Indian Railways on November 14 launched the holy tour of Shri Ramayana Express which will cover all the major destinations associated with Lord Ram. The Shri Ramayana Tour will have two legs, one in India and the other half in Sri Lanka. Tourists can choose either from the two packages – The complete tour or just Indian leg.
Lord Ram holds special significance in Hindu Mythology, with Lord Ram being one of the most worshipped gods in Hindu religion. The mythology states that when Lord Ram was sent on an exile along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman traveled all across India eventually leading to Lanka (current Sri Lanka) to rescue his wife from the evil Ravana. Many temples have been constructed across the country, marking the presence of Lord Rama during his voyage. IRCTC, in order to cater to the needs of devotees of Lord Ram, launched Shri Ramayana Express that will cover most of the important destinations associated with Lord Rama. The tour will also cover destinations in Sri Lanka. However, if you opt for the Sri Lankan leg, you would have to board a flight from Chennai to Colombo.
The Shri Ramayana Express Tour was launched on November 14 by the current Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal who congratulated the tourists traveling on the maiden voyage. The train has a seating capacity of 800 and the journey would begin from Jaipur before reaching at Safdarjung Railway Station in New Delhi. Tourists travelling on the religious tour would be accompanied by IRCTC Service Tour Manager.
Facilities Provided On The Shri Ramayana Express Tour
- Train journey in the sleeper class in the Bharat Darshan tourist train.
- The tour package would include meals which would only be vegetarian.
- The tour package would include the night stay and wash and change in Dharamshala.
- The tour would include all transfers and sightseeing in vehicles.
- IRCTC Tour manager would always be present inside the train.
- Security guards would be deployed in trains.
- Registered Tour Escorts would accompany guests in every tourist destination.
- The tour package would also include travel insurance and all applicable taxes.
Destinations Covered By Shri Ramayana Express in Indian Leg
The train would originate from the pink city, Jaipur at 10 in the morning before entering Delhi and Lucknow. The first pilgrimage destination is Ayodhya and the train after covering all the destination reaches back to Jaipur. However, you can also deboard at Lucknow, Bareilly, Morabadab, Delhi, Alwar, Jaipur.
- Ayodhya – Ayodhya, the ancient city, is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram and setting of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Lord Rama was born in the city and many temples are built in the city to worship Lord Ram who was known as the man of honour. The ancient city was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom and is one of the seven most important Hindu pilgrimage destinations in India. It is believed that the birthplace of Lord Ram was marked by a temple and was known as Ram Janambhoomi which was believed to be demolished by Mughal Emperor Babur. He erupted a mosque on the site. The city is located just 8km from the city of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh and is situated on the banks of the river Saryu.
- Nandigram – Just 14km away from the holy city of Ayodhya lies the town Nandigram where Bharat, Lord Ram’s brother, lived while Lord Ram was on exile. Bharat wasn’t present in the kingdom when Lord Ram was exiled and when Bharat returned he was informed that he is the new king of Kosala kingdom. Greatly hurt by the news, Bharat travelled to Chitrakut to convince Lord Ram to return to the kingdom and rule. Despite Bharat’s multiple requests, Lord Ram refused to return to the kingdom. Then Bharat asked Lord Ram to give him his wooden sandals and told that he would worship Lord Ram’s sandals and rule the kingdom on his behalf but he won’t live the luxury of the king. It was in Nandigram that the Bharat lived for the next 14 years and worshipped the sandals of Lord Ram. Upon Lord Ram’s return from exile, Bharat welcomed him to the kingdom where Lord Ram was coronated as king. There is a temple in Nandigram which reflects the devotion of Bharat and his love for Lord Ram.
- Sitamarhi – Sitamarhi is a district headquarters in the state of Bihar, adjacent to Nepal. It is believed to of important mythological significance as Sita, the wife of Lord Ram, is believed to have taken birth here. Sita is believed to be an incarnation of Hindu goddess Laxmi. The town and the nearby areas are replete with the tales of Hindu epic Ramayana. Numerous temples present in Sitamarhi are dedicated to Sita and recounts events and incidents from her life. The Janki Mandir is the most famous religious pilgrimage spot in the place and is dedicated to Sita. Janki mandir is believed to be built near the spot where Sita was born. The temple also has a Janki Kund, a pond believed to be established by Sita’s father King Janak. The temple is a modern structure spread over a vast area of land and is complemented by huge gateways. The temple consists shrines of Sita, Ram, and Hanuman.
The Sri Lanka leg of the tour begins by boarding a flight to Sri Lanka where you will be taken to cities of Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.
The Shri Ramayana Express Tour is a 14 days tour package, just for Indian leg and is priced at around INR 15,500. The International tour would cost you around INR 30,000. The booking dates and ticket prices can be confirmed at the official tourism website of IRCTC, here.
Lord Ram is of great religious and philosophical significance. His era of ruling is known as Ram Rajya and it is believed that it was an era of prosperity and happiness. Till date, his teaching of social welfare and co-existing reverberates across the country and the social state of India still aims to create a welfare society similar to the teachings of Lord Ram. Many devotees of Ram wish to visit pilgrimage sites associated with Lord Ram and IRCTC has started the Shri Ramayana Tour Package to cater to those needs.
So, don’t wait and avail the benefits of the divine Shri Ramayana Express Train tour and share your experience with us.