South India’s first and only luxury tourist train, Golden Chariot has delivered more than 100 trips since its inception on 10th March, 2008. Operated by Karnataka State Tourism and Development Corporation in association with the Indian Railways, this Indian luxury train has a total of 19 coaches, out of which 11 are dedicated to accommodate guests. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th , 12th , 13th, 14th, 15th , 16th and 17th carriages of the Golden Chariot train are named after erstwhile ruling dynasties of South India which include Hoyasala, Sangama, Ganga, Kadamba, Shathavahana, Rashtrakuta, Chalukya, Vijayanagara, Yadukula, Adilshahi and Bhahamani respectively. In this article, I will explain in brief that how these guest carriages recreate the architectural aesthetics of the erstwhile south Indian dynasties. For that I’m randomly picking up four coaches. Here they are:
The prominent south Indian dynasty that ruled over Karnataka between 10th and the 14th century, Hoyasala extended their foothold from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu under the reign of rulers like Veera Ballala II & III, Vira Narshima and Vira Someshwara. The Hoyasala rulers are mainly known for their benefaction for art and architecture rather than their military campaigns. They redefined the traditional Dravidian architecture into Karnata Dravida. In the guest cabins of the Hoyasala carriage, you will find portraits depicting various courtly scenes from that era. On the other hand, the décor of these cabins derives inspiration from the Karnata Dravida.
It is nearly impossible to estimate the size of the Vijayanagara city from one spot, you’ll have to climb on the mountain for a full-fledged view. The Vijayanagara empire is one of the most powerful south Indian empires that drowned to dust following a major military attack by the Deccan sultanates in 1565. The architecture that flourished during their time is a blend of Hoyslan, Chalukyan, Pandyan and Cholan style. The carvings on the ceiling, paintings on the wall and the interior décor of the Vijayanagara coach exhibit the same. You may find the portraits of famous poet Tenali Rama or the King Krishna Deva Raya hung on the wall.
Karnataka has witnessed the reign of Muslim rulers from 15th till 18th century. One such dynasty was Adilshahi dynasty founded by Yusuf Adil Shah in the year 1490. As far as the military campaigns, the role of Adilshahi dynasty was quite brutal. But the learning, music and architecture flourished a lot in their reign. The paintings of Ibrahim Adil Shah II playing musical instruments like sitar and veena can be found in the guest cabins. The furniture available in the cabins is a fine mix of Persian and Ottoman Turkish architecture, which is apparent in various monuments build during their rule.
The first independent Islamic kingdom of south India, Bhahmani dynasty was founded by governor Ala-ud-Din Hassan Baham Shah. The Bhahmani dynasty ended the rule of the Hindu Vijayanagara dynasty and extended their rule from Deccan to the south. Before their collapse by the hands of the Adilshahi dynasty, they build various heritage buildings depicting Indo-Islamic architecture such as Gol Gumbaz and Char Minar. The interior decoration exhibiting similar style is apparent in the guest cabins of the Bhahmani coach.
The above mentioned four names are the guest carriages of the Golden Chariot Luxury train travel , each of which reverberates with the architectural aesthetics of the erstwhile ruling south Indian dynasty. There is a total of 11 guest carriages on board Golden Chariot train with 4 cabins each and can accommodate 88 passengers in all.