Buddhist special train to start on March 28


PATNA, India -- Railways have decided to run a Buddhist special train, Mahaparinirvan Express, to attract Buddhist pilgrims across the country.

This special train, which was earlier scheduled to start from January 12 from Chennai, will now start on March 28, 2007, from New Delhi. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is giving finishing touches to the itinerary and other details of the journey, said IRCTC managing director (MD) P K Goel.

Talking to TOI, Goel said the Buddhist special train will start its journey from New Delhi and visit several places of historical importance like Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Agra and then back to New Delhi.

During its fortnight-long trip, pilgrims will also have an opportunity to visit famous Buddhist place Lumbini in Nepal, he said.

According to IRCTC MD, it would be the second endeavour of the railways to run such a special train after the successful run of Bharat Darshan special trains. Railways intend to promote tourism in the country in a big way.

Keeping in mind the rush of Buddhist pilgrims visiting India from other countries to visit places of Buddhist interests, railways are confident that it would evoke very good response and patronage from the tourists, particularly from the foreign countries, he said.