Simply put the Golden Chariot train is a mobile palace-hotel !
Bangalore is where the trip of your dreams on the “Golden Chariot” starts. Today, by 15; 00 hours you should report to Hotel Taj West End for check-in procedures to board the Golden Chariot.We suggest that you let us book a hotel room for you overnight and arrive a day beforehand. You will get help checking out and then given a private guided tour of Bangalore if you wish. On completion of that tour you will go to the Hotel Taj West End at 1500 hours, to proceed with registration for the Golden Chariot. In the event that you did not book a hotel overnight or take the guided tour we will pick you up from your preferred location within Bangalore city limits and take you to the Taj West End hotel at 1500 hours. Sip on some tea in the banquet hall followed by a presentation on safety. After that you can watch a cultural show at the Chitrakala Parishad Art Gallery.
We will head to the Yeshwanthpur Railway Station at 2000 hours. A warm welcome awaits you from the train’s staff with lovely garlands and you will be escorted to your royal cabins, as you await the departure of the train to Bangalore. Enjoy a delightful dinner and acquaint yourself with other passengers on board.
If you chose to meet at the Native Village Eco Resort by 1100 hours you will be required to check out earlier. Lunch will be served and you will be given a tour of the resort, after which you will take in a cultural and art show followed by an organic and herbal tour. We will then go to the village to experience the lifestyles of the people there, as well as a pottery session. Play the village games and take a bullock cart ride before you leave for the Yeshwantpur Railway Station at 2000 hours.
Private Guided Tour of Bangalore (optional) – The capital of the state of Karnataka, Bangalore is a flourishing developing and copious city labeled the “Silicon Valley” or the ”IT” capital of India. During the year there are several exhibitions and trade fairs held in the city, with the most modern inventions and products in information technology on display.
Bangalore is in fact a very interesting city with a remarkable fusion of the old and new. As the “IT” capital of India, there is obviously a move forward in a modern era but even with this, Bangalore has still been able to retain the elegance of the past. Ever since the British transferred their regional organization headquarters to Bangalore from Srirangapatnam in 1831, the town took on a very British appearance; the heritage of the British in Bangalore is still very evident. Several of the public buildings and gardens are from the Raj-era. One of the main features of the city is Cubbon Park which was designed in 1864 by Lt. General Sir Mark Cubbon. This expansive 300 acres of land is spotted with flowering trees, fountains, a library and magnificent statues.
A must-see on this tour is the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, a lovely park on 95 hectares of land that was laid out in the 19th century. Here you will find several branded trees that are possibly more than a hundred years old, as part of the largest collection of rare tropical and sub-tropical plants in India, as well as a glasshouse that is built quite similar to the Crystal Palace of London. After leaving the park we head to the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan that was constructed in 1791. It is an elaborate two-story wooden building with arches, pillars, balconies and ceilings that were once painted in bright, brilliant colors. As we drive we will pass the remarkable Vidhana Soudha Palace, which houses the legislative chambers of the government of the state of Karnataka. It is an impressive building that was finished in 1956 and has both Dravidian and Indo-Saracenic features.
1500 hrs : Report and Registration at Taj West End.
1600 hrs : Nature walk in the heritage gardens of the Taj
1700 hrs : High-Tea
1730 hrs : Orientation and Presentation on The Golden Chariot tour; Safety and Security, Do’s and Don’ts, 1800 hrs : Cultural Dance Program
1845 hrs : Visit the ISKCON Temple (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness)
2000 hrs : Traditional welcome at Yeshwanthpur railway station, get on the Golden Chariot, Dinner On-Board
2100 hrs : Train leaves for Mysore
Today you will start the day with a hearty breakfast on the Golden Chariot, after which you will travel to Mysore for an excursion. The name Mysore and royalty have always been associated; whether it was the Sultans or the Wodeyars and when you visit the city you will see the evidence of the distinguished Wodeyar Kings.
