The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will run special trains, the Shri Ramayana Express,from Delhi, Rajkot, Jaipur and Madurai from 14 November onwards.All the trains will take tourists to the places associated with Lord Rama and will cover four destinations in 16 days- Ayodhya, Hanuman Garhi, Ramkot and the Kanak Bhawan Temple. The trains will make stops at Nandigram, Sitamarhi, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayag, Shringaverpur, Chitrakoot, Nasik, Hampi and Rameshwaram, or the nearest railway stations to these locations, stated IRCTC.
Everything You Should Know About Shri Ramayana Express
- The trains will commence from the Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi, Madurai Station in Tamil Nadu, Jaipur in Rajasthan and Rajkot in Gujarat.
- The tour package is spread in India and Sri Lanka and the train Shri Ramayan Express will have two components, one in each country.
- IRCTC will manage the special trains and will charge separately for both the countries. The package will include all meals and accommodation for the tourists. IRCTC will also make sight-seeing arrangements.
- Along with the four important destinations, the train flagged off from Delhi will cover other destinations of the Ramayana Circuit like Sitamarhi, Nandigram, Prayag, Varanasi, Janakpur (Nepal), Chitrakoot, Hampi, Nasik and Rameshwaram.
- The train from Madurai will cover Ramayana Circuit destinations like Devipatinam, Darbhanga, Janakpur (Nepal), Thirupallani, Shringaverpur and the places covered by the Delhi Safdarganj Train.
- According to a report in the Hindustan Times, there is another one starting from Jaipur on November 22 which will come to Delhi picking up passengers from Alwar and Rewari and then start the Ramayana journey. The train from Rajkot will start on December 7.
- The second componentof the tour package starts from Colombo while the first concludes at Rameshwaram. The Sri Lankan component of the Shri Ramayana Express includes Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Colombo and Negombo.
- The Shri Ramayana Express will have sleeper class coaches with room for 800 passengers. Passengers who wish to continue the journey after Rameshwaram will have to travel to Colombo from Chennai by flight.
- According to the epic, Ayodhya is considered to be the birthplace of lord Rama, located on the banks of Sarayu River in Uttar Pradesh. Hanuman is believed to have lived in the Hanuman Garhi cave and guarded the birthplace of Rama. At Ramkot, Rama was bestowed with kingship of the ‘koshala’ empire and the kingdom. The Kanak Bhawan temple is believed to be a gift to Sita, Rama’s wife, from Kaikeyi.
- This is not the first time that IRCTC has taken up religious tourism. The Buddha Circuit Tourist Train, launched in April this year, took tourists to major Buddhist shrines and other cultural spots from Delhi’s Safdarjung station covering destinations like Gaya, Rajgir and Nalanda, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Kushninagar and Agra. The eight-day journey also covers Buddhist sites in Nepal.