A passenger on board the Golden Chariot luxury train is reported in The Hindu as saying, tourists in Vienna get to dine inside the palaces there. She wished the Karnataka train tour organizer had lined up some such thing at the Mysore palace, instead of taking her and other tourists round the place for a couple of hours.
The tourists on the train, paying nearly $2,000 (minimum) – fare can be as high as $ 3,400 per head – for a week-long tour through Karnataka – did Mysore sight-seeing on March 11. The official Golden Chariot website mentions dinner at the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel. But this is small beer in comparison to the prospects of dining at the real place, as the tourist from Vienna suggests.
Maybe, the Maharaja (erstwhile, that is) who lives in the palace could be persuaded to join them, whenever he is in town. His wife, who is into fashion design and branded soap-making, can only benefit from such interaction with the five-star tourism. Karnataka tourism development people (KSTDC) and the Mapple’s group of hotels, who are partners in running the luxurious Golden Chariot, would need to devise more imaginative programming, than taking their high-paying guests to the bird sanctuary or the Chamundi Hills and putting them through a cultural show at Rangayana, which can’t be billed the best or the most exciting show in town.
Not every passenger on the train would want to be part of the same package. In Mysore, Golden Chariot passengers could be given other tour options, at least for part of the day. For the passengers, not keen on doing the usual touristy rounds, organizers could line up a programme for seeing Mysore as the locals do - the agrahara, the local markets, a visit to the grand old banyan on Beden Powell schoolyard and some other heritage trees, historic temples, the Idgah, Bannimantap and other such interesting spots.
Such tours are best done on bicycles, the green mode of transport that has been revived in eco-conscious Paris and many other cities in Europe. Golden Chariot passengers could opt for the other Mysore tour while booking their tickets. Organizers could consider proposals in this regard from locally knowledgeable groups, enterprising enough to take on such off-beat tours.
Another suggestion from passengers was that organizers should improvise in areas such as food and information sought by the travelling group. In this context the official website on Golden Chariot luxury tour should go interactive. I would suggest that webmaster should feature in the website passenger blogs where those travelling on the train could log in and post their impressions and experiences on the trip. The blog posts, besides being a feed-back channel for the tour partners, would make interesting reading for those planning holidays in Karnataka.
Cross-posted : SiliconIndia blog
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