Exquisitely carved interiors, intricate gold tapestry, crisp white curtains and shimmering bejewelled walls - not for nothing is India's Palace on Wheels one of the top 10 luxury trains in the world. And now it offers more.
A royal spa car and spruced up interiors are among the improved amenities introduced in the train last month and these are being offered to guests at no extra cost.
'The upgraded version is surely going to work better,' said Manjit Singh, chairman and managing director of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) which manages the train.
'The advance booking for the train takes place much before the beginning of the season. It's an indication that this train is a success,' Singh said.
And the season has just begun. The 24-coach train, with a capacity of 104 guests, departs from New Delhi every Wednesday between September and April. It runs mainly overnight with guests waking up to an exciting new destination in Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh.
A night in the exotic train costs $400-500 (Rs.18,000-20,000), depending on the service one opts for.
For American tourist Perry Marco, a friend's advice was worth the experience last year. 'I had heard about this train from a friend, and decided to take the journey myself. Really, it's a beautiful experience. A spectacular showcasing of ancient heritage. I don't mind giving a second shot to it,' he said.
Marco's wife Lydia said: 'This is the best way to see the royal palaces of Rajasthan, the rich history and culture.'
There are 14 carriages, each with four en-suite rooms and attendants, two restaurant cars, one small gym, a beauty salon and a bar lounge car. Each carriage is decorated individually with luscious fabrics and named after a different Rajput state - making Palace on Wheels an apt name!
The newly added Royal Space is attached to the carriages and boasts of ayurvedic and non-ayurvedic massages.
The 52 rooms in the train with single, double and triple occupancies can accommodate 104 passengers on any fully-booked tour.
For Lalit Pawar, the chairman of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and former managing director of RTDC, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 'Only heaven can be equated with Palace on Wheels,' Pawar told IANS.
'The train travels almost 2,200 km. The stoppages offer four different rides: elephant, camel, boat and safari. I have got amazing feedback from guests telling me how much they loved the journey,' he said.
Pawar said because of the cost, Indian travellers give it a miss.
'We will certainly work on an economy version of the train. I feel we should explore every possibility of making this royal treat available to the Indian masses,' said Pawar, who has an eight-year-long experience with RTDC.
The train makes its way through the royal forts and palaces of 'Pink City' Jaipur, 'Golden City' Jaisalmer, touches base at Ranthambore, famous for its tigers, and also Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.
There's space for gastronomic delights too. It has two lavish restaurants - The Maharaja and The Maharani - with a Rajasthani ambience serving palate tickling Continental, Chinese and Rajasthani cuisines.
Belgium-based Watson Seron said: 'Oh! I fell in love with the food...Maharaja (restaurant) has a lot to offer. The luxury quotient is high.'
Mellisa Craig from Belgium said she has travelled the world, but this was her best experience. 'I travel a lot. And this has been my best experience so far. They take so much care of the guests. I would love to come again,' she added.
'It passes like a flash. Palace on Wheels ends like a dream,' signs off Lydia on a nostalgic note.
(Madhulika Sonkar can be contacted at email@example.com)