Special tour package for south India

LUCKNOW: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has proposed a special `South Bharat Darshan Yatra’ for 14 nights/15 days at Rs 7,695 per person. The departure of the train will be from Delhi, Safdarjung on January 10, 2011.

The train will pass through Moradabad, Bareilly, Hardoi, Lucknow (arrival at 19:15 hrs and departure at 19:30 hrs), Varanasi (arrival at 01:00 hrs and departure at 01:10 hrs), Gaya, Puri, Tirupati, Rameswaram, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Bangalore and Manmad (Shirdi). The train will return to Delhi on January 24, 2011 at 20:50 hrs via Lucknow (arrival at 09:00 hrs).


Railways plan around the country trip in 12 days

LUCKNOW: There is still time to go when `Bharat darshan’ train will take passengers around the country literally. Those willing to be on-board can book a ticket. The train has been proposed by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). It will run for 12 days beginning August 28. The package cost for the train is Rs 6,156 per person. The train will depart from New Delhi on August 28 and will pass through Moradabad, Bareilly, Lucknow (arrival at 0200 hours and departure at 0210 hours), Puri, Ganga Sagar (Kolkata), Gaya, Varanasi, Allahabad, Indore and New Delhi. It will return via Lucknow on September 8 (arrival at 1000 hours) to Delhi on the same day.

Those willing to know more about the train can contact IRCTC regional office, Lucknow at 0522-2305566 and 2305522 or can log on to the website http://www.railtourismindia.com, said an official release from IRCTC. There are also some facilities provided for this train, like confirmed train tickets in sleeper class, accommodation facilities at various places, all vegetarian meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner and sight seeing at all the above mentioned places by a non-AC vehicle.


Tourists bring ‘Bharat Tirth’ trains to Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI: The inflow of tourists from northern states to pilgrim centres in the state seems to have encouraged railways to introduce as many as eight ‘Bharat Tirth’ tourist train routes into the state.

The trains link pilgrim centres like Kancheepuram and Madurai with other centres in the north. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is expected to operate tourist trains from time to time.

“These are the routes through which the tourist trains will be operated. The trains may be planned like the Bharat Darshan trains that are run periodically by the corporation,” said an IRCTC official. The details would be known only later, he said.
A senior railway official said that there is good inflow of tourists, especially senior citizens, from north Indian towns like Mathura, Gaya, Jaipur and others to Rameswaram, Kancheepuram, Madurai.

“The trains covering these routes will make tourist movement hassle-free. The Bharat Darshan trains are highly popular. Recently, IRCTC also introduced special tourist trains linking the Buddhist circuit. Discussions were held with Sri Lankan officials to lure pilgrims from the island nation,” said an official of IRCTC.

In addition to luring more tourists to Tamil Nadu, the railway budget has also announced trains connecting Howrah with Puducherry.

Mamata Banerjee, in her speech mentioned that Aurobindo Ashram was the reason for introducing trains from West Bengal to the Union territory. “Several people travel from West Bengal to Chennai to visit Aurobindo Ashram. Now, they can travel direct to Punducherry,” said a railway official.


Railways to unveil special tourism package

MYSORE: For the ensuing holiday season, the Railways will unveil a special tourism package originating from Mysore to different parts of South India.

Buoyed by the response to its tourism promotion, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to include Mysore — a major tourist centre — as the embarking point for different tours to be launched by the corporation in due course.

Speaking to The-Hindu, S. Gagarin, Chief Regional Manager, IRCTC, South Western Railways, said the package tours will be launched by the second or third week of December and tourists visiting Mysore who wish to venture and explore further south at an affordable rate, as also people of Mysore and surrounding region, can avail themselves of the facility.

The package has been well designed and for the tourists hard-pressed for time as also those looking for a break, and it includes confirmed train tickets, transportation apart from lodging and boarding. “Catering to the residents of Mysore, IRCTC will roll out a new package operational to Chennai-Puducherry-Mahabalipuram-Tirupati-Kanchipuram” circuit”, Mr. Gagarin said.

Giving details of the itinerary which will become operational from December, he said the Mysore-Puducherry-Mahabalipuram-Tirupati-Kanchipuram trip will be covered in five nights and six days. Mr. Gagarin said the prices were competitive with assured accommodation on trains and onward journey by road apart from accommodation.

The IRCTC is also coming out with the rail tour packages for Madurai-Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram circuit with embarkation by train no. 6732 Tuticorin Express. This package will be operational by January 2010. These are special packages to cater to special needs of the tourists, said Mr. Gagarin and pointed out that in addition there were other packages from Mysore, which had proved to be popular.

This includes the Mysore-Tirupati package and also Bangalore-Shirdi package for which however, the boarding point is Bangalore. Mr. Gagarin said the pilgrimage circuit to Shirdi was immensely popular and there was daily departure by the Karnataka Express, and people of Mysore could avail themselves of it.

A few more circuits could be rolled out in future depending on the response to the new packages, said Mr. Gagarin who pointed out that IRCTC — which is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Indian Railways — was on the fast-track to develop rail-based tourism in India ( http://www.railtourismindia.com) and was hence exploring new vistas to spread its footprint and make itself the obvious choice for tourists.


Rlys to help book taxis, hotel rooms soon

Mumbai: If things work as planned, by the end of this year Railways will introduce a three-digit number, 138, which can be dialled from any mobile number to book taxi service and hotel accommodation anywhere in the country.

“People travelling to different places in the country are interested in knowing whether their respective train is scheduled on time, which platform the train will halt and the position of their coach on the platform. Many passengers who do not have an access to internet want to make quick booking of taxis outside the station and get good hotel accommodation,” said Rakesh Tandon, managing director of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

“We intend to introduce a service which will provide these and many more facilities for the passengers. This is likely to be introduced before the end of this year as it is being tried on experimental basis in New Delhi,” said Tandon.

Recently, the Railways introduced three-digit number 139 on which passengers can send an SMS to know the status of their ticket. “Passengers having wait-listed ticket or an RAC booking can send an SMS on 139 and can know whether their ticket has been confirmed,” said Tandon.

Not only this, the railways is also working towards the huge amount of garbage generated from the trains daily. “According to a recent survey, we have found that after any two meals – breakfast and lunch or evening snacks and dinner – every coach generates around 15kg garbage every day. We offer catering services on 800 trains in the country.

Even if we consider 14 coaches per train, the amount of garbage multiplies manifold. However, railways have only 600 nominated points across the country for dumping this garbage,” said Tandon, adding, “We plan to introduce a solid waste management programme which will use non-burning technology on the train itself.”