While here we will visit the regal Mysore Palace, which was designed by British architect Henry Irwin who worked together with several hundred local artisans to finish it in 1912, after the previous palace was destroyed by fire in 1897. Mysore beauty rivals that of any other royal palace in the world; its splendor, extravagant architecture and art it is a wonderful sight to the eyes. Admire the teak doors and staircases, rosewood, sandalwood and ceilings made of Scottish stained glass; hundreds of square meters of Telford floor tiles; glass chandeliers from Belgium; wrought iron railings from Glasgow; Italian marble for the large staircases; candelabra and exquisite mirrors s from France. It is indeed a magnificent palace.
Nagarhole National Park is our next stop. Nagarhole literally means “snake streams” and was previously a hunting preserve of the rajahs (Indian kings / princes) of Mysore. It is known to be one of the best game sanctuaries in South India for sightseeing and taking photos of the wildlife up close. It butt and bounds three other wildlife reserves, which when combined makes up a total of 2,000 sq km of protected area. See Dhole (Wild Dogs), a large population of leopards, Tigers, huge Asian Elephants and Gaur (Indian Bison).
After a delicious lunch at the camp it will be time for the exciting 4×4 safari drive that you have been eagerly awaiting. As you walk around the park, the sandalwood, rosewood and bamboo forest set before the scenic Niligiri Mountains will enchant you. There are exotic roller birds with pretty bright turquoise wings; female elephants gathering their babies; gray langur monkeys in the trees and a few sightings of leopards in Nagarhole National Park.
In the evening go back to the Jungle lodge and relax while enjoying a wildlife film.
Enjoy a Camp-fire Dinner and spend the night in the Jungle Lodge!
0800 hrs: Breakfast on board
1000 hrs: Visit the illustrious Amba Vilas Mysore Palace
1115 hrs: Leave for Kabini in a coach
1315 hrs: Arrive at Kabini jungle lodge. Eat an open-air buffet lunch at the resort
1545 hrs: Jungle safari by Jeep
1940 hrs: Screening of wildlife film
2000 hrs: Dinner – Camp Fire. Spend the night at Jungle Lodge
It’s morning, the birds are singing and it’s the perfect time to enjoy a hearty breakfast at the jungle lodge. There is no better way to view the sunrise, than in India on a boat safari on the Kabini River. Imagine catching an early morning glimpse of a marsh crocodile, a leopard, a tiger, an elephant and a wide selection of water birds in their habitat at the park. After breakfast we then drive back to Mysore by coach. Lunch will be onboard the Golden Chariot and afterwards we will browse around Mysore.
Our next excursion will be to the island fort of Tipu Sultan the mighty warrior, called Srirangapatnam (55 Km). Everywhere you go on this island it is about Tipu; where he lived, fought, kept prisoners, prayed, died and is buried. His body is entombed at Gumbaz with Hyder Ali. Gumbaz is a tranquil mausoleum built by a son for his father. The interior walls display the creativity of its designer, painted with stripes like flames in tribute to the tiger of Mysore. There is a mosque on the inside with twin towers and dungeons used as a prison for the British. Tipu’s summer palace, Daria Daulat Bagh is positioned in the center of expansive lawns with twisted trees. The museum which is dark with a cool atmosphere is covered by thattis (reed curtains) and highlights charming paintings, furniture and his military code written by hand.
After this you get the opportunity to shop! Exquisite rich silks and sandalwood are what Mysore is well-known for all over the world. Visit the renowned Brindavan Gardens located at the bottom of the Krishnasagar Dam before dinner. With an expansive captivating landscape of about 150 acres Bindavan Gardens is extremely popular place for Tollywood (South Indian Films) and Bollywood filming. The prized-features of this garden are the lit musical fountains and the flowerbeds.
Move on to the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel and be entertained by a cultural performance and dinner. After your fill you will go back to the train, stay overnight and go to Hassan our next destination.
0630 hrs: Watch the wildlife on Boat Safari on the river Kabini.
