Ballarshah and Chandrapur stations in Maharashtra have won the first prize in a contest to adjudge the most beautiful railway stations in India. Madhubani in north Bihar and Madurai in Tamil Nadu have been ranked second in the competition organised by the Indian Railways. Gandhidham in Gujarat, Kota in Rajasthan, and Secunderabad in Telengana have been ranked joint third.
The competition followed a beautification project to make the stations look more attractive and inviting. Most stations saw local artists, students, and social organisations come forward to help with the makeover.
The Ballarshah and Chandrapur railway stations under the Central Railway in Maharashtra have been beatified with paintings that depict the wildlife and beauty of the Tadoba forest. Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal complimented the Maharashtra Forest Minister and Forest Department on Twitter for giving the stations a makeover. The stations come under the Nagpur Division.
That Madhubani made it to the list of the most beautiful railway stations in India did not come as much of a surprise considering the buzz that it has been generating over the past few months. Local Madhubani painting artists had participated in a campaign to beautify the station by painting on themes ranging from aspects related to the Mithila region to scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The station is part of the East Central Railway.
The Madurai station under the Southern Railway was also beatified by local artists who depicted themes relating to the area, including from religion and mythology.
According to Western Railway, the Gandhidham station in Gujarat, part of the Ahmedabad railway division, has been beautified with paintings that depict a mix of history and culture of the Gujarat and Kutch region.
The concourse area of the Secunderabad railway station has been beautified with the Cheriyal paintings, that have received a Geographical Indications (GI) tag. The painting is a stylised version of the Nakashi art that is rich in the peculiar motifs of Telengana, says South Central Railway.
The entrance as well the interiors of the Kota railway station are adorned with Rajasthani paintings and murals to provide a distinct flavour of the region. The station comes under the West Central Railway.
The first prize carries an award of Rs 10 lakhs while the prize amount for the stations ranked second is Rs 5 lakhs. The cash award for the third prize is Rs 3 lakhs.
The contest for the most beautiful railway stations in India was announced in December last year and the Ministry of Railways received 62 entries from 11 Zonal Railways across the country. They were reviewed by a committee of senior railway officials before the results were arrived at in the last week of April.