Mahaparinirvana Express is a special tourist train run on Buddhist Circuit across India by IRCTC.
2019 has been one of my favorite years until now and the reason is I am traveling more this year. This year I also traveled on India’s famous Mahaparinirvana Express AKA Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train from January 19t,h to 28th. This premium-class train is fully owned & operated by Indian Railway’s subsidiary IRCTC Ltd, known for its amazing onboard facilities and catering services across the railway’s network. This train has been designed & customized especially for the Buddhist tourists and takes them on a spiritual train journey through Bihar, Uttar Pradesh & Nepal, where Buddhism originated about 2500 years ago.
The name of this amazing tourist train itself originates from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra which contains the Buddha’s final explanation of his teachings.
Buddhist has always been my subject of interest. Just for this journey, I skipped my Trek & Red Panda Festival in Sikkim and trust me, it was worth. The tour of 8 days and 7 nights were fully guided (a senior guide was hired for us) who unearthed so many important, mysterious and crazy things about Buddha’s life, Buddhism & India, I never knew that actually exists. The IRCTC team took everyone to all important Buddhist Pilgrimage sites of Lumbini, Nepal (where the Siddartha was born), Bodhgaya, Bihar (where he became enlightened), Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh (where he first preached), and Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh (where he passed away and achieved Nirvana along with many other destinations related to Lord Buddha and Buddhism.
How’s the train?
The Mahaparinirvana Express is a fully air-conditioned premium train (modified a Rajdhani express). It has four 1st class AC coaches (capacity of 24 pax), two 2nd class AC coaches (capacity of 60 pax), 2 Restaurant Car, 1 imported kitchen car, 2 Power cars & 1 engine. The train is special itself as it has been given a personal touch by the IRCTC’s senior and junior officials. They have chosen the wallpapers to the curtains, sofa to window glass for this amazing conceptual tourist train and is it something you will definitely love about this train.
The tourist train has 2 classes for the passengers and both of them have been equipped with comfy seating options, libraries and foot massage machine, which can be used by any guest during the journey. The window glass is fog-proof so you can see clearly outside the window even in cold or foggy nights.
This open sitting area is used by the tourists to read a book or to have a conversation with their fellow tourists. I read 2 books in my 8 days of the journey which helped me a lot knowing Buddhism.
The toilets & washrooms in the train, are equipped with modern utilities along with soft tissues, toilet papers, hand-wash, body shampoo, cold & warm water. Also, to maintain the hygiene, IRCTC carries dedicated janitor who clean-up the washroom & toilet after each use.
Security is a primary concern of IRCTC, therefore for the security of the passengers & tourist, they have installed CCTV cameras in every coach. Also, you will be seeing home-guard in each coach who will take care of your cabin if you’re there or not. To check this, once I left my laptop unlocked and when I came back after 48hours, I found everything was there in my coupe. Not just this my all belongings including toothpick stick & tissue was kept on the table. I was satisfied with the security. Not just this, there is an electronic personal locker for each passenger to keep expensive belongings safe.
Also, you would be guarded when going out of the station or coming back to the train by a bunch of security by IRCTC. It also gives you a feeling of being VIP. 😀 😀 😀
There are mini speakers everywhere in the train which is used by tour manager keep tourist updated about train movements, directions, tours itinerary and all necessary information throughout the onboard journey.
The Buddhist circuit train has won an award for its mouthwatering, delicious, varieties & hygienic food. They serve 3 unlimited meals, 1 breakfast tea & 1 evening high-tea every day. The food comes with a lot of veg/non-veg options. You can have as much as you want and if you want something out of the menu, just ask them anytime, they will cook for you. I remember, there was a tourist Ranjan Joshi traveling with us on the same train. He never had Paneer (cottage cheese) or Tea because he was a Vegan and when IRCTC heard it, they themselves brought Soybean Milk for him so he can also drink tea with us. Not just this, they also cooked Thai food when my Thai friend, Kai, requested them. These little efforts by IRCTC won everybody’s heart boarded on the train.
What’s the train route?
The train is a special tourist train and stops only the destination. Here is the route of the train. The train never goes to Nepal so from Gorakhpur, you will be transferred to Lumbini by an AC coach.
To Download the English Brochure please click here.
How to book the Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train?
To book the train journey, you will have to contact on the below-mentioned numbers. They are the IRCTC’s official representatives who look after the train and its bookings.
Contact: Mr. Akhilesh Gupta 9717648718, Mr. Kamal Kathiat 9717639033, Toll Free:- 1800110139
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd
Address: Corporate Office: B 148, 11th Floor, Statesman House, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi-110001
Address: Sales Office: M-13, Punj House, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110