UP govt to take Muslims, Hindus for joint pilgrimage tomorrow

UP govt to take Muslims, Hindus for joint pilgrimage tomorrow

ajmer-pushkarsarovarLucknow, Jul 22- In a first-of-its kind plan, the Uttar Pradesh government will take a group of Hindus and Muslims on a joint pilgrimage to promote communal harmony. Official sources here today said 1,044 pilgrims have been selected for holy visit of Pushkar and Ajmer Sharif, both in Rajasthan. "A special train has been sought from Indian railways to ferry the pilgrims in the tour and the train will depart from Charbagh station in Lucknow tomorrow afternoon," the sources said. The state religious endowment department asked every districts to select 10 Muslim and 10 Hindu devouts who will be taken on a pilgrimage in a single trip, including a visit to Pushkar and Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan. Pushkar is holy for Hindus while Ajmer Sharif is venerated by Muslims as well as people of other faiths. The tour will be conducted by the state government, under the ongoing Samajwadi Shravan Yatra - a state sponsored pilgrimage started a few months back, with help of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). A special train with arrangement for 1,044 berths has been booked for the pilgrimage. The proposed date for the pilgrimage is tomorrow and the department is working to ensure that the 'yatra' takes off on time, officials say. This time the state government had also made online registration facilities available for people. The devout had to submit documents required for availing the trip along with an application. The applications were invited till July 10 after which these were sorted out and travel tickets issued. Every applicants were informed whether they were selected or not and the selected pilgrims would be allowed free government bus travel to Lucknow from their home district. However, the officials have asked the pilgrims not to bring any attendent with them. In the first round, 900 devotees were taken to Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand in March past. In this trip to Ajmer Sharif and Pushkar Teerth Raj in Rajasthan, the pilgrims would be getting air-conditioned luxury buses after the train journey to travel to their destinations. The pilgrims would be provided budget lodging and given a travel kit. Other than this, the pilgrims would be given morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea - only on the train journey - and a nutritious dinner.

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