Indian Railways has announced that it will run a special train ‘Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra’ on December 13 between Balasore in Odisha and Haridwar.
A statement from the East Coast Railway said, "This Special Train will accommodate the senior citizens of Northern parts of Odisha to visit Haridwar on sponsorship by Odisha government."
As informed by the East Coast Railway, 08415/08416 Bhubaneswar-Haridwar-Bhubaneswar Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Special will be leaving Balasore at 11:45 hours on December 13 and will reach Haridwar at 22:15 hours on December 14.
"On return, this train will leave Haridwar at 2200hrs on December 16 and will arrive at Balasore at 1015 hours on December 18”, the statement said.
While the train is being run by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for and behalf of the state government. Infrastructural facilities will be provided by East Coast Railway.
The train has fifteen sleeper class coaches, two guard cum luggage vans and one Pantry car. Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra will run on Bhadrak-Balasore-Hijli-Adra-Gomoh-Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Jn.-Varanasi-Lucknow-Moradabad route.
"The train is being run by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for and behalf of State Government of Odisha. Infrastructural facilities are being provided by East Coast Railway. The passengers of the Tirtha Jatra Special Train will visit various places like Haridwar, Mansa Devi Temple, Har ki Pauri including Ramjhula and Laxmanjhula at Hrisikesh also," the statement added.
Haridwar is also famous for its Kanwar Yatra, an annual pilgrimage of Lord Shiva’s devotees, which started this year from July 23.
This year the Kanwar Yatra saw footfalls of about 3 crore pilgrims from across the country. Flower petals were showered on the 'Kanwariyas' from the helicopter at a couple of locations in the district, as reported by the police.
"Three crore and thirty lakh pilgrims have come to Haridwar. The number is expected to reach 3.50 crore by tomorrow," said Janmajay Khanduri, SSP Haridwar.
Every year, around June-July month, scores of these devotees from across India, often wearing orange-colored clothes with decorated pots on their shoulders, undertake the pilgrimage, called Kanwar Yatra, on foot during Savan — a month in Hindu calendar.
These pilgrims, the majority of who are young men, visit Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch waters of River Ganga. It’s an age-old ritual followed by the devotees of Lord Shiva.