0800 hrs: Breakfast at the Jungle Lodge
0930 hrs: Leave for Mysore in a coach
1130 hrs: Get back on board The Golden Chariot
1300 hrs: Lunch on board
1530 hrs: Excursion to Srirangapatnam & sightseeing at Dariya Daulat Mahal, Tipu Sultan’s mausoleum and drive through the fort.
1800 hrs: Shopping at Mysore
1900 hrs: Cultural dance and Dinner at 5 star Heritage Palace hotel
2200 hrs: Get back on board The Golden Chariot
0500 hrs: Leave Mysore and go to Hassan
When we get to Hassan, breakfast will be served on board the Golden Chariot. Hassan is located deep in the Karnataka countryside and traveling to the tallest monument in Asia at Shravanabelagola (52 Km) does not take long. It is a17 meters high statue of Bahubali Gomateswara the Jain saint and was carved in the period between 978AD and 993AD. Even though it can be seen from some 30km away to get a true impression, it is best to stand to the front and look up. When you do that, no doubt you will be mesmerized thinking about how it was accomplished and the hundreds of workers who labored for more than ten years on it. Its unbelievable condition after some 1000 years is also amazing. Thousands of followers gather here every twelve years for a religious ceremony called Mahamastak-Abhisheka, where they cover the statue in curds, ghee, milk, saffron and gold coins. One thing that is sure to stand out in your mind and make you feel pretty small is when you take a look at the statue’s penis- which measures one and a half meters in length. A climb to the top takes some 648 steps but if you want, you can be carried there in a four manned palanquin.
Go back to the Golden Chariot for a delicious lunch. Then, in the afternoon we head to Belur and Halebidu (40km) to be fascinated by the magnificent 10th century Hoysala architecture. Hoysalas were great fighters and also had great love for architecture. You will really appreciate the beauty of this place as you walk around the temple courtyards of this World Heritage Site with its splendid sculptures, decorative pillars and murals.
One of the best kept Hoysala sites is the Belur Chennakesava Temple and many of the architectural sites that are perfect representations of the Hoysala Empire. Imagine that the intricately carved stonework took master sculptors over 103 years to complete; for this reason it is also known as the “living temple”. The mural that is lowest shows some 650 attacking elephants and unbelievably no two of them are carved alike. It is a symbol of permanence and power; they are considered the heavy weights of the temple. The lions symbolize courage and the horses represent speed, the bead garlands on the next row symbolize beauty. Images of men and women playing music and dancing can be found in the fifth row and in the sixth and final row ladies can be seen posing in different positions. Truth is that the beauty and appeal of this place is remarkable. The architectural must- sees of the Chennakesava Temple are the 42 connected carved stone figurines called the Madanikas or celestial nymphs (figures of women in ritual dancing poses), which are exclusive to Belur. To be able to stand in the same place as this temple is a privilege and a pleasure and you will be immediately amazed at the beauty and splendor of the Hoysala architecture.
Unlike the Chennakesava Temple of Belur, which is totally surrounded by an expansive wall and block courtyards, the Hoysaleswara Temple of Halebid is wonderfully placed in a green open field next to a small lake, under cool and shaded palm trees and well- trimmed flora. Described as the “supreme climax of Indian architecture” the impressive temples of Halebid showcase the beauty of Indian architecture. Within the halls are massive stone statues of Lord Shivas carved out of a single rock and Nandi the Bull. Plastered on the walls are hundreds of stone sculptures in various sizes, particularly the ones on the beams above the doorways. Outstanding skills by the artisans! How were they able to carve these mammoth statues on the ground and then connect them to the ceiling through hinges of stone?
Return to the Golden Chariot by 19:15 hours and get ready to move on to Hospet our next destination.
