The Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train, a special train service popularly known as the Mahaparinirvan Express, set off from New Delhi on its first tour of the season on Saturday, taking 52 passengers on an eight-day, seven-night spiritual tour of various destinations and landmarks of Buddhist significance in northern India and Nepal.
The special service departs from Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi, stopping at Bodh Gaya and the Mahabodhi Temple complex, Nalanda/Rajgir, Varanasi/Sarnath, Gorakhpur/Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Gonda/Sravasti. Agra is also included in the final leg of the tour, allowing passengers to visit the Taj Mahal before returning to New Delhi. The service will operate six full trips between now and March 2016.
“The package allows the travellers from abroad to explore, experience and rekindle their civilizational linkages with India. The itinerary has been hammered out in a way that makes it all-inclusive and extremely convenient for our patrons,” said Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. (IRCTC) chairman and managing director A. K. Manocha. “The travellers can visit most of the landmarks associated with Lord Buddha in a single journey.” (OneIndia)
Other departures in the 2015–16 season are 28 November, 26 December, 23 January, 27 February, and 26 March.
A passenger prepares to board the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train. From irctctourism.com
“It is a premier train owned by IRCTC and has become very popular with the pilgrims and tourist across the world. The tariff for the journey is quite competitive and is also all-inclusive,” Manocha added. (The Times of India)
IRCTC launched the Buddhist Circuit Special Train in 2007 as an all-inclusive tour package. Officials said that during the last eight seasons, the train service had attracted Buddhist pilgrims, tourists, travel agents, and tour operators from more than 35 countries.
“The Buddhist Circuit Train has been gaining popularity in international markets and it attracts clientele from China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, among others. The train fits into the scheme of those who are looking to undertake a Buddhist pilgrimage in India,” said Manocha. (OneIndia)