Golden Chariot hoping for a good run this festive season

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The luxury train will resume operations from October

Operators of the Golden Chariot, the State’s luxury train, are hoping to pull more bookings for the trips this festive season. After the monsoon break, the luxury train is operated for the remaining part of the year starting October.

Though the first trip post-monsoon does not concur with Dasara celebrations, the train will run twice next month — in the second and third week — thanks to confirmed bookings from tourists.

The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), which operates the Golden Chariot, in partnership with the Indian Railways, is anticipating more bookings by this month-end and early next month.

The departures had been scheduled on October 13 (Pride of the South) and October 20 (Southern Splendour) for the seven-night and eight-day trip.

Pride of the South trip covers the State’s best-known tourist destinations such as Mysore, Kabini, Belur, Halebid, Hampi, Badami, and Aihole. The trip ends in Goa. The Southern Splendour journey starts at Bangalore, covering the historical temples of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and backwaters of Kerala before returning to Bangalore.

Speaking to The Hindu, KSTDC Managing Director Harsha said, “The train’s run has not been scheduled for the Dasara. The trips cannot be announced within short notices as tourists have to plan their journey. Moreover, we need consent from the Railways.”

The train’s first commercial run began on March 10, 2008. “The train has about 14 guaranteed departures in a year, besides chartered trips. We need reasonable occupancy to operate the train to make the departures financially viable. Therefore, the trips are planned based on the number of bookings,” explains Poonam Bhatt, Marketing Manager, The Golden Chariot, Bangalore.

Ms. Poonam told this correspondent that bookings from international travellers for the October 20 run was good.

This trip coincides with the Diwali celebrations, which is on October 22. “We are working out special activities on board the train during the ensuing trips,” she said.

There is a special package for honeymooners and young couples for the October 13 trip, she adds.

(The Hindu)

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