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Indian Railways kickstart Buddhist Circuit Tourist train

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) Buddhist Circuit Tourist train on the Bharat Gaurav Trains concept has commenced its spiritual journey for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The seven nights and eight days tour started on March 11 from Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station and will conclude on March 18 at Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station.

During the journey, the rail tour will cover nine places across India and Nepal, which had a significant impact on Buddha’s life and teachings and will help pilgrims to visit several places for a truly religious experience.

The train has two types of classes – AC 1st Class, and AC 2nd Class. A total of 96 guests can accommodate the First AC while 60 guests are allowed in the Second AC class, reported Financial Express.

The train starts from Delhi on Day one and traverses to Bodhgaya on Day two, which is the place where Buddhism began. All pilgrims and Buddhism followers are fond of this place and the legend attached to it. 

India’s ‘Hindustan Times’ further reports as follows :

They usually visit here on the Bodhgaya tour also known as the Buddha Gaya tour. Lord Buddha was wandering near the banks of the Falgu river seeking answers when he sat under the Bodhi Tree. Three days and three nights of meditation helped him attain enlightenment and gather insight into humanity and being in general. 

On Day three, it will take people to Nalanda, which is situated 72 km off Patna and is part of the Buddhist Circuit, which also includes Rajgir and Bodhgaya.

It is famous for Surya Mandir and Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall, both popular destinations in Nalanda Buddhist tourism. Surya Mandir has a 5 feet tall statue of Goddess Parvati which is the main attraction among devotees. The temple comes alive during Chatt Puja which is held here twice a year.

On Day four, IRCTC Buddha Varanasi Travel Train takes you to the holy city of Varanasi which also goes by the name Banaras and Kashi. According to Legend Buddha set the wheel of dharma in motion here by giving his first sermon. The city has been patronized by many emperors supporting different doctrines and cultures including Adi Shankar who worshipped Shiva, and Akbar who built two big temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.

On Day five it will enter Lumbini in Nepal. Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is located very close to the Border of India, a few kilometres from Kathmandu. The nearest airport is in Bhairahawa, which one can reach by road. The site now is developed as a Buddhist Pilgrimage centre where archaeological remains of Lord Buddha are still there.

Kushinagar is next on the list of travel. On Day six, it will reach Kushinagar. It is a pilgrimage centre nestled in the beautiful state of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated in Northern India, a few kilometres from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). This place is famous because The Great Lord Buddha attained Nirvana here. It is one of the top four famous Buddhist Pilgrimages.

Next on Day seven, the train stops at Shravasti. It is a town in Uttar Pradesh. It was the capital of the ancient Indian kingdom of Kosala and the place where the Buddha lived most after his enlightenment. It is near the Rapti river in the northeastern part of Uttar Pradesh India, close to the Nepalese border.

Finally, on Day 8, the train will take people to Agra, On the banks of Yamuna lies one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, Agra. It is a major tourist destination because of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Taj Mahal, Agra, Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

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Tamil parties agree to field common Presidential candidate

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Several Tamil political parties and a group of representatives of civil organizations have reached an agreement to present a common Tamil candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election.

The agreement was signed in Jaffna today by seven parties including TELO led by MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan, PLOTE led by MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan, Tamil People’s Alliance led by MP C.V. Wigneswaran, Tamil National Party led by Attorney-At-Law N. Sri Kantha, and EPRLF led by Suresh Premachandran.

The Tamil People General Assembly, comprising of several Tamil civil organizations, also signed the agreement.

However, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) comprising President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran and the Tamil National People’s Front comprising Attorney-At-Law Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam did not sign the agreement today.

(News 1st)

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Club Wasantha’ murder: Tattoo studio owner makes confidential statement

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Dulan Sanjula, the owner of the tattoo studio in Athurugiriya, has made a confidential statement before the Kaduwela Magistrate over the recent shooting and killing of two individuals including Surendra Wasantha Perera alias ‘Club Wasantha’. 

Meanwhile, the seven suspects including Dulan Sanjula have been ordered to be remanded further until August 5, 2024. 

The suspect, who was arrested in connection with the incident, had requested permission to make a confidential statement to the Kaduwela Magistrate. He made this request when the seven suspects arrested in relation to the incident were produced before the court on July 10.

However, the Kaduwela Magistrate had advised the suspect in question to rethink the decision and make the request again during an upcoming court date.

Furthermore, the magistrate ordered the prison officers to provide additional security to the suspects, since there are accomplices of the criminal figure infamously known as “Loku Patee,” who is suspected to be involved in the incident, detained in the prison.

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AKD meets Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs

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National Peoples’ Power (NPP) Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who is currently on a visit to Japan, has held discussions with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Tsuge Yoshifumi today (July 22).

The discussion, which took place at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, focussed on the current economic and political situation in Sri Lanka, the long-term friendship between the two countries and the next step in diplomatic and economic relations, while special attention was paid to Sri Lanka’s upcoming presidential election.

During the meeting, the Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs congratulated MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake on his visit to Japan.

The Southwest Asian Affairs Director Tsutsumi Taro, Deputy Director of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Iwase Kiichiro, and several members of the Japan Committee of the NPP were also present on the occasion. 

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