Ramayana Express: After getting a good response for the first Ramayana Express, starting on November 14, from Delhi to Chennai, Indian Railways is now likely to launch three more Ramayana Express train services from different parts of the country. According to officials quoted in an HT report, while most of the special tourist trains generally have an occupancy of 50% to 60%, for the inaugural ride of the Ramayana Express, seats were sold out within 15 days after the train was announced on 7 July. The ‘Ramayana circuit’, covers iconic destinations, associated with the epic- Ramayan.
The e-ticketing and catering arm of the national transporter, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is now launching similar train services from Rajkot, Jaipur and Madurai. All these train services will cover Ayodhya, which is the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram. Moreover, the trains will cover other locations such as Hanuman Garhi, Ramkot and the Kanak Bhawan temple. All these trains will stop at Nandigram, Janakpur, Sitamarhi, Varanasi, Prayag, Shringaverpur, Chitrakoot, Hampi, Nasik and Rameshwaram or the nearest railway stations to these destinations. A senior IRCTC official was quoted saying that Indian Railways will facilitate trips by road from the railway station to the pilgrimage sites. Moreover, as per the demand from passengers, the national transporter may add different boarding points and stops as well.
According to the IRCTC official, the demand for the Ramayana circuit has prompted the railways to introduce more trains covering the route. He said that the train from Madurai will also cover Darbhanga, Nasik, Devipatinam and Thirupullani. The one from Jaipur will start on November 22. The train will come to Delhi picking up passengers from Alwar and Rewari and then it will proceed to start the Ramayana journey. It would be either called Ramayana Yatra or Shri Ramayana express, the official said. The Ramayana Express train from Rajkot will start on December 7. Also, Indian Railways is exploring the possibility of launching more Ramayana Express trains, he added. The Madurai Ramayana Express train, which is also scheduled for its inaugural run on November 14, will charge Rs 15,830 per passenger.
Another IRCTC official said that the Ramayana Express train from Rajkot will have boarding points in Surendranagar, Sabarmati, Viramgam, Anand, Godhra, Vadodara, Dahod and Meghnagar. All the Ramayan Express trains will have sleeper class coaches with a room for as many as 800 passengers. Meanwhile, passengers who are interested in a separate Sri Lanka-leg have an option to travel to Colombo from Chennai by flight.