The Indian Railways is set to introduce the Sri Ramayana Express, a dedicated train service that will cover all the major locations mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana. The train service will take tourists on a journey tracing Lord Ram’s journey from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka via Rameshwaram.
Retracing the Epic Journey of Lord Rama: Indian Railways to introduce a special tourist train ‘Shri Ramayana Express’ which will cover all the places from Ayodhya to Colombo via Rameshwaram, on the Ramayana circuit.https://t.co/WR9HIYl0ae pic.twitter.com/jcGKeiBz12
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) July 10, 2018
According to reports, the special Ramayana Express will take 16 days to cover the Ramayana circuit. The Ramayana circuit is a project developed by the Tourism Ministry of India which will develop all major places related to the epic Ramayana where Lord Ram is believed to have spent time with his wife Sita and brother Laxman. The Ramayana Express service by Indian Railways will offer pilgrims tour packages starting from Rs 15,120 per person. The tour package will reportedly include meals, lodging and bus facilities from Railway stations to the pilgrimage sites.
The tour will be reportedly managed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and will be flagged off from the Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi on November 14. The train will be equipped to carry 800 passengers. Making its first stop at Ram’s birthplace Ayodhya, the train will cover major locations like Nandigram, Sitamarhi, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayag, Chitrakoot, Shringaverpur, Nasik, Hampi and finally Rameshwaram.
After visiting Rameshwaram, interested persons will be able to take a flight from Chennai to Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, where they will be visiting Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Ramboda. Online bookings for the tour are expected to be available on IRCTC website shortly.
The Ramayana circuit is one of the 13 circuits being developed by the government of India under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. Krishna circuit, Buddha circuit and spiritual circuit are the other circuits in the scheme. The Modi government has been hailing religious tourism as a major source of revenue generation with the potential to attract millions of Indian and foreign tourists.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been pivotal in the development of the Ramayana circuit. He has sanctioned numerous projects to develop infrastructure in Ayodhya and other religious sites with an aim to attract national and international tourists. The government of India has entered into several agreements with Nepal to develop the Ramayana and the Buddhist circuits. PM Modi, in his recent visit to Nepal, had flagged off a bus service from Janakpur to Ayodhya, connecting the birthplaces of Sita and Ram.