New Delhi: Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Railways on Monday (October 5), launched the Buddhist Circuit Train from Delhi under the 'Swadesh Darshan' scheme.
Union Minister of State for Tourism Ajay Bhatt today flagged off the indigenous train from the Safdarjung railway station today.
"With different circuits such as Bodhya circuit, Ramayana circuit, or Char Dham circuit, 'Swadesh Darshan' scheme is an integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits for the new generation to know about their culture and history alike," said Bhatt.
"For Bodhya Circuit, wherever there are imprints of Mahatma Buddha in the country, the tourism ministry has taken a 'train' initiative that will take people to various areas associated with Buddha…This will boost tourism and make people aware of our history," added the Minister of State for Defence & Tourism.
The passenger train consists of facilities like a canteen, sanitiser machines, restaurant, etc., said Bhatt.
In collaboration with various Central Ministries and State governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Tourism is developing a Buddhist circuit across the Buddhist destinations in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, stated a press statement by the Ministry of Tourism.
The major verticals of developments under the Buddhist circuit are Connectivity, Infrastructure and logistics, Cultural research, heritage & education, Public awareness, communication & outreach.
Under the verticals mentioned above, major interventions being undertaken are the development of international airports at Kushinagar and Shravasti.
Discussing the importance of touring Indian destinations first before experiencing the global destinations, Bhatt said, "as we've such great heritage like the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train which covers the destinations Gaya-Bodhgaya, Rajgir-Nalanda in Bihar as well as Sarnath-Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh."
The Minister focused on the importance of domestic tourism for encapsulating the true spirit of the campaign 'Dekho Apna Desh'.
Ministry of Tourism has approved five projects in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh under its "Swadesh Darshan" scheme at the cost of Rs 325.53 crore, out of which development works are being done in three projects.
Two projects related to Varanasi, including a sound and light show at Dhamek Stupa Buddha Theme Park at Sarnath, are underway and cost about Rs 9.5 crores.
The Ministry of Tourism is organising a fan tour and conference of Buddhist Circuit Train from October 4 to 8, 2021. Under this program, various Buddhist places will be visited, as well as conferences will be organised in Bodh Gaya and Varanasi. About 125 delegates are participating in this event.
The event is likely to be attended by around 125 delegates, including tour operators, hoteliers, media and officials of the Ministry of Tourism and State Governments.