The Ramayana Circuit tours are a wonderful way to bask-in the glory of the ‘Ram Rajya’, an era when the society used to run on the principles of Lord Rama. To promote religious tourism, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) already boasts of Ramayana Circuit trains and the successful maiden run in 2018. The trains flaunt the name – Shri Ramayana Express and Shri Ramayana Yatra. Of which, the former has already flagged-off from Delhi on 14th November 2018. On the other hand, Indian Railways is coming up with its second edition of Ramayana circuit tours. The journey of the latter train named Shri Ramayana Express is expected to start from Jaipur on November 3, 2019. The other train by the name of ‘Ramayana Express’ will start from Indore in Madhya Pradesh via Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh from November 18, 2019. Embarking on the train, the passengers are now able to traverse places related to the Hindu epic.
Three more trains to go!
Having received an overwhelming response and owing to its successful run last year, the Indian Railways already decided to come up with three more trains from Jaipur, Rajkot and Madurai. Out of them, the one from Jaipur is flaunts the name ‘Shri Ramayana Yatra’ and will run from Nov 3. Also, the Indian Railways is thinking of facilitating road trips from railway stations to the pilgrimage sites. Looking at the demand, new boarding points and stops may also be added. Besides this, if the demand raises further, the railway department is also planning to come up with more such trains in the future.
Shri Ramayana Yatra train from Jaipur, Rajasthan will make its way to the destinations connected with the life of Lord Ram in India and Sri Lanka from 3rd November 2019. One can travel in India via train and to explore the places falling in Sri Lanka, pilgrims can board a flight from Chennai.
Devotees can also start traversing the Ramayana circuit from Indore in Madhya Pradesh via Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh by embarking on ‘Ramayana Express’ which will start from November 18, 2019.
Another train taking devotees on Ramayana Circuit tours was expected to start from Kochuveli on August 28 and was supposed to travel to Nashik Road, Chitrakoot, Allahabad, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Ayodhya, Rameshwaram and Madurai. Notably, the train was expected to take 12 days to cover the circuit.
Already started running on the tracks since14th November, Shri Ramayana Express covers the journey in 16 days. The train began its voyage from Delhi and will cover Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, Varanasi, Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Nasik Road, Hospet, Rameshwaram, Madurai and Chennai. In addition to these, one more train, with the name ‘Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Train’ was anticipated to make its way from Rajkot from December 7. After covering the 12 days/11 nights tour, the train was expected to return to Rajkot on December 18.
Cost of the package
Last year, the IRCTC offered four packages of the special tourist trains. The cost of the first package lied between INR 39,350 to INR 60,750 per person. However, the second one charged INR 15,120 per passenger. Starting from Madurai, the third one charged INR, 15, 830 per passenger. However, this year, the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation made a statement announcing that this year, two tour packages on this circuit will run in November.
Also, the passengers who wish to travel further to Sri Lanka can opt for a flight to Colombo from Chennai. This will be possible by paying additional charges. The package also includes the option of visiting Ramayana-related places in Sri Lanka for a limited number of seats.
According to IRCTC, the Indian leg of the journey on Shri Ramayana Yatra train will cost Rs 16,065 per person for 16 days and 17 nights, and those going to Sri Lanka will have to pay Rs 36,950 per person. The Sri Lanka circuit includes popular destinations in the country, namely, Sita Mata Mandir, Ashok Vatika, Vibhishana Temple and Shiva Temple at Munneshwaram-Munnavari among other sites.
To talk about the fares of the ‘Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Train’, the available information suggests that the booking for the standard category costs Rs 11,340 per person. Further, for comfort class booking the charges are Rs 13,860 per person. When calculating on per day basis, the amount turns out to be Rs 945 per day.
The Shri Ramayana Yatra train, starting from Jaipur, will come to Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station after picking up passengers from Alwar and Rewari. It will then make its way to Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Bareilly and Lucknow.
The Ramayana Express will depart with boarding stations in Indore, Dewas, Ujjain, Maksi, Shujalpur, Sehore, Bairagarh (Bhopal), Vidisha, Ganj Basoda, Bina, Lalitpur and Jhansi.
While deboarding stations are Nagpur, Itarsi, Hoshangabad, Bairagarh in Bhopal, Sehore, Shujalpur, Maksi, Ujjain, Dewas and Indore.
The train running from Madurai includes Darbhanga, Nasik, Devipatinam and Thirupullani. The train from Rajkot includes places like Ayodhya, Sitamadhi, Janakpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Chitrakoot and Nashik.
Recently, fifteen new destinations have been identified for development under the Ramayana Circuit theme. The Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism will include Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga (Bihar), Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Nashik and Nagpur (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).
The capacity of the trains
In addition to all the aforementioned points, all the Ramaya Express trains will be featuring sleeper coaches to accommodate 800 passengers.
What does the package include?
- The tour on Shree Ramayana Express and Shree Ramayan Yatra tour package by Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Train includes:
- Hall accommodation at places of night stay/ morning freshening up
- Pure vegetarian meals
- Tourist buses for visiting sightseeing spots
- Tour escorts for announcements and information
- Security arrangements for each coach (without arms)
- Doctor on the train
- Besides these, an IRCTC official will be available on the train as train Superintendent
It is believed that Lord Rama has traveled to these destinations. For this reason, these places find a mention on the itinerary. Passengers can make online booking of the Shri Ramayana Express from the official website of IRCTC soon.
A roadshow was also conducted in Visakhapatnam by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). The main aim of the roadshow was to attract many Indian tourists to Sri Lanka to accelerate the footfall. It was observed that the Ramayana Trails in Sri Lanka is a major drawcard of the island nation and has increased Indian tourist arrivals.
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