Air-cum-rail package to Vaishno Devi
A hassle-free trip to the famed Mata Vaishno Devi temple and other holy spots in Jammu is the auspicious gift that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) offers for Bangaloreans this new year.
Unlike the usual pilgrimage packages that couples train travel with cab or bus, in a first such attempt, an air-cum-rail package will be clubbed with the cab trip this time.
The maiden trip, with six passengers will begin on December 31 (Thursday) morning from Bengaluru airport.
The four-day, three-night package will conclude on January 3, 2010. Launched in response to demand from pilgrims who have travelled on other pilgrim tours, the Vaishno Devi trip is planned as a regular weekly package, that will commence from Bangalore every Thursday.
“IRCTC has entered into an agreement with Jet lite for the package,” said Chief Regional Manager of the South Western Railway Division of IRCTC, S Gagarin. Pilgrims will fly from Bangalore up to New Delhi, take a train to Jammu Tawi and then a cab to Baan Ganga in Katra, the point from where the 12-km climb to the temple begins. The yatri darshan slip would also be provided as part of the package. The shrine, one of the oldest in India, is located at a height of 5,300 feet on the holy Trikuta Hills of the Shivalik Hill Range.
The abode of the Goddess Shakti is in a cave that runs to a length of 100 feet which has to be reached through a narrow opening.
Kand Kandoli and Raghunathji temples and Bhage Bahu garden would also be covered during the tour.† A sight-seeing trip of tourist spots in New Delhi also figures in the trip. †
†The package works out to Rs 16,280 per person. The package is inclusive of economy class air travel and 3-tier a/c rail fare, apart from hotel accommodation and breakfast. †
Those who require a cab pick-up from their residence to airport will have to pay an additional Rs 500. †