According to The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC), the service, which this year started running on 19 October, covers key pilgrimage destinations that include: Lumbini in Nepal, the birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha; Bodh Gaya, the site where the Buddha attained enlightenment; and Sarnath, the location of the Buddha’s first sermon, Kushinagar, the place of the Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana. It also takes in other Buddhist destinations, such as Nalanda, Rajgir, and Shravasti. A stop at Agra is also included in the itinerary, allowing passengers to visit the iconic Taj Mahal, an immense mausoleum of white marble commissioned by the Emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–58) in memory of his wife.
The IRCTC introduced the Mahaparinirvan Express for spiritual tourism using rolling stock from the Rajdhani Express, one of the fastest trains in India, and the service takes its name from the Mahaparinirvana of the historical Buddha. The Mahaparinirvan Express is fully air conditioned and offers different classes of travel: a first class AC carriages with 96 seats, two-tier AC carriages with 60 seats, and two exclusive dining cars each with a capacity of 64 guests.
(read more: www.buddhistdoor.net)