Golden ChariotGolden Chariotगोल्डन चैरियटThe Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist spots in the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala & Tamil Nadu as well as Pondicherry, depending on the selected itinerary. It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi.
The 19 coaches on the train are coloured purple and gold, and sport the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion.
The Golden Chariot is operating between the months of October–March for 2015/16 season with a departure every week, on Monday and had its maiden commercial run on 10 March 2008. The train, along with the Deccan Odyssey, is designed on the lines of the more popular Palace on Wheels with accommodations, spa treatments and dining.
It has been awarded the title of "Asia's Leading Luxury Train" at World Travel Awards, 2013. The train is operated by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and The Maple Group handles the hospitality services on the train.Golden Chariot HistoryWhen the success of Palace on Wheels reached the corridors of the Karnataka State Tourism and Development Corporation (KSTDC), it resulted in the signing of MOU between the state tourism board and the Indian Railways in 2002.
Later the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) was assigned with the task to give shape to this luxury train. Around 900 layouts were prepared by the engineers before finalizing the design. Architect Kusum Pendse along with 200 carpenters inexorably worked hard to complete the designs of these railway coaches.
The process took around 4 months. Finally on 23 January 2008, Golden Chariot was unveiled on the tracks veneered in classic colors of purple and gold symbolizing elegance and golden jubilee celebration of Karnataka.
An inauguration ceremony was organized at the Yeshwanthpur Railway Station wherein president Pratibha Devisingh Patil flagged off the train.
Finally on 10 March 2008, Golden Chariot steamed along on its maiden journey from Bangalore to Goa.Golden Chariot FacilitiesThe Golden Chariot offers accommodation in 44 cabins in 11 coaches that are named after dynasties that ruled the region:
- Adil Shahi
It also has two restaurants, a lounge bar, and conference, gym and spa facilities.
It has onboard internet connectivity via an USB-stick, and satellite antennae providing live television service in the cabins.
Golden Chariot Passengers
The Golden Chariot can accommodate 88 passengers, and as of March 2009 operated at around 35% occupancy. Most of the tourists on the train are from US, UK, Japan, France and Germany.
Golden Chariot Cabins
Recreating the architectural aesthetics of erstwhile south Indian dynasties are the 44 guest cabins categorized as 26 twin bed cabins, 17 double bed cabin
Golden Chariot Dining
Golden Chariot features two multi-cuisine restaurants—Nala and Ruchi—serving a buffet spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines.
The names of both these restaurants draw inspiration from the Indian mythological texts and their interiors are reminiscent of Halebidu and Hampi architectural style. While Nala was a legendary king and a chef in the days of Mahabharata. Ruchi is a Sanskrit word meaning fine taste.
Golden Chariot Lounge Bar
The on-site lounge bar—Madira—is stocked with an assortment of international wines and spirits. The interiors of this lounge bar draw inspiration from the aesthetics of the Mysore palace.
Golden Chariot Conference Car
The conference car on board the Golden Chariot offers a seating capacity of 30 guests in all. The car is equipped with modern technology such as 42 inch LCD television, and audio-visual equipment.
Golden Chariot Health and Recreation
The ‘Nirvana Spa’ housed on board Golden Chariot offers holistic wellness through an array of Ayurvedic and spa therapies. The recreational coach also comprises a fully equipped gymnasium.
Golden Chariot Destinations
The Golden Chariot offers 2 itineraries. The itineraries are named Pride of the South and Splendor of the South.
Pride of the South
Pride of the South tour is a 7 nights and 8 days itinerary during which several tourist places in Karnataka are covered.
The Destinations Covered On The Pride of the South Tour:
Day 1 - The train departs Bengaluru.
Day 2 - The train stops at Mysore.
Day 3 - The train stops at Nagarhole National Park.
Day 4 - The train stops at Hassan, Karnataka, Belur and Halebidu.
Day 5 - The train stops at Hospet and Hampi.
Day 6 - The train stops at Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami.
Day 7 - The train stops at Goa.
Day 8 - The train returns to Bengaluru.
Splendor of the South
Splendor of the South tour covers tourist places in 3 South Indian states. During this 7 nights and 8 days itinerary, tourist places in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry are explored.
Destinations Covered on the Splendor of the South Tour Include:
Day 1 - The train departs Bangalore.
Day 2 - The train stops at Chennai.
Day 3 - The train stops at Pondicherry.
Day 4 - The train stops at Tanjavur.
Day 5 - The train stops at Madurai.
Day 6 - The train stops at Thiruvananthapuram.
Day 7 - The train stops at Alleppey and Kochi.
Day 8 - The train returns to Bangalore.
Golden Chariot Operational Detail
Golden Chariot Manufacturer: Indian Railways
Golden Chariot Built At: Integral Coach Factory, Chennai
Golden Chariot Family Name: Luxury Trains
Golden Chariot Constructed: 2008
Golden Chariot Entered Service: 2008
Golden Chariot Operator(s):
Indian Railways and Karnataka State Tourism Golden Chariot Development Corporation (KSTDC)
Golden Chariot Depot(s): Whitefield, Bangalore
Golden Chariot Line(s) Served:
Bangalore-Mysore-Hassan-Hospet-Badami-Vasco (Goa)-Bangalore (South Western Railway)