Rail minister flags off Buddhist circuit train "Mahaparinirvan"

PIB, Oct 6, 2007

New Delhi, India -- The Minister of Railways, Shri Lalu Prasad, has said that the Indian Railways will continue to play a major role in promoting tourism in the country. The Minister was speaking at a programme organized on the occasion of flagging off Buddhist Circuit Special Train “Mahaparinirvan” from Safdarjung station here today.

The train, introduced by Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Railways. Shri Lalu Prasad said that this special train has been introduced for the Buddhist pilgrimage from India and abroad particularly from the South Asian countries to promote tourism.

The train will take passengers to important destinations linked to the life of Buddha such as Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalandha, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Sravasti. He said that the package includes train travel, road travel, all meals, deluxe hotel facilities, sight seeing, monument entry fees, security, insurance and guide services.

The Minister informed that the travel related information for this train has been prepared in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Thai languages for the convenience of international travellers. The Minister pointed out that IRCTC is already running a “Bharat Darshan” train with a nominal fare of Rs.500 per day. More useful tour packages will be introduced for the benefit of the tourists, he added. He thanked the Ministry of Tourism for their cooperation in the project.

Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Ambika Soni, said that Railways in recent times have made tremendous progress and earned huge surplus. She pointed out that several passenger amenities introduced by Railways are helping in the promotion of tourism in a big way. She said that her department will continue to collaborate with Railways in the tourist sector.

The train covers the whole journey in eight days. The passengers will be taken to Gaya, Rajgir-Nalanda, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Lumbani in Nepal, Gonda, Agra and back to Delhi. The fare from October 2007 to March 2008 will be US$ 150, 105 and 88 for 1st AC, 2nd AC and 3rd AC respectively per person per night on twin sharing basis. In other words, the total individual fair for seven days will be US$ 1050, 735 and 616 respectively.

Tariff includes all the comforts of Rajdhani Express Air Conditioned train, which includes train journey, onboard/off board catering, house keeping, road transfer by AC vehicles, sightseeing, Darshan, visit to holy places, hotel stay in AC rooms and entrance fee at monuments. Indian passengers can pay in equivalent Rupee (INR) amount, at the exchange rate prevalent at the time of payment.

For information and booking, one can contact Email: tourticket@irctc.co.in or Market Office of IRCTC, 2nd Floor, STC Building, Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan, 1-Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi-110001. Tel./Fax: 011-23701174, 23701145-47.