India is a country of exotic beauty, and travelling by train gives you a fantastic experience. The list above is a compilation of the top 12 luxury trains in India. If you plan to take a trip by train next time, I hope this guide helps you select the most beautiful track for your trip.
Top 12 list of luxury trains in India
- The Deccan Odyssey
- The Maharajas’ Express
- The Golden Chariot Train
- Palace on Wheels
- Desert Queen
- Fairy Queen Express
- Royal Orient Train
- Heritage On Wheels
- Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
- Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train
- Lifeline Express
- Maitree Express
Table of Contents
- The Deccan Odyssey: Super luxurious train in India
- The Maharajas’ Express: World’s Leading Luxury Train
- The Golden Chariot Train: Best Luxurious Train ride
- Palace on Wheels: Asia’s Leading Luxury Train
- Desert Queen: Culture and essence of Gujarat and Rajasthan
- Fairy Queen Express: Cheapest luxury train in India
- Royal Orient Train: World’s most luxurious train
- Heritage On Wheels: Experience Indian heritage
- Royal Rajasthan on Wheels: World’s most Exciting Luxury Rail Journey
- Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train: Footsteps of Lord Buddha
- Lifeline Express: World’s first hospital train in India (semi-luxury)
- Maitree Express: India and Bangladesh Friendship train (semi-luxury)
The Deccan Odyssey: Super luxurious train in India
Based on the concept of Palace On Wheels, the Deccan Odyssey is the newer counterpart of luxurious trains in India. This train is rightly termed “luxury on wheels” because it showcases the Maharaja-style train travelling to tourists.
It has a total of 21 luxuriously furnished coaches with 40 deluxe cabins for accommodation. It also has four presidential suites, one Conference car, restaurants, a well-stocked bar, a library, spa and massage cabin, and a mini gym.
This royal train in India runs on six routes. The various routes offer visits to national parks, beaches, deserts, historical sites, etc. Each tour package includes famous sites on the way. The tours of beautiful cities like Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Nasik, etc., are the additional benefits.
The Deccan Odyssey trains Operated by: Indian Railways
The Deccan Odyssey train trip Duration: 7 nights 8 days (approx)
The Deccan Odyssey Package tour booking price:
- For Indian travelers: INR 3,71,000 (approx) per person
- For international travellers: USD 5,049.79 (approx) per person
The Deccan Odyssey train Routes
- Maharashtra Splendor: Mumbai – Nashik – Aurangabad (Ellora Caves) – Ajanta Caves – Kolhapur – Goa – Sindhudurg – Mumbai
- Indian Odyssey: Delhi- Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambore National Park- Agra- Jaipur- Udaipur- Vadodara- Aurangabad- Ellora Caves- Mumbai
- Hidden Treasures of Gujarat: Mumbai – Vadodara – Palitana – Sasan Gir & Somnath – Little Rann of Kutch – Modhera & Patan – Nashik – Mumbai
- Indian Sojourn: Mumbai – Vadodara – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Agra – Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore) – Jaipur – Delhi
- Jewels of the Deccan: Mumbai – Bijapur – Aihole – Pattadakal – Hampi – Hyderabad – Ellora Caves – Ajanta Caves – Mumbai
- Maharashtra Wild Trail: Mumbai – Aurangabad (Ellora Caves) – Pench (Ramtek) – Tadoba – Ajanta – Nashik – Mumbai
The Maharajas’ Express: World’s Leading Luxury Train
The Maharajas’ Express is an extravagant tourist train that moves across North-West and Central India, primarily centralised on Rajasthan. This luxury train won the title of “The World’s Leading Luxury Train” consecutively seven times from 2012 to 2018. Its inception was in the year 2010 through joint efforts of IRCTC and Cox and Kings India Ltd.
The entire train is furnished luxuriously with a ready wi-fi connection across all the 43 guest chambers. Apart from the 14 carriages for accommodation, additional dining cars, a Rajah Club lounge, a library, a souvenir shop, a generator, and store cars.
From 2012, it has run on four routes. Each route has its charm and heritage. The tour package includes sightseeing of famous places on the route.
