A sneak peek into Ramayana Express: Chants of Jai Shree Ram, bhajans and morehttps://indianexpress.com/photos/india-news/aboard-the-ramayana-express-there-are-bhajans-chants-of-jai-shri-ram-and-more-5464617/

A sneak peek into Ramayana Express: Chants of Jai Shree Ram, bhajans and more

In the course of 16 days, the passengers of Ramayana Express are to cover 8,080 km on the Indian Railways’s ‘Ramayana circuit’, from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, covering major destinations associated with Lord Ram.

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

On November 14, the Shri Ramayana Express took off from New Delhi’s small Safdarjung Station, with its first 800 passengers. Each carried a saffron stole, prayer book and beads, and the “blessings” of characters from Ramlila — both arranged by the Railways. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

Passengers of Ramayan Express welcomed at Faizabad railway station. In the course of 16 days, they are to cover 8,080 km on the Indian Railways’s ‘Ramayana circuit’, from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, covering major destinations associated with Lord Ram. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

The Rs 15,120-tour package covers travel, food and accommodation. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

Also on board the 15 coaches were three railway staff members, 15 coach managers, 14 security guards, six cleaners, 30 food servers, and 20 cooks and pantry boys. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

With the coaches settling down for the night, some passengers look for open windows to hang out wet clothes that they have washed at the dharamshala earlier in the day, including underwear, from the grills. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

The menu on board is also simple and unvarying: an estimated 4,000 paranthas from 100 kg of wheat flour, 50 kg of rice, 30 kg of daal and 15 kg of curry, every meal; plus tea, coffee and biscuits through the day. No meal served would have onion or garlic, in line with this being a religious pilgrimage. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

The women who don’t know each other from before have quickly come together to sing the aartis, and will continue to do so in the days to come (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

Mornings on the train begin early, at 4 am, with long queues already at the sink and toilets. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

The passengers are herded onto 20 rickety buses for the 60-km bumpy journey to Janakpur in Nepal, where Sita and Ram are said to have got married. But not all can be accommodated. They are told they would have to wait two hours for more buses to arrive, some troop to Suraj Deb’s paan shop. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Aboard the Ramayana Express, there are Bhajans, chants of Jai Shri Ram and more

Sixty-two trains halt at Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad Junction railway station, 10 km from Ayodhya, each day. The Ramayana Express is to have a 36-hour halt here, to allow the passengers a chance to visit the Ram Janmabhoomi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)