Pilgrims visiting Ayodhya have a new attraction as they can now enjoy a ride on an electric catamaran on the river Saryu.
A catamaran is a sailing boat that has two parallel hulls held together by a single deck.
The holy city will get the country’s second green catamaran by 15 January, a week before the grand inauguration of the new Ram Temple.
The Railway Ministry has said the revamped station is also scheduled to be ready by mid-January to cater to high footfall after the temple is opened.
As per the plan, the Railways will run special trains to Ayodhya from 15 January onwards. All zones will be operating special Ayodhya services during the mega event.
The number of trains and the schedules are being worked on in consultation with the state administration.
Besides running special trains, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been asked to provide catering services for pilgrims during that time.
Sources said the environment-friendly catamaran is being manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a public sector undertaking under the Shipping Ministry.
Officials of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) said that at a later stage, one more electric catamaran would be deployed in Ayodhya. Each of them will have the capacity to accommodate 100 persons.
“One such vessel will be deployed on the Ganga in Varanasi. The deployment of these in Saryu and Ganga will add to the tourist attraction of these holy cities,” an official said.
The IWAI is creating two jetties on the Saryu River to facilitate the smooth transport of pilgrims from Guptar Ghat to Naya Ghat. The distance between these two river banks is around 15 km.
Meanwhile, Railway Ministry officials said the revamp of Ayodhya station is nearing completion. The three-storey station building will have a 3,645-square-metre area, and there will be separate arrival and departure for passengers for hassle-free movement.
There will be an air concourse from the new station building and up to future platforms covering all tracks, with all modern passenger amenities in one place along with spaces for retail, cafeterias, and recreational facilities.
The station building will have facilities, including 12 lifts, 14 escalators, food plazas, shops for puja needs, a cloakroom, a sick room, and infant care rooms.
“Triple height atriums with skylights are provided to facilitate natural light in the building, and there are waiting halls at both ground and first floors,” said an official.
The station has been designed to cater to the requirement of 49,400 persons per day.
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