Air India to connect Varanasi-Colombo

One of country's top tourist destinations, Varanasi, will be connected with a direct flight with Colombo from Friday, firming up the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit that will bring popular destinations like Sarnath and Kushinagar closer to the people of the island nation.

Fulfilling a promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his visit to Sri Lanka in May this year, Air India will fly 180-seater Airbus 320-Neo, for the all-economy class flights twice a week, Fridays and Sundays.

Sarnath near Varanasi, where the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, is one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimages, as is Kushinagar where the Buddha is believed to have attained Nirvana.

Currently, Varanasi has one regular international flight: to Sharjah once a week. Other direct flights to Thailand and Kathmandu operate on a seasonal basis, from September to March, when tourist influx into the city is high. Apart from these, 22 domestic flights make 44 operations per day from this  airport.

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