Tag: Train

A Train Journey to Kerala

Monsoon clouds streaming across the Palakkad Gap as a cow enjoys its meal
Pazham Pori

I recently took my first train ride post-Covid, to attend a family function in Kerala.

We took the day train on the onward journey. The AC chair car was comfortable, spacious and clean. The pantry car was adjacent to the carriage, and we enjoyed the classics of railway food in South India – dosa, pongal, parippu vada, pazham pori, and glasses of reasonably good coffee.

The advantage of a day train to Kerala is that one gets to see the Palakkad gap in all its glory. I have written about this unique geological formation previously. But this is possibly the first time I was traveling through it during the monsoon season. And to see the moisture-laden rain clouds stream through the gap from lush-green Kerala to drier Tamil Nadu was quite an experience.

We reached our destination on time and enjoyed the stay of a few days in Kerala.

For the return journey, I had booked the overnight train. The AC coach was again, very comfortable and I enjoyed a good night’s sleep. Woke up as the train was a few kilometres away from the outskirts of Bangalore, giving just enough time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee!

Train Travel – Sleeper Class

Of late, I have been traveling by train more often. We recently took the 24 hour train to Mumbai as a family, traveling in AC coaches. Recently, I took the overnight train to Kerala, traveling sleeper class after a very long time.

I have always enjoyed train travel, liking nothing more than sitting by the window watching the world go by. As a child, I used to look forward to the long (30+ hours) journey from Mumbai to Kerala as much, if not more than, actually visiting Kerala and meeting family. But as I grew older (and with a family), whatever occasional train travel we did was in AC coaches.

While these are very comfortable, they just do not provide the same fun as the Sleeper class where one can open the windows and feel the wind in your face. Which is why, when I had to go to Kerala by myself recently, I took the opportunity to travel by Sleeper class.

The journey to Kerala was in a new coach. It was clean and quite comfortable. The only aspect where I felt that the older coaches were better were in the design of the window bars. Regular train travelers would know that, in the older sleeper coaches, the window bars bend outwards slightly. This is just enough that, if one were to place your face flush against the bar and peer out, you could get a great view along the sides of the train and catch glimpses of the engine around bends. In the new coach, sadly, the bars are straight. Which means that one does not get the same pleasure of peering out the window. Nevertheless, it is still far more fun that the sealed windows of AC coaches.

The return journey was on an older coach. And it was less crowded than the outward journey. The other pleasure of train travel, though definitely not recommended, is to stand by the open door and get a widescreen view of the scenery. This is, as one can image, a popular pastime, so I was quite surprised to find that the doors of the train were vacant and I was able to enjoy the beautiful Kerala countryside.

Some photos from the journey below:

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