Seven of the Best Train Rides in India

BY Susan, Yonder destination expert

On any luxury holiday in India, you’ll no doubt spend time travelling between some of the incredible destinations and through some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet. We think the best way to explore India is by train.

Inevitably, most of the luxury Indian train experiences take in a tour of Rajasthan. And no Golden Triangle holiday is complete without at least one India train ride. So do it in style and pick from our selection of seven of the best train rides in India.

Maharaja’s Express

Explore anywhere between Delhi and Mumbai in luxuriant style on one of the best train rides in India and on one of the world’s leading train experiences.

Despite its maiden journey being just 10 years ago, spending some of your luxury holiday in India aboard the Maharaja’s Express allows you to be transported back to a time to a bygone era when train travel was the most decadent means of transport.

There are a range of fascinating journeys on offer, usually departing from Delhi or Mumbai. You’ll experience all the spectacular scenery through panoramic windows too, waited on in style from a crimson turban-adorned personal valet.

The Maharaja’s Express has 14 carriages, all with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning, with superb Indian and international cuisine prepared freshly for its two delightful restaurants.

Palace on Wheels

The Palace on Wheels was one of the first train rides in India to offer luxury services for those not royalty or dignitaries.

Whereas the Maharaja’s Express provides luxurious travel without forgetting history and tradition, the Palace on Wheels is an even more authentic experience where you’ll find yourself feeling like you’re a part of its heritage.

The Palace on Wheels consists of 14 old style carriages, with four cabins and a shared lounge in each, along with two restaurants.

If you choose to include this as part of your luxury holiday in India, you’ll follow its set route normally departing from Delhi.

Deccan Odyssey

The Deccan Odyssey is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious train experiences in India.

The train itself comprises of 21 carriages, around half of which are to accommodate guests, with the rest used for a variety of purposes, including dining, a lounge, a conference car, and a health spa.

It also comes equipped with modern amenities including air conditioning, WiFi and traditionally decorated ensuite cabins.

Aboard the Deccan Odyssey, you’ll spend your luxury holiday in India gazing at breathtaking vistas, relaxing in opulent comfort like the Rajput rulers once did, and taking in the rich history and colourful culture at destinations along the way.

You can choose from six journeys that connect Delhi and Mumbai to various locations in the north and central parts of this incredible country.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a unique experience and a big tick on any bucket list. It is a truly fantastic way to spend a day or two of your luxury holiday in India.

Otherwise known as the Toy Train, the route itself consists of 55 miles of narrow gauge railway tracks connecting the city of New Jalpaiguri at around 100m above sea level with Darjeeling – home of the world renowned black tea, at over 2,000m.

You’ll climb up the rolling green hills and through stunning tea plantations aboard one of the few steam locomotives still in action in India. It’s even designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Goa Express

The Goa Express covers a 2,200km – or 39-hour – route from New Delhi to Vasco da Gama on the country’s southwest coast.

But the real beauty is in the three-hour route from the state of Goa – where you’ll pass close to its sandy beaches, azure blue waters and frolicking families – through the Western Ghats jungle to Londa.

Keep an eye out for waterfalls as you pass through the thick jungle, including the spectacular Dudhsagar Falls.

Mandovi Express

Named after the Mandovi River, this railway whisks you away from the busy city – from the historic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai – to the pristine, palm-lined beaches of Goa on your India beach holdiday.

The train doors are usually left open on this breathtaking journey so that you can take in the sunlit fields and colourful villages along the way.

Desert Queen

There are many ways to experience the atmospheric golden hues of the Thar Desert, but combining this with the magic of train travel makes the Desert Queen one of the best train rides in India.

Take in the treasures of Rajasthan as you travel from Jaipur to the remote fort of Jaisalmer, where you can enjoy the history and culture of one of the Golden City.


Yonder provides luxury train experiences in India.  As India specialists, all tours are tailor-made and train rides can be incorporated into any of our bespoke India holidays.

Train experiences can be built in to any itinerary. Typically, all tours to Rajasthan will include at least one train ride. It is also possible to built a whole tour around train experiences either using a series of local trains or one of the luxurious train routes that crisscross the country.

The best place to lookfor ideas is on Yonder’s tailor-made India holiday pages or in the planes, Trains and Automobiles Collection which is a curated selection of hotels and itineraries.

All Yonder itineraries are crafted on a tailor-made, one-off basis, so you can be sure that your holiday will be as individual as you are.