The Golden Chariot is one of the popular Indian luxury trains, known for providing a conventional travel experience to the guests. The train is functional and covers some of the major destinations of South Indian States namely Goa and Karnataka. The train gets its name from a famed Stone Chariot at Hampi in Vitthala Temple. There are 19 coaches, colored gold and purple with a unique logo consisting of a mythological animal having a body of a lion and the head of an elephant.
On 10th March, 2008, the golden Chariot had its first journey. The train operates weekly and travels through various popular destinations, keeping the element of royalty throughout the journey. Inspired from the India’s first luxury train, Palace On Wheels, the Golden Chariot has all modern facilities and services onboard to meet the satisfaction level of the guests. The train is a joint initiative made by the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) and KSTDC (Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation). The Mapple Group is assigned to maintain hospitality services onboard.
After the success of Palace on Wheels, the KSTDC (Karnataka State Tourism and Development Corporation) and IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) signed the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) in the year 2002. Further, to design the luxury train. ICF (Integral Factory Coach) was assigned with the task. Almost after 900 layouts, a design was finalized.
To complete the railway coaches according to the design, the Architect Kusum Pendse worked inexorably with 200 carpenters. After diligent work of almost 4 months, on 23rd January 2008, the Golden chariot was ready to be launched on the track and spread its golden and violet colors. On 10th March 2008, The Golden Chariot enjoyed its maiden journey starting from Bangalore to Goa.
There are 11 coaches, each with 4 cabins, resulting in 44 cabins in total. Each coach is named after the dynasties that ruled in Karnataka and were known for their royalty. There are coaches named as Hoysala, Chalukya, Sangama, Vijayanagar, Bahamani, Yadukula, Rashtrakuta, Kadamba, Ganga, Adil Shahi, and Satavahana.
The guests are also facilitated with 2 restaurants onboard along with a lounge bar, conference, spa and gym facilities. The golden chariot also offers luxury facilities along with modern facilities such as Wi-Fi connectivity, satellite television, etc.
The guests onboard are more often natives of the USA, Japan, Germany, UK, and France. The Train is designed to accommodate about 88 passengers.
The 44 cabins of the Golden Chariot are categorized to meet the specific requirements of the guests onboard. The categories are:
- 26 Twin Bed Cabins
- 17 Double Bed Cabins
- 1 Cabin for the Physically Challenged
The carvings on the wall panels, ceilings, and furniture reflect the architecture of Mysore and Hoysala. Each cabin is equipped with all modern facilities and services such as WI-FI internet, writing desk, central air conditioning, wardrobe, satellite LCD television, and more.
To serve some of the delectable cuisines to the guests onboard, there are two multi-cuisine restaurants, serving both non-vegetarian and vegetarian cuisines.
The names of the restaurants are inspired from the Indian mythological texts. Nala was a chef and a legendary king during the time of the Mahabharata, and Ruchi is a Sanskrit term which means fine taste. Apart from this, the interiors also reflect the Hampi and Halebidu style of architecture.
6. Lounge Bar
The Golden Chariot is also praised for on-site lounge bar:
The bar is well-stocked with an array of international spirits and wines. The interior is inspired from the majestic Mysore Palace.
7. Conference Car
The luxury train is also praised for the conference car onboard that has the capacity to accommodate about 30 guests at a time. The car is also backed with modern facilities and exceptional services that make the journey comfortable and memorable for the guests onboard.
8. Health & Recreation
The Golden Chariot is also known for providing excellent Health and recreational facilities onboard.
- Nirvana Spa
The spa is praised for providing excellent Ayurvedic and Spa Therapies. All modern gymnasium equipments are also available in the recreational coach.
The luxury train Golden chariot has two different itineraries namely Splendor of the South and Pride of the South.
- Splendor of the South: This is an itinerary of 8 days and 7 nights that covers some of the major destinations from Bangalore to Chennai, Pondicherry, Tanjavur, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey, and Kochi. The itinerary starts and ends in Bangalore.
- Pride of the South: This is an itinerary of 8 days and 7 nights that covers some of the major destinations from Bangalore to Kabini, Srirangapatnam, Mysore, Shravanabelagola, Belur, Halebid, Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal and Goa.
10. Tour Facilitators
To help the travelers enjoy the luxury travel, there are various tour operators and travel agents, involved in providing confirmed booking. There also are websites through which online booking is also available for Golden Chariot Journey.
Contributed by:- Neelam Talreja