Here I continue my most incredible journey of South India. The activities and itinerary of Day 5 to Day 8 are summarized here.
I assume you read my travel notes of first four days – GOLDEN CHARIOT TRAIN – Pride of South (8 Days/7 Nights) – Part 1
DAY 5 – Aha! We reached Hospet and I was super excited for HAMPI, a village and temple town recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
6:00 a.m. – After moving for the whole night, the train reached Hospet railway station.
7:00 a.m. – Breakfast onboard.
8:00 a.m. – It was going to be a long and hot day and we had lots to cover in one day. The morning sightseeing was about our visit to Virupaksha temple, Local Hampi Bazaar, Queen’s bath, Elephant stables, Royal Enclosure and Hazara Rama Temple.
1:00 p.m – We returned to Golden Chariot to catch up on lunch.
3:30 p.m. – It was time for the most famous Vittala temple with the beautiful Stone Chariot. Hampi is gorgeously photogenic. Every piece of architecture tells a thousand stories.
5:15 p.m. – We couldn’t stay there to capture the sunset moments at the Tungabhadra River but we did sit down by its banks to soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
7:15 p.m. – Back to the train.
7:40 p.m. – Cookery demonstration show was fun. We learned to make some chicken in chef’s style.
8:00 p.m. – Dinner on board.
DAY 6: We were at Badami, which was originally known as Vatapi. The evening on the train was amazingly special.
5:00 a.m. – The train departed from Hospet to Badami in the morning.
7:00 a.m. – I indulged in the breakfast when we had still not reached Badami.
7:30 a.m. -We arrived at Badami railway station.
8:40 a.m. – It was an easy day and not much of running around was involved. Pattadakal and Badami caves were on the itinerary for the day. I loved the caves. This place is a must visit for its caves and temple architecture.
1:30 p.m. – We returned for lunch.
1:40 p.m. – The train started moving towards Goa. The day was at our leisure. Some of the people retired in their room to take some rest. Some had their appointments in the spa. I chose to spend some time watching the surroundings from the window of my room.
7:30 p.m. – The evening saw the Madira bar in its new avatar. Everyone returned in their best looks. It was a DJ night on a moving train while the train made its way from one state to another. The party mood was switched on because we were headed to Goa.
11:00 p.m. – The dinner was an elaborate affair as I ate with the Chef and decided to go all by his recommendations.
DAY 7 : The Goan way!!! Also, it was my first time at Goa Railway station.
8:00 a.m. – When its Goa, you have to prepare in the Goan mood.
10:00 a.m. – Goa has many facets and this day trip was about the churches, Goan food and lazing by the beach. A bus was waiting as usual. We departed for the sightseeing.
11:00 a.m. – As per the itinerary we were headed towards the famous churches of old Goa. The whole area of old Goa is listed as UNESCO world heritage site for its magnificent buildings reminding us of the golden days of Goa.
12:30 p.m. – We visited an old Goan house- Solar Souto Maior for shopping at the emporium. I will not recommend any kind of shopping from here.
2:00 p.m. – Lunch and leisure was planned in the Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort & Casino. I ate well and then strolled on the beach while the others decided to swim in the pool. Goa boasts of some amazing beaches.
4:30 p.m. – Hi-tea in the resort.
5:00 p.m. -It was time to wrap up and get back to the train. There was a long journey to be done back towards Bangalore.
6:00 p.m. – We were back on Golden Chariot.
7:10 p.m. – The onward journey was over. Now, it was time to head back and start towards Bangalore.
8:00 p.m. – Dinner on board. I was feeling low because this was supposed to be the last dinner for this trip. 7 days had slipped away in a jiffy.
DAY 8 : Goodbyes are never easy! Wish it could go on….
7:00 a.m. – I woke up early and packed my bag with a heavy heart.
8:00 a.m. – The train was moving and we were still 3 hours away from Bangalore station.
9:00 a.m. – I chose to do a late breakfast. The atmosphere was low and dull. Most of the people had chosen to take a return flight from Goa, so there were very few people who were traveling back.
10: 00 a.m. – I just walked around the train from one coach to another to click every aspect of it. I did not want to miss anything.
11:30 a.m – The train reached Yeshwanthpur Railway Station, Bangalore and it was time to bid goodbye to everyone. The farewell was an emotional moment for me. I met every member of the staff and got a picture clicked with them too. It had been a great journey with some of the travelers from other countries and it was really tough to goodbye to them, especially Richard, Bridget, Helen and Steven.
Once we were at the station, the staff members looked relaxed as now it was their time to relax and take some rest. For last 8 days, they had been on their toes to make it all happen for us. The attendant designated for my coach was a great chap. He ensured to stand by my side until my cab arrived and I left for my friend’s house in Bangalore. like waking up from a beautiful dream.
Indian Railways is the largest network of the world and I am proud to say that my grandfather worked for 39 years in this industry. With the advancements in technology, no doubt we have come to have more options of traveling but Indian railways system will always be one of the most used and reliable modes of transportation. Train journeys have been part of my childhood and growing up days. And I am glad that I could experience this one of its kind luxury train journey of India. All my love has revived back. Golden Chariot is one special trip for sure!