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BBNers - International Experiences Thread - Sharing Global Information & ExperiencesViews: 409
Mar 29, 2010 9:10 am re:An Indian American travelling on Indian trains

Ernie Martin
Just two years ago (Feb/March '08)I traveled across India by trains. I'm a train buff! I lived in US all my adult life, and grew up in Bombay and Hyderabad in my younger years.

Now the trains journey in India: I slept in trains for 24 nights out of 5 week stay in India.:-). I traveled basically on AC-2 and one long journey on AC-3. Did visit several cities, among them Bangalore, and spent a one full day. I met two Ryzers, George treated for lunch and Anand treated me for dinner, all near and surrounding the train station. Did visit commercial area of Bangalore with shops on auto rickshaw.

Since my train yatra included 17 different express/mail trains for the 30 days Indrail Pass, I'll just share the longest couple of train journeys:

Kaniyakumari to Jammu Tawi by Himasagar Express on AC-3. It was the longest train journey in miles. This train took 3 nights and 4 days, for a total of 72 hours. Started with plenty of South Indians. Lot's of rice/dal, vege curry and dosas at stations. Also ordered food from the compartment; People were friendly and drank coffee and tea. Starting in Nagpur the trains passengers has almost become "Hindi Belt", North Indians with a sprinkle of Sikhs. Here the food changed mostly to chapati and dal, vege, and some rice. For me, no problem with Hindi.

On AC-3, many were professionals and business people and easy to converse in English and I was very comfortable. I just made sure I was drinking bottled water all the time, and it was easy to purchase on the train stations. I had several conversations with the professionals and drank plenty of chai in the process.:-). Did reach Jammu Tawi on time around 2pm after 3 nights. Did cross Ganges river bridge in Patna.

Okha(Dwarka) to Guwahati by Dwarka Guwahati Express on AC-2: 3 nights and 4 days; took close to 72 hours, with a 4 hours delay; I got sick on this train on the 2nd day because I ate fried wada from a local vendor (he was wandering around on the platform) for breakfast. It was something to do with the oil. fortunately, the Assamese passengers were very hospitable and comforted me. I had dizzy spells and sick to my stomach. I felt better after few hours.

I started the journey from Dwarka, the temple town. I could have left from Okha, but couldn't get a decent hotel room the previous night. They only have one "decent" hotel in Okha and had no vacancy. Not many hotels in Okha. I took one of those local shuttle vans to the main bus depot to Dwarka and checked into a hotel, and all eateries were vegetarian. Did visit the Krishna temple in Dwarka and it's environs. Great sunset and camel rides at the beach.

Back on the train. Almost all of the passengers from Ahmedabad to Guwahati were Assamese. They spoke Hindi and many in the AC-2 spoke English. This trains journey delay is due to single track from JPG (Jaipal Guri?)to Guwahati. The fellow passengers some of whom were the railway workers returning from Ahmadabad after attending a conference were women. The women were very friendly and even ordered dinners for two nights for me. It gave a great pleasure and and sense of adventure when this express train crossed the great Brahmaputra river bridge.


Ernie Martin

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