0730 hrs: Breakfast on board
0900 hrs: Leave for a Sightseeing Tour of Shravanabelagola
1300 hrs: Return to The Golden Chariot then have lunch
1445 hrs: Leave for Belur and Halebidu to visit the Ancient Temple Complexes
1915 hrs: Back on board The Golden Chariot
2000 hrs: Dinner on board
2040 hrs: Depart to Hospet (Hampi)
We reach Hospet early in the morning for Hampi. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the treasure of Karnataka’s tradition, which was a busy 14th century international city known for its beauty and riches. Quite the contrast to its prosperous times, today it is a derelict city much like an uncovered museum or a Machu Picchu or Indian Pompeii. Nevertheless, a visit to the former capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire will cause you to marvel at the splendor of its rocks and remnants. How the massive boulders surrounding and forming part of the city got there, appearing to be deliberately placed into position those centuries ago, will cause you to wonder for a while. The flourishing fields and plantations on the outskirts of the site all add to its mystery.
Go back to the train by lunchtime. Enjoy a delicious meal!
By 15:00 hours we leave the train and head to the rest of the Hampi attractions.
In the late afternoon, you can explore Hampi even more. This World Heritage site with the remnants of its temples and Hindu monuments is extremely extensive. Admire the Stone Chariot at Vitthala Temple complex, which is carved out of a single rock. It is a magical place to see the sun set with the Vitthala temple and the boulders in the background. Hampi creates an incredible scene with its Hindu temples and spectacular bazaar.
0600 hrs: Arrive at Hospet
0700 hrs: Breakfast on board
0830 hrs: Leave for a tour of Hampi World Heritage Site – Part 1
1300 hrs: Get back on board The Golden Chariot followed by lunch
1530 hrs: Visit the Vijayanagar ancient Vittala temple complex and the marvel stone chariot – Hampi Part 2
1700 hrs: Sit by the banks of the Tungabhadra River for a sunset view
1830 hrs: Leave to Hospet railway station
2000 hrs: Have dinner on board The Golden Chariot
0400 hrs: Depart from Hospet to Badami
By 04:00 hours the next morning, we will journey by train far away from Hospet towards Badami. There will be breakfast on board the train and you will reach the town of Badami, get off the train and head towards the most popular like the Pattadakal temple complex and the Badami Caves.
Badami is our second last destination, attractively located at the opening of a gully between two red sandstone cliffs. Fitting snugly between those cliffs and joined by a flight of stairs are the sculpted temple caves. There is much that could be said about these temple caves, however, one of the major takeaways is the brilliant skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who built them inch by inch, chip by chip in the 6th century. They worked steadily on the red sandstone, creating shades of rust somewhat like Jupiter. Perhaps this will be the highlight of your tour. When you contemplate on the Badami Caves you can easily see an example of how man fights and struggles to gain victory over his environment. You will not believe your eyes when you see how the pillars of these caves supported these huge rocks above. The sculptures are like none you’ve ever seen and they tell the stories of the mighty Indian Classics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Shiva temple is cave one, while cave two is lined by heavenly protectors and pot-bellied dwarfs. Cave three, which some consider to be the most, resplendent of all is the impressive image of Vishnu sitting on a curled snake.
Afterwards we continue our trip to Pattadakal (15 Km) located on the Malaprabha River banks. It’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site with pinkish colored sandstone temples dated back to the 7th century that depict a fusion of North and South Indian temple designs and reflect its significance to both traditions.
Go back to the Golden Chariot. After lunch depart for Goa, India’s top travel attraction.
Spend the rest of the day perhaps walking about the train and looking at its luxurious amenities. You will eat dinner on The Golden Chariot before arriving at Goa sometime after midnight. The train is making its rounds to Goa, just about the time you are ready to sleep a little later in the night. It’s the final stop before the return trip overnight to Bangalore. You can hear the train wheels screech, the noise from the tracks and the engine whistling up ahead. Feel proud, pampered and privileged as you ride in this golden train inspired by architects and kings from the past.
0730 hrs: Get your breakfast on board
0830 hrs: Arrive at Badami
0840 hrs: Leave for sightseeing: Pattadakal and Badami Cave Temples- World Heritage Site
1320 hrs: Return to the Golden Chariot
1330 hrs: Have Lunch on board and leave for Goa / Rest of the time gives the opportunity to enjoy the facilities of your luxury train – you can opt for – Spa Treatment or choose to watch a Hindi Movie, etc.
