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.