Golden Chariot to run on two more routes

TIRUCHI: Two more tourism circuits are likely to be added to the Golden Chariot, the luxury train run by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), by 2011. Currently, the train operates on two routes, ‘Pride of South’ covering Karnataka and Goa, and ‘Southern Splendour,’ covering Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.

“We are planning to add a circuit covering Andhra Pradesh and another along the coastal region,” Vinay Luthra, Managing Director, KSTDC, told reporters onboard the Golden Chariot which arrived in Tiruchi on Thursday on its maiden run on the ‘Southern Splendour.’

The 7-night and eight-day tour showcases popular tourist attractions such as Mamallapuram, Puducherry, Tiruchi/Thanjavur, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Kochi before returning to Bangalore.

Earlier, about 70 tourists, including several foreign tourists, travelling on the train were given a traditional welcome on arrival here. They were treated to a dance performance by folk artistes under the auspices of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department, before they left for local sight seeing.

Collector T. Soundiah, Divisional Railway Manager S. Subramhanyan, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager A. P. Muthuramalingam and District Tourism Officer R. Dhandapani were among those who received the tourists.

The Golden Chariot would travel on the two circuits on alternative weeks from October 4, Mr. Luthra said. The train, complete with a spa, gym and communication centre, offers five-star comfort to travellers. It has been rated as one of the top seven train journeys in the world by Vanity Fair, United Kingdom, he said.

Commenting on the response to the tour, he said the maiden journey of Southern Splendour has met with a good response. The other circuit too was doing well. Nearly 80 per cent of the tourists were foreigners and most of them are from the United Kingdom. The Golden Chariot was expected to break even by next financial year, Mr. Luthra said.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/19/stories/2010031958470200.htm