India 2018 - The Palace on Wheels

Early April 2018 has been earmarked for the past year in readiness for our family holiday to the state of Rajasthan, India. Whilst I've been to Himachal Pradesh in Northern India in the past, this trip to Rajasthan promises something special; a voyage on the Palace on Wheels. The Palace on Wheels is a train journey supported by the Rajasthan Tourism Authority to promote sustainable tourism across the district - distributing the tourist dollar beyond places such as Agra and Jaipur to lesser vested cities like Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur. 

I've posted on Trip Advisor and VJV about our stay with the Palace on Wheels.  Please find my review below.

"An incredible introduction to India through the majestic and royal Rajasthan. The Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel in New Delhi was a wonderful start to a tour throughout which we were made to feel exceedingly welcome and honourable by all. The Orient Express Restaurant provided an experience not just a meal. 

The Palace on Wheels has been newly updated with new saloons and dining carriages. Whilst the train requires on-going TLC, the service, food and general ambience of the train do meet 5-star standards. Every one of the train staff goes out of their way to serve their guests' needs and health in the hot weather. 

Whilst the train was not quite a smooth ride, the cabin stewards were able to turn our beds 90º to aid our sleep. We realised this towards the end of our trip and do highly recommend to all future guests to ask their stewards to rotate their beds around from the start. 

As the images uploaded below demonstrate, every day is a new and exciting day with photographic opportunities jumping out with every step. Each day also includes a visit to a local cottage-style industry where souvenirs and higher value goods can be purchased in a safe environment with other train guests. However, whilst not obligatory, we felt that there was a pressure to purchase. This was particularly prevalent on our arrival in New Delhi before boarding the Palace on Wheels when our Jules Verne Representative took only our party of three to a Kashmiri Carpet Emporium where we sat in the basement of a costly shop and were subjected to a hard sell. To spend one and half to two hours every day going through these types of organised shopping trips became rather waring. Having said this, we have come home with some lovely pieces of textiles and art. There was a strong emphasis on textiles in these shopping trips, a suggestion to improve this routine would be for the guests to have a spice market experience with the opportunity to buy spices and perhaps include a live cooking demonstration to replace one of the existing shopping stops.

We were concerned before starting the trip about the food and whether we would be able to eat a lot whilst avoiding the infamous 'Delhi Belly', but the breakfast, lunch and dinners were all superb both those served on the train and in the opulent hotels. I was also satisfied to see that the kitchen on the Palace on Wheels was 'open-door', with a ritual walk beside the kitchen every day on the way to the dining carriages. All appeared hygienic and well organised. The salon stewards went out of their way to ensure that everything went smoothly and we were really made to feel special. In summary, we had a wonderful trip from start to finish and would highly recommend both Voyages Jules Verne and the Palace on Wheels." (Sutton, R. 2018) 

Sutton, R. (2018) Incredible India. Trip Advisor Review. Available art <https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g304551-d13530672-Reviews-Palace_On_Wheel-New_Delhi_National_Capital_Territory_of_Delhi.html> [Accessed 16/04/18]


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