The free pilgrimage scheme was announced by CM Ashok Gehlot and is open for 25,000 applicants.

Rajasthan government on Wednesday signed an MoU with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. for a scheme which will see it bear all the expenses for senior citizens to go on select pilgrimages.

Eleven pilgrimage centres have been selected in the first phase of the scheme which is open to 25,000 applicants.

Applicants have to fill up a form available at all divisional headquarters in the state with the last date for submission being July 1.

In case the number of applicants exceeds 25,000, a lottery would be done to identify the final beneficiaries, officials said.

The duration of the trip is from five to eight days and selected persons can visit any one pilgrimage centre out of those designated places as part of the scheme.

Special features

“Special trains will be available at each divisional headquarters to ferry 1,000 people at a time. Medical services along with one attendant will be there in each coach,” an IRCTC official said after the signing of the MoU.

Arrangements for meals, accommodation and road travel would be made by the IRCTC for those availing the scheme.

People above 65 years of age will be allowed to take an attendant with them while the state government will provide an attendant for every group of 25 people.

The scheme had been announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the 2013-14 budget.

Puri, Gaya, Rameswaram, Vaishno Devi, Tirupati, Varanasi, Amritsar, Dwarkapuri, Bihar Sharif, Shirdi are among the pilgrim destinations covered under the scheme.