Come May 20, 2023, eastern India’s first Bharat Gaurav Special Tourist Train – Jyotirlinga Yatra – will embark on its inaugural run from Kolkata station.
This special train is a part of the Government of India’s initiative Dekho Apna Desh. The entire trip would take 12 days.
According to Zafar Azam, group general manager, IRCTC, Kolkata, the special train will cover five jyotirlingas – Omkareshwar, Mahakaleshwar, Somnath, Nageswar and Trimbakeswar —along with some other tourist spots, including the Statue of Unity. “The entire trip would take around 12 days and tourists will be provided with all amenities,” Azam added.
The packages have been divided into three categories – economy (315 seats), 3AC (297 seats) and 2 AC (44 seats). The cost of the packages are Rs 20,060, Rs 31,800 and Rs 41,600 per person respectively.
“Once on-board, IRCTC will take care of the passengers’ hotel accommodation, arrangement of cars to ferry them to the darshan sites and back to the train,” Azam said.
Passengers travelling on 2AC and 3 AC coaches would be provided with AC accommodation and commutes. “However, only vegetarian food will be served during the journey, but passengers may purchase non-veg food on their own,” said Arun Arora, general manager, Eastern Railway.
In order to lure more and more tourists and devotees, apart from these facilities, passengers can also opt for the EMI option while booking tickets and IRCTC has tied up with some private financial institutions to work out the logistics.
“If a family of four is planning a trip and opt for 2AC, the total amount would be more than Rs 1.60 lakh. Paying the amount up front might be challenging for some, but they can opt for the EMI scheme and pay the amount in instalments over two years,” said Arora adding similar trains for Sufi and Christian tourist spots might be launched in future.
Indian Railways is offering about 33% concession on rail tourism under the Bharat Gaurav train scheme. Tickets can be purchased from the IRCTC website.