Monthly Archives: July 2016

Railways to Unveil Vintage Hotels on ‘Palace on Wheels’ Coaches

Railway buffs may soon get the opportunity to unwind and enjoy their meals in thematic vintage hotels the public sector behemoth has proposed to construct on original coaches of the ‘Palace on Wheels‘.

Palace on Wheels

According to the proposal by the heritage wing of the railways, the vintage hotels-cum-restaurants would be built in the coaches of the train set amid the ambience of an old station to serve the dual aim of preserving the transporter’s heritage and harnessing its potential to earn revenue.

Palace on Wheels Onboard Restaurant

“We have sent the vintage hotel proposal to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for consideration. Each vintage hotel will have two to three coaches and would cost an estimated Rs 16 crore,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Currently the National Rail Museum houses seven of the original nine Palace on Wheels coaches that remind one of the luxury in which the Maharajas of the yore travelled.

Palace on Wheels - Luxury Bar

These coaches can be refurbished and transformed into vintage hotel-cum-restaurants and placed at suitable locations, the official said. The locations could be a prominent in-bound tourist destination or a place easily accessible by road from a prominent destination point.

The plan envisages such hotels near Rewari Steam Care Centre, which attracts steam locomotive buffs. Such a hotel can also be built away from the hustle and bustle of city life like the Brar Square Station near the Delhi cantonment. Cities like Jaipur with great cultural heritage also could be ideal for such hotels, the official said.

Palace on Wheels Train

Such vintage hotels can become a favourite getaway for the domestic tourist, he said.


Temples of Khajuraho

Khajuraho- The city of Temples

Khajuraho- The temple town of Khajuraho is famous for the erotic  sculptures and often connected to the Kama sutra. It is only when you visit the beautiful town and it’s temples, you realise that the  temples of Khajuraho are much more than just “erotic sculpture temples”.IMG_3578 (1)

     Khajuraho is a small town with 20,000 people . During peak season it gets almost 600 international tourist a day, in off season this number significantly reduces. That said , it was nice visiting Khajuraho in the off season as roads are empty,  we had the temples almost to ourselves for exploring,  we cycled on the boulevards without any problem and most importantly, hotel prices are really low!

We flew into Khajuraho by the midday flight from Varanasi. A short 40 minute  flight later we arrived at the beautiful ,secluded,  quite town of Khajuraho. The airport is a 10 min drive from the “downtown” of Khajuraho – which is a 2 kms long  circular boulevard with hotels on either sides of the boulevard  and the Western Temples . Khajuraho – the name comes from the numerous Date (kharjur) tress spread around the region during the period it was built in. Now, there is not a single Date tree left in the region.

Cycling in Khajuraho. beautiful buelevard of Khajuraho. Travel to khajuraho. tour to khajuraho
Boulevards of Khajuraho

All hotels in Khajuraho have only two floors- ground and first floor. They also do not have lifts. Please request for a room specifically on the ground floor incase you cannot climb to the first floor. The airport is a 10 minute drive away from the hotels and normally Khajuraho gets 1 flight a day during off peak season and 2 flights a day during peak season.

While driving on the boulevard, you do feel like you are in the 1990 or 1980’s . This is because the hotels (the only construction you will see as you exit the airport) were constructed during those years. However, when you enter the hotels , you feel more like you are in the 2016

IMG_3579 copySince it was a nice and cloudy day, we choose to visit the temples in the afternoon. We visited the Western Temples with our guide and learnt about the history and architecture of the temples. The temples of Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty. There were originally over 85 temples which were constructed.About 25 temples are said to exist now.

Western Temples of Khajuraho
Western Temples of Khajuraho

The western temple compound consist of 6 temples; the temple of Lord Vishnu is considered the main temple. We learnt about different theories of  science and physics used to built the temple. From the angles the windows were placed at and the theory of ecology in the design to the depiction of all elements of a life, the temples were an extraordinary example of great architecture.

Khajuraho Temples
Khajuraho Temples

Later we walked around the compound and visited the other temples before returning to our hotel for some rest. In the evening we visited the temple site again for the Sound and light show. The show was nice with the temples light up in different colours. Shikhar Travels always recommends its client  to do the Sound and Light show after guided sightseeing of the temples so it is easy to keep up with the story .

