The Route of the Ramayana Express will be covered in two sections , one in India and the other one Sri Lanka. Add onn feature for flying from India to Sri Lanka are also provided in this journey.
In India, the Ramayana Express train will cover the following places: Ayodhya, Nandigram, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayag (Allahabad), Shringverpur, Chitrakoot, Nasik, Hampi and Rameshwaram where as in In Sri Lanka, the train will cover Colombo, Candy and Nuwara Eliya.
The Shri Ramayana Express (The entire journey will be covered in 16 days and will consist of 800 passengers onboard. Out of these, 40 will be travelling only till Sri Lanka)
The fares for the Ramayana Express are not available yet. Last year, the fare for the Indian part of the journey was 15,120 INR, while for the Sri Lanka part it was 36,970 INR. The fares are expected to remain almost the same this year & exclude airfare)
Significance of Lord Ram & Ramayana Express
Lord Ram has a special place in Hindu mythology, with Lord Ram being one of the most worshipped gods in Hindu religion (he is considered to be superhuman GOD of truth and Indians live with it as way of life). The mythology and the epic written by Valmiki and others states that when Lord Ram was sent on an exile along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, he travelled all across India before finally reaching Lanka (current Sri Lanka) to rescue his wife from the evil Ravana. Many temples have been erected across the country, marking the presence of Lord Rama during his journey
Shri Ramayana Express Tour – facilities
Train journey of IRCTC is the sleeper class in the Bharat Darshan tourist train.The tour package would include vegetarian meals. The tour package would include the night stay and wash and change in Dharamshala or similar sharing style. The tour would include all transfers and sightseeing in vehicles. IRCTC Tour manager would always have attendants inside the train.Security guards would be deployed in trains.Registered Tour Escorts approved by Department of Tourism would accompany guests in every tourist destination.The tour package would also include travel insurance and all applicable taxes & basic First aid.
Shri Ramayana Express in India – Destinations
The Ramayana Express will start from Safdarjung Railway Station and then go on to cover various destinations in India and Sri Lanka. In the Indian part of the journey, devotees will be able to visit Ayodhya, Nandigram, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayag (Allahabad), Shringverpur, Chitrakoot, Nasik, Hampi and Rameshwaram.
Ayodhya – Ayodhya, the historic city, is mainly considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram and pivotal land of beginning and end of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Lord Rama was born in this city and many temples were built in the city to worship Lord Ram, who was known as a man of truth and karma (SATYA PURUSHA). The ancient city was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom and is one of the seven most important Hindu pilgrimage destinations in India. It is believed that the birthplace of Lord Ram was secured and conserved by a temple and was known as Ram Janambhoomi which was believed to be demolished by Mughal Emperor Babur. He erected a mosque on the site. The city is situated just 8km from the city of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh and is situated on the banks of the river Saryu.
Nandigram – The location is Just 14km away from the holy city of Ayodhya lies the town Nandigram where Bharat, Lord Ram’s brother, lived while Lord Ram was on exile. Bharat wasn’t present in the kingdom when Lord Rama was exiled . After the demise of there father when Bharat returned from Maternal grand parents palace ,he was informed that he is the new king of Kosala kingdom . After knowing the truth of his fathers demise and brothers exile Bharat was extremely hurt, Bharat travelled to Chitrakut to convince Lord Ram to return to the kingdom and rule. Despite Bharat’s hearty requests, Lord Ram refused to return to the kingdom (since his exile was rendered by his own father and rama was satyapurush man of words). Then Bharat asked Lord Ram to give him his wooden sandals (Kharau) and told that he would worship Lord Ram’s sandals and rule the kingdom on his behalf but he won’t live the luxury of the king& upon returned he chose Nandigram a secluded location for his residency . It was in Nandigram that the Bharat lived for the next 14 years and worshipped the sandals of Lord Ram. Upon Lord Ram’s return from exile, Bharat welcomed him to the kingdom where Lord Ram was coroneted as king. There is a temple in Nandigram which reflects the devotion of Bharat and his love for Lord Rama which exhibits truth of brotherhood and relationship (way of life and relationship aspect).
Janakpur – A peaceful and religious city of Janakpur is located in Nepal, in proximity to the Indian border, Janakpur is believed to the birthplace of Sita and the place where Sita got married to Lord Ram. Janakpur was the capital city of King Janak’s kingdom. The location is famous for the Janaki temple which is believed to have its own mythological significance and is a major Hindu pilgrimage destination. The city is a perfect example of the blend of Indian and Nepalese culture. The city was the capital of the Mithila Kingdom. The city holds an ancient artistic traditions in connection with Mother Sita and Lord Ram and few other spots can be seen in the city like vivahmandap, dhanushdham etc. Nepal is a Hindu country and their devotion to Sita can be easily observed in numerous paintings and wall murals depicting the grand marriage of Sita with Lord Ram. We can observe the city has one or two temples dedicated to Hindu gods and the ancient land of gods now serve as a museum for Hindu devotion. Janaki temple devoted to Sita is the largest temple dedicated to Sita and one of the most important Hindu temples after Ayodhya. There are few other important Hindu temples like Mahadev temple and Dulaha temple which serve as sightseeing locations.
