The Mahaparinirvan Express carrying both domestic and foreign tourists will chug into Odisha for two days this year on December 25.
The train will start from Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi on December 23 for Gaya and on the second day, it will touch the Bodhgaya temples in Bihar.
It will reach Haridaspur railway station at Jajpur on the third day. Sources in the Tourism Department said the tourists would be taken on sightseeing to Lalitgiri, Udayagiri and Ratnagiri in Jajpur district.
On the same day, they would be brought to the State Museum in Bhubaneswar where they can view the Buddhist tooth relics, preserved in a golden casket.
On December 26, the tourists would visit the Sun temple in Konark, sea beach in Puri and peace pagoda at Dhauli in Bhubaneswar.
After last year’s visit of Mahaparinirvan Express, the Government had urged upon the Tourism Ministry to extend the tour by one more day so that tourists can explore more Buddhist sites following which it was decided to extend the Odisha tour by one more day. Mahaparinirvan Express has a total running time of eight nights and nine days.
The special inter-state train, which promotes Buddhist tourism and covers famous Buddhist destinations in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, was extended to Odisha earlier this year.
The train is being jointly promoted by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Odisha Tourism Department.Tourism Minister, Maheswar Mohanty said steps are being taken to increase the foreign tourist footfall to Buddhist tourist spots spread across the State.
According to reports of the Archaeology wing of Culture Department, Odisha has over 324 Buddhist sites of which, 108 have remains of Buddhist establishments.
Last time, the Buddhist train was in the State for only one day on January 22.