The Golden Chariot is the only luxury train of southern India. It started its maiden journey in 2008, covering important destinations in and around Karnataka.
After the success of Palace on Wheels, the Karnataka state tourism department planned to build a luxury train to focus on promoting tourism to southern India.
Thus, in 2002, the idea for The Golden Chariot was put forward after MOU signing between the state tourism department and the Indian Railway Ministry. The train gets its name The Golden Chariot from the emblematic stone chariot of Hampi.
More than 900 layouts were prepared and one out of those was selected as the final blueprint. A team of 200 carpenters headed by Kusum Pendse designed the cabins. The entire manufacturing process of the train took place in ICF, Integral Coach Factory. The logo and color of the train were revealed to the public only two months in prior to the inaugural run. The first public appearance of the train took place in January of 2008.
The train’s exterior is painted with purple and gold. Purple represent the elegance and gold refers to the Golden Jubilee year of 2008 for Karnataka. The presidential flag off ceremony took place in February of 2008 by Pratibha Patil, the then-president of the country. The train started its maiden journey from Bengaluru to Goa.
The train’s maiden itinerary started in Bengaluru and ended in Goa. Later, the train ran on two weeklong itineraries namely the Pride of South and Splendor of the South as covering different states of the southern India.
In 2019, a signature itinerary was introduced. The Pride of Karnataka is seven days and six nights long itinerary covering Karnataka and surrounding regions. The train starts and ends at Bengaluru covering destinations such as Bandipur, Mysore, Chikmagalur, Halebidu, Badami, Hampi, and Goa.