So after a week i am writing a post here, actually i want to write more often but being little lazy and dearth of Ideas about what to post keeps me away from writing. But Today none of these things are hampering me and i will proceed to write now.
Traveling is something that we all look forward to and i am lucky that i had got chance to travel by all the four Primary transport modes(Road,Rail,Air,Water). But none fascinates me more than Rail traveling and i guess many will share this opinion of mine.
Its been around 8 years that i have not traveled by Train(long journey i must say) as i didn't get a chance to go at a far distant place.
The farthest memory of me traveling in train goes back to some 20 years back when on holiday we used to go at our Grandparents parents place Deoband(West U.P.) from Meerut, its around 100 kms from here, i remember at that time large Engines run by Coal used to pull Railway compartments, the Engine used to have
Spherical front shape at that time and lots of Smoke also used to vent out from the Chimney. I remember my parents had to struggle a lot to find a place to sit as General compartments were already occupied by many passengers. There were fights, bhajans, discussions, cards, vendors selling some Chatpata eatable stuff and lots more things going on at one instant in the journey. That makes traveling by a train so special as you experience so many things at one place that you can never experience in any other mode of traveling.
Then we moved to Delhi in early Nineties, same route was followed as Meerut comes in Between Delhi and Deoband, the difference this time was now the Engine was Diesel one except that there was no change in travel experience. At that time the compartments were of reddish Brown colour which i hated very much, that colour was so dull. What i looked forward on such visits was the food that we used to eat, it was not exactly food but some snacks, there were Popcorns and they used to sell it by saying Poppon Karare i guess it has huge effect when you pronounce something differently, then there were Nariyal(Coconut) slices, Chatpata Chola chat and i wanted to have all of them, but being a shy child i never used to ask anything but my parents would sense that from my face and after the completion of journey i would have tasted every single thing.
After living 5 years in Delhi my Father got transfered to
Betul(Southern Madhya Pradesh) so we were shifted there as it was 1000 kms from Delhi,this will give us a chance of Night traveling. We used to take G.T. Express from New Delhi Station that goes to Chennai and Betul used to come on that route. The train would leave at 6:40pm(still the time is same) from New Delhi and reach at around 9 in morning to Betul. I first encountered the Sleeper compartments then, my mom would prepare food for Dinner and it was fun munching on it while you are on train. My father would always purchase some Magazines from Book stalls, its another flavour of traveling by train to read something. But sleeping is what i never enjoyed in trains as train is continuously moving, but its completely different in AC Coaches which are much stable. But you cannot enjoy your journey better then Sleeper Coaches as the real India travels in it and you also get to see different terrains far better then closed AC Coaches.
Many times when train stopped on stations my Father used to go for purchasing some eatables or Drinking water, at that time i used to get very nervous, what will happen if train left him ? i used to search him where he his from Coach itself and if he is not visible to me tears used to be on corners of my eyes, but we traveled so many times and it never happened.
Now i must tell you about the Beautiful route from Delhi to Betul. If anybody of you has traveled on this route then you must know how scenic this route is. As you start first known place which comes is Agra, i tried many times to search for Taj Mahal but unfortunately its not visible from train. Between Agra and Gwalior comes the Chambal Ghati as the names comes of it we think about the Dacoits who used to or still lives there, after seeing it anybody can say that its a perfect hideout place as there are lots of very small paharis(hills), the complete look of this place takes you to the famous Shekhar Kapoor film Bandit Queen, then you have Beautiful Chambal river flowing whose water i remember at that time was very clear. Next en-route is Gwalior, the first things which i see is the Big Flood lights of Gwalior Cricket Stadium which is just adjacent to Gwalior railway station, then you also get a glimpse of Jain Temples and Gwalior Fort. Next on line is Jhansi city famous for Maharani Laxmi Bai and best Hockey Player ever Dhyanchand but you don't get to see any interesting place there. Now comes Sanchi which is world famous for its Stupa they contain relics of Buddha and were originally commissioned by Emperor Ashoka the great, you can see them quite clearly as train passes very close to them.
After this Bhopal comes, the Capital of Madhya Pradesh, now from here 200kms of journey is left which i like the most , the terrain is mostly hilly now, different hills in amazing shapes you get to see there , its all green absolutely nature at its best. In Hoshangabad you get to see river Narmada the biggest river of Madhya Pradesh, then Comes Itarsi which is a big junction from there route of South Bound trains and Mumbai bound trains diverges. Now we are in the region of Satpura which is complete hilly and Betul comes in it, as it is very hilly at the back of train one more engine is fitted which helps the front engine in dragging the train forward.As you encounter 4,5 big tunnels they confirms that we had reached Betul and our Jouney is over. About Beauty of Betul i will have to write seperate post as it has lot to offer.
Old Shatabdi Train
New Spanky Shatabdi
Old Rajdhani Coaches
New Rajdhani Coaches
I must write about the two fastest trains that we have Shatabdi Express and Rajdhani Express. I have not got chance to travel by Rajdhani but have traveled 4 times by Shatabdi. First was once when we went to Jaipur from Delhi, the Cream Blue colour combination at that time was refreshing as we had that Reddish Brown colour or Blue Colour trains only, the speed was also a difference but i never liked the food served in them the taste was not up to the mark, i don't know whats its quality now. Also the fact it has chair car Compartments you get tired in long journey. My sister who does not like to travel in AC on our very first journey on Shatabdi Vomited in the middle of our Compartment, we felt very shy at that time as all passengers were seeing us by grudging eyes but it was not her fault she didn't do it intentionally, afterwards we used to carry Vomit bags for her whenever we used to travel by AC. Now i have seen new age Compartments being used in Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains which have bigger windows and are much more comfortable.
Mumbai Local Train
Indian Railway is the biggest employer in the world and we must be proud of it as it caters to millions of people everyday. Everyone have their tales regarding their travel in Indian Rails. What you experience in it is a life time one. Whether its Mumbai locals, Rajdhani,the toy trains, the steam Engine running trains you get different experience everytime. You make some great friends while traveling by trains as they give you chance to meet different people in course of your journey. Most of the part of the country is connected by Trains and at a cheaper rate. Don't have any idea about when i will get my next chance to travel by it but i am eagerly waiting for it.
Those who want to read more about Indian Railways i suggest to go through Dinesh Wagle's Travelogue and Anil's Blog.