NEW DELHI: For Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, promoting tourism means harnessing the potential of religious tourism within the country. Taking a cue from PM Narendra Modi’s vision of tapping pilgrims, Gowda announced that his ministry would plan special pilgrim circuits.
“Special pilgrims circuits like Devi Circuit, Jyotirling Circuit, Jain Circuit, Christian Circuit, Muslim/Sufi Circuit, Sikh Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Famous Temple Circuit have been identified. I propose to introduce specially packaged trains for these circuits,” Gowda said in his speech.
As resources have been low for the country’s largest transport, the minister suggested that he would encourage private participation in this area.
“I intend to introduce some trains for pilgrims and tourists in short run also. One tourist train will run from Gadag to Pandarpur via Bagalkot, Bijapur and Solapur covering the pilgrim and tourist places of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Another such train will start from Rameshwaram covering pilgrim and tourist places such as Bangalore, Chennai, Ayodhya, Varanasi and Haridwar,” the Rail Minister said, thus covering his state and poll bound Maharashtra in a single link.
The budget announced that the ministry will even hold survey for establishing rail connectivity to Chardhams -- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamontri and Gangotri, located in Uttarakhand.
The government also plans to run a special train featuring life and work of Swami Vivekananda. Gowda also announced new trains through some of the key religious places. These places include Kamakhya, Amritsar, Nanded, Hazur Sahib, Nizamuddin, Ujjain, Sringeri, Varanasi and Katra.