Indian Railways in collaboration with IRCTC launches special tourist trains for Bharat Darshan. Every year during festive season or holidays, Indian Railways promotes a few special trains to give Indians an exclusive trip to eminent destinations. The initiative was designed to offer a flavour of the rich cultural heritage of India by taking travellers to legendary historical and religious places spread across India. IRCTC’s Bharat Darshan comes in the form of a package which includes train journey, accommodation, road transportation, sightseeing and on-board meals. These all-inclusive tours are an affordable and secure way to explore different parts of India. Bharat Darshan tours are targeted at domestic Indian tourists who wish to go on pilgrimage and visit famous temples.
This initiative is taken to provide convenient and budget-friendly travel to passengers. Hence the coaches used are mostly sleeper class with AC. Some tours, however, provide AC compartments. The tours are usually conducted by tour managers or students from reputed tourism and hotel industry colleges. With Bharat Darshan scheme, IRCTC takes care of all your travel frets and you can simply lay back and enjoy! Some of the significant Bharat Darshan trains run by IRCTC till date include:
- Astha Circuit Special Train: Astha Circuit Train initiates from Madurai and covers all eminent religious places across eastern India. Some of the important places covered through the journey include Delhi, Amritsar, Haridwar, Mathura, Allahabad, Varanasi and Gaya. It is a suitable package for those who wish to visit the birthplace of Lord Krishna and other religious destinations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Book online train ticket to avoid any last minute hassle.
- JyotirlingaDarshan: This route covers 7 Jyotirlinga temples of Ujjain (Omkareshwar and Mahakaleshwar), Dwarka (Nageshwar), Veraval (Somnath), Aurangabad (Grishneshwar) and Nasik (Bhimashankar and Trimbakeshwar). This is a spiritual tour and a favourite among pilgrims. To know about the train fareand other relevant details, check out the super cool ixigo app.
- DakshinDarshan: If you want to explore the magnificent temples and natural beauty of Southern part of India, then this package might suit you the best. DakshinDarshan tour initiates from Chandigarh covering Shirdi, Tirupati, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore and Bangalore.
- Shirdi Special: As the name suggests, the tour is designed for people keen to visit Shirdi, the eminent temple of Sai Baba. Starting from Madurai, the package covers Karur, Salem, Katpadi and Chennai Central.
Despite its convenient and economic features, Bharat Darshan tours have a few disadvantages. The tours can get tiring as they cover several destinations each day. With no air-conditioning and little privacy, the sleeper class coaches can be uncomfortable for long trips. Accommodations offered are also very basic. Overnight stays are arranged in halls and dormitory. For someone who is interested in sightseeing, the tour could be a little monotonous as it is more of a religious pilgrimage.
For train ticket booking you may visit the official website of Indian Railway reservation (IRCTC) and book online train tickets. The same will also be available offline through Indian Railways tourist facilitation centre, zonal and regional offices. These trains offer boarding and deboarding facilities at various cities and lets you explore the city as per your preference. You may check the Live ntes running status, fare, train schedule and other train details through the IRCTC website.