New Delhi/Guwahati, Mar 21 (IANS): The Bharat Gaurav train was launched by the Indian Railways on Tuesday for the northeast to explore the beauty of the picturesque mountainous region.
Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Meenakashi Lekhi, flagged off the specially-designed train with the theme 'North East Discovery: Beyond Guwahati', which will cover the northeastern states of the country, from Delhi's Safdarjung station.
Speaking on the occasion, Lekhi said: "This train holds special significance as it is getting started on the eve of Chaitra Navratri/Gudi Padwa. I extend my greetings to all. It is indeed a gift for all of us."
The train in its 15-day tour would cover Guwahati, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Kaziranga in Assam, Unakoti, Agartala and Udaipur in Tripura, Dimapur and Kohima in Nagaland and Shillong and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya.
Travelling roughly 5,800 km over 14 nights and 15 days, the train's first stop is Guwahati where tourists would visit the Kamakhya temple followed by the Umananda Temple and a sunset cruise on the Brahmaputra.
The train will then depart for an overnight journey to Naharlagun railway station, which is 30 km from the next destination Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.
The next city to follow is Sivasagar - the old capital of the Ahom Kingdom in eastern Assam.
The famous Shiva temple at Sivasagar, Sivadol, is part of the itinerary besides other heritage sites.
The tea gardens at Jorhat and an overnight stay at Kaziranga will be followed by an early morning jungle safari at the Kaziranga National Park.
The tourists travelling in the train would be able to see Tripura's famous heritage site of Unakoti, the famed Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala, water palace Neermahal and Tripura Sundari temple in Sepahijala and Gomati districts, respectively.
Post Tripura, the train will move to Dimapur in Nagaland. The scenic surroundings between Badarpur and Lumding can be witnessed by the passengers in the early hours of the morning from their seats.
From Dimapur station, the tourists will be taken to Kohima by bus for visiting the local sites, including a tour of the Khonoma village to experience the Naga way of life.
The next halt will be Guwahati from where the tourists will be taken to Shillong by road with a pit stop at the Umiam Lake.
The next day will start with an excursion to Cherrapunji nestled in the East Khasi Hills. Shillong Peak, Elephant falls, Nawkhalikai falls and Mawsmai caves are part of the day's sightseeing schedule.
Northeast Frontier Railway's (NFR) Chief PRO Sabyasachi De said that from Cherrapunji, the tourists would travel back to Guwahati to board the train for the return journey to reach Delhi's Safdarjung station.