The Deccan Odyssey is a special luxury train based on the model of Palace on Wheels to boost tourism on the Maharashtra route of the Indian Railways. The route starts in Mumbai and travels to Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Goa, Kolhapur, Belgavi, Solapur, Nanded, Aurangabad, Ajanta- Ellora Nasik, Pune and then back to Mumbai.
It is a venture of the Maharashtra Government and the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. In addition to being a train that touches tourist spots, this aims to be a complete 5-star hotel on wheels, with two restaurants and a bar, a sauna, business center and other such amenities on board. The coaches fitted with special amenities were manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.
Deccan Odyssey comprises of 21 luxuriously appointed coaches. Out of these 21 coaches, 11 are to accommodate guests and the rest are used for different purposes such as dining, lounge, conference car and health spa. Inspired by the imperial carriages used by the Maharajas of the yore for traveling, each of the coaches of this luxury train is inspired from a different royal eras of Maharashtra ruled by diverse dynasties.
All the cabins of Deccan Odyssey are fully equipped with facilities like airconditioning, internet connectivity and personalized guest amenities that make sure that your journey would be a comfortable and memorable one. Moreover, the multi-cuisine restaurant, well stocked bar, high-tech conference cart and a spa & massage cabin onboard add on the colors of merriment to your entire jaunt. “In 2013-14, the Deccan Odyssey had seven trips and carried 264 passengers, while 2014-15 saw an increase to 16 trips with 422 passengers. In 2015/16, we will operate a total of 23 departures in the entire season, which ends in May this year. The passenger count has gone up by 40% compared to the previous year,” said an official from Cox and Kings.
In fact, the positive response to the train is such at present that the official said there is an increase of 30-40% in passenger flow every year and it is expected to maintain the tempo in the times to come. The ticket prices, which fluctuate along with the exchange rate of the rupee to the US dollar, have been steady for some time now and a cabin in the luxury train for an eight-day journey costs around Rs2.25 lakh.
The improved fortune of the Deccan Odyssey is a welcome change for the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation — which operates the train — at a time when legendary luxury trains such as the Palace on Wheels, run by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, are finding it tough to attract patrons. In fact, for the first time since it was launched in 1982, the Palace on Wheels had a trip cancelled, on March 30 this year, since not a single ticket was sold for the journey.
The Deccan Odyssey, a luxury train that belongs to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), has announced a special discount offer during the Diwali holidays later this year. However, the offer is limited to bookings done on or before June 15, 2016. According to MTDC officials, travellers get to stay for seven nights at the cost of a sixnight stay, paying Rs 4, 60,037 per couple instead of Rs 5, 36,710 per couple.