In a bid to earn ‘punya’ (reward for good conduct according to Hinduism) for Rajasthan, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje launched an all-expenses-paid pilgrimage via air travel by seeing off the first batch of pilgrims to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh from Jaipur airport on Tuesday. “We have launched this programme, the first in the country, so that our elders can undertake long pilgrimages in a shorter time and more conveniently. Facilitating pilgrimage for the elders will translate into punya for the entire state. And when senior citizens are happy, the happiness index of the state will rise,” the CM said at the ceremony, adding that this year, “We will facilitate pilgrimage via air for nearly 1,000 senior citizens”.
Garlanding the pilgrims, the CM said she hoped they would pray for the happiness of the state at Tirupati. The state government has also made lodging and food arrangements for the 30 pilgrims, 28 of whom were travelling by airplane for the first time. The programme, Deendayal Upadhyay Varisht Nagrik Teerth Yojana, aims to facilitate pilgrimage for citizens over 70, who cannot afford air travel. The applicants are picked through lottery conducted by the district collector. So far, 110 pilgrims for Tirupati, 357 for Rameswaram, 13 for Sammed Sikhar and 225 for Jagannath Temple in Puri have been selected.