The Royal Jodhpur Saloon

Heritage Transport Museum

The extraordinary journey of a super luxury royal coach from the "Palace on Wheels" train

Welcome to the Royal Jodhpur Saloon at the Heritage Transport Museum!

Manufactured at Ajmer in 1930 by Scheffield & Co., the Jodhpur Saloon at Heritage Transport Museum is one of the first carriages of the Palace on Wheels.

It was used until 1991, when modern carriages were introduced.

Though the 'Raj' has gone, the romance of rail journeys continue to thrill tourists and passengers.

The Jodhpur Saloon stationed amidst rail memorabilia at the museum has succeeded in resurrected that glamorous past.

The Nael's ball token machine, wooden ticket cabinet, few posters and the enamel signs are amongst the old rail memorabilia. These stand out at the themed period platform and narrate the account of Indian railways and numerous tales.

Indian Railways

Jodhpur Saloon at Heritage Transport Museum

Audio - Jodhpur Saloon

The ‘Palace on Wheels’ is the special Heritage Train for tourists launched in 1981-82 by the Indian Railways. The concept of this train was to use the rail carriages of the erstwhile Maharajas, to offer tourists a taste of the grandeur, luxury and style of the royal rail journeys.

Each saloon, or coach, of the Palace on Wheels, was designed to reflect the cultural ethos of various Indian states.

Pre-independent India constituted of hundreds of small and large princely states ruled by Maharajas, who took a keen interest in steam engines.

By the 1880s, many Maharajas had begun commissioning personal railway saloons that were used by them and their families, Nizams and Viceroys for their personal travel.

A black & white photograph of a steam locomotive of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway.

The original Jodhpur Saloon is one of the most prized treasures of Heritage Transport Museum. It sits on its own period-themed platform, on authentic tracks.

This saloon belongs to Bombay Baroda & Central India Railway (BB & CI Railway) and was used by the agents of BB & CI Railway.

It is 75 feet long and weighs 30 tonnes.

Logo of the Bombay Baroda & Central India Railway

After India gained independence in 1947, royalty was abolished. The railways became the backbone of the country’s public transport and it became impossible to maintain and run the royal luxury saloons with valuable interior furnishings and high upkeep costs.

These saloons, initially taken out of active use, eventually became the inspiration for the Palace on Wheels.

Interiors of the Royal Coach
The coach is decorated in accordance with the original setting. The interior layout of saloon has one master bedroom, one smaller bedroom with bunk bed, elongated living room, kitchen and bathroom. The coach also displays restored original electric fittings & switches, bath fittings, furniture and coach wall decoration.

A view of the saloon's kitchen

The royal kitchen in the saloon is from where the most scrumptious delicacies were served.

The restoration of the coach body was carried out in accordance with the original specifications, with extensive research around the saloon’s photographs and motif stencils.

To preserve the old world charm of the coach, the entire décor was restored using natural dyes and polishes.

The grandest space in the saloon, the master bedroom, still hosts two original beds. The master bedroom also flaunts a beautiful dresser.

The restored dresser.

Another view of the master bedroom

A view of the bunk bed. Notice how the edges flaunt ornate floral carving.

The walls of the saloons have traditionally-decorated elephant-headed hooks and some artworks, from Heritage Transport Museum’s extensive Jodhpur collection.

A close up view of the elephant-headed hook.

One of the marvels of the saloon, the ceiling, sports the famous gilded glass work of Rajasthan.

Traditional Rajasthani hues have been used for the ornamentation of the ceiling. The side panels are also decorated in the traditional floral fresco borders in vegetable dyes.

The traditional floral fresco border.

The chairs with rich “minakari” work coupled with a round-table. The table is made of beautiful ivory marble, inlaid with colorful flower motifs. These are surrounded by a chest and a decanter set, completing a set-up suitable for a royal sit-down.

Details of the chair

Details of minakari work on chairs

Details of Minakari on the chairs and wooden chest.

A round marble table with inlay work.

The bathroom has been restored with antique bath fittings, keeping the original water closet. Even the ‘Vacant' sign from the original saloon is in working condition!

Austrian crystal handles, procured after several search expeditions around the world, adorn the bathroom and bedroom doors.

The Austrian crystal handles.

The Jodhpur Saloon displays many original working features. The fans, for example, were originally running on 110 volts and were converted to 220 volts to be functional even today.

Electric switches in the living room.

Some details of the switches.

A view of the alarm chain of the Jodhpur Saloon.

The Saloon is displayed on real rail tracks in the contextual setting of a recreated platform showcasing signal lights, a public pay phone, advertisements and more.

The Jodhpur Saloon of now is a piece of history to marvel at, a masterpiece.

Credits: Story

Mr. Tarun Thakral
Mr. Vivek Seth
Dr. Shashi Bala
Ms. Ragini Bhat

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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