The Maharajas’ Express trains Operated by: IRCTC
The Maharajas’ Express train tour Duration: Depends upon the tour package
The Maharajas’ Express Package Tour price:
- For Indian travelers: INR 5,56,000 to 10,10,900 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 7,571.19 to 13,767.96 (approx) per person
The Maharaja Express train Routes
- The Heritage of India: Mumbai – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Bikaner – Jaipur – Ranthambore and Fatehpur Sikri – Agra and Delhi
- Gems of India: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi
- The Indian Panorama: Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambore and Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Orchha, and Khajuraho – Varanasi – Delhi
- Indian Splendour: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mumbai
- Treasures of India: Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Delhi
The Golden Chariot Train: Best Luxurious Train ride
The Golden Chariot is a luxury train launched by Indian Railways for touring the state of Karnataka. It’s built on the model of Palace on Wheels from Rajasthan. It mainly represents the historical influences of the Vijaynagara Kings of South India.
It comprises 11 coaches labelled after the ruling dynasties of southern India viz Kadamba, Hoysala, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chalukya, Bahamani, Adil Shahi, Sangama, Satavahana, Yadukula and Vijayanagar.
There are 44 fully air-conditioned cabins for accommodation within these coaches. It operates two restaurants inside named Nala and Ruchi. The interiors of these are decorated in ancient temple style.
They offer a wide variety of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food from Indian cuisine. The train also has a lounge and spa cars for customer service. The tour arranges sightseeing of the lesser-explored historical destinations of South India, such as the world heritage site of Hampi and Badami ruins.
The Golden Chariot Trains Operated by: Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC)
The Golden Chariot Train trip Duration: Depends on the tour plan
The Golden Chariot Train Package tour cost:
Golden chariot train price is
- For Indian travelers: INR 3,03,525 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 4,133.04 (approx) per person
The Golden Chariot Train Routes and itineraries
- Pride of Karnataka: Bengaluru – Bandipur – Mysore – Halebidu – Chikamgaluru – Hampi – Pattadakal & Aihole – Goa – Bengaluru
- Jewels of South: Bengaluru – Mysore – Hampi – Mahabalipuram – Thanjavur and Chettinad – Cochin – Kumarakom -Bengaluru
- Glimpses of Karnataka: Bengaluru – Bandipur – Mysore – Hampi – Bengaluru
Palace on Wheels: Asia’s Leading Luxury Train
The Palace on Wheels is a luxurious tourist train meant for people to experience the royal lifestyle. It was started in the year 1982 as a private train for the important figures of British India. Primarily it was used by the rulers of the princely states and the Viceroy of India. In August of 2009, Rajasthan Tourism joined hands with Indian Railways to re-launch this train for tourists.
The train follows a week-long journey starting from New Delhi, then Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bharatpur, Agra and then back to New Delhi. With a total of 23 coaches, it can accommodate 104 passengers at once.
Each coach has four Saloons (chambers) lined with luxurious and aesthetic decorations setting the royal mood appropriately. Multi-Cuisine food items are available for the guests from the two restaurants Maharaja and The Maharani.
The train also has a lounge bar and spa facilities. The train is fully air-conditioned and offers wi-fi connectivity as well.
Palace on Wheels is the most luxurious and best tourist train in India. Explore India’s heritage sites in Style with luxury.
Palace on Wheels Route length: 3000 km
Palace on Wheels train Operated by: Indian Railways
Palace on Wheels Train tour Duration: 7 days and 8 nights (approx) (New Delhi-New Delhi)
Palace on Wheels Package tour booking price:
- For Indian travelers: INR 2,61,800 to 7,06,860 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 3,564.87 to 9,623.82 (approx) per person
Palace on Wheels Train Route
Jaipur – Sawai Madhopur – Chittaurgarh – Udaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Bharatpur – Agra – Delhi
Desert Queen: Culture and essence of Gujarat and Rajasthan
The Desert Queen train running through the deserts of Rajasthan provides one of the unique topography for visitors. It’s different from the excessive greenery found in other states of the country. You can experience a desert safari by train.
