The Golden Chariot Train is an initiative by the Government of Karnataka, in a Joint Venture with the Ministry of Railways. The luxury train started operating in 2008, with 18 coaches, 44 guest rooms and a capacity of 84 guests. By Shrimayee Thakur
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) to market and operate the Golden Chariot.
IRCTC is planning to refurbish the train, along with redesigning its itineraries. According to reports, the new itineraries will feature a mix of history, culture, wildlife and nature. The newly refurbished train is expected to commence operations in March 2020.
While under the Karnataka Government, the train covered tourist attractions in and around Karnataka, and other South Indian states as well. Under IRCTC, the train will be moving to new locations, with some proposed locations being Bandipur, Mysuru, Halebeedu, Chikmagalur, Hampi, Vijayapura and Goa.
According to Suresh C Angadi, Minister of State of Railways, the MoU is a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to promote tourism in India, along with being an invitation to visit at least 15 tourism spots in India. The IRCTC and KSDTC have been directed to keep the ticket prices competitive, so as to make the train ride affordable to more people. The train is expected to boost tourism in South India.
C T Ravi, Minister of Tourism for Karnataka mentioned that the Government of Karnataka and KSDTC have been running and maintaining the Golden Chariot together since it first started operating in 2008 and that it is the first and only luxury train in South India.
IRCTC also operates the popular Maharajas’ Express luxury tourist train, which started running in 2010. The train runs on four circuits, and covers more than 12 destinations across North West and Central India, mainly in the state of Rajasthan. It runs between the months of October and April.