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First train for free pilgrimage to Ayodhya to leave Delhi on Dec 3: Kejriwal

Under the scheme, every pilgrim will also be allowed to take along a young attendant during the journey.

SNS | New Delhi |

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Wednesday that the first air-conditioned train with pilgrims (aged 60 years and above) would depart for Ayodhya from Delhi on 3 December. All the expenses for the pilgrimage will be borne by the Delhi government under the Mukhya Mantri Teerth Yatra Yojna.

Addressing an online press conference, he said a visit to Velankanni church in Tamil Nadu had also been included in the list of places of pilgrimage under the free Teerth Yatra scheme for the benefit of Christian residents of Delhi.

Under the scheme, every pilgrim will also be allowed to take along a young attendant during the journey.

Kejriwal said, “I visited the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya last month when I decided to include Ayodhya in the Delhi government’s list of free pilgrimage scheme, Mukhya Mantri Teerth Yatra Yojna, for senior citizens. It gives me pleasure to announce today that the first train for Ayodhya with the city’s senior citizens as pilgrims will leave Delhi on 3 December. The registration has begun for this purpose. Every pilgrim is allowed to take along a young attendant to help him during the journey. The government will bear the entire cost of travel, food and lodging for both.”

He said a trip to Velankanni Church would also be covered under the free pilgrimage scheme on demand from the Christian community.

The list of pilgrimage centres under the scheme includes Vaishno Devi, Shirdi, Rameswaram, Dwarka, Puri, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mathura, Vrindavan, Ayodhya and Ajmer. The scheme was launched in 2019 by the Delhi government.

Kejriwal pointed out that any resident of Delhi aged 60 years and above was eligible for a free pilgrimage to the places mentioned under the Teerth Yatra Yojna. Free travel, food and lodging facilities are provided under the scheme for both the pilgrim and his or her attendant. The scheme initially had five places on the list.

Later, seven more pilgrimage centres were added to the list.

Interestingly, Kejirwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has decided to contest the UP Assembly elections to be held early next year. After offering prayers at the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya in October, he had announced that all eligible senior citizens of the state would be allowed free pilgrimage to Ayodhya if his party succeeded in forming its government in UP.