Next month, the India Department of Tourism will be launching several travel packages conceived as “Tirth Yatra” itineraries. Vrindavan is featured in one of the 16 originally proposed itineraries, which will follow the route of Howrah-Gaya-Agra-Mathura-Vrindavan-New Delhi-Haridwar-Varanasi-Howrah.
These trips were originally presented early this year as part of the annual Railway Department budget. As mentioned below in the press release by the Indian Government, travel from the nearest trail head (in this case Mathura) will consist of package tour-type itineraries enjoyed while traveling in a “comfortable bus” with “tour escorts.”
This will be yet another instance in which traditional pilgrimage shifts further towards package tour, “the Vrindavan itinerary” becomes something of a standard homogenized routine (which already exists for many visitors from the big cities who only come to visit Krishna Blaram Mandir and Banke Bihare Temple), and traditional professions related to pilgrimage like that of the pandas will be negatively affected.
From the Government of India Press Information Bureau On September 10:
In a bid to promote tourism in the country and also to emphasize our ‘Unity in Diversity’, the Indian Railways will be launching 16 different circuits of ‘Bharat Tirth’ touching all the important destinations across the country from next month. The objective of Indian Railways in running ‘Bharat Tirth’ Trains is to provide a comfortable, affordable and memorable experience to the customers of different segments.
In her speech, while presenting the Railway Budget 2010-11, the Minister of Railways, Mamata Banerjee has stated that Railways would launch special tourist trains called ‘Bharat Tirth’ connecting popular tourist sites in different parts of the country – from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, from Dwarka to Vindhya Parbat, from Ajmer Sharief to Gangasagar and from Madurai to Patna Sahib.
The itineraries are so designed that the Bharat Tirth trains would be taken to the rail heads nearest to the tourist destination from where tourists would visit the places of tourist importance. The road journey for sightseeing is organized in comfortable buses and tour escorts accompany them in trains as well as buses.
Latest posts by Katie Jo Walter (see all)
- Vrindavan Today Weekly Yamuna River News Digest: Issue 5 - June 3, 2013
- Vrindavan Today Weekly Yamuna River News Digest: Issue 4 - May 29, 2013
- Vrindavan Today Weekly Yamuna River News Digest: Issue 3 - May 18, 2013