Gautam Buddha Current Affairs - 2019

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Indian Railways to run its first Buddhist Circuit train

Indian Railways will run its first Buddhist Circuit train from 20 to 26 October 2019 covering sites related to Gautam Buddha in India and Nepal.

Key Highlights

IRCTC will run train covering destinations such as-

  • Lumbini (where Buddha was born)
  • Bodhgaya (where Buddha gained enlightenment)
  • Sarnath (where Buddha gave his first sermon)
  • Kushinagar (where Buddha attained nirvana)

Why these destination? The significance of these destinations can be seen in Mahaparinirvana sutra, wherein the Lord Buddha tells his followers that they can attain merit and a noble rebirth by going on pilgrimage to these places.

Cost: The package will cost Indians Rs.1,23,900 per couple in AC first class and Rs.1,01,430 per couple for AC II-tier. This includes accommodation, meals, road transport by AC deluxe coaches for Nepal tour, visits to monuments and locations, services of tour manager, guides, entrance fees and travel insurance. But, passengers will have to pay their visa fee for Nepal leg of journey and any other expenditure including laundry and other such services.

Train Accomodation: The train will have 4 first AC coaches with 96 seats, 2 second AC class coaches with 60 seats, two exclusive dining cars with a capacity of 64 guest in each and a pantry car. It will be covered with unique vinyl wrap that will be promoting Incredible India.

The train is also equipped with personal digital lockers, foot massagers, cubicles shower, separate sitting area with single seated sofas. Each coach will be deployed with private security guards.

Samantha Express

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will launch a new train Samantha Express on February 14 from Nagpur. The Samantha Express will cover prominent places associated with Gautam Buddha and chief architect of the Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar.

Journey of Samantha Express

The Samantha express will run through the following places:

  • Chaityabhoomi (Mumbai): Dr Ambedkar was cremated here after his death on 6 December 1956 and it hosts a memorial for Dr Ambedkar.
  • Mhow (Indore): Dr Ambedkar was born at Mhow.
  • Bodhgaya (Gaya): Bodhgaya is a place where Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under Bodhi Tree.
  • Sarnath (Varanasi):  Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma here.
  • Lumbini (Nautanwa): It was here Gautama Buddha was born.
  • Kushinagar (Gorakhpur): It was here Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
  • Deekshabhoomi (Nagpur): It was here Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.

Dr B R Ambedkar and Buddhism

About two months prior to his demise, Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism. Speaking about conversion Dr Ambedkar had said that everybody has to admit that conversion is necessary to the Untouchables as self-government is to India. The ultimate object of both is the same and there is no difference in ultimate goal. The ultimate aim is to attain freedom. Freedom is necessary for the life of mankind. Conversion of Untouchables would provide them with complete freedom. The conversion cannot be called worthless by any stretch of the imagination.