Luxury Sikh pilgrimage train departs from New Delhi

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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New Delhi, Dec.30 (ANI): A luxury train covering the spiritual odyssey including the five Takhts (temporal seats) of Sikhs was flagged off from New Delhi.

The nine-day journey costs between rupees 210,000 to 450,000 per person.

Despite the hefty fare, the first trip of the train witnessed full booking for all the 80 seats.

Many Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and foreign nationals from US, Canada, Germany and France boarded the train along with a good number of passengers from India.

Christened as 'A Spiritual Journey to the Gurus' Abode', it will cover the five Takhts (temporal seats) of Sikhs including Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Akal Takht, Takht Damdama Sahib, Takht Hazoor Sahib, Takht Patna Sahib.

Most of the journey and stay of the passengers will be on the luxury train apart from the section between Mumbai and Patna and the return from Patna to Delhi that would be covered by air.

Former Chairperson of National Commission for Minorities, Trilochan Singh, said the train is a welcome initiative that will boost tourism in the country.

"This is the first time that a luxury train in India has been especially organised for the tour of all the Sikh pilgrimage centres. The Sikh community has five seats (Takhts) which are called the highest seats of Sikh religion viz. Anantpur Sahib, Amritsar, Damdama Sahib, Hazoor Sahib Nanded and Patna Sahib," said Trilochan Singh.

"So this train will carry us to all the five places and we are lucky that first time such pilgrimage is being organised and that too in such a good train," he added.

Foreign Minister Preneet Kaur, Member of Parliament (MP) Ashwini Sekhri and several other politicians and industrialists from Punjab were also present on the occasion.

This train boasts of two dining cars, a well stocked bar, a spa car and business centre-cum-conference hall.

At all halts of holy places, a guided tour along with special conveyance has also been organised for the passengers. The Taj Group is in charge of catering on board.

Apart from the shrines, the passengers will also get to visit other historical places enroute at Jaipur, Agra and other places.

Following a hearty response for the initial trip, the organisers have already scheduled the next trip for March 2011. (ANI)

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