To take people on the path of enlightenment, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) Bharat Gaurav Train concept has launched a Buddhist circuit tourist train on its spiritual journey.
In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Buddha tells his followers that merit and great rebirth can be attained by making pilgrimages to the places where he was born – Lumbini, where he attained enlightenment – Bodhgaya, where he first taught – Sarnath, and where he attained nirvana – Kushinagar.
The Buddhist tourist train takes people to these destinations and helps them experience first-hand the self-disciplined and legendary life of Lord Buddha.
India, the birthplace of Buddhism, has rich memories of Buddhist heritage. As part of its drive towards asceticism, the only forms of art and architecture it supported were stupas (stone shields commemorating the relics of the Buddha), chaityas (prayer halls) and viharas (cells for monks). Buddhist Train India will help you visit all these places nearby for a truly religious experience.
The seven-night and eight-day journey began on March 11 from Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station. This is the first departure of the tourist train after the Covid-19 pandemic. The journey will end on March 18 at Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station.
During the journey, the train journey will cover nine places in India and Nepal, which had a significant influence on the Buddha’s life and teachings. The Buddhist tourist train takes tourists to these places and helps them experience the self-disciplined and legendary life of Lord Buddha.
The train has two types of classes – AC 1st Class, and AC 2nd Class. A total of 96 guests can be accommodated in First AC while 60 guests are allowed in Second AC class, Financial Express reported.
The train starts from Delhi on the first day and reaches Bodh Gaya on the second day, the place where Buddhism originated. All pilgrims and followers of Buddhism love this place and the legends associated with it. They often go here on a Bodh Gaya tour also known as a Buddha Gaya tour. Lord Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree and wandered along the banks of the Phalgu river in search of answers. Three days and three nights of meditation helped him attain enlightenment and gather insight into humanity and the common. On the third day, it takes people to Nalanda, which is located 72 km from Patna and is part of the Buddhist circuit, which also includes Rajgir and Bodh Gaya.
It is famous for the Sun Temple and Hyun Tsang Memorial Hall, both popular destinations of Nalanda Buddhist tourism. The Surya Mandir has a 5 feet high idol of Goddess Parvati which is the main attraction of the devotees. The temple comes alive during the Chhat Pooja held here twice a year.
On the fourth day, the IRCTC Buddha Varanasi Yatra train takes you to the holy city of Varanasi which is also known as Banaras and Kashi. According to legend, Buddha gave his first sermon here and set the wheel of religion in motion. The city has been patronized by many emperors who supported different ideologies and cultures, including Adi Shankar, who worshiped Shiva, and Akbar, who built two large temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.
It will enter Nepal Lumbini in five days. Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is located a few kilometers from Kathmandu near the Indian border. The nearest airport is at Bhairahawa, which can be reached by road. The place has now been developed as a Buddhist shrine where the ancient relics of Lord Buddha still remain.
Kushinagar is next on the travel list. Reaches Kushinagar on the sixth day. It is a pilgrimage site located in the beautiful state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located in northern India a few kilometers from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). This place is famous because the great Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. It is one of the top four famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
For the next seven days, the train stops at Sravasti. It is a city in Uttar Pradesh. It was the capital of the ancient Indian kingdom of Kosala and the place where the Buddha stayed most of the time after attaining his enlightenment. It is located in the northeastern part of Uttar Pradesh, India along the Rapti River, close to the border with Nepal.
Finally, on Day 8, the train takes people to Agra, Uttar Pradesh’s most populous city on the banks of the Yamuna. It is a major tourist destination due to its many UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Taj Mahal, Agra, Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
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