All aboard the 18-day, 8,000 km Ramayana Train: What you need to know about it

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) recently announced plans to launch a special tourist train that will take pilgrims to places associated with the Hindu epic of Ramayana.

The 18-day ‘Shri Ramayana Yatra’ will start from 21 June and will also become the first tourist train from India to cross the international border into Nepal.

Let’s find out more about the ‘Ramayana train and what is so special about it:

What is the special Ramayana Yatra train?

The train, named ‘Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train’, has been launched to promote domestic tourism and will cover prominent places associated with the life of Lord Ram.

Ajit Kumar Sinha, chief regional manager of IRCTC, Lucknow, said that the tour package aims at realising devotees’ dreams to visit places, where Lord Ram, his wife Goddess Sita and Lord Laxman had set foot, while undertaking an exile in the forest for 14 years.

The train will start from Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station on 21 June and bookings have already started for the tour on the Ramayana circuit, he said.

The 18-day journey by the 14-coach train, which has 11 third AC class coaches, along with a pantry car, a restaurant car, and a separate coach for use by the train staff, with an accommodation capacity of around 600 passengers, will cost a passenger Rs 62,370, the officials said.

The boarding points, apart from Delhi, are Aligarh, Tundla, Kanpur and Lucknow, he said, adding that the cost of a ticket is uniform irrespective of the station a passenger boards from.

Sinha said the tour plan includes food, stay in hotel and guide services at the points of visit.
The interiors of the Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train, which will return to Delhi on the 18th day of its journey covering roughly a distance of around 8,000 kilometres, will be based on the Ramayana epic, the officials said.

The tourists will be offered strict vegetarian meals, freshly cooked on board. The train will have an infotainment system, and CCTV cameras and guards will ensure security on board.

What are the destinations on the Ramayana circuit?

Starting from Delhi’s Safdarjung station, the train will make its first stop at Ayodhya where tourists will be able to visit the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple and the Hanuman temple, besides Bharat Mandir at Nandigram.

Over its 18-day journey, the train will cover prominent places that include Janakpur (Nepal), Sitamarhi, Buxar, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Shringverpur, Chitrakoot, Nashik, Hampi, Rameshwaram, Kanchipuram and Bhadrachalam (also known as Ayodhya of South India).

Sinha said that it is for the first time that a tourist train will go from India to Nepal, and connect two religious cities of Ayodhya and Janakpur.

Prominent religious places will be covered in the journey like the hermitage of Vishwamitra and Ramrekha Ghat on the Ganga in Buxar, Ram-Janaki temple in Janakpur, goddess Sita’s birthplace in Sitamarhi, Trayambakeshwar temple and Panchvati in Nashik, Kishkindha in Hampi, which is believed to be Lord Hanuman’s birthplace.

The Ramanathaswamy temple and Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram, the Shiv Kanchi, Vishnu Kanchi, and Kamakshi temples in Kanchipuram, and Bhadrachalam in Telangana, also referred to as the Ayodhya of the South. The journey will end in Delhi.

With inputs from agencies

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All aboard the 18-day, 8,000 km Ramayana Train: What you need to know about it
All aboard the 18-day, 8,000 km Ramayana Train: What you need to know about it
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