Chennai, May 4 (UNI) Following the success of its tours in 2004 and 2005, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), joining hands with the city-based private operator Travel Times (India) announced the launch of a 16-day 'Bharat Dharshan' by train from Madurai to places of interest in North India from May 12.
V Sriram, Group General Manager, IRCTC, told reporters here that the train would be operated so that it was sustainable.
To this end, the pricing had been done in such a manner that it would approximately cost Rs one per km or Rs 500 per day including South Indian vegetarian food, buses at sightseeing spots and accomodation wherever night stay was planned, he said.
He said the train, mainly intended for the not-so-moneyed classes, who could not travel by air, would leave Madurai and return on May 27 after covering Agra, Mathura, Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Hardwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Gaya, Bodh Gaya and Allahabad.
The train would carry 504 tourists in seven sleeper coaches.
During this year, similar tourist trains would be operated between June 11 and September 18 for eight days to 21 days tour.
To a question, he said IRCTC was finalising within a couple of months, tours to hill stations involving hill trains. 'In the last two years, we have been able to run a few trains. IRCTC has the mandate to promote hill railways, which are available only in Udhagamandalam, Darjeeling and Simla,' he said.
Mr Sriram said apart from the rake that would be used for the tour, IRCTC also had another rake available for operation on specific circuits. 'Since this rake is available to us, we are also thinking of operating similar tours within the region. Most of the people who have taken the tour are above 55 and want spiritual tours.' Mr K Shivaprasad, Managing Director, Travel Times (India), said the train would start from Madurai and touch Tiruchirapalli, Villupuram, Chennai, Nellore, Vijayawada, Warangal, Nagpur, Itarsi and other wayside places and pick up tourists en-route. During the tour, several entertainment programmes including religious discourses would also be available to entertan tourists, he added.
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