The Fairy Queen Train Is One Amongst The Top 5 Indian Luxury trains!
What is the best way to learn about heritage then traveling with it? The Indian Railways are the best option a tourist can ever have while traveling within India to get to know the cultural diversity of the country. Just like special trains like the Palace on Wheels and The Royal Orient, the Fairy Queen is another train whose journey one won’t easily forget.
Fairy Queen Train earns a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest locomotive moving on wheels till date. In 1885, the train started its first journey for the East Indian Railway. Today it has become an immensely popular luxury train of India, which offers impeccable services. It has succeeded in promoting India tourism. It has also won the National Tourism Award for providing a memorable journey. Fairy Queen Train journey is for sure one of the best organized tours in the world, and must be on the top of the list for those vacationers who look forward to spending luxurious holidays.
The locomotive was constructed by Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson at Leeds, in England, in 1855, and reached Kolkata, then known as Calcutta, in the same year. On arrival, it was given fleet number “22” by its owner, the East Indian Railway Company, not receiving a name until 1895. Initially, the 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) gauge locomotive was used to haul light mail trains in West Bengal, operating between Howrah and Raniganj, and during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 hauled troop trains. It was later consigned to line construction duty in Bihar, where it served until 1909.
The Fairy Queen spent the next 34 years on a pedestal outside Howrah station. After 34 year of showcasing, the locomotive was transferred to the Railway Zonal Training School at Chandausi in 1943. Here, it became the object of curiosity for many students. In 1972, the Government of India depicted the engine as a national treasure and bestowed heritage status to it. The locomotive was groomed up and allocated a special place in the National Rail Museum at Delhi. With the arrival of Palace on Wheels in 1997, Indian Government thought to add one more lavish wonder to the luxury trains of India. The locomotive was done up to bring it in working condition for its first mainline journey in 88 years. This initiative brought ‘Fairy Queen’ on the pages of Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest working locomotive. In the present day, this world’s oldest steam locomotive is plying regularly on the tracks between New Delhi to Alwar. Fairy Queen takes on a two-day excursion from New Delhi heading for Alwar and ultimately to Sariska Tiger Reserve. Generally, this locomotive works on the 2nd and the 4th Saturday between the months of October and March. The train has only one AC coach that can embrace up to 50 passengers at a time. To the privileged passengers, catering services are provided on the board by the pantry car. The coach also boasts of a striking lounge in the obverse of the coach that too offers a picturesque vista of the landscape. A trip along with ‘Fairy Queen’ is undoubtedly a pleasant experience to explore nature and heritage in the company of extravagance.
A number of similar locomotives were built around the same time as the Fairy Queen. These were supplied by Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson and also by Stothert, Slaughter and Company of Bristol. One of these, Stothert-built Express, had been preserved at Jamalpur Locomotive Workshop, in Bihar, since 1901. As the inscription on Express ’ pedestal claimed that it was the first locomotive to operate between Howrah and Raniganj, and it was numbered “21” by the East Indian Railway Company, it has been claimed that Express is the older of the two. Express was restored for running in 2011, making it a contender as the world’s oldest operating steam locomotive.
Interestingly, Fairly Queen Train was an exhibit at the National Rail Museum in Delhi for many years, before being restored and made operational again 1997. In 1999, it won a National Tourism Award for the most innovative and unique tourism project.
The train’s journey combines heritage with wildlife on a trip to Alwar and the Sariska Tiger Reserve, in the Rajasthan desert.
The Fairy Queen has a 60-seater air-conditioned chair car specially designed with a large glass window from where you can have a frontal view of the Locomotive, besides there is a well maintained pantry car for on board catering. As an added attraction, the coach has a beautiful lounge in the front, which provides a scenic view of the countryside. For your enjoyment numerous cultural programs are organized in the evening of the first day at the Hotel Sariska Palace. The 60 select guests will certainly go back with fond memories of a once-in-a lifetime experience. Go ahead and book your journey back into time.
The Fairy Queen’s steam engine hauls a single air conditioned carriage, which seats up to 60 people. The carriage has a large glass window at the front for viewing the locomotive, and a scenic observation lounge that provides excellent views of the countryside. It’s also equipped with a pantry car for on board catering.
Sample Itinerary And Routes
The train is dedicated for travelers from October to March. The mesmerizing trip begins from Delhi on all the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of these months and carries you to some spectacular spots in Alwar and Sariska in Rajasthan. The tour lasts for one night and two days. Take a look at the itinerary of the train tour.
