The Desert Circuit Tourist Train is a joint initiative of Indian Railways and the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The train aims to boost heritage tourism, by providing an affordable and accessible way of visiting the desert cities of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Jaipur in Rajasthan.
The train is a "semi-luxury" tourist train. It has two classes of travel -- Air-Conditioned First Class and Air-Conditioned Two Tier Sleeper Class.
AC First Class has cabins with lockable sliding doors and either two or four beds in each. AC Two Tier has open compartments, each with four beds (two upper and two lower). For more information read a Guide to Classes of Travel on Indian Railways Trains (with Photos).
The train also has a special dining carriage for passengers to eat together and interact.
The train operates from October to March. Upcoming departure dates for 2018 are as follows:
- February 10, 2018.
- March 3, 2018.
Route and Itinerary
The train departs Saturdays at 3 p.m. from Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi. It arrives in Jaisalmer at 8 a.m. the next morning. Tourists will have breakfast on the train before going sightseeing in Jaisalmer in the morning. After this, tourists will check into a mid-range hotel (Hotel Himmatgarh, Heritage Inn, Rang Mahal, or Desert Tulip) and have lunch. In the evening, everyone will head to Sam Dunes for a desert experience consisting of dinner and a cultural show.
The night will be spent at the hotel.
Early the next morning, tourists will depart for Jodhpur by train. Breakfast and lunch will be served on board. In the afternoon, there will be a city tour of Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. Dinner will be served on the train, which will travel to Jaipur overnight.
The train arrives in Jaipur at 9.00 a.m. the next morning.
Breakfast will be served on board and then tourists will proceed to a mid-range hotel (Hotel Red Fox, Ibis, Nirwana Hometel, or Glitz). After lunch, there will be a city tour of Jaipur followed by a visit to Chokhi Dhani ethnic village. Dinner will be served at the village, following which everyone will return to the hotel to stay overnight.
The next morning, tourists will check out from the hotel after breakfast and then proceed to Amber Fort by jeep for sightseeing. Everyone will board the train back to Delhi by 7.30 p.m.
Four nights/five days.
- In AC First Class: 43,900 rupees per person, single occupancy. 40,500 rupees per person, double occupancy. 40,150 rupees per person, triple occupancy. 28,000 rupees for a child aged 5-11 years (with bed). 23,500 rupees for a child aged 5-11 years (without bed).
- In AC Two Tier: 36,600 rupees per person, single occupancy. 33,500 rupees per person, double occupancy. 33,000 rupees per person, triple occupancy. 23,500 rupees for a child aged 5-11 years (with bed). 19,000 rupees for a child aged 5-11 years (without bed).
The above rates include journey by air-conditioned train, hotel accommodations, all meals in train and hotels (either buffet or fixed menu), mineral water, transfers, sightseeing and transportation by air-conditioned vehicles, and entry fees at monuments.
Camel safaris and jeep safaris at the Sam Dunes cost extra.
An additional surcharge of 18,000 rupees is payable for single occupancy of a First Class cabin on the train. Single occupancy in AC Two Tier is not possible due to the configuration of the cabin.
An additional surcharge of 5,500 rupees per person is also payable for occupancy of a First Class cabin that accommodates only two people (as opposed to four).
Do note that the rates are only valid for Indian citizens. Foreign tourists must pay an additional 2,800 rupees surcharge per person due to currency conversion and higher fees at monuments. In addition, the rates do not include camera fees at monuments and national park.
Bookings can be made on the IRCTC Tourism website or by emailing email@example.com. For further information, call toll-free on 1800110139, or +91 9717645648 and +91 971764718 (cell).
Information About the Destinations
Jaisalmer is a remarkable sandstone city that rises out of the Thar desert like a fairy-tale. Its fort, built in 1156, is still inhabited. Inside are palaces, temples, havelis (mansions), shops, residences, and guesthouses. Jaisalmer is also famous for its camel safaris into the desert.
Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, is known for its blue buildings. Its fort is one of the largest and most well-maintained forts in India. Inside, there's a museum, restaurant, and some ornate palaces.
The "Pink City" of Jaipur is Rajasthan's capital and part of India's Golden Triangle Tourist Circuit. It's one of Rajasthan's most visited destinations, and its Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind) is widely photographed and recognized.