Ever thought of travelling with Lord Shiva himself? We know it’s a weird question, but you’ll be surprised to know how this train in India has made it possible. By Tanvi Jain
Good news for devotees of Lord Shiva, as they can now travel in the same train with him. Yes, the recently flagged off Kashi Mahakal Express from Varanasi to Indore, has a berth reserved for the deity himself. He occupies berth number 65 in coach B5.
The train, flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 16, via video conferencing, will cover three holy towns — Varanasi, Ujjain, and Indore. Passengers en route this train, will travel to three of the 12 Jyotirlingas (sites believed to have special spiritual energies of Lord Shiva). These are Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, Mahakaleshwar near Ujjain, and Omkareshwar near Indore.
This is India’s first private train to undertake an overnight journey, and is scheduled to start its services from February 20 – the eve of Mahashivratri. The train will run on two routes – one via Sultanpur and the other via Prayagraj. While the former will stop at Ujjain, Bina, Jhansi, Sant Hirdaram Nagar, Kanpur, Lucknow, and Sultanpur stations, the latter will stop at Ujjain, Jhansi, Kanpur, Sant Hirdaram Nagar, Bina and Allahabad stations.
Train 82401 on the Sultanpur route will depart from Varanasi at 2:45 pm every Tuesday and Thursday, and will arrive at Indore at around 9:40 the next morning. The returning train 82402 will depart from Indore at 10:55 am every Wednesday and Friday, and will arrive at Varanasi at 6:00 the next morning.
However, train 82043 on Prayagraj route will depart weekly from Varanasi at 3:15 pm every Sunday and will arrive at Indore at 9:40 am the following day. Returning train 82404 will depart from Indore at 10:55 am every Monday and will arrive at Varanasi at 5:00 the following morning.
All trains are fully air-conditioned with three-tier coaches and a pantry car. Services like vegetarian meals, housekeeping, bedding and security – with two guards in every coach – will be covered in the ticket fare itself. A devotional background music will set the pilgrimage mood for travellers.