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Thursday, September 25, 2014

luxury train Golden Chariot stoned ..........

Train journey is most enjoyable as one can spend time leisurely eating the choicest delicacies looking through the window  at the different culture, fields, people and more … as the train chughs past different areas.  Interestingly, Indian Trains have Names besides the Numbers. As you would know, Trains now have 5 digit numbers – earlier they were 4 digits.  Most trains are named after Gods, rivers, important places in the origin or destination – ……. and regularly more get added to the long list..   some are named after personalities and some after traits too.. there are some luxurious trains like ‘Palace on wheels’ and the recent addition is the ‘Golden Chariot’….. a train which has been awarded the ‘Asia’s leading luxury train’ award at the World Travel Awards, 2013.

The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist spots in arnataka, Goa, Kerala & Tamil Nadu as well as Pondicherry, depending on the selected itinerary. It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi.  The 19 coaches on the train are coloured purple and gold, and sport the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion. The train had its maiden commercial run in 2008 and operates between the months of Oct – Mar. The train is operated by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and The Maple Group handles the hospitality services on the train.

The Golden Chariot offers 2 itineraries. The itineraries are named Pride of the South and Splendor of the South. Pride of the South tour is a 7 nights and 8 days itinerary during which several tourist places including Mysore, Nagarhole, Hassan, Belur, Halebedu, Hampi,Badami  in Karnataka are covered.  Splendor of the South tour covers tourist places in 3 South Indian states.  The advertisement boasts it to be a sojourn through well known & off beat destinations of South India in luxurious fashion. An adventure in comfort, a romance on rail tracks, with heritage & cultural destinations  taking  through timeless Historical Heritage Sites, Palaces, Wildlife and Golden Beaches.

The train is in news because the one carrying Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other members of the entourage was stoned by some unidentified miscreants near Pandavapura on Wednesday as reported in The Hindu.  Pandavapura is approximately 130 km from Bangalore and 25 km from Mysore and is surrounded by beautiful paddy and sugar cane fields. The name meaning "Town of Pandavas" myth logically is believed to be the place where Pandavas stayed for sometime during their exile. 
this picture credits : The Hindu

The Karnataka Chief Minister was on his way to Mysore from Bangalore to participate in the Dasara festival, which will commence from Thursday. The stone-throwing is suspected to be the work of some urchins, and the window pane of the coach next to which the Chief Minister was travelling, was damaged. Sources in the Railways said the Government Railway Police were investigating.

According to its website, the fare for an Indian National on board Pride South is Rs.22000/- per person per night (Single) and Rs.154000/- for a 7 night journey.  In Southern Splendour it is Rs.26400/- & Rs.184800/- respectively.   Besides Service Tax a 10% Surcharge would be levied on departures during Christmas / New year.  The tariff rate includes accommodation on board the Golden Chariot as also at resorts / conducted sight-seeing tours and entrance fees at monuments. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Sept. 2o14.

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