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Friday - - Leisure -

Birth­place of the fa­ther of Car­natic mu­sic, Pu­ran­dara Dasa, Kar­nataka in south­ern In­dia stretches from Bel­gaum in the Western Ghats foothills, to the lively har­bour-side city of Man­ga­lore.

Named af­ter the leg­endary stone char­iot in Hampi’s Vit­tala Tem­ple, the Golden Char­iot is a luxe train with gourmet din­ing fa­cil­i­ties, which chugs through a trea­sure trove of ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites, wildlife and beaches from Ben­galuru to Goa.

Al­though you’ll be trav­el­ling in five-star lux­ury, the Golden Char­iot vis­its sites that would be dif­fi­cult to reach by other forms of trans­port, so you re­ally feel like an ex­plorer as you trun­dle through dense jun­gle and stop off in vil­lages that hardly seem to have changed in 100 years.

Seven nights Golden Char­iot Pride of South Train Tour US$7,630 (Dh28,024) for two for­eign na­tion­als or Rs231,000 (Dh13,679) for In­dian na­tion­als, see www. gold­en­char­i­ot­train.com.

Emi­rates flies di­rect to Ban­ga­lore from around Dh1,700.

TheWestern Ghats foothills is a hotspot of botan­i­cal diver­sity

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