We were chatting up about all the things related to travel when he said, “You should travel by the Vivek Express sometime. It runs between Dibrugarh in Assam and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and is India’s longest train journey. You don’t have to be travelling to either place- just take the train for the experience of it all!”
|Train No 15905/15906 Kanyakumari bound|
And when you’ve taken a little over 20 trains even before the first half of the year, itching to do something more (the wackier, the better), the thought of executing that idea, sown in your head about 6 months ago, seems very enticing!
Keeping that in mind, I booked myself a ticket on not just India’s but the sub-continent’s longest train journey. Starting off at Dibrugarh – the farthest point in East India that one can take a train from – I journeyed through 7 states, with 58 halts en route, to reach my destination, some 4240 kilometres away, 4 days later. It was then that I understood what they meant by the adage '…in the end, it’s the journey (not the destination) that matters'.
It is often asked, “What do you do in the train for over 80 hours?”
And my answer always is “There can be no Bharat Darshan better than this! It’s a lot like lounging on your couch at home in front of the television set – except for what you get to see, which is better than what is shown on your LED.”
|Losing count of just the types of bridges|
Where else would you be --
- Watching hills as they disappear into the horizon with the change in ground elevation after Guwahati
- Seeking peacocks through the mango groves as you pass Bihar
- Trailing cycle pathways as they zig-zag their way into fields and villages around Balasore in Odisha
- Losing count of the different types of bridges that you glimpse – from handmade bamboo ones connecting houses to the main street to the mud-mortar ones, connecting towns and cities to each other. The variation in types of houses as well as the attire worn by people. That’s when you begin to see the influence of the weather on people’s way of life.
|Chugging past a game of gully-cricket|
Whether you’re in the east, the middle, or the south, some colours never go out of style. (Think about Gulabi pink, Kesari orange, Sunny yellow…) Like children who never seem to tire from waving excitedly as another train chugs alongside!
In addition to this, all meals are served with exquisite care to ensure your convenience. This has to be better than lounging on your couch!
To journey in one’s own country with the Indian Railway
through some of its lesser explored parts is not a feat many can claim to have completed. After all, who decides that the coolness quotient for a cruise or a road trip ranks higher than a ‘train journey’?
As for me, I’m grateful to that chance conversation that led me to not just embark but also complete something as unusual as this journey!
Disclaimer: This post has been written in collaboration with Cleartrip. All opinions are my own.
P.P.S.: For opportunities to work with me, click here