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The Golden Chariot
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The Golden Chariot is a luxury train named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi. The Karnataka based Golden Chariot is designed to showcase the best of the “cradle of stone” and the lush tropical scenery of South India. The Golden Chariot offers two itineraries, beginning on alternate Mondays in Bangalore. Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka and is known as “the Garden City” for its lush tropical environment. It is perched 3,250 feet above sea level and its temperatures seldom exceed 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Pride of the South rail journey stops in Kabini, Mysore, Hassan, Hospet, Badami and Goa before returning to Bangalore, and it is eight nights long. You have the option to board in Mysore and depart in Goa for a total of four nights.

The Southern Splendor itinerary skirts its way along coastal cities through three South Indian States: Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is seven nights long. You have the option to book for six nights and depart from Kochi. On both journeys, you will visit palaces, religious sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and temples on par with some of the greatest Mayan and Egyptian masterpieces of civilization.

The splendors of Karnataka and its surroundings come alive on the Golden Chariot. This journey showcases the natural riches and cultural heritage of many past empires. Traverse the tropical land and relish its variety of mountains, foothills and oceans. The soothing sounds of the Golden Chariot, roaring along the tracks, will mesmerize you as you are transported deep into the heart of some of the least-visited, yet most historical and well-preserved sites in India. Empires have risen and fallen here for centuries, each leaving their mark on the culture. Tour stone monoliths that document Hindu mythology or marvel at magical palaces steeped in luxury, such as Mysore Palace. As you travel, the magnificence of the surroundings will etch their own place in your heart.

The Pride of the South travels from Bangalore to Bandipur, where you will take a safari into the domain of elephants, tigers and bison and speak with a conservationist. Tour Mysore’s spectacular Royal Palace and then watch a traditional performance that combines acrobatics with dance. The next stop is the ancient city of Belur and nearby Halebid. There you will visit temple sites whose walls elaborately unfold the stories of Hindu mythology through their ornate carvings. No two works of art are alike. Visit Hampi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site where more than 500 monuments dot the hillsides and bear witness to a grand ancient civilization of networked infrastructure. There you will get a picture of how daily life and business unfolded centuries ago. In Hampi, you will glimpse the massive Stone Chariot, from which the Golden Chariot derives its name. The Pride of the South itinerary ends with a visit to Goa to enjoy the golden sands, warm cerulean waters and historic churches before returning to Bangalore. The Southern Splendor itinerary explores the fascinating cities of Chennai and Mamallapuram, Auroville and Pondicherry, Tanjavur, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum and Kovalam, the Kerala backwaters and Kochi. The Southern Splendor itinerary takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mamallapuram, with its enormous stone monoliths and famous shore temple. This ancient city tells the story of Hindu mythology through rock carvings. Perhaps at one time it was a school for sculptors. You will continue your journey with stops in the colonial port cities of the east and west coasts. Get a taste of French culture in Chennai and Portuguese culture in Kochi. An amazing experience to cap off your journey on the Southern Splendor is a cruise on the Keralan backwaters. You will also have the chance to tour Kochi’s synagogue and historic churches.

The classical elegance aboard the Golden Chariot, inspired from Dravidian palace chambers, will make your journey through 16 centuries unforgettable. Each of the 44 exclusive cabins is named after a ruler of one of the dynasties of Karnataka. You are sure to feel regal in your own cabin palace, with all the luxuries of a five star hotel. The 11 coaches are named after dynasties that ruled the region (Kadamba, Hoysala, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chalukya, Bahamani, Adil Shahi, Sangama, Stavahana, Tadukula and Vijayanagar). Cerulean carpets and rose, gold and cream hand-woven silk upholsteries attest to the vibrant colors of Karnataka. Finely carved woodwork adds panache and warmth to the lush interiors of the Golden Chariot. In your cabin aboard the Golden Chariot, you will select from either a double bed or twin bed configuration. The train is fully air-conditioned, and each cabin has a vanity and writing desk, LCD television, six satellite channels, and a private bathroom.

Let the stresses of modern life melt away without giving up modern convenience as you travel. Follow a vigorous workout in the private gym then visit the spa to attain nirvana as your receive a traditional ayurvedic massage that is proven to restore balance and invigorate your spirits.

The architectural features throughout the Golden Chariot are designed to mimic the ornate architecture of the temples and palaces South India is known for. The lounge is modeled after the Mysore palace and the cabins reflect the Hasaya temples. The two dining cars, the Nala and the Ruchi, are modeled on the Royal Hampi and Halebid temples. Plentiful lighting casts a warm glow on the crystal glassware, opulent golden draperies, and fine linens and silverware. The Ruchi restaurant surpasses its name, a Sanskrit term for “fine taste.” The Nala restaurant’s name comes from a king and legendary chef from the times of the Mahabharata. Each dining car has a section of tables that seat two and a section of tables that seat four. Between sections are comfortable sofas. Savor the fresh and abundant Indian cuisines as well as the mouthwatering Continental offerings on the menu. Choose from table d’hote or a la carte menus. The Golden Chariot is known for its assortment of inventive curries and chutneys, which are spiced to your tastes. Watch as the chef prepares an authentic recipe and teaches you to do the same.

The train’s lounge features vibrant blue hotel-style carpeting with rose and cream designs, marble tables, throne-like red velvet chairs, and ornately carved woodwork. The lounge bar is named “Madira” after the mythical drink of the gods. Indulge in a relaxing beverage from the well-stocked bar. Onboard magicians provide smiles to guests young and old, adding to the royal experience.