Varanasi / Kashi – One of the oldest cities in India and an important Hindu pilgrimage destination in the country, Varanasi is also one of the major tourist destination amongst Hindus & Jains in India. The settlement holds its traces as Kashi &can be observed back to 11th century. In Hindu religion, it is believed that the city of Varanasi is the road to salvation and many people take refuge in the city in their dying days to seek salvation here in this holy land and river . An abode of Hindu God Shiva (the god who provides solace after dealth), Varanasi’s divinity can be felt presence of River Ganges and amplified with the divine spiritual aura all around. Ganges a holy river is believed to have the strength to wash of all your sins. The famous temple of Kashi Vishwanath, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the major tourist attractions in Varanasi. The temple is made of gold and is known for its spiritual sanctity. Other major attractions are Sankat Mochan temple which is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Tulsi Manas temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman.
Allahabad / Prayag – One of the most sacred and ancient cities in India, Allahabad is the city with its inherent mythologicial, cultural, historic and religious sanctity.Prayag is situated on the confluence of three holy rivers – Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. As per the holy epic Ramayana (based upon Valmiki Ramayana), the city of Prayagrajis said to be holy land where Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman spent some days before proceeding to Chitrakoot. In the epic, it states that Prayagraj is a small village with few huts for rishi huts at the confluence of the rivers. The town is one of the four locations of the famous Kumbh Mela. Organised once every 12 years, Kumbh Mela is the record holder of the largest religious gathering. Most historic is its confluence of rivers i.e., called as Sangam. There is a belief a holy dip in this region would wash away all the sins of mankind. On the request of Saint Bharadway lord Rama and accompanying Laxman and Sita stayed here for some time during the time of there exile.
Shringverpur – The scenic location with mismerizing view crossed river ganga from this location of Sringverpur in Uttar Pradesh along with his brother and consort Sitawhile he was in exile. Relatively unknown village have gained importance due to the circuit promotion and name mentioned in the Epic . The town is mentioned as the Kingdom of Nishadraj and the excavation of the town unearthed the remains of a temple dedicated to Shringi Rishi. Before leaving for Jungle with the request oKinf Nishadraj Lord Rama stayed in the village for a night. The famous tourist location in Shringverpur are the Ram Chaura, Shanta Devi temple and Shringi Rishi Samadhi.
Chitrakoot – A village of religious importance, Chitrakoot is situated on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, sharing the area with both the states. It is the same town where Bharat, the brother of Lord Ram, followed Lord Ram and tried persuading Lord Ram into returning back to the kingdom. Lord Ram also got to know about his father’s death in the same town and he performed King Dashrath’s last rites in presence of all the goddess and gods.
Nasik / Panchvati –At the time of his exile, Lord Ram stayed at Panchvati in Dandaka Forests from Chitrakoot. Today the Panchvati is identifies as a region in Nasik. The area is situated on the banks of river Godavari, Nasik is a spiritual destination amongst Hindus and we find Hindu temples devoted to Lord Ram. Nasik is the only location that hasLakshman temple and a cave named after Sita, where Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita are maintained with the belief as they prayed to Lord Shiva. Near the cave lies the LakshmanRekha, where Ravana abducted Sita. The name Panchvatiis derived from 5 banyan trees which existed at the Lord Rama. The present name of the town Nasik is derived from the site where Lakshman cut the nose of Surpanakha.
Hampi – Hampi is one of the major tourist attraction in South India. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Hampihas numerous Hindu temples. The capital of the Vijayanagar empire, Hampi was a town of rich heritage & holds special narration in the epic Ramayana. It subscribes that in this Lord Ram and Lakshman met Lord Hanuman while they were searching for Sita. Many of the places mentioned in the epics can be found here in Hampi. Hampi is known for its grand style of architecture dating back to the Vijayanagar Empire. Hampi is believed to the kingdom of monkeys. The Anjaneya Hills across the river is believed to be the holy site where Anjana gave birth to Lord Hanuman. The location where Hanuman first met Lord Ram is called as Rishimukh Island and amongst Hindus this is a pious and holy location. Sugreeva’s cave can be spotted on the banks of the river while approaching Vittala temple. Hampiis having many tales of the era.
Rameshwaram – This town in situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram is located on the Pamban Island, separated by the Pamban Channel from the mainland India. It is just 50 km from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. Rameshwaram is the terminating point of the Shri Ramayan Express Tour India Part, hereafter we come to Chennai and connect flight to Sri Lanka. Combining r with Kashi, Rameshwaram is considered to be the holiest places in Hindu religion and it is also a major location of Char DhamYatra. In Ramayana, is is inscribed that Lord Ram and his army arrived at the shores of Rameshwaram seeing a route across the sea to reach the kingdom of Ravana, Lanka. It is said Hanumana being the son of God took leap and crossed the shores to reach Srilanka. Rameshwaram to Srilanka Lord Rama built a bridge so that his army could reach Ravana and lanka. At this location Ravan’s brother Vibhishan abandoned his brother to join Lord Ram’s army. One of the 12 sacred Shivajyotilingam is said to be prayed and found in the temple Ramanathaswamy in Rameshwaram.