Journey across South India in the luxurious Golden Chariot

The Golden Chariot train, which runs across South India, is back in action after a makeover. Book a plush cabin, enjoy a fine dine meal or tipple at the regal bar, and set off on a journey exploring the historical and architectural heritage of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 

Explore South India like royalty in the luxury Golden Chariot train, which has resumed services after receiving an upgrade. Equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, it provides journeys to destinations of historical, architectural and scenic importance in South India. The train was started by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation in 2008 and was handed over to the IRCTC in January 2020. 

The train

The Golden Chariot has received a makeover with newly upholstered furniture, renovated rooms and bathrooms, and upgraded in-room entertainment with Smart TVs that allow access to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar.

The train is divided into 11 saloons, each with four cabins with attached bathrooms that can accommodate two adults and one child below the age of 12. Guests can book either a large single bed or twin beds, and the cabins are also equipped with a safe, wardrobe and Smart TV. A valet service will take care of your needs around the clock. 

The plush interiors of the bar, Madira, are modelled after the early 20th-century Mysore Palace. A wooden arch frames a selection of spirits behind the marble-topped bar, while a traditional elephant mural watches over. The dining cars, named Nala and Ruchi, feature wooden flooring, blinds with Indian motifs and wooden pillars and gilded carved panelling-a nod to the temples in Hampi and Halebid. 

Guests can pamper themselves at the Golden Chariot spa, and if you’re really motivated you can also work out at the onboard gym. Tour packages are priced at Rs 2,40,100 for a single supplement and Rs 3,20,130 for a deluxe cabin, inclusive of all meals, transport and entry fees for sightseeing and fees for guides.

The journey

The Golden Chariot train currently offers two tour packages across South India. 

Pride of Karnataka

Mysore palace
The Pride of Karnataka tour package includes a stop at the Amba Vilas Mysore Palace. (Photo: Pexels)

This week-long route includes a safari at Bandipur National Park, famous for its high density of tigers and elephants. Guests can then spend a day exploring the Amba Vilas Mysore Palace, Srirangapatnam Fort, Dariya Daulat and Tipu Sultan’s mausoleum. Also on the itinerary is a trip to the 12-century Hoysaleswara Temple Complex in Halebidu, an excursion to a coffee plantation in Coorg, an exploration of the magnificent ruins of Hampi, and a visit to the churches of Old Goa.

Jewel of the South

The Jewel of the South tour package takes you across Bengaluru, Mysore, Mahabalipuram and Kochi. (Photo: Pexels)

This six-night and seven-day journey takes you from Bengaluru across Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Highlights include a visit to Mysore Palace, a day exploring the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram, a tour of a traditional Athangudi tile-making factory and a Chettiar mansion, and a visit to Kochi that includes a tour of the 17th-century Mattancherry Palace and St Francis Church where the remains of Vasco Da Gama were originally buried before being moved to Lisbon.

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