New Delhi: With pictures of Lord Shiva, garlands, decorations and a puja thaali, seat number 64 of coach B5 in the newly launched Kashi Mahakal Express has been converted into a mini temple.
In the third private train started by the IRCTC, which was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, one seat has been reserved solely for Lord Shiva.
The railways authorities are further mulling if they should make a reserved seat for the "Bhole Baba" a permanent feature of the train. The idea of offering prayers at the seat on auspicious days and occasions is also being considered.
Kashi Mahakal Express connects Omkareshwar (near Indore), Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain) and Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi) Jyotirlingas. It will start plying regularly from February 20.
“Seat number 64 in coach B5 was reserved and left vacant for the deity,” Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.
"It's for the first time that a seat has been reserved and left vacant for the deity Lord Shiva. Even a temple has been drawn on the seat to make people aware that the seat is reserved for the Lord Mahakal in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain," Kumar said.
He said a decision whether to make this a permanent fixture of the train is yet to be taken.
Light devotional music, two dedicated private guards in every coach and only vegetarian meals will be some of the new features of the fully 3-AC service that will run thrice a week between Varanasi and Indore.
The train will cover 1,131 km between Varanasi and Indore via Lucknow and a distance of 1,102 km between Varanasi and Indore via Prayagraj (Allahabad) in approximately 19 hours.