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The recently launched Vande Bharat express connecting Una and New Delhi has proved to be a boon for the people of Himachal and pilgrims from other states. Not only has the travel time been drastically cut in half between Himachal and the national capital, but the smart facility enabled train brings travelers to see Wi-Fi facilities, comfortable seating arrangement and hospitable female staff.

The New India Express traveled in Vande Bharat Express on Monday and gauged the mood of the people ahead of the upcoming elections in the hill state. In-state and out-of-state travelers gave rave reviews.

Ambrish Dogra, a local from Una, said that he never expected Himachal to have such an advanced facility and that it would be so easy to travel between Himachal and Delhi. “It’s very convenient and saves a lot of time,” he said.


Tourists and locals depend heavily on roads including National Highways (NHs) to travel to different parts of Himachal. Roads are prone to damage from landslides, especially during monsoons. This made the launch of Vande Bharat before the elections all the more crucial as it came as a huge relief to the villagers.

Poonam Rana, who was traveling with her son, said, “My maternal home is Daulatpur. After marriage I am settled in Delhi. Earlier it was difficult to visit my parents. We would travel by car and it would take 12 hours. This train has made our life much easier. To top it off, I don’t even feel like I’m travelling. I’m enjoying the scenery. It’s a source of great pride for the people of Himachal.”

The train service was especially beneficial for pilgrims. Improving religious tourism has been one of the thrust areas of the Narendra Modi-led government.

Himachal is home to many famous places of Hindu and Sikh pilgrims. Maa Chintpurni Temple at Una is one of the Shakti Peethas of India. It is frequented by Hindu pilgrims.

The young Indian met an elderly Hindu couple in Canada who flew in from Ottawa to visit the Maa Chintpurni temple. “Our goal in life is now to travel to India and explore all the pilgrimage sites. We also visited Maa Chintpurni earlier. But it was a lot of trouble. With this train pilgrims like us have a lifeline,” said Vipin Shandilya. Although his wife Poonam is enamored with the superior services and comfortable seating arrangement. “This is much better than the trains we take in Cananda,” said Poonam.

The train stops at Nangal Dam from where the Sikh pilgrimage town of Anandpur Sahib can be accessed. “This is the first time I am traveling in Vande Bharat. Now, it is easy to visit Anandpur Sahib. O. I hope the government will start more such services.”

The train will also connect Dharamshala and McLeodganj, the home of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and a tourist favorite.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off India’s fourth Vande Bharat train between Himachal Pradesh and the national capital New Delhi on October 13.

Vande Bharat is being seen as the biggest smart travel facility for Himachal Pradesh and the prime minister’s best gift to the poll-bound state. The train was launched a day before the Election Commission (EC) announced the schedule for the assembly elections in Himachal.




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