In 2004 a new luxury train travel tour of southern India was launched. The Deccan Odyssey, central India’s Deccan plateau, named after train travels a 1,000 mile circuit around the Maharashtra state. The train travels from Mumbai to Goa and back, although it does detour to the town of Aurangabad. The train is very different from other rail travel in India. It has cabins that are luxurious and have proper beds, the en suite bathrooms have carved fittings and fixtures. This train even has a spa that offers Ayurvedic massage and facials. The dining car has cutlery and china that is embossed with the company’s crest. The train also has a bar, a business centre and a conference car.
There is enough room on this train journey for 96 passengers and 30 staff. In high season prices for passengers start at £240 per day, this is based on two people sharing. Prices vary depending on season and numbers sharing. For a seven night package a couple can expect to pay from £2,700, this does not include the flights to India, the hotels in Mumbai or any of the drinks or spa treatments. Most of the journey takes place overnight. Therefore the train is a mobile hotel, somewhere to sleep and eat and use as a base for the trips. The staff are very helpful as well as being extremely friendly.
The food offered on the train draws on the Taj group expertise. They offer many regional dishes but are willing to accommodate individuals dietary requirements.
This train trip allows the traveller to see the lifestyle of rural India. It visits Goa and the caves of Ajanta and Ellora. The traveller is given the option of trips to vineyards, a river cruise through mangrove trees and a chance to see pilgrims from the Hindu faith who bathe at sacred ghats.
On the second day of the tour, you leave the train and are driven down National Highway 17 to catch the boat to Ganpatipule. Here there is a wonderful beach which gives the tourist a glimpse of Goa before lots of tourists arrived. There is three hours to spend on the beach relaxing because, before returning to the train at 8pm, there is a visit to a temple and a fort. This trip is done in a total of twelve hours!
The caves at Ajanta and Ellora are astonishing. There are huge temples sculpted out of the rock as well as Buddhas. In Aurangabad, there is the Bibi-ka-Maqbara mausoleum which has a scaled model of the Taj Mahal. The Raja Dinkar Kelkar museum in Pune, has collections of household objects. It is also worth visiting Pune’s Turf Club for a high tea. This is a real relic of the colonial days.
For more information about tours, available dates and prices on the Deccan Odyssey contact Travelpack by telephone on: 0870 121 2030 or online at http://www.travelpack.com.