Samajwadi Shravan Yatra is a pilgrimage or a spiritual journey to the religious places in the country. This facility has been initiated by Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh to enable senior citizens of the state to go for free pilgrimage. And these pilgrimages are not limited to destinations in the state or religions. The earlier ones had taken the devotees to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Ajmer Sharif, Pushkar, amongst many others. Encouraged by the response of Samajwadi Shravan Yatra so far, the next one is already planned and is ready to leave by this month end.

The Samajwadi Shravan Yatra is conducted with IRCTC and there are special luxury trains allotted for the same. These trips are free of cost and provide the travellers with lodging and fooding, apart from taking them around for sightseeing in air conditioned buses. The next 6-day trip is planned for Dwaraka, Somnath, Nageshwar, Jyotirling, and Bhet Dwarika and will be from 23rd to 28th May, 2016. There have been five successful pilgrimages executed under this scheme so far.

The interested travellers can register on the official website launched by the state government (http//www.samajwadishravanyatra.upgov.info). Akhilesh Yadav is truly on a mission to digitalize all the processes and people are not complaining. Facilities are becoming simpler to access and there is transparency in all procedures.

Navneet Sehgal, the Principal Secretary & Director General of Department of Tourism announced the criteria for applicants in all 75 districts. The devout must submit a medical certificate and two passport size photographs along with the application. The person will also need to elaborate on any previous trips taken. The selection will be on first-come-first-serve basis since only 1044 passengers can be accommodated in one trip. Religion is no bar in Samajwadi Sharavan Yatra. “The idea is not only to provide better travel opportunities to the residents of UP but also to promote communal harmony,” said the official.

The official further informed that during the Yatra, elderly people are allowed to take one attendant with them. The passengers will carry details about their illness and medicines. Government will also send a doctor and para-medics with the pilgrims as it is committed to taking proper care. Every passenger will be given a free health and accident insurance by the Akhilesh Yadav-led government. And since, the train will leave from Charbagh Railway Station, Lucknow the passengers on this spiritual journey will be given free transport till there.

People have compared Akhilesh Yadav to Shravan Kumar and we couldn’t agree more! While flagging off one of the Yatras, he said, “religious pilgrimage was a part of the cultural tradition and such tours aid in the understanding of religion and also strengthen the culture, unity and integrity of the country. While others are trying to divide society, the Samajwadi government is working for the welfare of all without any discrimination.”