History comes alive aboard Vivekananda Express

History comes alive aboard Vivekananda Express

Six-coach air-conditioned train at Ashokapuram Railway Station

Inspiration: Students looking at the messages of Swami Vivekananda aboard the Vivekananda Express, in Mysore on Tuesday. Dh photo

His messages and photographs adorn the walls of six-coach air-conditioned ‘Vivekananda Express’, which was thrown open to public at the Ashokapuram Railway Station, here on Tuesday.

The major attraction at the expo is the fingerprint and signature of Vivekananda. His famous speech at the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in Sept 1893 has also been put up at the expo.

Rare photographs

Photographs of the early days of Swami Vivekananda (young Narendra Nath Datta), his mother Bhuvaneshwari Datta, father Vishwanath Datta, brothers Mahendranath and Bhupendranath Datta are also displayed.

Pictures of Baranagar Monastery, the first monastery of disciples who constituted the Ramakrishna Order, Belur Math and his visit to the Chicago to attend the Parliament of Religions is also on display.

Inauguration

Inaugurated by Additional Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railway, Mysore, Rakesh Gupta and President, Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, Swami Muktidananda, the ‘Vivekananda Express’ is open for viewing by the public until June 24 between 10 am and 6 pm.

Asked about the lack of information on Swami Vivekananda’s visit to Mysore, Swami Muktidananda said that the Express train had enough highlights on the life and times of the swamiji. However, he was non-committal on Vivekananda’s visit to Mysore.

The ‘Vivekananda Express’ was flagged off from Howrah on January 12, 2011 and will culminate in January 2013 at Kanyakumari to coincide with 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

The train has already travelled 20,000 kilometres and an estimated 4.6 lakh people have already visited the expo.  It has passed through several states including Assam, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh

The train will head towards Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu after the expo winds up in Mysore.

Fails to highlight Mysore connection

While the expo gives a glimpse of Swami Vivekananda’s life through a variety of photographs, it fails to chronicle his visit to the city of Mysore in the months of November and December of 1892.

Having spent around three weeks in the city, Vivekananda had stayed for eight to 10 days at Niranjana Mutt on Narayana Shastry Road.

Later, he was honoured as a guest of Dewan Sheshadri Iyer. It is said that the then Maharaja of Mysore, Chamaraja Wadiyar had even provided financial assistance to Vivekananda’s visit to the Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

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