Inaugurated in 2008, this purple-liveried train was refurbished for a relaunch in 2020 for travel through Karnataka in south-west India.
It’s one of the most elaborately and imaginatively decorated luxury trains, with hand-carved wooden panels on roof and wall panels, furniture inspired by the architecture of Mysore and Hoysala, and hand-woven silk bed sheets emulating those for the Maharajas of Mysore. The dining cars have interiors inspired by historic temples.
There are three alternative itineraries. The figure-of-eight ‘Pride of Karnataka’ offers a broad-brush introduction to the varied highlights of the state by covering a national park, Mysore’s royal heritage, the evocative ruins at Hampi, Goa and other cultural sites.
‘Jewels of the South’ focuses on cultural monuments to give an insight into pre-colonial history and architecture – Mahabalipuram, Thanjavur, Kochi and Mysore – while ‘Glimpses’ visits Bandipur, Mysore and Hampi.
Getting there & doing it
The Golden Chariot leaves from Bangalore station, which can be reached by AC trains from many parts of India.
There are 19 coaches with twin-bed and double cabins, all with en suite shower. There’s also an Ayurvedic spa and fitness centre. The Nalapaka and Ruchi restaurants serve a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian cuisines, and house wines and beers are included.
When to do it
The Golden Chariot operates from October to March. The optimum month is January, but that is also the most popular month for tourism in the state.
Round-ups that include this experience