Kathmandu, Jun 23 (IANS): The much-hyped Ramayana Circuit train, carrying as many as 500 Indian Hindu pilgrims, arrived in Nepal's Janakpur on Thursday.
Chief Minister of Nepal's Madesh province, Lalbabu Raut welcomed the passengers on board the 14-coach Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train, which was jointly flagged off from New Delhi on Tuesday Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw and Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy.
It is a first of its kind tourist train covering the Ramayana Circuit in India and Nepal. The Prime Ministers of India and Nepal had jointly flagged off a train connecting Jaynagar in India to Kurtha in Nepal on April 2.
Several people from diverse backgrounds welcomed the pilgrims in Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita. Lord Rama of Ayodhya had married Sita of Janakpur, according to a famous Hindu epic, Ramayana.
The tourists were overwhelmed by the grand reception-cum-welcome ceremony organised in their honor, according to the Indian Councilor Office in Birgunj.
The Indian government had launched an initiative to join all the major places related to Lord Ram and Sita and developed the Ramayana Circuit.
Nepal and India had long ago agreed to build the Ramayana Circuit in order to promote the Hindu religion.
Ramayana Circuit is one of the 15 thematic circuits identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Ministry of Tourism of India and Nepal has asked to join it.
During his visit to Janakpur in May 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his then Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli jointly flagged off a passenger bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya, the first official connection between Nepal and India under the scheme.
Nepal Tourism Board was working to finalize the project and routes under the circuit but it got delayed due to Covid pandemic.
The tourists who arrived on Thursday, will visit the Janaki Temple, witness a cultural programme and participate in Ganga Aarti.
On Friday, they will visit Janakpurdham and proceed to Sitmarhi by Road for onward journey on the Ramayana Circuit route by Bharat Gaurav Train.