LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday received the first batch of pilgrims who boarded the Janakpur-Ayodhya Bus which was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. The bus which completed its maiden trip to Ayodhya is part of the Nepal-India Friendship Bus Service that was launched jointly by Prime Minister Modi and his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli in Janakpur as part of the Ramayan Circuit Bus Service.
Upon arrival of the bus, Adityanath offered saffron scarves to the male passengers, while state Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi welcomed the women. The passengers were given boxes of sweets too. The reception gate was decked with flowers and many religious tableaus were present as drums played to receive the debut passengers of the cross-border bus service linking the two nations.
The UP CM also unveiled a special stamp published by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate the 'Deep Diwali' held by the state BJP government in 2016 on Diwali on the banks of the river Saryu in Ayodhya.
People from the temple town were excited about the event and were seen jostling with each other outside the 'Ram Katha' Park to receive and mingle with the guests who arrived. Nepalese pilgrims who took this bus service from Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, expressed their happiness at taking the first journey to the land of Ram and said the 520-km trip was comfortable.
The bus entered from Gorakhpur and travelled along the Sant Kabeernagar highway after which it was received by district and police officials and escorted to Ayodhya.
The new bus route is aimed at increasing tourism between the two countries. While flagging off the bus service, Prime Minister Modi had said: " Tourism is developing at a fast pace across the world. The Ramayan Circuit has immense potential."
It is likely that more routes will be launched between India and Nepal.
(With agency inputs)