Travellers can see several xerophytic vegetation such as cactus. Dunes adorn the route throughout and can also spot camels there. Settlements are scarce all over this extended area due to extreme weather conditions. The drastic difference between the general natural habitat of India makes this track the most fantastic rail route in the country.
The Desert Queen train is a tourist and “semi-luxury.” train in India. The train has two types of travel classes
- Air-Conditioned First Class
- Air-Conditioned Two-Tier Sleeper Class
The Desert Queen rail Route length: 921km
The Desert Queen trip Duration: 4 nights five days (approx) (Delhi – Jaisalmer)
The Desert Queen train Operated by: IRCTC
The Desert Queen train Package Tour price:
In AC First Class:
- For Indian travelers: INR 44,000.0 (approx) per person
- For international travellers: USD 598.89 (approx) per person
In AC Two Tier:
- For Indian travellers: INR 36,600 (approx) per person
- For international travellers: USD 498.06 (approx) per person
Fairy Queen Express: Cheapest luxury train in India
Fairy Queen is a steam locomotive that runs from Delhi to Alwar periodically. It was built in the year 1855. Guinness Book of World Record announced it as the oldest steam locomotive of the world built by British manufacturers Kitson and Company during the British era.
It was first used for transport purposes in West Bengal and is today identified as a National Treasure of India. The Fairy Queen Express won a National Tourism Award in 1999. It’s the cheapest luxury train in India.
The train hoists two coaches with a generator and pantry car and operates only from October to March. It starts from the national capital Delhi and moves towards Rajasthan. The train mainly tours the district of Alwar and Sariska city and ends the journey at Delhi. The Sariska National Park is the main attraction of the tour.
Fairy Queen Express tour Duration: 1 night two days (Delhi – Alwar)
Fairy Queen Express rail Route length: 143 km
Fairy Queen Express train Operated by: Indian Railways
Fairy Queen Express booking Ticket price:
- For Indian travellers: INR 6,800 (approx) per person
- For international travellers: USD 92.54 (approx) per person
Royal Orient Train: World’s most luxurious train
This royal express starts and ends in Delhi. It’s responsible for giving its passengers a royal-like tour of the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It starts from Delhi and travels through Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Junagarh, Veraval, Sasan Gir, Mandvi, Palitana and Sarkhej.
The train has 13 coaches, all named after former Rajput clans. The cabins of these coaches are furnished like a royal palace room and provide five-star facilities to guests.
There are two restaurants present on the train. They provide traditional Indian foods as well as Continental foods. It also has a well-equipped bar on board named the “Watering Hole”. It operates weekly between September to April.
Royal Orient Train trip Duration: 7 nights 8 days (Delhi – Delhi)
Royal Orient Train Operated by: Indian Railways
Royal Orient Train package tour price:
- For Indian travelers: INR 1,47,784 to 2,51,493 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 2,011.49 to 3,423.11 (approx) per person
Heritage On Wheels: Experience Indian heritage
Another luxury train from Rajasthan following the lesser-known track of the state. Heritage on Wheels starts from Jaipur, tours Shekhawati and Bikaner, and ends at Jaipur again. The trip offers a relaxing view of desert sand and dunes extending over significant areas.
The itinerary allows travellers to experience the authentic culture of Rajasthan. This tour shows places that tourists do not very commonly visit. Camel safari includes in the tour package.
The train has 14 carriages that have been furnished according to the taste of royalty and heritage. It can accommodate 104 people on each trip. The restaurants, Maharaja and Maharani, serve Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines. The lounge has a bar and a small library for guests to relax and converse while enjoying the journey.
Heritage On Wheels Operated by: Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation& Indian Railways
Heritage On Wheels tour Duration: 3 nights 4 days (approx) (Jaipur – Jaipur)
Heritage On Wheels Tour Package price:
- For Indian travelers: INR 6,500 to 12,500 (approx) per person
- For international travellers: USD 88.47 to 170.13 (approx) per person
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels: World’s most Exciting Luxury Rail Journey
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels is another luxury train of Rajasthan modelled on Palace on Wheels, started by Indian Railways in January 2009. It comes with 14 luxurious cabins. These are named after the ancient royal palaces of Rajasthan, such as Hawa Mahal, Phool Mahal etc.
