Railway passengers are in for a treat this festival season as the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has introduced a special Navratri meal for travellers from September 26 to October 5.
What’s more, keeping in mind the country’s cultural diversity, IRCTC has introduced special non-vegetarian options as a Durga Pooja special menu for Eastern India.
“While IRCTC had launched a Navratri special meal even last year, this year the menu is much more extensive and is available at many more railway stations,” said an official.
The Navratri Vrat menu, available at about 200 railway stations, includes fasting favourites such as sabudana khichdi and sabudana vadas, sitaphal kheer sweet lassi, basundi and rabdi. There is an option of Vrat thalis, including combinations such as sabudana paratha and curd, singhada aloo paratha and curd as well as makhmali paneer.
Last year, there were only three items available at about 40 stations.
The menu starts at a pocket friendly ₹99. Passengers can order their food on the Food on Track app or IRCTC’s e-catering website or can 1323.
Durga Pooja Special Menu
The Durga Pooja Special Menu will be available in the East Zone at stations including Kolkata, Howrah, Sealdah and Asansol.
“In the eastern part of the country where Durga Pooja is celebrated, non-vegetarian food is consumed. So we are offering a special menu for rail travelers at this time,” the official said, adding that this will be available at static catering units or food plazas and fast food units on the stations.
The Durga Pooja Special menu includes delicacies such as luchi, basanti polao, aloo dum, fish fry, chicken and fish curry, mishti doi and rasgulla, veg- and non-veg special thalis as well as chicken and egg rolls.
Railway officials maintain that this festive menu will be a once-a-year affair.
“Navratri is a time when people fast for eight to nine days. It is difficult for them to manage their food for such a long duration. That is why railways has launched this meal option,” said the official, adding that they are not considering such menus for other festivals.