The 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 Puducherry, depending on the selected itinerary. The train is operated by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and The Maple Group handles the hospitality services on the train.[1][2][3]

Golden Chariot
Logo of Golden Chariot
ManufacturerIndian Railways
Built atIntegral Coach Factory, Chennai
Family nameLuxury Trains
Entered service2008
Operator(s)Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC)
Depot(s)Whitefield, Bangalore
Line(s) servedBangalore-Mysore-Hassan-Hospet-Badami-Vasco (Goa)-Bangalore (South Western Railway)

It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi.[4] The train has 19 coaches which are coloured purple and gold, and reflect the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion.[5] The Golden Chariot had its maiden commercial run on 10 March 2008,[6] and generally runs weekly during the months of October–March, departing on Sundays during the 2022-23 season.[7] The train is designed on the lines of the more popular train Palace on Wheels.

History Edit

When 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 the task to give shape to this luxury train. Approximately 900 design layouts were prepared by the engineers before finalizing the design.

Architect Kusum Pendse worked with a team of 200 carpenters to complete the designs of these railway coaches and the process took around 4 months to complete.

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.[8] An inauguration ceremony was organized at the Yeshwanthpur Railway Station wherein the President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil flagged off the train. On 10 March 2008, Golden Chariot started its maiden journey from Bengaluru to Goa.

In January 2020, The Golden Chariot was handed over by the Karnataka Tourism Department to the IRCTC for the purpose of operations and marketing.[9]

The train was relaunched in November 2022 and has done one trip since then.[10]

Facilities Edit

The train offers accommodation in 44 cabins in 18 coaches that are named after dynasties that ruled the region: Kadamba, Hoysala, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chalukya, Bahamani, Adil Shahi, Sangama, Satavahana, Yadukula and Vijayanagar.[11]

The facilities also includes two restaurants, a lounge bar, conference room, gym and spa.[2] It has onboard internet connectivity via a USB-stick, and satellite antennae providing live television service in the cabins.[1]

Destinations Edit

The Golden Chariot offers 3 itineraries: Jewels of South, and Pride of Karnataka, each lasting 6 nights & 7 days, and Glimpses of Karnataka, lasting 3 nights & 4 days. It also offers a Dasara festival tour in the month of October.[12]

Jewels of South Edit

Jewels of South offers a six day tour which departs from Bengaluru and visits Mysuru, Hampi, Kabini River, Hassan, Badami, and Goa, returning to Bengaluru.[13] Mamallapuram has been added to the circuit.[14]

Pride of Karnataka Edit

Pride of Karnataka departs Bengaluru and visits Bandipur, Mysuru, Dwarasamudra, Chikamgaluru, Hampi, Pattadakal & Aihole, and Goa, returning to Bengaluru.

Glimpses of Karnataka Edit

Glimpses of Karnataka departs Bengaluru and visits Bandipur, Mysuru, and Hampi, returning to Bengaluru.

Dasara Tour Edit

The department of tourism and the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) launched the Dasara tour to showcase the festival.[15]

Awards Edit

The train has been awarded the title of "Asia's Leading Luxury Train" at World Travel Awards, 2013.[16]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "The Golden Chariot is a totally wired train". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b Somashekar, G.R.N. (6 September 2008). "Rajavilas on rails". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  3. ^ "₹40-crore loss for Golden Chariot since launch". The Hindu. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  4. ^ "About Train". The Golden Chariot. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Golden Chariot to sport regal colours". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 28 August 2008. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Golden Chariot train's first commercial run on March 10". The Times of India. 28 February 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Golden Chariot Official Website - Book Luxury Train Tour Packages in India". Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  8. ^ Swamy, Rohini (23 December 2018). "South India's Golden Chariot has gone off the rails, but looks to salvage itself next year". ThePrint. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  9. ^ "IRCTC Golden Chariot history". Zee Business. 18 March 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  10. ^ T.R., Jahnavi (13 March 2023). "Insufficient occupancy, hefty haulage charges put the brakes on Golden Chariot". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 August 2023. Post its grand relaunch in November 2022, the luxury train Golden Chariot has taken only one trip.
  11. ^ "IRCTC to run Karnataka's Golden Chariot train from January 2021; here are the packages". The Indian Express. 20 October 2020.
  12. ^ R, Jahnavi T. (24 December 2022). "A year of revival lit by the fire of revenge tourism". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  13. ^ "Golden Chariot premium train leaves after Kochi stopover". The Hindu. 25 November 2022. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  14. ^ "Make Golden Chariot viable, Bommai writes to Railways". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  15. ^ "Golden Chariot rolls out Dasara tour". The Times of India. 20 September 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  16. ^ "Asia's Leading Luxury Train 2013". World Travel Awards. Retrieved 16 February 2023.

External links Edit