Mumbai, Aug 26 IANS | 2 months ago

Maharashtra's luxury train, the Deccan Odyssey, was relaunched here Tuesday with a private partner to make it commercially viable, an official said.

Launched about a decade ago as the state's answer to the Palace On Wheels, commercial success eluded it though it became a hit with foreigners.

Now, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), which runs it, has appointed Cox & Kings Ltd. (CKL) as an outsourced partner to operate the train from Oct 4 for a period of five years.

CKL will manage the entire sales, marketing, on-board and off-board services and other operational activities to make it successful, with a scope for another five-year extension.

"We are making efforts to showcase maximum possible destinations in Maharashtra with a long-term perspective and to boost the luxury train business," said additional chief secretary Sumit Mullick.

CKL director (special projects) Arup Sen said this "spirit of partnership will benefit Maharashtra and enhance its position in India tourism".

"Highly complex logistic arrangements have enabled us to offer 10 different itineraries for the Deccan Odyssey," said MTDC managing director Jagdish Patil at the relaunch.

Under the proposed new avatar, the Deccan Odyssey will offer a glimpse of the state's historical, spiritual and environmental treasures to its patrons, with most journeys ex-Mumbai.

The seven-night "Maharashtra Splendour" will cover Aurangabad, Ajanta-Ellora, Nashik, Kolhapur, Goa and Mumbai, while "Maharashtra Wild Trail" will journey through Ajanta-Ellora, Nagpur, Pench and Tadoba.

The four-night "Spiritual Sahyadri" will cover pilgrim centres of Nashik and Shirdi in Ahmednagar, while the two-night "Soul Quest" will take patrons to Shirdi.

"Jewels of the Deccan" is another seven-night sojourn through Mumbai, Bijapur, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami, Hampi and Hyderabad.

In "Hidden Treasures of Gujarat", patrons can breeze through Vadodara, Palitana, Sasan-Gir, Little Rann of Kutch, Patan, Ahmedabad and New Delhi.

Other trips are "Indian Sojourn", "Indian Soiree", "Indian Odyssey" and "Golden Treasure", which will offer visits to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar.

The luxury train with a capacity of 88 passengers, has 21 coaches, including 12 for passengers, two presidential suite cars, two dining cars, one for a spa and another for a bar, with facilities like television with cable, central music player, channel music, FOREX facilities, etc.

(Posted on 26-08-2014)

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