Editor’s Note: Thank you for this great post by our traveler, Robert Shelton of Houston, TX., who traveled on this train in February, 2012.
If you are searching for an efficient and comfortable tour of the sights surrounding Delhi, the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels‘ Classical India Journey may be your answer. In seven days you can explore the numerous temples and forts, varied landscapes and diverse cultures throughout the colorful states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Also included are a fascinating exploration of the wonders of life along the holy Ganges River and a tour of the Taj Mahal.
On board the Royal Rajasthan you will find adequate accommodations for your trip, including two dining cars and a spa car. Though marketed as a new train, the Royal Rajasthan is at best “newly refurbished” with fresh paint, new linens and updated bathrooms. Luxury and modern amenities, such as in-room entertainment and individual temperature controls, are notably absent.
The food on board is excellent, with multiple Continental and Indian offerings each day. The service is equally as impressive. The room attendants are at your beck and call 24/7. They’re also available to accompany you for most memorable jaunts outside the standard itinerary. The spa car has a treadmill and two stationary bikes. Basic massages, facials and mani/pedis are very inexpensive; however, expect the ambiance and quality of a 2- or 3-star spa.
The itinerary is varied and packed full. However, too much time is dedicated to “forced shopping” in overpriced boutiques with merchandise that is widely available back home. Seasoned travelers will be highly annoyed with the train managers’ excuses and insistence on visiting these shops. If you wish to avoid them, insist on an early return to the train and then promptly collect your room attendant for a “tuck-tuck” adventure to local markets and other off-the-beaten-path sights.
Regardless of the train’s shortcomings, the Royal Rajasthan does provide a broad exposure to some of Northern India’s best historical and cultural sights. Just make sure luxury is not your top criteria.