IMG_3635The following morning , we relaxed at our hotel before departing at 3 pm for Panna National Park. We were excited and hopeful to view a Tiger. The National park is a 45 minute drive from Khajuraho. Our naturalist and driver , both came with a lot of experience and made the journey very exciting. We spotted one tiger, three crocodiles , numerous white spotted deers, peacock , peahens, Gray Langur, Sambar Deer and some beautiful brids.

The best part of our journey in Khajuraho was cycling- we hired cycles from our hotel and went on ride on the boulevard. The roads are always empty during off peak season and it was simply a beautiful experience, specially since we do not get to cycle at all in cities like Delhi. We visited the Eastern Temples during our ride, which were not half as exciting as the Western Temples.  We skipped the Southern Temples entirely! But the experience of cycling on the boulevard was just fantastic.

Cycling in Khajuraho
Cycling in Khajuraho

Shikhar Travels recommend Khajuraho as a two day destination. So you can enjoy the beautiful Ancient Temples and witness the Tigers at Panna National Park.

Go Dubai! Top 5 Must Visit Places in this Gulf City

Visit the most talked about city in the United Arab Emirates- Dubai! This global city, which is also the business hub of the Middle East is best known for its sightseeing options and luxury shopping.

Dubai tour

Even the Bollywood’s Badshah- Shah Rukh Khan has a resident address in the exotic Palm Jumeriah in Dubai!

Here, we bring to you the top 5 must-visit places in Dubai:

Burj Khalifa


Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai standing tall at 828 metres. It is the tallest man-made structure in the world and one of the most famous places in all of the Middle-East and that is why it’s rightly called the Jewel of Dubai!

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah United Arab Emirates

It’s an artificially created cluster of islands created using land reclamation by the Dubai government. This man-made archipelago is one of the three planned islands called the Palm Islands located on the Jumeirah coastal area of the emirate of Dubai. If you are still not convinced about visiting these fascinating islands then Shah Rukh Khan’s residence in the Palm Jumeriah might give you one!

Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum

Dubai museum is the oldest surviving architecture in the city which was built in 1787. So visit Al Fahidi Fort where this ancient museum is located and experience the Emirates history!

Jumeirah Mosque


This beautiful landmark of the city is a must visit, as it’ll not only enlighten your spiritual side but you will get to see one of the most worked upon architectures in the world, as it’s built in traditional Fatimid style. Non-Muslims are also allowed to visit the mosque and one can’t stop capturing the exquisite architecture in their cameras. So get ready to get valuable insights into the Islamic culture!

Dubai Desert Conservation Centre

Dubai Desert conservation reserve

Give your Dubai tour a slice of adventure by visiting the Dubai Desert Conservation Centre. It is home to flora and fauna of the vast Arabian deserts, with an aim to protect its biodiversity. It offers various options for the visitors to travel through these deserts like camel treks, horse riding, sandboarding and dune driving tours. End your adventuresome ride with barbeque dinners in these exotic deserts.


Aurangabad to Host First SAARC Tourism Summit in October

The summit, in October, is also aimed at tapping FDI under ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in Maharashtra’ schemes, a senior official said.

Aurangabad, where the world famous Ajanta-Ellora caves are located, will host the India’s first SAARC Tourism Summit that will explore opportunities in tourism promotion.

ajanta caves

Central Maharashtra town of Aurangabad, where the world famous Ajanta-Ellora caves are located, will host the country’s first SAARC Tourism Summit that will explore opportunities in tourism promotion.

The two-day meet will be organised in the second week of October. The summit is also aimed at tapping FDI under ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in Maharashtra’ schemes, a senior official said in Mumbai on July 5.

Ellora caves

“The Ajanta-Ellora caves have always remained the biggest tourism attraction in the State among foreigners and Indians. The historical silk route and connect of the place with the Buddhist circuit across world, including China, is significant. These are reasons for Aurangabad tour to be the preferred choice (of tourists) in Maharashtra,” the State’s Tourism and Culture Principal Secretary, Valsa Nair Singh, said in a release in Mumbai.

On the first day, she said officials from SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries – Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – will attend the conference.

aurangabad tour

On the second day, the Tourism Ministers from these countries and from Indian States would participate, she added.

“The coming two years are very important for the progress and prosperity of the tourism sector. 2017 will be celebrated as ‘Visit Maharashtra Year’ and in 2018, we will be celebrating completion of 200 years of the discovery of the world heritage Ajanta Caves by British officer John Smith.”

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation is also planning to set up a Buddhist Centre on its 900-acre land at Ellora during the summit, she said.


