A trip to India will never be complete without a journey through the Konkan route in a train. Well eventhough we had heard about the inauguration of this route, we thought that it will be just the time saving that is the advantage of this route. But it was not just the time saving, but the visual treat that one gets while travelling is something which is greatest advantage that one gets.
We had to board the (New Delhi - Ernakulam) Mangala express. We all reached the railway station in time after settling the bills at the International Youth Hostel.
Packed up and ready to go on Day 9
The train was in time and the compartments looked very clean and tidy, thanks to our Jhansi – Gorakhpur experience which makes us feel that all these are quite good.
The journey started, but the decibel levels were much low since most of us decided to have a good sleep to account for the late night sessions yesterday.
Those who were awake were busy discussing the happenings during the tour. Deep inside our heart we had a slight worry also since this is the last leg of the memorable journey. Away from home for 8 days means we had a slight home sickness feeling too.
We passed the Agra town, where we had been last day. So the discussion revolved around Agra. Soon almost all fell asleep as the energy levels seem to be quite low. The day passed without much episodes and it must have been one of the longest slept days.
The Konkan Experience
Day 10 morning when we woke up, we found a radical change in the scenery outside. One look outside and we were terrified.
We felt as if, we were travelling in an airplane. Ghosh there was no land down. Went to the door and looked outside only to see that we are going through a bridge, not a small bridge, a very very long bridge connecting two mountains. It was an awesome feeling.
Looking ahead we could see that the bridge culminates in a tunnel dug through a mountain. Oh my we are in for an amazing treat. The excitement started to grown again after the dull day in train yesterday.
Enter the tunnel and soon it became pitch dark, only the lights inside the vehicle, the sound of train changed, we could sense a pressure difference, and there were some lights inside the tunnel too. The train seems to have slowed down for it took almost 2 to 3 minutes to finish of the tunnel.
Once the tunnel is finished we were going through some plain land, but the scenery surrounded was superb. The mood change was imminent. The decibel levels increased. We never expected this treat when we started the journey.
Soon the discussions began to revolve around the engineering achievements regarding the Konkan route. Who would have thought that such a rail line can be built amidst these Western Ghats. The effort involved seems to be awesome, since access to roads from most of these places is almost zero and there seems to be no population at all around this stretch.
The surroundings felt similar to what we see in God’s own country – Kerala with paddy fields, sprawling lakes, big trees, mountains with green cover – a real visual treat.
Till evening we were completely engaged in a admiring the beauty of this place. Sun came down even before we completed the Konkan stretch. So we missed something. The last night of our journey together was going to happen and we decided to make it memorable. Songs began to flow, beautiful narrations on experiences of tour, coupled with enough masala, and the group became live. No one wanted to sleep. We forgot that this is going to end.
Soon dawn arrived and we had crossed Karnataka to reach Kerala. People will start alighting from now onwards. Some got down at Kannur, some at Kozhikkode and some at Tirur. So the tour was going to have an end. The beautiful Bharathapuzha was in sight and we could see our beautiful college too. The train came to a halt at Kuttippuram railway station and that is it. Our tour ended. Oh what a feeling? Is it sad? Is it a sense of achievement? Is it happiness, or a mix of all these, I cannot quite differentiate.
But the fact is that we had a memorable trip of our life. The experience we got was a lesson for a lifetime. These experiences are something which only travels can provide.
Then & Now – A summary
The story so far: (Click to read)
Part 1 - The plan
Part 2 - The Approvals
Part 3 - The Journey begins - Palghat - Jhansi
Part 4 - Another side of Life - Jhansi - Gorakhpur
Part 5 - The Himalayan Cruise: Gorakhpur - Kathmandu Bus Trip
Part 6 - First Night at Kathmandu
Part 7 - Exploring Kathmandu - A guided Tour
Part 8 - Bye bye Kathmandu - Enter New Delhi
Part 9 - Exploring Delhi - A guided Tour
Part 10 - Experiencing Symbol of Love, Then Symbol of Humility
Part 11 - The return Trip via Konkan
Part 12 - Then and now !!!!!!!!