Each comes furnished with a wi-fi connection, Satellite TV, music system and Individual temperature control. Each cabin is decorated with a particular colour theme. Some themes are ruby, sapphire, pearl etc.
The two dining cars in Royal Rajasthan on Wheels are named Swarn Mahal and Sheesh Mahal. Their names decorate both cars. Here highly efficient staff serves Indian cuisine to the guests. Along with this, a spa and souvenir shop is also on board.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels trip Duration: 8 days and seven nights (approx)
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels rail Operated by: Indian Railways
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels train package Ticket price:
- For Indian travelers: INR 2,82,852 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 3,849.70 (approx) per person
The Train Route: New Delhi – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Chittaurgarh – Jaipur – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Sarnath – Agra – Delhi
Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train: Footsteps of Lord Buddha
IRCTC launched the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train in October of 2019. Buddhist Circuit Train also known as Mahaparinirvan Express. The route starts at Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station. From there, it takes you to all the notable Buddhism related places in India. It ends its route at the same point it began.
In between, it passes through Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Accommodation is provided in two classes, AC1 and AC2. Both the interior and exterior are nicely decorated to give a luxury vibe. There are two dining cars with a kitchen car, one separate staff car and two power cars on board. The train is fully air-conditioned.
A minimum of 175 passengers is required for the train to start its journey. The ticket includes hotel fares, monument entry fares, along with guides and meals. Children below the age of five get a free ride.
Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train tour Duration: 8 days and seven nights
Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train Operated by: IRCTC
Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train Tour package price:
In AC First Coupe:
- For Indian travellers: INR 95,022 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 1,293.04 (approx) per person
In AC First Class:
- For Indian travellers: INR 84,100 (approx) per person
- For international travelers: USD 1,144.54 (approx) per person
In AC-2 Tier:
- For Indian travellers: INR 69,537 (approx) per person
- For international travellers: USD 946.26 (approx) per person
Lifeline Express: World’s first hospital train in India (semi-luxury)
The Lifeline Express is the first hospital train globally, known as the Jeevan Rekha Express in India. On 16 July 1991, this train was launched as a collaborative project between the Impact India Foundation, Indian Railways, and India’s Health Ministry.
The train is fully air-conditioned and has complete hospital attire. It has two operation theatres and an ophthalmologic testing room, a dental unit, a laboratory and an X-ray unit. There is also an auditorium room on board.
The main aim of this train was to provide healthcare services to the rural areas. The train visits the parts of the country where healthcare and medical facilities are inferior. It stays in each place for more than 20 days and works as a temporary medical care facility. Patients here are treated for free by efficient doctors.
The train is also upgraded from time to time to install modern facilities and equipment. At present, the train is at Badarpur Station in Assam.
Operated by: Indian Railways
Maitree Express: India and Bangladesh Friendship train (semi-luxury)
The Maitree Express travels between India and Bangladesh five times a week. It’s the first train that has run between the two neighbouring countries in 43 years. The train starts from Kolkata and travels to Dhaka. It’s operated on the Barisal track route.
It was launched in August 2018 to improve the foreign relations between India and Bangladesh. Hence the train was named Maitree, which means “Friendship” in Bengali.
It’s a fully air-conditioned express train running on diesel locomotives which is an AC 1st class and AC chair car coach. The ticket booking process is not a usual one.
The tickets for Maitree Express are not available on the website of IRCTC. Tickets are available only at the booking counters of Chitpur Station in Kolkata on showing a valid Bangladeshi visa and passport. Due to its high demand, tickets can be booked at least a week before the journey.
Operated by: Eastern Railways & Bangladesh Railway
Duration: 8 hours 50 minutes
With the rapid development of Indian Railways, many more such special trains might be available in upcoming years. These trains add to your travelling experience. A trip with these trains will make the journey more memorable than the destination. Keep a look for the next time you are travelling.