Kashi Mahakal Express Begins Commercial Run (Photo Credit: PTI)
The Kashi-Mahakal Express, the third train to be operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), started is commercial run from Indore on Friday, on the day of Mahashivratri. BJP MP from Indore Shankar Lalwani flagged off the flowered-bedecked train amid beating of drums and much fanfare.
The train connects the three Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva - Omkareshwar (located near Indore), Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain) and Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi) in the country. During the departure of Kashi-Mahakal Express to Varanasi, the railway employees protested holding red flags at Indore railway station.
Leaders of the Railway Employees Organization alleged that the government wants to hand over the rail infrastructure to the private operators for financial benefit. The Kashi-Mahakal Express was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to his parliamentary constituency Varanasi on Sunday.
In a unique gesture that will delight the ‘Mahadev bhakts’, a seat has been turned into a mini Shiva temple in the newly-launched Kashi Mahakal Express. The photos of the ‘temple’ was posted by news agency ANI on Monday. Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conferencing, Kashi Mahakal Express connects the temple towns of Varanasi and Indore. Both these towns hold very special significance for the Shiva devouts. As per the traditions of the Hindu mythology, two ‘Jyotirlingas’ are located in Varanasi and Indore – Kashi Vishwanath and Omkareshwar. The photos posted by ANI showed a railway official offering a special prayer at the ‘temple’.
Looking at the initial response, the Indian Railways plans to reserve the seat for Lord Shiva. “Efforts will be made to keep the seat number 64 of coach B5 in Kashi Mahakal Express (Varanasi-Indore), reserved for Lord Shiva,” a railway official was quoted as saying. However, it is yet to be ascertained who will bear the cost of the seat reservation. The mini temple may become extremely popular among the Shiva bhakts. The news comes at a time when temples across India are gearing up for the Maha Shivratri festivities. This year, one of the biggest festival in the Hindu calendar will be celebrated on February 21st.