Discovering spiritual India the 'maharaja' way

Discovering spiritual India the 'maharaja' way

 Opulence redefined: Passengers in The Deccan Odyssey. DH PhotoIf this sounds far too expensive, sample this. All tickets were sold out in just a few days. That’s what is expected when faith comes into play.

Spiritual luxury took to wheels on Wednesday chugging out of the New Delhi railway station with 88 passengers, mostly Sikh Non-Resident Indians (NRI), abode the Deccan Odyssey.

The lavish pilgrimage-on-wheels is on track carrying the devout across the country’s five Sikh takhts-temporal seats on a nine-day circuit across India.

The high point of the journey will be on the New Year eve, which promises a memory worth reminiscing for life.

On Friday, the luxury train will reach the holy city of Amritsar, where the passengers will be taken to the Golden Temple to pay obeisance at the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, the Akal Takth.

Its not just a pilgrimage. There’s plenty of entertainment and sightseeing that passengers are looking forward to. A spa car, exclusive living suits, a gymnasium, business-cum-conference halls, fine-dining restaurants with catering from the Taj Group, pool tables, recreation centre — all is aboard the train.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Sanjeev Trehan, CEO of Luxury Trains, the company managing the entire extravagant show said: “Our tickets were sold out like hot cakes. We are offering 5-star comfort. We have three foreigners and as many as 60 NRI’s who are currently travelling with us”.

Different legs of the journey will have performances by traditional artists onboard. “Kirtans” (holy songs of Sikhs) by Sikh hymn singers called Raagis will also be an attraction, Trehan said.

The Deccan Odyssey, which is on charter from the Maharashtra government will cover Sikh shrine Kiratpur Sahib, Takth Keshgarh Sahib — the birthplace of the Khalsa Panth sect, Amritsar (Akal Takht Sahib), Bathinda (Damdama Sahib), Nanded (Maharastra, Hazur Sahib) and Mumbai, from where passengers will take a flight to Patna, visit Patna Sahib, and fly back to Delhi the next day.

Attari border

Ashish Saran, Group GM of Luxury Trains said the Amritsar leg (beginning on Friday) will include a trip to the Attari border.

A visit to the historic Jallianwala Bagh, which is testimony to the massacre of hundreds of Indian protesters by British soldiers in 1919, is also a part of the journey.

Sightseeing in the pink city of Jaipur, a visit to the monument to love, the Taj Mahal, in Agra have also been arranged. Trehan said the train has 21 coaches, include two presidential suites each.

Saran said: “Our next journey has been tentatively schedule for March 23”.

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