Pride of South - A unique Train Journey with Golden Chariot

Recently I took Golden Chariot train which starts from Bengaluru and take you to some of the main places to visit in Karnatak State of India. It's a luxury train which is run by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and operations are taken care by Maple Resorts & Palaces. This is a luxury experience on train. One gets to stay in beautifully designed rooms in the train, having attached toilet & bathroom. This post is to give you a quick glimpse of the overall experience or staying in the train, having meal on the train and exploring various tourist destinations in Karnataka & Goa. More detailed posts would be published soon along with some of the good & bad experiences through this week long journey. 

Golden Chriot train starts from Bengaluru after registration at Taj West End & a quick visit to Iskon temple. 

All guests are welcomed at the railway station before boarding the train. 

Dinner is served on the train. Golden Chariot train has 2 restaurants - Ruchi for Indian cuisine and Nalapaka for continental cuisine. There are specialised chefs on the train who cook food for all guests and take utmost care of the folks on the train. I loved the food served on the Train. Deepak Chaubey is chief chef on the train and has team of chefs who specialise in different things including bakery items. 

After having a tour of Mysore Palace, an AC coach takes every guest to Kabini Jungle Resort for one night stay there after wildlife safari. I saw one tiger and 2 leopards in the safari. Before this safari, my success rate was very bad. Before this, I had seen one tiger in 12+ safaris in wildlife sanctuaries in North India. 

Fresh meat is procured from some of the famous shops in Mysore and hot meal is served to every guest. It was so impressive to see chefs plating different plates for everyone and ensure that it's freshly cooked. No gas is used on the train and only electric induction plates are used.  

One coach on this train is dedicated to bar space called 'Madira'. This is wonderful place to conclude the day over drinks with co-travellers on Golden Chariot. Menu rates of Madira bar are reasonable, if we compare with prices offered at good restaurants. I don't exactly remember other rates but Kingfisher premium costs 250 Rs and taxes are extra. I will be writing more about this bar and food on Golden Chariot in separate post. 

After spending another night on Golden Chariot train, there is an opportunity to visit 3 wonderful places in Karnataka - Bellur Temples, Halebidu Temples and Shravanbelagula. Above photograph shows photograph of Bellur temple which is located in middle of the market. 

Shravanbelagula is an interesting place and one needs to climb up a hill. To be precise there are 648 small steps. It's a jain temple, so lot of pilgrims visit this place. 

Halebidu temple is famous for it's carved arts on outer wall of the temple which depict ramayana & mahabharata. 

Day-4 was my favourite when we spent a day at Hampi. Hampi is one of the best places in Karnataka but one needs more time to explore it well - probably a week, at least. 

An AC coach is used for moving between the train and these tourist attractions. Water bottles are served on the coach and at some places tea or coconut water is arranged. When we come back to the train, coach boy welcomes with wet towels and refreshing drinks. On some of the days they surprised us with interesting bakery items in our rooms. 

Most of the times train moves during night time but there are few days when you can see countryside from the train. Above photograph was shot when we were on our way and sunrise was happening. 

On next day, we explore Patadakkal Temples and then Badami cave temples. Both of these are amazing places and I was super impressed by the scale of Badami caves and places around it.

Badami caves were quite crowded when we were there, so I was having some rest when Prakash clicked this photograph. These caves are amazing example of thinking about artistic approach towards making useful things from huge rocks. There is a huge water pond in front of these caves and few more structures and temples across the caves. 

After visiting Badami caves you get whole day for yourself on the Golden Chariot train. There is a spa on the train which is used by few guests but I preferred  to spend some time in my room and watching countryside. From Badami, train goes to Goa for the final sight-seeing and then comes back to Bengaluru. 

On the second last night, there are DJ planned in Madira bar and folks really enjoyed it. It was a little loud for some guests and they chose to go back to their rooms. But most of the folks from India enjoyed it and a couple from Australia also tried Indian dance steps on Bollywood numbers. Check out the last photograph of DJ night on the train. This made me wonder if I ever thought about luxurious AC rooms, Indian and continental restaurants, bar, spa, gym and DJ nights on train. Isn't it awesome. Stay tuned to know more and be prepared mentally what to expect on Golden Chariot. 

From Goa, I said bye to Golden Chariot and came back to Delhi. It saved me one day as train goes directly to Bengaluru from Goa. It was such a wonderful experience which is hard to explain in words and hope these photographs helped you sense the level of excitement this trip brings. I will be doing day-wise posts soon to share more about the experience and appropriate learnings. As a final thing I would share a list of learnings, best experiences & suggestions for Golden Chriot management to make the experience even better. During the trip I talked to various indian and foreigner travellers, so would want to share interesting stories why people chose this train journey & does it match the expectations for these folks or not. 

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