About Traveling On The Train
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First To Review: Amaya K.
Oct 30, 2008
So I arrived in Agra this evening after a 21 train ride from Mumbai. Surprisingly, it was quite a pleasant journey. Everyone and their mother is headed to North India this time of year to escape the heat rising as the monsoon approaches. So since most trains were booked for days I shelled out a few extra rupees and got the 2nd class AC bunk. This afforded me a nice little spot to spend my train ride and I was sharing the compartment with a super-nice Indian family. We had a lot of great sharing about cross-culture experiences and comparing our lifestyles. In particular they were really intrigued to find me doing mantras and sporting OM symbols on some belongings. They also really enjoyed comparing their ideas of India with what the Lonely Planet had to say about their country.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity of whatching the countryside roll by. I *love* travelling by train!!! It's such a great way to get a realistic experience of how much area you're actually travelling through and around. And the rural landscapes that you might never get a chance to see hold a magic of there own as you speed through. Most of the daylight portion of the trip carried me through the state of Rajastan. It's mostly dry arid plains and desert landscape but amazingly beautiful none the less. The train made a lot of stops as well which gave me a chance to see how people's dress and expressions changed along with the landscape. When we were about a half hour from Agra, all of the sudden the land changed from flat plains to these miniture hills, rocky plateaus, and canyon like areas carving the ground as far as the eye could see. It was like a miniature model of a dry mountain range. So incredible!!!
Well I have heard story after story of swindling taxi and rickshaw drivers in Agra and tourists really getting taken advantage of. So I had a tiny bit of an edge when I got off the train. But being so wary really tensed me up so I decided to just relax and trust in the flow and WOOHOO! good thing! I scored an awesome and super friendly rickshaw driver who pulled no scams at all and he's taking me out to tour the city tomorrow. For super-cheap!!
Well I got to my hotel and went up to the roof to eat at the restaurant and WOWOWOWOWOW the amazing view of the Taj Mahal from teh roof is adsolutely incredible!! The south gate is only about 100 yards from my hotel!!!! I couldn't believe how breathtaking it was. Well I'm off because I'm getting up at 5:30 am to make it to watch the Taj Mahal unfold it's beauty at sunrise tomorrow...Sweetness!!!
Apr 6, 2009
For a look at the real India the train is a wonderful place to be. It can get frustrating when you are constantly harassed, but it is a great place to meet locals and to watch the scenery passing by. The overnight trains are actually reasonably comfortable, but I recommend going at least 2nd class if you want to have a comfortable bed!