IRCTC introduces ‘Companion Travel Free’ package on Mahaparinirvan Express
According to a railways press release, on the occasion of India’s Independence Day, the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) is offering an attractive ‘Companion Travel Free’ package for Indians travelling on the Buddhist pilgrimage train, Mahaparinirvan Express. The seven nights / eight days ‘Companion Travel Free’ tour will commence on October 5, 2013, from Delhi’s Safdarjung Railway Station, and will also conclude there. The all-inclusive cost for two people is Rs 70,000/- for AC First Class, and Rs 57,000/- for AC 2 Tier Class.
The package cost includes the train travel, hotel accommodation, road transportation in AC Deluxe buses, all meals, sightseeing, entrance fee, tour guide service, travel insurance, onboard security, etc.
The tour itinerary is like this: Delhi-Gaya (Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir)-Varanasi (Sarnath)-Gorakhpur (Kushinagar, Lumbini)-Gonda (Sravasti)-Agra-Delhi. The journey includes a visit to Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Sarnath, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Lumbini (Nepal), Sravasti and Agra.
Buddhist pilgrimage train
The Mahaparinirvan Express is a special Buddhist pilgrimage train that connects places that are holy for Buddhists such as Lumbini where Buddha was born and Bodhgaya where Buddha attained enlightenment. It takes tourists from India and abroad on a spiritual tour through Buddhist India. The train is named after the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, a Buddhist scripture that contains episodes from the last few months of Buddha’s life on earth and explains his teachings with reference to these.
The Mahaparinirvan Express is a fully air-conditioned train operated by the Indian Railways.