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From Maharashtra To Goa

by Vidula

India is my country and there are many ways to enjoy it. The railway network of India is one of the biggest in the world. It offers one of the most interesting ways to see the country. And, there's no need to cramp with people on the normal trains.

Tourists can travel in style and that too almost regally with the Deccan Odyssey train. It is the latest luxury train service, which travels back in time from Mumbai down south to Goa, along the scenic Konkan Coast, before returning north to Jalgoan. The eight-day journey takes tourists across Maharashtra's breathtaking Western Ghat with its dramatic and rugged mountainous terrain, before returning to metropolitan Mumbai. The journey also showcases Indian hospitality and food.

The sleek blue and gold streaked train starts from the urban sprawl of Mumbai and goes down the Konkan coast, taking in the lesser known yet pristine beaches of Ganapatipule and Tarkarli. The Sindhudurg sea fort seems to float like a ghostly gallows on the water before crossing into Goa, famous for its soaring cathedrals and powder sand beaches.

From here, the train swings up north in to the heart land of Maharashtra, making a stop at Pune, the cultural capital of the state, then continues its journey to the 2 BC to 10 AD art galleries of cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora, both listed as World Heritage Sites and Aurangabad where you come across the Bibi-ka- Maqbara whose delicate lines have been inspired by the Taj Mal and advance into the pilgrim town of Nashik which is also famous for its fruit orchids and vineyards.

The guests in the train are made to feel like kings and queens. A personal attendant is assigned to each coach to assist guests at any time of the day. The food they give is also very good. It is one of the most memorable train journeys I have taken.

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