By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 8 Feb: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement was today signed between the Uttarakhand Tourism Department and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRTC) in the presence of Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj to run a special tourist train, Manas Express, from different cities in the country to lesser-known tourist destinations of Uttarakhand.
At contract has been signed in the presence of Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj between the Tourism Department and IRCTC to run the Manas Express from different parts of the country to little-known destinations of the state. The agreement was signed by Additional Chief Executive Officer, Dr Harish, on behalf of the Tourism Department, and Group General Manager Sunil Kumar on behalf of IRCTC.
Satpal Maharaj shared this information with the media today and stated that this is an ambitious plan of the Tourism Department, due to which the remote temples, destinations in Uttarakhand will be connected through rail connectivity. Maharaj said that the tourists/devotees reaching Uttarakhand here will be able to have darshan after reaching their final destinations by bus services after reaching the nearest Railway Station by train. He claimed that this will considerably improve the connectivity to temples and destinations designated under the Manaskhand Mala project. The Tourism Minister stressed it is a great and praiseworthy achievement. He urged the tourists to come to Manaskhand and visit Adi Kailash, Om Parvat and other sacred places in Kumaon. He said that Uttarakhandi cuisine would be served during the yatra and guides trained by the tourism department will also get employment opportunities. This train will be equipped with pictures of various destinations related to Uttarakhand, Uttarakhandi dishes, festivals, etc., so that the tourists and the pilgrims coming to these destinations can get detailed information while passing through different cities of the country. The special tourist train to run from various parts of the country will be known as Manaskhand Express. It would go a long way in promoting and popularising the Manaskhand temples and nearby destinations across the country.
Maharaj stated that the first train to visit various temples located in Manaskhand will start operating from Kolkata in April 2024. After that, trains will run from other cities as well for which preparations are underway. Maharaj revealed that the annual expenditure of the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Council would be around Rs 5 crores in running this train.
For the passengers arriving in the state by this train, Purnagiri, Hot Kalika, Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Mayawati, Baleshwar, Maneshwar, Jageshwar, Golyu Devta-Chitai, Nanda Devi, Kasar Devi, Katarmal, Almora, Nanakmatta Gurudwara, Khatima and Naina Devi, Nainital, will be the possible places they can visit. Every Manaskhand Express Train would carry up to 500 passengers. All the coaches of the train will be of Second AC category. Besides, there will also be arrangements for food during the journey in the train. Local dishes of Uttarakhand will also be served to the passengers during the journey. Hotel arrangements, excursions by buses, guides, etc., during the journey will be ensured by IRTC as a tour package.
The Tourism Minister claimed that this new effort of Uttarakhand Tourism will act as a link in taking tourists from remote areas of India to various lesser-known tourist places of Uttarakhand. In future, itineraries will also be made for Karthik Swami Temple, Rudraprayag from Tamil Nadu, Jagannath Temple from Orissa and for Uttarkashi, etc.