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It’s said that 30 million people travel on India’s railway system every day – a statistic not hard to believe if you’ve ever scrambled though the mêlée of porters, chai wallahs and passengers trying to board a long-distance express out of New Delhi station. Legions of employees keep the wheels turning, from the humble kitchen attendants who whip up delicious curries in the ‘pantry car’, to the redoubtable TC – or ‘Ticket Controller’ – in his pristine white trousers and peaked cap.
No such hurly burly, however, attends trips on the glittering ‘Palace on Wheels’, nor its equally splendid sibling the ‘Deccan Odyssey’, two of the world’s great luxury locomotives, where you can travel in the high style of India’s Maharajahs, pampered by turbaned attendants in sumptuously decorated carriages. Palace trains all follow routes stringing together the great sights of their respective regions, so you get to see plenty of the country beyond the compartment window.
Two more of the subcontinent’s great rail experiences, provided by antique steam locomotives dating from the twilight years of the British Raj, are the narrow-gauge mountain railway lines of Ooty, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and Darjeeling, in the northeast.
Whichever region you wish to travel in, however, TransIndus can tie trips on everyday trains into your chosen itinerary – an experience no traveller to the subcontinent should miss.