The IRCTC has changed the saffron uniform of waiters serving passengers on board the Ramayan Express after protests by a section of seers in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
The Ramayan Express which touches important Hindu pilgrimage destinations such as Ayodhya, Varanasi, Nasik, Rameswaram, etc., had its waiters wearing saffron-coloured uniforms.
This had irked seers who said it was an “insult” to Hindu religion and demanded its withdrawal, failing which they threatened to stop the train in Delhi.
“We have written a letter two days back to the Union Railway Minister lodging our protest against waiters in saffron serving refreshments and food in the Ramayan Express. Donning saffron attire with sadhu-like headgear and wearing ‘malas’ (necklaces) of ‘rudraksha’ (sacred seeds) is an insult to Hindu religion and its seers,” Ujjain Akhada Parishad’s former general secretary Avdeshpuri told PTI.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which operates the special train, said the dress has been changed.
“It is to inform that the dress of service staff is completely changed in the look of professional attire of service staff,” it tweeted.
It showed the staff wearing cream coloured shirt and dark grey pants with a multi-colour turban and saffron gloves and mask, unlike the earlier saffron kurta and maroon pyjama and a rudraksh necklace.
Objecting to saffron attire of waiters serving refreshments & food on board the #RamayanExpress, seers from Ujjain claim it is insulting towards Hinduism, threaten to stop the train in Delhi on December 12 if the dress code is not withdrawn.
🎥Delhi-Ayodhya Ramayan Express Train pic.twitter.com/WX0WaP9RFQ
— Subodh Kumar (@kumarsubodh_) November 22, 2021
On hearing about the change, Avdeshpuri told NDTV that “It is a victory of (Hindu) religion and ‘sanskriti’ (culture)”.
The Ramayan Express, a special train brought out to promote tourism associated with the life of Lord Ram, was launched on November 7, on a 17-day journey to 15 places of religious importance.
The train has first-class restaurants, a library and shower cubicles and a trip costs around ₹14,000.
The famous Shree Mahakaleshwar temple of Lord Shiva is situated in Ujjain, which hosts Simhastha Kumbh Mela every 12 years.