If Rajasthan has Palace on Wheels to recreate the magic of the bygone royal Rajputana era, Maharashtra is not in anyway going to be left behind. The legacy of the mighty Marathas still lingers strongly in the state and the newly launched (started running in 2003) Deccan Odyssey attempts to introduce you to this heritage. During the eight days and seven nights sojourn, the famous and the hidden treasures of the Deccan landscape surface impressively one by one and make you feel elated at having undertaken a journey in this luxury train.
Moreover, the treatment accorded to you in the train is what many people yearn for throughout their life. In fact, MTDC, that runs the train has the Taj Group of Hotels handling all its operations. Isn’t that enough to infuse in you a confidence that everything inside is going to be special?
The first sight of the Deccan Odyssey is arresting. You almost stop to gaze in admiration at this midnight blue and gold train with 21 carriages.
Once inside, you realize that the Deccan Odyssey, unlike the Palace on Wheels, is not exactly royal, however, it is undoubtedly luxurious. The coaches of the train are all named after forts, monuments, and sites barring the bar, which is called Mumbai High. The decor and lighting too are in keeping with the intention of giving a feeling of luxury. There are 11 passenger cars with four couples and 2 Presidential suites with two coups each. The difference between the two lies in the latter having a double bed, an antique writing table & chair and an attached lounge with a television. For all the coups in the passenger cars, there is a single lounge.
For any service or help inside the train, there is turbaned staff, in red Peshwa style overcoats. Each coupe has its own private valet who is there to fix your problems and fulfill your needs anytime you desire. You will actually feel surprised as to how these valets are there just on the time when you need them most.
The two restaurants of the Deccan Odyssey further enhance the feeling of luxury. You will enjoy a wide range of Continental and Indian dishes here sitting on a table near the window through which scenes pass by in quick succession. A spa and a gym complete your idea of luxurious living.
The Classic Journey
The royal odyssey starts every Wednesday from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai at 1640 hours and uncovers some splendid locations for you before coming back to Mumbai. The serene beaches of Ganapatiphule, Tarkarli and Goa, the forts of Jaigad, Sindhudurg and Daulatabad, the churches of Goa, the caves of Ajanta and Ellora and the ghats and temples of Nasik are just a few of them. Apart from it, the other highlights of the journey include a visit to the crafts village Shilpgram in Sawantwadi, a trip down the Tarkali backwaters, a wonderful chance to enjoy the Konkani cuisine and cultural shows at some destinations. Moreover, plenty of time to relax and enjoy the place you are visiting is also ensured.
For those of you who wish to know exact itinerary of the journey, the starting from Mumbai is followed by a visit to Ganapatiphule, Sindhudurg, Tarkali Backwaters, Sawantwadi, Goa, Kolhapur, Pune, Aurangabad, Ellora Caves, Jalgaon, Ajanta Caves and Nasik.
Traditional welcome from the local villagers, especially women draped in navari saris (nine yeard saris) who will shower you with rose petal, garland you with a marigold and apply a red tilak at all the stations will contribute in making you feel special. You also have a guide to take you round the destinations and give you its basic details.
Reasons to Undertake A Journey On The Deccan Odyssey
First, the tour gives you an opportunity to explore the less explored and unexplored places of the region which you are sure to miss out on your own. Combined with this are some famous destinations like Goa and the Ajanta and Ellora caves which you do not wish to miss out at any cost. Together, they form an attractive package which you will surely love to take up.
Second, the services on board are amongst the best offered by the Indian Railways. You will genuinely feel the money paid for the trip is worth every penny.
Lastly, it is very rare that you get an opportunity to lead a lavish lifestyle, a laking. And the Deccan Odyssey gives you eight days and seven nights of lavishness to bath your soul in. So, now, do you really need any other reason to undertake a journey on this luxury train?