No matter how much we travel by air, there is always something special about a train journey – and at least for me, a train journey is always a welcome break. My last train ride was planned out of necessity – we had to travel to Kozhikode (Calicut) in Kerala, and the direct flight from Delhi is currently suspended indefinitely. We started looking at different options but a train journey directly from Delhi to Calicut was definitely out – we simply did not have the time required.
And so I did some backward searching, looking for cities that were within a few hours of a train ride from Kozhikode, and viola – Mangalore popped up as an option. There are several trains that run daily between Kozhikode and Mangalore and it is just a four hour journey, which was perfect. We booked ourselves to fly to Mangalore as a transit point, and then on a connecting train from there to Kozhikode.
Our train departure from Mangalore was at 0720 in the morning and we reached the station well in time. The Mangalore Central Railway Station deserves a special mention here – it was one of the cleanest stations that I have travelled out of. We had entered the station from Platform 1 and our departing train was from Platform 4, and I was certainly not looking forward to the prospect of lugging my bag up the stairs to cross the bridge. However, my apprehensions were unfounded. At both ends of the bridge, apart from the escalator and the stairs, there was also a lift. A very clean lift, if I may add. I was pleasantly surprised, as my experience with lifts at such public areas so far has not been so great. Normally they are dirty, or out of order. However, the lifts here were not only functional, they were also spotless. Kudos to the railway staff there !
We boarded the train and were wondering what to do for breakfast – this particular train did not have catering included. I need not have worried, as I soon discovered, as authorized vendors selling food soon made an appearance with offerings of hot idlis, vadas and coffee. And so we had a hot breakfast sitting on our seats even before the train had rolled out of the Mangalore station. The quality of food, I must say, was much better than what is available in the trains up north.
We had booked for window seats because we had been told that the journey was quite picturesque. The only problem was that it had been raining, and the window outside wasn’t too clean 🙁 Well, there was nothing we could do about the weather, or about cleaning the window from outside, so we resigned ourselves to fate. We did, however, keep our cameras ready. Correction – my wife kept her camera ready and I kept my cellphone handy. I am not too great at handling a camera and prefer the simple, uncomplicated cellphone camera to a proper camera any day. Ease of use is important to me 🙂
“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” – Pedro Calderon De La Barca
The train rolled out on time. Mangalore is very close to the Kerala border, and very soon we had crossed over into God’s Own Country. It was still raining off and on, and the window was still hazy and stained. Nevertheless, we sat in awe as the lush green sprawling countryside passed by our window. One good thing about the rain though – it had washed the greenery outside and everything that we could see, for miles around, was lush green. The thick monsoon clouds only served to enhance the magical effect. The landscape was dotted with coconut trees and paddy fields. AND we passed over so many water bodies. It is hard to say if they were rivers, lakes, or backwaters. Some, we could identify as rivers because of the span of the bridges over them. Nevertheless, the views were breathtaking, a hazy window notwithstanding. Kerala during the rains is truly majestic – no wonder it is known as God’s Own Country. No amount of words can truly describe this natural wonder called Kerala – it has to be seen and experienced and we sat mesmerized by the creations of nature that whizzed past us.
We kept clicking like crazy, and I have absolutely no idea how many frames we shot, but they were a-plenty. Now one has to understand that at many points the train was moving at a very high speed, and with our simple camera / cellphone we hardly had any hopes of capturing any great shot worth writing home about. However, we did manage to get some half-decent shots which are worth sharing. Some of these pictures caught the essence of the journey beautifully, despite the fact that in most of the shots, the reflection of the glass window, or water smudges outside are quite visible.
So engrossed were we in enjoying the views outside that we did not even realize when the four hours passed, and we had reached our destination – this was one train journey that ended too soon for us. I do hope that you will like these pictures, and that they manage to convey – at least in some way – the essence of the journey.