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Pride of the South Golden Chariot luxury train to cover South India

Come March 15, Karnataka's Golden Chariot luxury train will roll into Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala on an exciting trip of the southern states and a union territory.

The seven nights and eight days trip on the �Southern Splendour' will take travellers to some of the hot tourist destinations in the southern circuit, including famous temples, heritage sites, royal palaces, monuments, exotic beaches, verdant backwaters and breathtaking scenic spots rich with flora and fauna.

"We are extending the Golden Chariot route from Karnataka and Goa to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala for promoting international and domestic tourism in the southern circuit as an exciting holiday package," state Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy told reporters here Monday.

The over week-long trip to Karnataka and Goa has been re-christened �Pride of the South' and will be operated on alternate weeks till March 29.

The luxury packages will resume from June after two months of maintenance break during April and May.

To be run by the state-run Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) in association with Indian Railways and the tourism departments of other states, the Southern Splendour will start from Bangalore and cruise through Chennai, Puducherry, Tanjore (Thanjavur), Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Alapuzha and Kochi before returning to the originating destination.

"The itinerary is being extended in response to a growing demand from the tourism industry to widen the scope of the super luxury train, which has been appreciated the world over. The occupancy rate of Golden Chariot has increased to 40 percent from 35 percent during the last 12 months despite global recession and slowdown in the Indian economy," Reddy pointed out.

Tariff for international tourists is $450 per night for double occupancy and $385 per night for triple occupancy. For Indian tourists, the tariff is priced lower at Rs.15,000 per night for double occupancy and Rs.12,250 per night for triple occupancy.

The state tourism department is also launching April 2 �Silver Chariot' a special package on a Volvo coach that will take tourist travellers across Karnataka on a week-long trip.

"The Silver Chariot will be the economy version of the luxury train itinerary aimed at domestic tourists, especially the middle class. It is an affordable option to those who want to experience Karnataka's treasure-troves in comfort," Reddy noted.

Apart from heritage sites across the state, the six nights and seven days package includes trips to Coorg and Bhadra for a glimpse of the flora and fauna in the Western Ghats.

Priced Rs.22,000 per person, the tariff for Silver Chariot trip includes accommodation, food, and entrance fee.

Booking can be done for both packages online on www.karnatakaholidays.net from March 10

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