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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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Expressways generate whopping income during Avurudu season

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The expressways have generated an income of Rs. 159,802,950 from April 10 – 13, Road Development Authority (RDA) says.

According to the Director of Expressway Operation Maintenance and Management Division – R.A.D. Kahatapitiya.

Over 4,350,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this period, he has added.
As many as 366,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this three-day period.

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Special transport arrangements to those returning to Colombo

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Special train services are in operation from this evening (April 14) for people to return to Colombo after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the Railways Department said.

Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways –  N.J. Indipolage stated that accordingly, eight additional train journeys will be in operation from Badulla, Galle and Beliatta railway stations to Colombo Fort.

The Department of Railways also mentioned that the office trains will be operational as per usual from April 16.

Meanwhile, the National Transport Commission has said that special buses will be deployed to transport those who had gone to their hometowns during the New Year.
Bus associations have also stated that buses to Colombo will be operational.

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Local multi-day fishing trawler seized with ICE & heroin worth over Rs. 3798 Mn.

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In another successful intelligence operation of the Sri Lanka Navy, a local multi-day fishing trawler (01) carrying a large haul of narcotics, with 06 suspects aboard, were intercepted about 133 nautical miles (about 246 km) off Dondra, south of Sri Lanka. 

The operation also resulted in the seizure of another local one-day fishing trawler (01) with 04 suspects, believed to have been there to fetch the consignment of narcotics mid-sea. The operation was mounted by deploying Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship (SLCG) Samudraraksha which made the apprehension on 12th April 2024.

 The haul of narcotics included about 179kg and 906g of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and about 83kg and 582g of heroin (with their packages). The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera arrived at the Galle Harbour on 13th April to inspect the consignment of narcotics held in this operation.
The Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard regularly patrol and conduct search operations along the island’s coast to prevent illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, stemming via sea routes.

During this dedicated operation based on naval intelligence, a suspicious multi-day fishing trawler, which was about 133 nautical miles (246 km) off the south coast of the island, was intercepted and searched by SLCG Samudraraksha. As the fishing trawler was suspected of smuggling a haul of crystal methamphetamine and heroin in 17 sacks, during the search, the narcotic-carrying trawler was held on 12th April, with 06 suspects aboard.

Additionally, SLCG Samudraraksha inspected another local one-day fishing trawler, which was plying suspiciously in the sea area. During the inspection, 04 suspects were apprehended, along with the trawler, on suspicion of attempting to exchange narcotics with the multi-day trawler previously seized.

Following a thorough search of the suspicious multi-day fishing trawler at the Galle Harbour on 13th April, authorities recovered 17 sacks containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin. The haul of crystal methamphetamine, weighing about 179kg and 906g (including packages), were in 129 packages, stuffed in 13 sacks and the stash of heroin, weighing about 83kg and 582g (including packages), were in 76 packages, contained in 04 sacks. The consignment of narcotics, along with the 06 suspects and the multi-day fishing trawler was handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) for onward legal action.

Moreover, the 04 individuals, along with the one-day fishing trawler, which were seized on suspicion of being involved in a drug exchange at sea, were also handed over to PNB for further legal action.

The individuals held in the operation are known to reside in the Weligama, Imaduwa, and Galle areas, ranging in age from 23 to 54 years old. Meanwhile, the gross street value of the consignment of drugs seized during this operation is believed to be more than Rs. 3798 million.

Including the recent confiscation, the Sri Lanka Navy has held drugs with a gross street value of over Rs. 9300 million during operations mounted so far in 2024. The Sri Lanka Navy – the country’s first line of defence is committed to coordinating with other law enforcement authorities, to carry out anti-drug operations of this nature in order to foil drug smuggling attempts being made in the guise of fishing.

(navy.lk)

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