Sunday, July 28, 2013

Indian Railways - the life line of India!

Luxury train travel in India: Gilded and garlanded on my transport of delight 

 From Wes Anderson and Danny Boyle to Michael Palin and Paul Theroux, Indian Railways have entranced dreamers, intrigued authors and inspired filmmakers. That's because there's no other railway like them on Earth.

Indian Railways are very aptly called the lifeline of India...considered to the most safe and reliable mode of transport which as has served the nation for the past 150 years. Indian Railways is also a major employer of the country as it provides jobs to 1.6 million people.
Some notable achievements of Indian railways which can be lauded are
  1. Providing transport links through 63,140 routes, it is one of the largest railway system in the world
  2. A wide fleet with 7800 locomotives, 40,000 coaches, 3,26,000 wagons, 9 pairs of Rajdhani and 13 pair of Shatabdi Express currently operated on almost daily basis.
  3. Indian Railways operates 11,000 trains, and transports more than 1 million tonnes freight regularly. Amongst 11.000 trains, 7000 trains are used by people for commuting purposes.
  4. The classes of travel available on Indian Railways are 1st AC, 2nd AC, 3rd AC, AC Chair Car, IInd Sleeper and IInd Ordinary Class.
Indian Railways has surely kept up the pace with the revolution in information technology. You can easily check out loads of information about Indian Railways, their achievements, records and statistics as well. Indian Railways Online is definitely a marvelous surprise as apart from this information you can get your train tickets booked, canceled as well. You can know the train status, its scheduled as well current arrival and departure times as well, its availability status and other vital information as well.

 Home to ancient toy trains, royal trains, Mumbai's infamous passenger trains, the new Duronto Express speed trains and even a hospital on wheels, I knew the Indian Railways would have a few tales to tell. Taking a page out of Jules Verne's classic tale, I decided to travel Around India in 80 Trains with Norwegian photographer Harald Haugan in tow, and write a book about the adventure.

Trains travel is considered most comfortable mode of transports in India and also the finest medium to see India at ground level. Even long distances such as Delhi to Mumbai can be covered with ease through trains by using sleeper class berth and you will not get tired. Besides, train travel is safe and cheap as you have to pay a reasonable fare.

  Maintained and run by Indian Railways the trains in India connect almost all the state capitals and other important cities and towns of the country. In fact, for tourists no visit to India would be complete without the experience of travelling on trains.

For travelling across India, Indian Railways have a variety of trains including fast, superfast, express and local trains. Passengers choose the trains according to their requirements and budget. Shatabdi and Rajadhani are two high-class trains, running at an speed over 100 km per hour, having all Air-conditioned coaches. Besides, there are hundreds of superfast and express trains running across the country. For short distance the Indian Railways run local passanger trains.

Moutain Railways - Mountain Railways is an special attraction of Indian Railway and also the most convenient way to visit the hill stations of India. Developed by the British government about 100 years back, during their rule over India, Mountain Railways now served as the main mode of transport to hilly areas. Travelling on mountain rail is a thrilling experience, as you get a wonderful chance to see the beautiful green countryside and other amazing wonders of nature. In fact, three of the Mountain Railways namely Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka – Shimla Railway have been declared World heritage properties by UNESCO.

 Spend time looking out the windows or carriage door. The ever changing landscape provides a rare and hassle free view everyday life in India. 

 If you're the talkative type, you won't have a shortage of people to chat to. Finding out as much information as possible about their traveling companions is the number one way that Indians pass the time on these train trips. By western standards, their questions can be quite intrusive. You should feel free to ask the same questions back. Your companions will be pleased you've taken an interest in them and you may receive some fascinating answers. 

 Be prepared to go to bed early. Indians love to sleep when they have nothing better to do and most people will start retiring for the night around 9.30 p.m.


Indian Railways run these trains keeping in mind the tourism point of view. Most of the luxury trains offers five star facilities to passengers on board. Running for a duration of two days to one week, these trains take you on a once upon a lifetime journey. You find a fine chance to explore the picturesque terrain anlongwith enjoying royal hospitality. Palace of Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Heritage on Wheels and Fairy Queen are some of the popular luxurious trains in India.

Rail transport is a commonly used mode of long-distance transportation in India. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by a state-owned organisation, Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways.
 A plan for a rail system in India was first put forward in 1832. The first rail line of the Indian sub-continent came up near Chintadripet Bridge (presently in Chennai) in Madras Presidency in 1836 as an experimental line.

 Monisha Rajesh, is the author of the new book "Around India in 80 Trains." The state-run railways and private luxury lines give full view of the country’s people as well as its sights, Ms. Rajesh said. “You could be in first class with ambassadors and politicians in these air-conditioned compartments” she said. “Go down to the other end, you’ll find people sitting on wooden slats.”
“No one is excluded,” she added. “For every price, anyone can travel.”

