October 12, 2021 3:49:20 am
The Railways has decided to open the premium Buddhist Circuit train for domestic travellers, renaming it the ‘Dekho Apna Desh AC Deluxe Tourist Train’. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) – which operates the train – has devised several special routes between October and December, such as, the Ramayan, the Northeast, and Char Dham Yatra circuits.
On the N-E circuit, the premium train will take 150 people to explore five North-Eastern states. The first 15 days-14 nights’ trip leaves Delhi on November 26, said Achyut Singh, Joint General Manager,Tourism, IRCTC.
An all-inclusive journey will cost around Rs 1 lakh per person, and only the fully vaccinated will be allowed on-board, Singh said.
The idea behind opening the premium train to domestic travellers is to offset the losses as Covid forced closure of borders to international tourists. Officials believe the full season footfall – matching pre-covid levels may not return until next year. They believe that the Buddhist Circuit Train, which largely catered to foreigners from South East Asia looking to explore all sites related to the life of Buddha (even covering Lumbini in Nepal), won’t be much in demand for another season.
“The response has been good so far,” Singh said. “We had full bookings for the Char Dham Yatra earlier this month, and are also fully booked for the coming Ramayana Circuit which is scheduled post-Diwali. The slots for North-East are also filling fast.”
(The reporter was in Bodh Gaya on the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism and IRCTC)
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