Day 01: The Fairy Queen luxury train tour begins from Delhi Cantonment Railway Station in the morning. A traditional warm greeting welcomes you upon entering the train. In the afternoon you are offered a sumptuous lunch on board. The train reaches the Alwar Railway station late in the afternoon. After seeing the popular places of interest in Alwar, you are shifted to an air-conditioned bus that goes to Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. The bus arrives at the Sariska’s entry point in the evening. A theme dinner and Rajasthani colorful cultural programs will entertain you before you go for a restful sleep in the hotel.
Day 02: Very early morning on the second day of the tour, be prepared for an adrenaline rich jeep safari inside the Sariska National Park, the exclusive Tiger Reserve. Consider yourself lucky if you spot Langur, Wild Boar, Chital, Hyena or Sambhar. Sariska houses a palace, some ancient temples and Kankawari fort too. It will be a pleasure to watch these rustic yet charming attractions. After exploring the flora and fauna of the park, breakfast will be served at the hotel. Then, you board the bus for Alwar Railway Station from where the train will take you back to Delhi. Hence, the dream journey will come to end.
Fairy Queen Cultural Programs
The Fairy Queen is a very celebrated legacy train of the Indian Railways from Delhi to Alwar in Rajasthan and return to Delhi. All through your historic ride on the train, numerous cultural programs are prearranged to augment the happiness of your travel. The enriching highlights of the Fairy Queen train journey are:
Delhi: The audacious journey of the Fairy Queen begins in Delhi, known for its Mughal and British architectures. You can enjoy shopping in heritage destinations like Chandni Chowk or the Street of the Silversmiths close to the renowned Red Fort or the sophisticated Connaught Place urbanized in the British period.
Alwar: Tourists are greeted in conventional Rajasthani method on their entrance at Alwar railway station. Here joyful and vibrantly dressed women welcome them with flower garlands and tilaks.
Alwar is a city in the Rajasthan state of western India. The city is located around 160 km south of Delhi, and around 150 km north of Jaipur (Capital of Rajasthan). Alwar has many interesting and historical monuments. Alwar’s popularity as a tourist destination lies in its proximity to the famous Tiger Reserve of India, Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. Other tourist attractions in Alwar are the Bala Quila, a massive ancient fort situated on a hill, and the Vinay Vilas Mahal, the city palace complex. Other than historical monuments, the city has a rich natural heritage with some beautiful lakes and picturesque valley thickly wooded in parts. A beautiful lake beside the city palace is a good spot to visit. The tomb of Tarang Sultan is also a tourist attraction worth visiting in Alwar.
Siliserh, Cultural evening at Lake Palace: The fortunate passengers of the Fairy Queen take pleasure in the conventional Rajasthani folk dances like Kalbelia or snake dance, Terah Thali or dance of the thirteen cymbals here. Additional appealing cultural presentations include puppetry and folk dramas describing the legends of this region.
Cultural program at Sariska: At Sariska travelers are welcomed with warmth and generosity in customary Rajasthani style with flower garlands and tilkas. At the hotel Sariska Palace an artistic evening is prearranged for your delight. Vivacious concerts of the lively folk dances of Rajasthan never fall short to captivate you.
Sariska Tiger Reserve is famous for its magnificent tigers, leopards, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Chausingha, Wild Boar and Langur. Sariska also shelters many different species of birds including Bush Quails, Sand Grouses, Tree Pies, Golden backed Woodpeckers, crested Serpent Eagles and Great Indian horned Owls. Sariska is an ideal leisure spot for those interested in wildlife and ancient architecture. The town has the ruins of 9th and 10th century temples. Siliserh Lake on the edge of the sanctuary is another attraction which is inhabited by crocodiles. Located right next to the tiger reserve is the Sariska Palace.
The Fairy Queen train operates from October to March each year. It usually departs twice a month, on the second and fourth Saturdays. The train leaves from Delhi Cantonment railway station at 9 a.m and reaches Alwar at 3 p.m. On the return journey, it leaves Alwar the following day at 1 p.m. and arrives back in Delhi at 6.45 p.m.
There are a number of different options for travel, and you don’t have to return to Delhi or stay at Sariska National Park.
- The full package of a return train journey, sightseeing and a stay at Sariska costs 10,200 rupees ($230) for adults and 5,100 rupees ($115) for children.
- A one way train trip from Delhi to Alwar, sightseeing and a stay at Sariska costs 7,100 rupees ($160) for adults and 3,050 rupees ($69) for children.
- A one way train trip from Delhi to Alwar, without any extras, costs 3,200 rupees ($72) for adults and 1,600 rupees ($36) for children.
Entrance fees for Sariska are additional.
Enjoy your journey on the Fairy Queen train this year!
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