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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Keoladeo National Park

The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season.
Area: 28.73 km²
Address: Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur National Park

 The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that sees (or saw) thousands of rare and highly endangered birds such as the Siberian Crane come here during the winter season. Over 230 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home. It is also a major tourist centre of india.

The Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, popularly known as NICE Road, after the consortium that builds it, is the most ambitious infrastructure project underway in the state. It not only provides seamless connectivity from Bangalore to Mysore, but also envisages the implementation of ancillary projects along this corridor to enable comprehensive development of the region.

 The modern expressway, according to NICE will be an efficient, reliable and safe road constructed using state-of-the-art highway engineering and construction techniques. The road will enable safe travel at 120 km/h which will bring the travel time between Mysore and Bangalore down to just one hour. It will have underpasses and overpasses wherever necessary to bypass intersecting roads or natural obstructions, and enable uninterrupted traffic from Bangalore to Mysore. Major intersections will have interchanges to integrate other roads to the Expressway.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Indian Railway journey - a very pleasant experience!!

Indian Railway is an ideal getaway for all those who want to travel around and enjoy some genuine lovely moments with nature...

Indian Railways is the world's ninth largest commercial or utility employer, by number of employees, with over 1.4 million employees. Like roads railways also explore the beauty of India Indian Railways is divided into several zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions. The number of zones in Indian Railways increased from six to eight in 1951, nine in 1952 and sixteen in 2003 It is one of the world's largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km (71,000 mi) of track over a route of 65,000 km (40,000 mi) and 7,500 stations.

Railways in India are not just a means of transport, they are a way of life. A staggering 18 million people travel by train in India every day, on more than 9000 scheduled services. Indeed, Indian society would be unable to function without the railways – religious pilgrimages alone account for hundreds of millions of journeys every year, and Indian Railways is the world’s largest employer, with 1.6 million staff on the payroll.

The first time you travel on an Indian train will stay with you for a lifetime. Booking is an art form, involving complicated paperwork, endless queuing and a comprehensive knowledge of train numbers, station codes, and classes of travel (wise travellers invest in the invaluable Trains at a Glance, listing every service). With ticket in hand, you must then navigate the train platform, picking your way between sleeping passengers, piles of packing cases, bellowing food hawkers and over-laden porters.

But once you find your seat and the train jolts out of the station, the journey truly becomes the destination. As the loco gains momentum, chai-wallahs speed up and down the carriages with giant kettles of sweet, milky Indian tea. For overnight journeys, attendants lay out vigorously laundered sheets and deliver breakfast to your seat at sunrise. And all the while, the mesmerising landscape of India unfolds in front of your window at exaggerated speed, like an early explorer’s film reel.

India is rightly famous for its classic rail journeys. Although the steam trains have mostly moved on to the great railroad yard in the sky, a few narrow-gauge steamers still chug up into the hills, following the route taken by the colonial sahibs as they fled the heat of the plains every summer. Then there are India’s ‘palaces on wheels’, the opulent former railcars of princes and maharajas, now pressed into service for the paying public.

But you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for the Deccan Odyssey (the no-luxury-too-indulgent service from Mumbai to Goa and Maharashtra) to feel the thrill of Indian rail travel. Even ordinary journeys from one town to the next can be extraordinary by virtue of the scenery on all sides.

Tea Gardens of Kerala

This hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.

Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking. 

Pothamedu is located 6 km from Munnar and offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and long mountain walks.

 Devikulam is located is idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing.
Orchha in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh was the erstwhile capital city of the redoubtable Bundela kings. 16th and 17th century palaces and temples make Orchha, a famous tourist destination in Madhya Pradesh.

Bordered by the beautiful Betwa River, Orchha reflects the sumptuousness and magnificence of the mighty Bundelas. An artificial island with the meaning a ‘hidden place’ Orchha, lives up to its name. Placed in the lustrous Bundelkhand countryside, this pretty locale is bestowed with natural beauty and splendor.

With its striking forts, regal palaces, poetry carved temples and chhatris, Orchha presents a matchless spectacle and is a delightful place for photographers. An effervescent city with salubrious climate and glorious past, Orchha is renowned for its world class Mural Paintings. The outstanding frescos on the walls of the marvelous temples and regal palace of Orcha makes the viewer spellbound.

The splendor of ancient times hangs all around this historic city, and the remains of numerous palaces and havelis that withstood the beatings of time, fills the town with an air of quixotic reminiscence. Orchha is well known for its graceful monuments, which displays unique and exclusive architectural grandeur. Elaborately decorated monuments with domes, brackets, pillars, arch and ledges the place shows the influence of different architectural styles.

A sleepy village surrounded by a woody forest, Orchha showcases the rich heritage of medieval times. This exotic city, with garish monuments and majestic temples makes it picturesquely bobbling and fascinating. During your visit, make sure to taste “Kalakand” which is a famous sweet of Orchha.