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  • Palace on Wheels across India soon Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh)
    November 09, 2006 14:33 IST
    With an aim to capitalise on the growing popularity of luxury trains like the Palace on Wheels, Indian Railways is planning a cross-country deluxe train that will link tourist destinations across the country. 
    "We are trying to tie-up with certain groups, including the Oberoi Group and Cox and Kings (leading travel agency) to run a cross-country luxury train", Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Development Corporation Chairman P K Goel told PTI. He said a formal tie-up in this regard was yet to be finalised but "we hope to complete the consultation process by the end of the year". 

    The cross-country luxury train, Goel said, is planned to roll out from Mumbai and traverse the deserts of Rajasthan, which already is running the world famous Palace on Wheels. 

    From Rajasthan the train would take tourists to Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, and Gaya -- the birth place of Buddha and the new destination for tourists from South and South-East Asia. After Gaya, the train would proceed to the city of Joy, Kolkata. 

    The journey would be completed in 12-14 days and would have 5-star luxuries, including an on-board spa, a mini-conference compartment (chair car), atleast four restaurants for 30-persons providing varied delicacies, from both regional as well as International cuisine.

    Likely to be named as Cox and Kings Express, the specially designed train would consist of 11-deluxe cars (coaches depicting various tourist zones) with adequate modern facilities, including attach bathrooms and a lounge.

    Like Palace on Wheels, each car would have a double-bed cabin and a living room. The executive (presidential) suite would consist of two bed cabins, two attached baths, a living and dining room.

    As per the primary discussion, it has been suggested that the train would be managed and operated by the Cox and Kings, who would have a majority stake in the joint venture project.

    Having a capacity of about 100 passengers, the luxury train would pass though Mumbai (Maharashtra), Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur (Rajasthan), Delhi, Agra, Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Bodhgaya (Bihar), Varanasi (UP) and Kolkata (West Bengal).

    Meanwhile, Goel said IRCTC is already in talks with the Oberoi Group of Hotels to run a train on the lines of Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan and the decision is pending before the Ministry.

    Myth mix for stage satire
    Ranchi, Nov. 20: The mythological character of Ravana ó a symbol for the crafty and sly ó finds a place in the modern society. 

    Prabodh Ragmandal, a team from Khajuraho presented this in their satirical play. 

    Ravana was performed on the second day of the multi-lingual drama festival at the Guru Nanak School auditorium. Bhushan Bhatt, the writer of the modern day satire, narrated his story through a group of villagers.

    The characters in the play opt for Ramlila to be organised in the village instead of the usual dance programmes. When the rehearsal took place, a crafty zamindar, taking advantage of his powerful position declares that he would play Ravana and he forced a young housewife, Laxmi, to play Sita.

    As the plot unfolds, it comes to light that the modus operandi of the zamindar was to trap young women in connivance of the priest, Shashtriji, and teacher Hari Ram. 

    And one fateful day, Hari Ramís daughter becomes the object of the zamindarís desire. Through the use of a straw canopy on two raised platforms, the director Rajendra Singh Sengar, was able to portray the village scene convincingly, complete with huts and a well.

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