12 Royal Heritage Hotels in India You Must Visit Each Long Weekend of 2016!

We take a look at 12 famous Heritage hotels in India apt to ring in your New Years’ and every long weekend 2016 promises to bring! Shikhar Travels brings to you the finest collection of luxury holidays in India and extra-ordinary experiences throughout the Indian Subcontinent, with special handling through our unique Le Concierge service.


Some like it in company, some in solitude. Some like beaches, some mountains or some look for something different. Some like the routine drinks and dance and some like snorkeling and scuba diving.

1) Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Now if you clearly remember the gorgeous destination wedding of 2013 Ranbir Kapoor-Deepika Padukone starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and if you wished to be part of the ‘Royals of Rajasthan’ here is your chance. The Taj Lake Palace is not just a heritage hotel but a palace in disguise! Hurry make your New Years’s bookings now and spend the weekend in the lap of luxury!

2) Fortune the Savoy, Mussoorie

Fortune the Savoy, Mussoorie

Everytime one thinks of Uttarakhand, one is reminded of the high mountains, the cold weather and the greenery. But did you know Uttarakhand is home to this beautiful Heritage hotel? It promises its guests an unparralled experience of traditional vs modern.

3) Kumarakom Lake resort, Kumarakom

Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kumarakom

God’s own country Kerala lives up to its name perfectly. The Kumarakom lake resort does further justice to Kerala’s unprecedented beauty. It is one of the finest luxury hotels in India. Nestled on the banks of Lake Vembanand it is serenity at its best.

4) Netuk House, Sikkim

Netuk House, Sikkim

Now how many of us have been to any of the seven sister states, forget spending New Years’ there! Here is your chance to not only explore the unexplored Sikkim but also enjoy the traditional Sikkimese hospitality at Netuk house, Sikkim.

5) Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

The Grande dame of Kolkata is one of the most celebrated Heritage hotels in India. The excellent personalized services and top notch hospitality makes this heritage hotel stand out. Some parts of the hotel serve the glimpses of colonial time heritage. Fantastic!

6) Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Ever wondered how the Nizams of Hyderabad lived? Here is your chance to experience the Nizam style royalty at the coveted Taj Falaknuma palace. It is also popular as the ‘Mirror of the sky’ as the palace is nestled in the midst of lush greenery.

7) Maison Perumal, Pondicherry/Puducherry


Maison Perumal, Pondicherry

Maison Perumal is a tastefully done Heritage hotel with 10 beautiful rooms. The place is lovely and the architecture is a mix of French and Tamil style. The place offers great time and a pleasant stay for its guests.

8) Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal

Jehan Numa Palace, Madhya Pradesh

Built in the 19th century, the Jehan Numa palace is blend of Renaissance and British colonial time style of architecture. There are 100 rooms and 6 suites well furnished with modern facilities.

9) Nadesar Palace, Varanasi

Nasedar Palace, Varanasi

Set beautifully amidst lush Marigold and Jasmine fields, the place is 175 years old! Nadesar Palace in Varanasi pays a perfect tribute to the sacred city. It was also once the abode of Maharaja Singh. The royal buggy ride takes its visitors around the palace too, cute right?

10) Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

For all the non-Mumbaikars this will remind of the unfateful 26/11 but for Mumbai it is the pride of the city! It is a historical and architectural structure and was built 21 years before the Iconic gateway of India. It offers a panaromic view of the bay with a hospitality that precedes global standards.

11) The Imperial Hotel, Delhi

Imperial Hotel, Delhi

India’s capital city too has luxury, elegance and comfort to offer in the name of The Imperial hotel, Delhi. Featuring in Fodor’s travel list of legendary hotels in 2014. Imperial hotel has won several awards because of its hospitality. The interiors boast of great royalty and ambience. World class facilities like spa, well equipped rooms and suites make is more amazing.

12) Samode Palace, Jaipur

Samode Palace, Jaipur

Located in the pink city Jaipur, Hotel Samode Palace is legendary in its own right. A lethal combination of Mughal and Indian architectural styles it is a beauty to marvel. The rooms have great furnishing and styling and the dining venues boast of Indian and World-Class cuisine and also a luxurious spa and swimming pool. Regal.

Shikhar Travels’ itineraries are carefully planned to provide a relaxed and culturally rewarding luxury holiday and offer the time to enjoy and relax as well as to explore. Interaction with local families, home visits, cultural shows, souvenir-hunting and insights into rural India — everything is selected to match the discerning tastes of your elite traveler.