Riding on the success of its 'Palace on Wheels' in north India, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Development Corporation (IRCTC) is launching the country's first "Village on Wheels" in the eastern zone to woo budget tourists.
As part of the scheme, a 10-coach train will start from Kharagpur on November 15 on a nine-day 'Bharat Darshan' tour in the Howrah-Gaya-Agra-Mathura-Delhi-Hardwar-Varanasi-Howrah circuit, IRCTC's Eastern Zone General Manager Vivek Srivastav said.
"This will be its maiden commercial run. It is the first time in the country that a Village-on-Wheels is being launched," he said, adding that 350 passengers would be accommodated in the seven sleeper class coaches for the tour.
Beginning the journey either from Balasore in Orissa or from the bordering station of Kharagpur to accommodate passengers from that state, the train will also stop at Burdwan, Durgapur and Asansol enroute to board passengers, he said.
"Passengers would have to pay Rs 4,900 for the tour. This includes, train fare, all meals starting from morning tea to dinner, bus fares and night accommodation where applicable and group guide charges," Srivastav said.
Pointing out that IRCTC had done a pilot run of the 'Village on Wheels' earlier this month, he said that its response had been highly encouraging. "The ubiquitous presence of Bengali travel buffs across Indian destinations have prompted us to launch the train from the East of India," he said.
The booking, which began on Wednesday, for the tour will be done from the IRCTC office in Kolkata.