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Lately, religious tourism is being promoted in a big way in India with circuits being promoted, new temples being built and special trains being launched.
The Divine Maharashtra Tourist Train, set to start on January 8 next year (under the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Cooperation), is the latest addition. It is a deluxe train that was developed as a consequence of Dekho Apna Desh, a government scheme that aims at promoting domestic tourism. Here's what it entails.
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The train journey will commence on the aforementioned date and conclude on January 12, 2021. It will cover prominent religious and heritage sites in Central India. According to IRCTC spokesperson Siddharth Singh, the journey will start from Delhi’s Safdarjung Railway Station. “The tour will showcase two important jyotirlingas: Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple in Maharashtra's Nasik and Grishneshwar in Aurangabad, Shirdi Sai and Shani temples, and UNESCO World Heritage site Ellora Caves in a four nights and five days tour,” he remarked.
It's being equipped with a number of features, including two fine-dining restaurants, a modern kitchen, shower cubicles in coaches, sensor-based washroom functions, and a foot massager. The air-conditioned train offers two types of accommodation: first and second AC. It also comprises security features like CCTV cameras. Additionally, IRCTC has deployed private guards on the train.
For domestic tourists, package costs start from Rs24,120, inclusive of on-board and off-board meals, train fares, monument entry fees, hotel stay/arrangements at Shirdi (two nights), guided excursions with English-speaking tour escorts in air-conditioned buses, and travel insurance for passengers.
Bookings have been restricted to 120 people against the train’s actual capacity of 156 people. Additionally, the IRCTC will provide safety kits to each tourist on-board: face-mask, face-shield, hand-gloves, and a sanitiser. Consistent temperature-checks of tourists and staff, train sanitisation at halt stations, and other precautions will be ensured. The kitchen and restaurants will be sanitised after every meal as well.
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