Berth reserved for puja space on Kashi Mahakal Express ‘temporary’, says IRCTC

Seat reserved for Lord Shiva in Kashi-Mahakal Express

The latest religion-themed train was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday as a part of a slew of new projects the prime minister launched from his constituency along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath.' (Express photo)

The Indian Railways Monday clarified that a side-upper berth reserved as puja space on the Kashi-Mahakal Express during its inaugural run is not a permanent fixture.

"The staff of the new Kashi Mahakal Express train temporarily put the photos of Shri Mahakaal on an upper berth so as to do pooja to seek blessings for the success of the new project.... It is meant only for the inaugural run as a one-time affair," the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said in a statement.

"The inaugural run is also not open to passengers. There is going to be no such reserved or dedicated berth for this purpose in the commercial run of the train which is starting from 20th February 2020 onwards," it added.

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The railways had reserved seat number 64 in coach B5 for Lord Shiva. (Express photo)

On Sunday, seat number 64 in coach B5 of the train was decorated with pictures of Hindu gods, incense sticks, flowers et al. Responding to the development, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaddudin Owaisi  tweeted a snapshot of the preamble and tagged the Prime Ministers Office.

The latest religion-themed train was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a part of a slew of new projects the prime minister launched from his constituency along with UP CM Yogi Adityanath.' It connects three Jyotirlingas -- Omkareshwar near Indore, Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain and Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi.

This is the third such "corporate" train after two Tejas Express trains. This Lord Shiva-themed train will be followed by a Ramayan-themed train to be launched next month from across India in a big way, marking Indian Railways’ major push in the religious tourism segment.

The train will cover 1131 km between Varanasi and Indore via Lucknow and a distance of 1102 km between Varanasi and Indore via Prayagraj (Allahabad) in approximately 19 hours. The route of the train will be via Sultanpur – Lucknow/Prayagraj – Kanpur – Jhansi – Bina – Sant Hiradnagar – Ujjain – Indore and back.