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Golden Chariot Karnataka | South India Luxury Train | Golden Chariot

Destinations

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Pride of the South

Southern Splendour

 
Destinations

Welcome to Karnataka!

Welcome aboard a fascinating journey through the many worlds of Karnataka. Embark on a luxurious voyage of discovery through the Cradle of Stone Architecture. Journey through the magnificent World Heritage sites at Hampi & Pattadakal, the exquisite temples at Belur & Halebid.
Traverse through the lush green landscape with an astonishing abundance of wildlife or simply indulge in luxury thus far reserved for royalty, on board the Golden Chariot.
Every suite has been meticulously crafted allowing you to relive the kingly splendor of a rich past, with all the comforts that make for fine living. Discover the many worlds of Karnataka on-board an experience that we promise is out of this world. Karnataka is nature's kaleidoscope at its best. Lush green forests. Cool blue seas. Virtually endless plains. And hills that almost touch the sky. Add to these list timeless temples, fascinating festivals, ageless monuments, peerless palaces and proud people. Whether you seek excitement, solitude, romance or faith, Karnataka has a world awaiting to be discovered. Welcome to the state of Karnataka.

  Pride of the South

Bangalore – A World of Opportunity

Bangalore the capital of Karnataka is known as the Garden City because of its salubrious climate and greenery. Perched 3,250 feet above sea level, temperatures seldom exceed 30oC (88oF). Founded by Kempegowda, a powerful chieftain, the city is unique with its rich cultural heritage that coexists with its modern day technological and industrial achievements. Today Bangalore is popularly known as India's Silicon Valley.
Many food outlets across the city offer a range of South Indian delights that are unique to the region. In addition, the city also has on offer international cuisines such as Mediterranean, Thai, Italian, Mexican and Japanese, to name a few that would make every traveler feel at home.

Mysore – A World of Royalty

Mysore is a city known for its resplendent palaces and majestic buildings. A visit to the city conjures up visions of the glory, still evident of the illustrious Wodeyar Kings. This former state capital still retains its tradition in music and dance, art and literature and its time-honored crafts.
A 141 kms from Bangalore, the city enchants you with its quaint charm, verdant gardens, tree-lined boulevards and its sacred temples.
Mysore, once the state capital, today is a vibrant city teeming with tourists and visitors. It is known the world over for its exotic sandalwood and rich silks. Many culinary delights await those inclined to sample the regional cuisine. The Mysore Pak makes for a pleasant sweet dish to end the experience with.
Srirangapatna: The island fortress of the legendary warrior king Tipu Sultan is just 14 km from Mysore city. Inside the fortress is Tipu's mosque with its twin minarets, the Wellesley Bridge and the dungeons where British officers were once imprisoned.
Mysore Palace: Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. The magnificent jewel - studded golden throne of the Wodeyars is displayed here during the Dasara festival.
Brindavan Gardens: Located at the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam, Brindavan Gardens is one of the best gardens in South India. Spread over 150 acres, Brindavan Gardens has since the 1960s provided the backdrop for many Indian films.

Kabini – A World of Wildlife

Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole (Kabini), the hunting retreat of the Mysore Maharajas, is definitely the perfect destination for wildlife lovers in South India. The excitement starts with a safari into the heart of the park, where you are sure to spot wild animals in their natural habitat. Some of the popular sightings are elephant, gaur, sambar, chital, wild boar and the more elusive predators like tiger and leopard. A bird watcher's paradise, the park is home to over 300 species of birds, many of which are endemic to these jungles.

Belur – A World of Worship

Belur in Hassan district (220 kms from Bangalore and 38 kms from Hassan) is famous for its magnificent Hoysala Temple Complex. The Chennakesava Temple here is the major attraction, built by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana, to commemorate his victory over the Cholas. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures with no portion left blank. It is the only Hoysala Temple still in active worship.
Halebid in Hassan district is 27 kms away from Hassan and was the capital of the Hoysalas. It has one of the finest Hoysala temples. The Hoysaleswara Temple, perched on a star-shaped base amidst lawns, is a sculptural extravaganza. Its walls are richly carved with an endless variety of Hindu deities, sages, stylized animals, birds and friezes depicting the life of the Hoysala Kings.
Shravanabelagola, 52km from Hassan, is an important Jain pilgrim centre. It is home to Asia's largest monolithic statue Lord Gomateswara here towers 58 ft., looming atop the picturesque Vindhyagiri Hill. Every 12 years, Jain pilgrims gather here to participate in a splendid head-anointing ceremony.

