The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist spots in the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala & Tamil Nadu, and Pondicherry, depending on the selected destinations’ itinerary. It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi. The 19 coaches on the train are colored purple and gold and sport the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion. The Golden Chariot had its maiden commercial run on 10 March 2008 and generally runs weekly during the months of October–March, departing on Sundays during the 2022-23 season. The train, along with the Deccan Odyssey, is designed along the lines of the more popular Palace on Wheels with accommodations, spa treatments, and dining. It has been awarded the title of “Asia’s Leading Luxury Train” at the World Travel Awards, 2013. The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation operates the train, and The Maple Group handles the hospitality services on the train.
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 an MOU between the state tourism board and the Indian Railways in 2002. Later the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) was assigned to give shape to this luxury train. The engineers prepared around 900 layouts before finalizing the design. Architect Kusum Pendse and 200 carpenters inexorably worked hard to complete the methods of these railway coaches. The process took around 4 months. Finally, on 23 January 2008, Golden Chariot was unveiled on the tracks veneered in classic colors of purple and gold, symbolizing elegance and the golden jubilee celebration of Karnataka. An inauguration ceremony was organized at the Yeshwanthpur Railway Station, wherein the President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, flagged off the train. Finally, on 10 March 2008, Golden Chariot chugged on its maiden journey from Bangalore to Goa.
The Golden Chariot offers accommodation in 44 cabins in 11 coaches named after dynasties that ruled the region: Kadamba, Hoysala, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chalukya, Bahamani, Adil Shahi, Sangama, Satavahana, Yadukula, and Vijayanagar. It also has two restaurants, a lounge bar, conference, gym, and spa facilities. It has onboard internet connectivity via a USB stick and satellite antennae, providing live television service in the cabins.
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.
Jewels of South
Jewels of South departs Bengaluru and visits Mysore, Hampi, Mahabalipuram, Thanjavur and Chettinad, Cochin, and Kumarakom, returning to Bengaluru.
Pride of Karnataka
Pride of Karnataka departs Bengaluru and visits Bandipur, Mysore, Halebidu, Chikamgaluru, Hampi, Pattadakal & Aihole, and Goa, returning to Bengaluru.
Glimpses of Karnataka
Glimpses of Karnataka departs Bengaluru and visits Bandipur, Mysore, and Hampi, returning to Bengaluru.