December 13, 2010 3:24:31 am
A luxury train will carry the devout and sightseers to four of the countrys five Sikh takhts,with a flight to the fifth takht on the ninth day completing the circuit.
The Deccan Odyssey,taken on charter from the Maharashtra government,will make its first trip from Delhi on December 29,so that passengers can spend the New Year at the Golden Temple. A Spiritual Journey to the Gurus Abode will cover Kiratpur Sahib,Anandpur Sahib (site of the takht Keshgarh Sahib),Amritsar (Akal Takht Sahib),Bathinda (Damdama Sahib),Jaipur,Agra,Nanded (Hazur Sahib) and Mumbai,from where passengers will take a flight to Patna on January 5,visit Patna Sahib,and fly back to Delhi the next day,Luxury Trains and Luxury Holidays CEO Sajivve Trehaan told The Indian Express. The Amritsar leg will include a trip to the Wagah border and back.
The USP is the New Year at the Golden Temple. We have sold 60 of the trains capacity of around 80 seats, Trehaan said from London,where his company is wooing NRI passengers.
The trains 21 coaches include two with two presidential suites each,called Platinum Class,for which the daily fare is $1,250 for single passengers and $1,060 per head when shared by two. Forty rooms in 10 other coaches have gold class ($920 single,$730 shared) and silver class ($750,$585) seats. The train includes two dining cars,a spa car,a lodge and a business centre-cum-conference hall.
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The fare will cover the meals; the Taj Group will take care of the catering.
At halts,platinum and gold class passengers will get a luxury vehicle for a guided tour,while silver class passengers will get a Volvo bus,also with a guide. The train will travel by night and passengers can visit holy places by day, Trehaan said.
He refused to disclose what his company is paying Maharashtra,but said the latter will pay the railways and the caterers. It is our venture; the Punjab government is giving us support. We have no revenue-sharing model; after our first trip,we will talk to the government, he said.
The company has made the proposal and we are looking into it, said Punjab Tourism Director Hussan Lal,whose governments own plans for a luxury train to promote tourism remain stuck over the way revenue is to be shared with the railways.
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