The Kerala to Ayodhya Aastha train, which was announced on Monday, is to be delayed by a week. While it was announced that the train would leave from Palakkad's Olavakkode Junction at 7.10 pm on Tuesday, Southern Railway announced last night that the service will be from next week only. The first service from Kerala will be on February 9. The details on bookings and more will be brought out later. The railways had announced before that Aastha trains can't be booked from railway station counters or IRCTC apps, and the IRCTC tourism website is supposed to be used for the same.
Earlier, national media reported on other Aastha trains also deferring their service to prevent overcrowding at the Ram temple. As per reports, the Ayodhya railway station, which has CCTVs at platforms, ticketing areas, cafeterias, and other areas, is constantly monitored from New Delhi. An unprecedented rush to the temple town had also urged PM Modi, to ask Union ministers to defer their visit to Ayodhya.
The railways planned to have 66 Aastha Specials services across the nation, for pilgrims to visit Ayodhya after the temple's inauguration on January 22. While it was announced that the tickets could be booked via the IRCTC Tourism website, the platform wasn't providing the option for the same.