June 8th, 2017 by admin

In January 2015 and February 2015, I have travelled to and fro on the Duranto train of the Indian railways for the first time. This train was launched with much fanfare by the then Indian railway minister Mamata Banerjee. The train is supposed to be super fast and very convenient express train. In these journey we were two people and had bought tickets for AC 3 tier. Well, yes the train was convenient and service was good. The train has only 3 stoppages in its entire stretch of around 1900 kms from Bangalore to Kolkata. Once the train leaves, you are provided with water bottles. But note that on the second day, you will have to purchase drinking water. In all they provide 2 bottles. These bottles are branded as Rail Neer.

Then little later they provided bread stick with butter, salt and pepper. For lunch or dinner, you will get to select veg or non-veg while buying the ticket. On top of that, the pantry guys will again confirm with you. On lunch and dinner, you have roti, some rice, a veg curry / dal, a non veg curry (chicken) and sweet curd (sometimes sour white curd) as dessert. In breakfast and evening snacks one can have tea / coffee with boiled egg, bread /butter /zam and frooti. I think this menu might change.

The food service is good and done on time. The cleaners are also good. They spray deodorant, clean and wipe the compartments.

As this was an AC coach, we were provided with pillows, bedsheets and blankets. But towards the end of the journey, the pantry service and the cleaners expect some tips. I have seen every one pays them generously.

April 10th, 2016 by admin

On April 5th, 2016 the much hyped Gatimaan express (train # 02050 /02049) was flagged off. This part of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s election campaign promise of running semi high speed trains in India. So under 2 years he has a train on the ground which is touted as the fastest train in India. Well at present it is the fastest train in India at a top speed of 160 km/hr. Now how fast is the fastest train from former fastest train? Well it’s a mere difference of 5 – 10 km/hr. The runner up is the Delhi – Bhopal Shatabdi express which runs at a top speed of 150 – 155 km/hr. It was the first Shatabdi train and was launched in 1988 on the birth centenary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Are we saying since then we could progress a mere increase of just 5 – 10 km/hr!

Well on speed (gati), I don’t see much gati! But it does score point on service. It introduces for the first time hostess on Indian train and infotainment. Like the shatabdi and Rajdhani expresses,┬áLinke Hofmann Busch coaches were used. These coaches are now made in India at the┬áRail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Punjab under transfer of technology from LHB Germany which is now part of Alstom, France. IRCTC has also offered tour packages synchronized with the time of Gatimaan express.

It definitely good addition for anyone who wants visit Agra from Delhi in the morning and return in the night. For a tourist who wants to see more of Agra than the Taj Mahal and Agra fort, one day is not enough. The Gatimaan express runs on all days except Friday (Taj Mahal remains close on Friday). It is a new standard when it comes premium trains in India. But did it really achieved its intended goal of semi high speed !!

January 16th, 2016 by admin

Watch an interesting video of monkeys stealing stuffs from tourists!

December 29th, 2015 by admin

Video owned by Video maker.

May 31st, 2015 by admin

Tipu Sultan was probably the last independent king of the Mysore kingdom. His arms and armour has recently found its way to auction in London for 6 million pounds last month (23rd April). A lot of this artifacts were probably taken to UK during the British rule of India. However, this do not make UK the owner of this items. This items should have been returned to India, who is the rightful owner. These artifacts place is not at auctions, rather should be at a museum for public display. International law says if anyone discovers any antique item in a country, they can study them and need to return them to the country of origin after creating a replica. But we keep on hearing Indian historical items getting auctioned at Southby’s, Bonhams and such. The government of India should take strong steps to bring such items back to India and detest such auction houses to deal in such items of national history.

Tipu’s personal sword which has a tiger head and laced with precious stones was bought by liquor baron Vijay Mallya in 2004 at an auction in London and brought to India. The point I am trying to make is that this items are our heritage and should stay in the country. The government of India should talk to the country concerned. People at large also can raise this via social media.

Take a look at the pictures of some of the items: click here.

May 16th, 2015 by admin

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is in China these days. His visit abroad are typically grand affairs and said to have signed a slew of MOUs. How many of them will be on the ground and how soon, is something to be seen. However, I feel the biggest take away from this visit will be the tourism sector. Tourism between India and China will be the biggest beneficiary from this visit of Modi. If one checks the agreements signed between China and India, this may not come clear as the items are in bits and pieces. If we connect the bits, then visualizing the future is not that difficult. One of the 24 agreements is : Agreement for cooperation in the field of tourism

What kind of co-operation? Some sign are already up. The two countries had decided for the establishment of consulates in Chengdu and Chennai. This is a very positive development not only in terms of tourism but also from the business point of view. China has also shown the green flag for the opening of a second route to Kailash-Manasarovar pilgrimage from India through Nathu La in Sikkim. As of now the only route for this pilgrimage is Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. The Nathu La route will be opened in the month of June. World wide tourism is a $3 trillion industry and we must strive to have a bigger pie of this industry. India has a huge potential in tourism and with infrastructure improvements more avenues would open. Modi asking NRIs in China to be a tourism ambassador of India is a great message. Each one of us can do our bit in promoting tourism in India. Simple things like not throwing garbage on road, courteous/helpful with foreign tourist etc can go a long way.

The government of India has announced E – tourist visa for Chinese nationals. If this is reciprocated by China, will go a long way in promoting tourism and confidence building with India. As of now only two India airlines operate flights to China – Air India and Jet Airways. There is virtually no direct flight to Shanghai from India (except for a China Eastern flight from New Delhi). Though there are many international airlines operating from India to China via Hong Kong. What I as a traveler is looking for, when road travel will normalize between India and China. We have many border points where international travel can be opened. For instance, road infrastructure in Nathu La in Sikkim is already in place and can be opened for international travel to and from China. As we know road infrastructure on the Chinese side is already developed and road travel should not be a problem. This will reduce cost and will encourage Indians to tour China who are cost conscious. Opening road travel will be single largest factor to boost tourism between India and China. And if sometimes in future railways also connected India and China, then both these form of transportation will transform the map of tourism and business for these two countries. In Modi’s first visit to China I feel seeds of such dream are being sown.

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