Ramayan Railway Circuit
Why in news? With Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ visit to India, Ramayana Circuit is expedited to strengthen the religious and cultural ties between India and Nepal.
- The Indian Railways created history with its first ‘Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train’ to retrace the epic Ramayana not only across the length and breadth of India but also in neighbouring country Nepal in a historical first.
- The train would cover the sites associated with Ramayan under the Ministry of Tourism’s Swadesh Darshan scheme
- Ayodhya will be the first stop among the Ramayan sites that the circuit and train will go to Bihar’s Buxar, ashram of Vishwamitra and Ramrekha Ghat on the Ganga.
- It also covers Nepal’s Janakpur from Jainagar in Bihar’s Madhubani district.
The significance of Nepal connection
- India and Nepal have deep religious and culture links.
- Besides Nepal being important to Ramayana, the two countries are also bound by Buddhist links. Both of these links are central to India’s diplomatic as well as people-to-people ties with Nepal.
- It is for the first time that a tourist train would enter Nepal’s Janakpur from India.
About ‘Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train’
- To showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and magnificent historical places to the people of India and the world, the Indian Railways will operate Bharat Gaurav Tourist Trains (Theme- based Tourist Circuit trains).
- Launched in November 2021, under the scheme, trains now have a third segment for tourism. Till now, the Railways had passenger segments and goods segments.
- These trains are not regular trains that will run as per a timetable but will be more on the lines of the Ramayana Express being run by the IRCTC.
- It was announced under the theme-based tourist circuit trains. These trains will be run by both private players and IRCTC, in theme-based circuits.
- Anyone, from societies, trusts, consortia and even state governments can apply to take these trains and run them on special tourism circuits based on a theme.
Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- Swadesh Darshan, a Central Sector Scheme, was launched in 2014 -15 for integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country.