Though no such train actually exists, The Darjeeling Limited was still filmed inside a moving train which went from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer and through the Thar desert, and proved a daily challenge for cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman as nothing could be fixed to the ceiling and filming equipment couldn't be more than a meter out of the windows. To achieve this, Wes Anderson and production designer Mark Friedberg went to see the Northwestern Railways company and told them they needed ten rail-cars and a locomotive which they would redecorate entirely and then move around their railway. This was the first time Northwestern Railways received such a request, and though it took a lot time and effort, it was eventually evidently granted.
The character that Owen Wilson plays in the film is suspected of an abortive suicide attempt. Ironically, when the film was released, Wilson pulled out of all press duties following a real-life suicide attempt.
Feature film debut of Amara Karan, who plays Rita. While she was still being considered for the role, Karan received the script and discovered that Rita smokes cigarettes. Not being a smoker, she enlisted some friends to help her practice smoking. During a meeting with Wes Anderson, Karan casually tossed a cigarette into her mouth and started smoking: "I am sure it must have looked really spontaneous." Anderson did not waste any time before asking her if she would come aboard.
The 11 suitcases seen in the movie are created by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton and they are decorated with giraffes, rhinoceros and antelopes designed by Eric Chase Anderson, the director's brother. They all have the initials JLW.
The abbey towards the end of the film was originally a royal hunting lodge belonging to the Maharana of Mewar in the Rajput era. It is located in Udaipur. To redecorate it, production designer Mark Friedberg was inspired by Michael Powell's Black Narcissus (1947) which takes place in an abbey in the Himalayas.
After completing the screenplay's first draft, Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman all visited India together to see if the fictional world they'd created meshed with the real thing. Although the changes made subsequently were relatively minor, much of the dialog was excised from the later passages of the film as Wes Anderson wanted India's only natural beauty to speak for itself.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The house into which the dead boy is brought, was not supposed to be blue, but rather have the same natural red color as the others. It was painted blue by a member of the village during the course of time from which it was selected until the crew returned. Anderson chose to use it anyway.