Before leaving for the 1 month journey, I have started many topics and there are a lot of things to update. So I have decided to invite all of you to my travel diary.
After a lot of confusion and changes of plans, I have decided to travel alone. My friends who were supposed to come with me, couldn’t make it due to many reasons. So instead of going to Kolkata with a friend, I decided to travel alone towards North East. Like any other trips, I was looking for the cheapest travel options. As I was going alone, I could travel the hardcore way without worrying about the other persons. Through out this journey, I was realising that not many people will like my way of travelling as it requires a lot of adjustments and sacrifices. I hope You will understand as we travel through my diary.
Lets begin the journey.
I picked the longest and cheapest train from my starting point. I started my journey from Dharmadam, a very small station where only few passenger trains stop. My destination was Coimbatore. The journey from Dharmadam to Coimbatore is around 8 hours including the delays, train crossings and other factors taken into consideration. Total distance 259 km, Number of halts 35, Type of train : Passenger train, Total cost : 50 [ $ 0.81 ] !!
The train was late and it reached my station around 6.30 in the morning and it would reach the destination around 2pm. The train journey wasn’t very eventful. As I boarded from one of the early stations, I was able to find my favourite seat, the window seat. The emergency window seat is the favourite of all because it’s window grills can be opened. The outside view was quite familiar to me. And Inside the train, people, the voices and noises kept on changing. Various vendors were passing constantly. Had some breakfast from one of those vendors. But the food wasn’t very cheap nor very delicious. But that’s part of train journey!
As the train approached Coimbatore, the view started to change gradually. The densely populated Kerala green lands were replaced by less populated lands and mountains, the coconut trees were replaced by palm trees.
By 2 o clock in the afternoon I reached Coimbatore. My plan was to take a train to Chennai at night, so that I wouldn’t have to search for a place to stay at night. I found a train that starts at 22.40 from Coimbatore to Chennai. So in between 2 pm and 10 pm I have almost 8 hours of free time. So during the planning stage, I had decided to meet some couch surfers(CSers) in that area, and asked some of them if they would like to meet up. But I couldn’t find many replies. One CSer replied, but she was not in town. So she suggested some places to visit. So I reached Coimbatore without doing anything and no one to hang out with.
First thing I did was finding a decent restaurant to have lunch. Again the food wasn’t very cheap ( according to my standards 😉 ) After the lunch I still had almost 7 hours to spend. So I took a bus and went to the bus stand.
I bought a Daily pass for the bus at just 50. With that daily pass one can travel around the city in any Government owned buses during that entire day! So I did some bus hopping.
I checked my Google maps to find some cool place to visit and come back within the time limit. But couldn’t find many places. At last decided to take a bus to Pollachi. I heard that the place is really beautiful. But the place was out of the city limits, I had to take a ticket which was sort of cheap. 50 for round the trip.
Bus rides are fun. It gives you an insight into the local life, the life style, the colourful culture and lots more. Some pictures from the bus journey to Pollachi.
I reached Pollachi and I was little disappointed because I wasn’t able to find places which I had imagined. I thought there will be a vast area of green fields and fields with lots of flowers. But they weren’t near the bus stand I guess. As I was running out of time, I decided to go back instead of exploring by walking. Sun already started the return journey as I had returned to the city. I found a place to have dinner and again paid another 50 rupees. Walked a little bit under the night sky.
And it was time to go to the railway station as there was nothing much to do in the city. Took a bus, flashed the daily bus pass to the ticket conductor and got down at the railway station. It was almost 2 hours early. I got the ticket to Chennai without much long queue.
Well there is a secret to avoid long queues at the railway station. There is a service available called as Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Seva (JTBS) outside many railway stations.
JTBS or Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Seva is an outsourcing scheme of the Indian Railways. It allows entrepreneurs to set up ticket sale counters near railway stations and sell unreserved railway tickets. The selected Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (operators) sell unreserved rail tickets through computerised UTS (Unreserved Ticketing System) terminals.
JTBS was conceptualised and introduced with a view to improve dispensation of unreserved tickets in city areas other than the railway stations and provide jobs. These would be beneficial for passengers as they could get the general tickets in the market instead of going to the station.
You just need to find if JTBS is available near your station and You just need to give 1 rupee extra for purchasing a ticket from there. It saves a lot of time and energy.
(To be contd. )