Not many would know that the site of the iron ore mine of the Tata group in Jamshedpur, established in the early part of the 20th century, was pointed to Jamshedji Tata by Swami Vivekananda. The industrialist was so fond of the Swami that he established the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on his advice to provide quality scientific education to Indian students.

Several such fascinating details about the spiritual leader are on display at the Vivekanada Express, an exhibition on wheels organised by the Indian Railways to mark the monk's 150{+t}{+h} birth anniversary. Combining photographs with biographical information, the exhibition takes visitors through the life of the Swami from his birth in an affluent family as Narendranath Dutta in January 1863, his spiritual crisis in his youth and his meeting his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, to his death after extensive travel and lecturing throughout India in July 1902. Of particular interest is his view about of monastic life. The exhibits tell us how, while establishing the Ramakrishna Math, the Swami combined spirituality with social service. Rather than removing themselves from the society, Swami Vivekananda wanted persons who joined the monastic order to strive for the betterment of the underprivileged. The exhibition also portrays the influence that the Swami and his writings had on various luminaries including Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Romain Rolland.

The express, which was flagged off from Howrah by the then Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on January 12, would be stationed in platform 1 at the Puducherry railway station till June 28.