Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022

Explained: The Ramayan Railway Circuit That Will Retrace The Epic In 8,000 Kms Journey

The 14-coach train would cover the sites associated with Ramayana under the Ministry of Tourism's Swadesh Darshan scheme.

Explained: The Ramayan Railway Circuit That Will Retrace The Epic In 8,000 Kms Journey
The Ramayana Circuit train Twitter/IRCTC

The Indian Railways will create history on June 21 when its first 'Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train' will start its 18-day journey to retrace the epic Ramayana not only across the length and breadth of India but also in neighbouring country Nepal in a historical first. 

The train would cover the sites associated with Ramayan under the Ministry of Tourism's Swadesh Darshan scheme. The scheme is aimed at showcasing India’s cultural heritage and historical places to the people of India and the world through theme-based tourist circuit trains, as per the Railways Ministry. 

Bookings for the Ramayan Circuit are on and almost half of all tickets have already been booked, as per a report.

Here we explain the idea behind the Ramayan Circuit, the features of the train, its route, and the significance of the train entering Nepal.

The special Ramayan Circuit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally pushed for the Ramayan Circuit. Before the current train service, a bus services was operationalised between two Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and Janakpur in Nepal. 

While Ram was born in Ayodhya, Sita was born in Nepal's Janakpur, which is a key Hindu pilgrimate site where people go to pray at Janaki Mandir.  

The train will start from Delhi and would go through UP and Bihar to Nepal. Then it would turn to proceed southward. In all, the 18-day tour would cover around 8,000 kms. 

The features of the tour

The special train will have 14 coaches, with 11 of them being air-conditioned, in a three-tier set-up. 

There will be a pantry car, a restaurant car, and a separate coach for the staff.

The train can accomodate 600 tourists. Of them, 293 bookings have already been made, as per a report in The Indian Express.

The 18-day tour would start from Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi and would cost a person Rs 63,370.

Besides Delhi, a person can board the train at Aligarh, Tundla, Kanpur, and Ayodhya, according to The Express report. 

The report adds that a person needs to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to board the train.

The route of the Ramyana Circuit

Ayodhya will be the first stop among the Ramayan sites that the circuit will cover, where people will visit the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple, the Hanuman temple, and Bharat Mandir at Nandigram, as per The Express report.

Then the train will go to Bihar's Buxar, where people will visit the ashram of Vishwamitra and Ramrekha Ghat on the Ganga.

From there, the train would reach Nepal's Janakpur from Jainagar in Bihar’s Madhubani district. People will stay overnight at hotels in Janakpur and visit the Janaki Mandir.

From Janakpur, the train will cross into India to reach Sitamarhi in Bihar, from where it would go to Varanasi, where people will visit various temples in the city and will go to Shringverpur, the place where Ram, Sita, and Laxman crossed Ganga, and Chitrakoot by road.

The train will then move west and south to Nasik for visits to the Trayambakeshwar temple and Panchvati, and then to Krishkindha, Hampi, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, reported The Indian Express. 

Then the final phase of the journey would start. The report added, "The next destination will be Rameshwaram, for visits to the Ramanathaswamy temple and Dhanushkodi. The train will then head to Kanchipuram for a day’s excursion to the Shiv Kanchi, Vishnu Kanchi, and Kamakshi temples. The train will then head to Bhadrachalam in Telangana, also referred to as the Ayodhya of the South, and end its 8,000-km journey in Delhi."

The significance of Nepal connection

India and Nepal have deep religious and culture links. Besides Nepal being the birthplace of Sita and the venue of wedding of Ram and Sita, the two countries are also bound by Buddhist links. Both of these links are central to India's diplomatic as well as people-to-people ties with Nepal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visitedd the Janaki Mandir in Nepal in 2018 and worked for getting the bus service between Ayodhya and Janakpur operationalised, connecting the birthplaces of Ram and Sita.

It is for the first time that a tourist train would enter Nepal's Janakpur from India. 

Modi has said that Nepal is central to Ramayan.

"I said in Janankpur that our Ram is incomplete without Sita. I know that people of Nepal area also happy now that a grand Ram Mandir is being built in India," said Modi during his visit to Nepal's Lumbini earlier this month.