Sydney, Jan.23 (ANI): Three heritage trains in India are among the world's top 25 iconic rail adventures.
According to the US-based Society of International Railway Travelers published the list in a special edition of its magazine to celebrate its 25th anniversary, these Indian trains are the Palace on Wheels, which comprises of 14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, equipped with world class amenities to enhance the pleasure of traveling.
The 14 coaches are named after former Rajput states matching the aesthetics and interiors of the royal past. Each saloon has a mini pantry and a lounge to ensure availability of hot and cold beverage, and refreshments and a place to relax and get together. The train travels between New Delhi and most states of Rajasthan.
The second Indian train to figure on the global list is the Toy Train or The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is a two feett (610 mm) gauge narrow-gauge railway that runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal. The train was built between 1879 and 1881 and the journey is about 86 km long. The elevation level is from about 100 m at Siliguri to about 2,200 m at Darjeeling. It is still powered by a steam engine. A modern diesel engine is used for Darjeeling's mail. Since 1999 the train has been a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO.
The third train from India that has made the global list is the Deccan Odysse, a luxury train that travels through the heart of Central India over a period of eight days, and has stopovers in Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Sawantwadi, Goa, Pune, Aurangabad and Nasik.
This train has 21 coaches out of which 11 are passenger cars with four coupes each. There are two presidential suite cars with 2 coupes each car. The train also has a conference car (can be redesigned as dance floor in the night) and two restaurant cars. There is also a lounge/bar car and one surprising addition is a Spa Car. Apart from the above there are generator cars with luggage store and staff car or spare car.
Society of International Railway Travelers president Eleanor Hardy said the 25 trains chosen represented the group's best-loved railway journeys.
"The World's Top 25 Trains are based on our own experience and that of our writers, editors, members and staff. The trains met stringent standards for service, accommodation, scenery, itinerary, off-train experiences and passenger enjoyment," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her, as saying.
The world's top 25 trains as named by the Society of International Railway Travellers:
- Canadian (Canada)
- Royal Canadian Pacific (Canada)
- Canadian Rockies Steam Express (Canada)
- Rocky Mountaineer (Canada)
- GrandLuxe Express (US)
- Sierra Madre Express (Mexico)
- Andean Explorer (Peru)
- Hiram Bingham (Peru)
- Blue Train (South Africa)
- Pride of Africa (Rovos Rail) (South Africa)
- Palace on Wheels (India)
- Eastern & Oriental Express (SE Asia)
- Shangri-La Express (China/Tibet)
- Toy Train (India)
- Deccan Odyssey (India)
- Danube Express (Central Europe, Turkey)
- Al Andalus Express (Spain)
- El Transcantabrico (Spain)
- Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express (Russia)
- Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Europe)
- Glacier Express (Switzerland)
- Royal Scotsman (Scotland)
- The Ghan
- The Indian Pacific
- The Sunlander (ANI)
A Five Star Train Tour through Goa and Maharashtra!
Deccan Odyssey is a five star hotel on wheels, a joint venture of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and the Indian Railways. The train itself was built at a cost of over Rs. 320 million (aprox US$ 100 million).
The train begin its journy from Mumbai and move all the way to Goa and travel through the hotspots of Goa and Maharashtra to return to Mumbai over a period of one week. The train tour is ideal for honeymooners as well as others who wish to explore the beaches, ancient shrines and churches as well as Forts. The train has 5 star facilities, with a presidential suite (US$ 750 per day) and the passenger saloon (approximately US$ 400 per day).
The train is equipped with a health spa, gym, beauty parlor, and massage center. A reading and meeting room is also available for the use of the guests.
The train pass through various hotspots in Pune such as Shaniwarwada, Daulatabad Fort, Ajanta and Ellora Caves along with guided tours to these spots and beaches in Panaji (Dona Paula and Ganapatipule beach). The food is served mostly on board which has 2 restaurants (Peshwa I and Peshwa II) and a bar which all are of five star standards.
The 7 day trip normally starts from Mumbai and in day-1, a bus trip from Bhoke station to nearby villages and Rai Bhatgaon jetty is arranged. The centuries old Jaigad fort is also visited along with Ganapatipule beach.
Second day will cover conducted tours to Lokmanya Tilak Samarak, Ratnagiri and Ratnadurg Fort.
The highlight of the third day is the visits to Sindhdurg, a cruise from malvan jetty to the 17th centaury fort, visit to tarkarli beach, Sawantwadi Bhonsles palace and its handicraft center, etc.
Forth day is touring old Goa from Karmali station and the major touristic attractions are the Church of St Francis of Assisi of 16 century, Basilica of Bom Jesus of 1642 (largest cathedral in Asia), St Augsutine Church, Dona Paula at Panaji, Benaulim beach at Margao, Goa.
The Fifth day will bring you back to the Pune and Shaniwarwada, the city of Peshwas along with the option to visit the Osho International Commune, tribal museum.
The sixth day will bring the train to Aurangabad where the Ellora caves are situated. Bus trips to the Fort of Daulatabad and the ellora caves presents the heritage dating back to 600AD with temples of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. There is a Shivaji Museum which displays cannons and other artifacts. Mausoleum of wife of Aurangazeb (Bibika-Maqbara) which is a replica of Taj Mahal is also a place of visit.
The seventh day starts from Jalgaon. A visit to the Ajanta caves is the highlight of this day. Later that day, visits to some winery in Nasik is arranged and the guest will return to the train for the return journey to Mumbai. The tour will conclude upon the arrival of the train back at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai (Bombay) in the next day morning.
Labels: Deccan-Odyssey, Train