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What Is Golden Chariot Train? Who Owns It?

For starters, the Golden Chariot train is one of the many luxury trains that run through eminent tourist attractions of the country. The significance of Golden Chariot is its list of destinations. While most of the luxury trains focus on Rajasthan and regions around it, Golden Chariot is dedicated to the southern beauty of the Indian peninsular.

What Is The Golden Chariot Train?

Golden Chariot train serves two iconic itineraries covering important heritage and tourist attractions of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Pondicherry. This train is named after the iconic emblem of heritage beauty, the Stone Chariot of Vitthala Temple (Hampi, Karnataka). The train holds 19 different coaches painted in exclusive gold and purple combination. The logo of the train is a mythological creature, which has the body of a lion and the head of an elephant.

The Train

Golden Chariot

Just like the other luxury trains of the country, the Golden Chariot is also filled with top-notch amenities and facilities. There are eleven coaches on the train named after different ancient dynasties that ruled the regions under Karnataka.

Apart from the sublime coaches with star hotel-style bedding, attached bathroom, wardrobe and others, the train also provides other facilities like spa, gym, restaurant, bar, conference room, high-speed internet, satellite TV services and so on.

The cabins are decorated with the traditional architectural style of Hoysala, Mysore and other eminent dynasties of the part. You can find antique upholstery in the cabins to create a royal look. The names of the coaches are Rastrakata, Yudukula, Sangama, Ganga, Hoyasala, Adilshahi, Vijayanagar and others. There are 44 cabins with one cabin specially dedicated to differently-abled tourists.

Destinations Covered

As mentioned before, the train serves the southern destinations in two itineraries. The train manages to cover exclusive destinations of the state like Mysore, Nagarhole national park, Hassan, Belur, Halebidu, Hospet, Hampi, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami and Goa.

It is not just about Karnataka. The state department views tourism as a holistic element and covers three different states and two union territories covering eminent destinations of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Pondicherry.

Top destinations covered outside Karnataka are Chennai, Pondicherry, Goa, Thanjavur, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey and Kochi.

These itineraries cover all the essence of southern India like natural beauty, pilgrimage sites, cultural spots, modern city life, and others. If you are looking for a diverse beauty to explore and experience during your vacation, this is one of the best trains to choose from.


The train provides comfortable and spacious cabins with twin-bed or double-bed. The cabins have antique upholstery, desk, and other furniture. The walls of the cabins are decorated with ancient décor and heritage elements to give the required royal look. The cabins are air-conditioned and have many entertainment elements like LCD TV, DVD players, satellite channels and others. The cabins come with an attached bathroom with a range of toiletries, towels, and others.

Dining Car and Bar

Golden Chariot itinerary covers all the essence of the culture of Karnataka including the cuisine of the land. The train holds two restaurants named Nala and Ruchi. The restaurants are served by a team of culinary experts headed by an experienced chef who creates three-course meals of different styles.

You can choose from the regular menu and also from signature items prepared by the chef from time to time (additional charges will be included). Alcohol is available for those are above the legal age (21 years in India). The bar of the train has a large collection of wine, liquor, beer and other beverages of Indian and international brands.

Apart from beverages, you can also find non-alcoholic drinks and simple snacks here.

  • Nala

Nala was a legendary prince who was a specialized chef. To honor the mythology and to represent the skills of the chef, this restaurant is named Nala. The décor of the restaurant is simple but elegant with royal elements. A comfortable and spacious seating arrangement is provided closer to the large windows allowing tourists to gaze upon the sceneries as they dine.

  • Ruchi

The two restaurants have the same chef and the same menu. The restaurants are separated just to provide more accommodation for all the tourists on the train. The décor of the Ruchi restaurant is inspired by royal architecture.

Bar and Lounge

The lounge bar is decorated with inspiration from Mysore Palace. The lounge bar is named Madira, the mythical beverage of heaven. The lounge holds numerous brands of liquor, non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, and others.

There are comfortable seatings in the lounge where people can relax, socialize or even enjoy some entertainment activities. You can also find indoor games like crossword puzzles, Chinese checkers, carom, chess, playing cards, and others.

Who Owns It?

After the successful launch of the Palace on Wheels for promoting tourism in Rajasthan, Karnataka state department for tourism and development corporation (KSTDC) came up with a similar idea to promote important attractions of Karnataka and regions around it. The train is owned and operated solely by the state government of Karnataka with permission from Indian Railways.

Recently, there are plans for a joint ownership of the train between KSTDC and Indian Railways (IRCTC). In this scenario, KSTDC will control the operation of the train and IRCTC will take care of marketing and sales of services.

Train History

  • Manufacturer of the train : Indian Railways
  • Manufacturing location : Integral Coach Factory, Chennai
  • Family name/Category : Luxury Trains (luxury train of Southern India)
  • Constructed : idea generated in 2002 and construction completed in 2008
  • Entered service : 2008
  • Operator(s) : Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) with IRCTC

After the introduction of the Palace on Wheels, the chapter of luxury trains began in India. To reciprocate the success of the Palace on Wheels in Southern India, KSTDC (Karnataka state department for tourism and development) came up with a venture with MOU between the department and Indian railways.

By 2002, the Golden Chariot was introduced into the list of luxury trains of the land. ICF (Integral Factory Coach), the prestigious manufacturer of luxury train cabins of Deccan Odyssey, Palace on Wheels and others started on to create the perfect coaches for signature south Indian itineraries.

After creating 900 layouts, the engineers were satisfied with their finalized design for the first luxury train of southern India. More than 200 carpenters of expert skill along with world-famous architect, Kusum Pendse started working on the coaches to create what we gaze upon with awe, today.

For several reasons, the color and logo were kept as a secret until 60 days to the launch. On January 23rd of 2008, this train ran into the tracks with signature purple and gold spectral vividness sporting a logo of a mythical creature (head of an elephant and a body of a lion). The deep purple indicates the refinement and elegance of the service of the gold color is a tribute to the golden jubilee of the state.

On 2nd February of 2008, the train started its maiden run from Yeshwanthpur railway station after getting a grand wave-off by the then-president Pratibha Devi Singh Patil. The official first journey took place on the 10th of March of the same year when the train ran from Bangalore to Goa covering many exclusive destinations of Karnataka. The hospitality sector of the train was completely handled by the Mapple Group, a grand chain of hotels and resorts of the country.

Today, Golden Chariot has become an eminent part of the culture of the land creating flawless memories for its travelers during every single journey.