Hampi – A World Heritage Site

If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi. Hampi has been classified as a World Heritage Center and is one of the major tourist destinations in India.
Hampi, the seat of the famed Vijayanagara empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India, covering several states. The Vijayanagara empire stretched over at least three states - Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Mogul invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute.
Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation.
Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth.
The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tell a tale of man's infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction. A visit to Hampi is a sojourn into the past. Most of the important structures and ruins are located in two areas, which are generally referred to as the Royal Centre and the Sacred Centre.

Badami – A World Heritage Site

Badami is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills. The exquisite sculptures and the rust red sandstone cliffs of Badami tell many a tale of yore. The first sculptural embellishment to dazzle the eye is the 18 armed Nataraja striking 81 dance poses.
Pattadakal, with its beautifully chiseled temples is a World Heritage Site located on the banks of the Malaprabha River. It bears testimony to the richness of the Chalukyan architecture. Pattadakal reached its pinnacle of glory under the Chalukyan Kings and was once used as a ceremonial center where kings were crowned.
Aihole is acclaimed as the "Cradle of Hindu Temple Architecture". Aihole has over a hundred temples scattered around the village. The most impressive one is the Durga Temple with its semi-circular apse, elevated plinth and the gallery encircling the sanctum.
The oldest temple here is the Lad Khan temple dating back to the 5th Century. The Hutchimalli Temple out in the village - has a sculpture of Vishnu sitting atop a large cobra. The Revalphadi Cave - dedicated to Shiva - is remarkable for its delicate details.
Not to be missed is the Konthi Temple Complex, the Uma Maheswari Temple with a beautifully carved Brahma seated on a lotus, the austere Jain Meguti Temple and the two- storied Buddhist Temple.

Goa – A World of Golden Beaches

Goa known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan.
The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendor of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favorite with travelers around the world. But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer besides the natural beauty, the fabulous beaches and sunshine, travelers to Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature of the Goan people. After all, more than anywhere else on planet earth, this is a place where people really know how to relax.


  Southern Splendour

Chennai

The Dravidians founded the beautiful State of Tamil Nadu 5,000 years ago. Today it is home to some of the most magnificent sculptures and architectural wonders of the world.
About 350 years ago, Tamil Nadu's capital city Chennai was created by the East India Company. The last king of the vanishing Vijayanagar Empire, Rajah of Chandragiri offered Francis Day, an East India Company trader, a three-mile long strip of land. In July 1639 Francis Day and his superior built a factory, which was named Fort St. George. When the British were in complete control of the city, after a decade's feud with the French, they expanded the city by encompassing the neighboring villages of Triplicane, Egmore, Purasawalkam and Chetput to form the city of Chennapatnam, as it was known then. Fort St. George Museum: The perfect place to begin discovering Chennai is Fort St. George, the oldest surviving British construction in India. At the northern end of Marina, the fort was once the headquarters of the East India Company. Today it houses the Secretariat of the Tamil Nadu Government and the Legislative Assembly. Much of this fort looks almost as it did when Robert Clive, Pitt, Hasting and Wellesley resided and worked here.

Mamallapuram

The town of temples, sand & sea - Mamallapuram, formerly known as Mahabalipuram, is world renowned for its beautiful shore Temple. It was once the main port and naval base of the great Pallava Kingdom and was later made the capital of this Dynasty.
Mamalla meaning the great wrestler was the name given to King Narasimha Varma I. Most of the temples and sculptures in Mamallapuram dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, were completed between 630 A.D and 728 A. D. during the reign of Narasimha Varma I and II.
Sand, water and temples set the backdrop for the graceful and evocative dancers who celebrate the ancient Indian culture and tradition at the annual Mamallapuram Dance Festival held during January and February. Here the expressive Indian Classical dancers adorned in traditional costumes perform Odissi, Kuchupudi, Kathakali and Bharatanatyam.
Shore Temple: The most renowned landmark of Mamallapuram is the Shore Temple. Standing alone on the shore, this temple is protected by a wall constructed to minimize erosion. It is believed that at one point in time there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion.

Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)

Nested in the southern region of India between lush greens and the Bay of Bengal is the former French colony of Puducherry. Puducherry beauty lies in its quiet existence and vibrant surrounding. For many people, Puducherry is many things. To somebody looking for inner peace, it is the tranquil land that embodies spirituality. For a student of history, it is a trip down the past, while a romantic twosome can find the ‘un-intruding’ air of the place scintillatingly fresh.
Welcome to the peaceful land that is Puducherry….and give time a break. A light air hangs loose in Puducherry. Its sun soaked beaches invite and an unobtrusive Puducherry becomes a perfect foil for a romantic getaway. Take a river cruise or pitch a seaside tent. Go for a quiet stroll or dig deep into the vibrancy of the market place. It’s a place that will let you define its color….it’s a getaway that lets you unwind. A cozy dinner or a handpicked gift completes the picture….Let your heart rule. If you are the beach sorts, the following will provide the music for the heart.

Kanyakumari

A fine beach landscape with sands of different colors is another’s interesting aspects of Kanyakumari. Palm leaf utility articles of Kanyakumari are very famous spots in the state. Part of the fascination is of course due to the fact that it is the very tip of the Indian peninsula and the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Nature is so spectacular at Kanyakumari that several other Indian beaches pale by comparison. Cape Comorin is at its best during Chitra Pournami (the full moon day in April) when the sun and moon are face to face on the same horizon but other full moon days are also special and you can see the sun set and the moon rise almost simultaneously. It seems as if it is by prior arrangement.

Tiruchirappali

Situated on the bank of the river Cauvery. Tiruchirapalli the fourth largest city in the state was a citadel of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas never realy managed to retain control of this strategic city and lost it to the Pandyas several times. This tug of war finally ended when the chollas reserted themselves in the 10th century. The fort of Tiruchi Continued to be in their possession until the decline of the empire after which it became a Vijayanagara stronghold.

Thanjavur

The imposing vimanam at the Brahadeeshwara temple. Scenically one of the most enchanting districts in the state, green, airy, Thanjavur lies to the east of Trichy and has the reputation as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. It is not surprising that the great Cholas chose Thanjavur as the location of some of their most magnificent creations, since this now small city once occupied the proud position as their capital and most treasured territory. Though the history of Thanjavur is far older than the Chola period itself, it is during their reign between the 10th and 14th centuries that the city rose to dizzying heights, becoming the centre of Tamil learning and culture.

Madurai

Madurai, situated in southern Tamil Nadu, is a district with its headquarters in Madurai city, on the banks of Vaigai River. Madurai is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is more than 2,500 years old and is an important cultural and commercial centre. Madurai, once the seat of Tamil learning and still the place where Tamil language is spoken in its purest form is an ancient city. The ancient structure was planned in the shape of a lotus. Legend has it that Lord Indra installed a lingam in a shrine and informed king Kulasekhara, who had the forest cleared and a lotus-shaped city built around it. On the day this Pandian monarch was to name his new city, Lord Shiva appeared to bless the people and nectar flowed from his matted locks. So it was called 'Madhurapudi' and later it became Madurai.

Kovalam

Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favorite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930’s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse - sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmers, Catamaran cruising etc. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages; Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools; Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centers etc.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is just 16 km away from Kovalam and getting there is no hassle. But if you are on holiday it is better to stay in Kovalam and visit the city. Thiruvananthapuram m has interesting places to see like the Napier Museum, the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, the Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Ponmudi hill station etc. SMSM Institute, a State owned handicrafts emporium, is the ideal place to pick up ethnic curios and other articles. To know more about the crafts on sale here see Treasure Chest from the Archives dated 14 January '99 to 15 July '99.

Alappuzha (Alleppey)

With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers from across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today Alappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for ties boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad. The land of lush paddy fields, Kuttanad is called the rice bowl of Kerala is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.


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