COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world drastically. Even after claiming lakhs of human lives to ruining the world economy, the Coronavirus doesn’t seem to stop spreading. Almost every other day, the virus hits something, and leaves us wondering when things will be back to normal. Now, it’s India’s most luxurious and famous Palace on Wheels train that is bearing the brunt of the virus, as it will remain off the tracks this year, or more likely, won’t run till December 2020.

Though there has not been any official announcement yet regarding this, a senior official at Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) said, “We have not decided as yet. We are keen to start, but there are travel advisories for non-essential travel. Resumption of scheduled commercial flights is a big factor given the fact that the majority of travellers in the train are from foreign countries. Also, it all depends on which direction the COVID-19 moves,”

RTDC operates Palace on Wheels in joint collaboration with Indian Railways. The train, which reflects the beauty of the country, is one of the biggest tourist draws in India, and is quite popular among foreigners and NRIs. These people take up around 90 percent of the seats of the train. The train has 84 berths and it takes 8 days to complete the journey.

The Palace on Wheels passes through some of the prominent royal heritages of Rajasthan, snaking through deserts and wildfires and bird sanctuaries along with the historic monument of love, the Taj Mahal in Agra.

However, this year, the journey won’t be taking place. Given the pandemic situation, people are apprehensive about travelling anywhere. The train was cancelled in March and April too due to the outbreak of the virus. So, the railways did not cancel or refund for the trips already booked, but rebooked again, which does not look possible till December.

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