Golden chariot- The luxury train in South India
My eternal love for South India always draws me towards this beautiful land. No matter how many times I visit it, I always stumble a new side of its myths and mystics. This time, Karnataka Tourism invited me for a very unique journey in their luxury train called ‘Golden Chariot’. And I was excited like a kid to be part of this unusual journey. I have grown up listening about the stories of this train, which covers different routes across India – Maharaja Express (Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan), Deccan Odyssey (Maharashtra), Palace on Wheels (Rajasthan) and Golden Chariot (Karnataka and Tamilnadu) and now that childhood whim was about to complete.
I am someone who loves traveling in train, but this journey changed the game altogether. I deliberately didn’t read any blogs or asked for any kind of reviews to ensure there is no scope of prejudice. I wanted to be surprised and it was a journey full of pleasant surprises. We were welcomed by high tea in Taj Westend in Bangalore, and there we were given a quick presentation about how next 8 days are going to be!
At night in Yashwantpur Bangalore, we boarded the train to cover the route ‘Sothern Splendor’ which covers most of Tamilnadu and a little bit of Kerala too. The route ‘ Pride of Southern’ cover more of Karnataka and tour ends with warm beaches of Goa. We were welcomed by garland, cocktails and a special dinner by executive chef Deepak Chaubey. What more one can ask for!
We settled in the cozy twin room in the carriage names ‘Adil-shahi’ with my fellow blogger. And as a day went by, it didn’t feel like a train cabin; it felt more like a home. We had everything we might need for next 7 days in train from toiletries to the super cozy bed. There are 17 double bed cabins at Golden Chariot, each air-conditioned and resembling the astounding craftsmanship of the golden days of South Indian kingdom. From the ceilings to the wall panels, from the furniture to the floors reflects South Indian palaces. There were two buses were being driven along with us in the whole journey to take care of road travel. It was probably the most comfortable days of travel among all the trips I have done so far.
We visited temples- Thanjavur, Shreerangam, Meenakshi Temple, beaches- Kovalam, , markets- Jew’s lane in Kochi and more. However the best part of the journey was train itself. While we step out of the train everyday to cover one city, I couldn’t wait to come back to train and sit by my huge window and let the landscape unfold behind the curtains.
Most of our breakfasts and dinners were served in the train and each day was an unforgettable treat for us. The chef comes with a 30 years of serving food in various luxury restaurants and trains and he has been with the ‘Golden Chariot’ from the very first day. The four course meal were cooked to perfection and with an option to choose either Indian or Continental food. The menu was carefully crafted to cater the requirements of Indian as well as foreigner guests. I was surprised by the quality of food; it can easily beat any 5 star restaurants when it comes to flavors, perfection and service.
While the days were for exploring the new grounds, nights were for the unlimited conversations, be it with the other guests or the Golden Chariot staff. We discussed from the stories of the luxury trains to the umpteen number of celebrity it has served in last 9 years. FnB manager Mahendar Singh Rathore and General Manager Abhijay Verma told the stories how a guest derived the name of train from the ‘Chariot of Hampi’. There were laugh riots in ‘Madira’ bar as when the story unfolded one after another. For the seven days, we were cared, pampered and spoiled and the whole experience surpassed my expectation be it food or service.
So, as when you plan to board the train; let all your worries go away! You would be well taken care of. There is no hidden cost, not even a penny extra you need to pay once your tickets are done. There are timely announcements by General Manager to keep you well informed about each day’s plan. And the staff is constantly serving your needs before you even speak! Do I recommend this train? Yes, definitely it’s worth the cost and a lifetime experience!
Have you travelled in any luxury trains in India? Would love to know your experiences?