2000 hrs: Dinner on board The Golden Chariot. Reach Goa past midnight
Leave the train by 10:00 hours and begin the trail of Goa!
Goa is a peaceful place with calm seas, clear blue skies, beautiful sunsets and long stretches of sand, lined with palm trees; it is constantly growing in popularity as a holiday destination. Located in the Arabian Sea, about 250 miles to the south of Bombay, Goa showcases much more than a peaceful coast line and sunny weather. It was a Portuguese colony and has an extraordinary mixture of European culture and an Indian atmosphere that creates a distinct feeling that is distinctly Mediterranean. The Portuguese arrived here in the 16th century under Alfonso de Albuquerque, seizing the original Arab trade settlement and constructing a city that was adorned with monasteries, gardens, churches and fountains. We will visit Goa’s favorite churches on this tour; Basilica of Bom Jesus, St. Cajetan a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Continue to Sola Souto Maior an Old Portuguese house and be amazed at its exceptional beauty. Enjoy a snack of tea and cookies while you admire this beautiful house. Take a break from your travels for a little while and feast on a delightful Goan lunch. Spend the afternoon at the hotel lazing around the pool or simply take a stroll on the beach or perhaps you may prefer an Ayurveda session.
The warm, calm beaches of Goa lined with swaying palm trees and azure-colored waters offer travelers the perfect place to relax after a week of adventure and exploration. Bathe in the sunshine and reflect on the fascinating yet time worn glory of Hampi. Enjoy the sight of sunflowers springing out of the black soil of Badami, the people, architecture and of course the pleasure of being on the Golden Chariot tour
Tip: Leave the Train Goa and Opt to spend couple of days on the beach in Goa
0800 hrs: Take breakfast on board The Golden Chariot
1000 hrs: Leave for a sightseeing tour of Goa
1100 hrs: Visit Old Goa’s famous churches
1215 hrs: Visit the Old Portuguese house now main center for shopping and refreshments
1400 hrs: Lunch at the luxury resort in Goa followed by a beach stroll and High-Tea
1730 hrs: Depart from the resort
1830 hrs: Return to The Golden Chariot and depart for Bangalore or opt Check out the train and choose stay in Goa for a couple of days
2000 hrs: Dinner on board The Golden Chariot
We have come to the end of our Golden Chariot tour. You will have an enjoyable breakfast on board the train and after you arrive at Yeshwanthpur railway station you say goodbye to the wonderful staff of the amazing Golden Chariot!
0800 hrs: Breakfast on the Golden Chariot
1130 hrs: Arrive at Yeshwanthpur Railway Station. Say goodbye to the entire crew
In the past week you have actually been on an 1800 year journey all the way back to the 4th century caves in Badami, to the 10th century Jain statue, the ruins of the 15th-century, the Mysore Palace of the 20th-century right up to this day.
Your Golden Chariot travel is now over and our services at Vacation India restart here – when you arrive in Bangalore our Vacation India representative and your chauffeur will greet you. If you still feel like doing some last minute shopping or sightseeing this is a good time to do so.
You will have your chauffeur and vehicle with you until check in time at the airport which is usually late in the evening. We can arrange a room for you to rest if your flight leaves early in the morning.
Or choose any of our Extension Trips to enhance your India Experience!
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8-days individual travel to / from Bangalore, 7 nights in hotels of your choiceTravel Destinations: Bangalore – Mysore (excursions to Srirangapatna, Chamundi Hills and Kabini) – Hassan (Belur-Halebid and Sravanabelagola) – Hospet (Hampi) – Gadag (Aihole-Pattadakal and Badami)- Goa (Old Goa and beaches) – Bangalore
|Season||Hotel Category||Per person in double room|
|October 2015 – December 2015||Deluxe Cabin||Price on Request|
|January 2016 – April 2016||Deluxe Cabin||Price on Request|
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