By Elton Gomes
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday flagged off the first ever bus service between Bihar and Nepal. Sanjay Agrawal, secretary in the transport department, said that buses from Kathmandu to Bodh Gaya will start plying in the second week of September.
The bus service became operational after state transport department received Union external affairs ministry’s nod, and an agreement was signed between India and Nepal. “The move will strengthen relations between India and Nepal,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said at the launch, Hindustan Times reported.
Transport minister Santosh Nirala said that the buses would go to Kathmandu from Bodh Gaya via Patna, Muzaffarpur, Motihari, Raxaul, Hithoda, and Munglig. The Patna to Janakpur route will include stops at Muzaffapur, Sitamarhi, and Bhhitha More.
How many buses will run, and which places will be connected?
Four buses connecting Bodhgaya to Kathmandu via Patna, Raxaul, and Beerganj have already started. Another four buses will ply from Patna to Janakpur that will go via Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi. The bus fare is Rs 400. The Government of Nepal will initiate bus services from Kathmandu to Bodhgaya on September 13. The bus will leave Bodh Gaya at 10 am and the bus fare would be Rs 1,250. Fare of the Patna-Kathmandu bus would be Rs 1,015.
“Passengers going to Kathmandu from Bodh Gaya would be offered 10% discount in fare in the first week as a promotional offer,” said Sanjay Agrawal, secretary of transport department. Agrawal further said that the first bus to Kathmandu will begin its journey at 10 am, whereas the last bus will leave Kathmandu at 8 pm. “The first bus to Janakpur will depart from Patna at 7.30 am while the last one will leave Patna at 8 pm,” Agrawal said, Hindustan Times reported.
The Ramayana circuit
In May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli jointly inaugurated a direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya, the two sacred cities for Hindus. The bus service was part of a Ramayana Circuit that aimed to promote religious tourism in Nepal and India.
“Janakpur and Ayodhya are being connected. This is a historic moment,” Prime Minister Modi said while inaugurating the bus service which connected Lord Rama’s birthplace Ayodhya with goddess Sita’s birthplace Janakpur. The prime minister flagged off the service after visiting the Janaki temple on his trip to Nepal.
To boost religious tourism in Nepal and India, the government identified 15 destinations in India that could be developed as part of the Ramayana Circuit. The destinations were Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur and Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga (Bihar), Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), Nashik and Nagpur (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu).
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.