart, the bar and lounge will be given a new look. The spa and health club will also get major upgrades.

As for the RROW makeover, the wooden floors would be covered with exquisite carpets to minimize noise. Further, new doors will replace existing ones. Besides, the train speed will also be increased so that guests spend less time on wheels and enjoy more time at the destinations. However…

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The Fairy Queen Train

The Fairy Queen Train

The Fairy Queen, is the oldest working Steam Locomotive in the world, built in 1855. It was completely over hauled in 1996 & resumed commercial operations in 1997 for 2 Days/1 Nights Tourist circuit from Delhi to Alwar.as Fairy Queen train tour In 1998 it was Certified as the world’s oldest working locomotive by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Operational Status: On request.

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The Deccan Odyssey Luxury Train

The Deccan Odyssey Luxury Train

Maharashtra’s luxury train.
Listen in the top 10 luxury trains in the world.
It covers some unique off beat destinations along with more than 1500 years old Ajanta & Ellora Caves.
Catering is done by renowned Taj group of Hotels.

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The Buddhist Train

The Buddhist Train

The Reclining Buddha, Kushinagar

The Mahaparinirvan Express follows a religious circuit on a 7 nights/ 8 day journey covering Bodhgaya, Lumbini, Kushinahar, Sravasti, Agra, Varanasi & Sarnath.

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