Buddha statue at Bodhgaya.
India, where Buddhism was founded, has many important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The easiest way to visit them is by taking Indian Railway's special Mahaparinirvan Express Buddhist Tourist Train. The only issue is that while it goes to the most important Buddhist sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, those in Odisha (Orissa) have been missing from the itinerary.
According to this news report, there's been growing demand from pilgrims to visit more places associated with the Buddha. Buddhist sites in Odisha -- at Ratnagiri, Dhaulagiri, Udayagiri, Khandagiri and Langudi -- date back to early 6th century BC. They're dotted with stupas, chaityas and Ashokan edicts. Vajrayana Buddhism is also studied there.
In response to this, Indian Railways has added the Mahaparinirvan Express Odisha Special to its popular tourist train service. The next departure is on January 20, 2013, and it's a seven night/eight day tour that includes Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udaigiri in Odisha. The cost is $185 per night for an adult in First Clas AC and $150 per night in AC 2 Tier.
You can get more information and make reservations by visiting the Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation's Rail Tourism website.
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