Thursday, November 30, 2023

Sealdah Ajmer Train Travel 12988/12987


I have reached kolkata

1500km to Jaipur which I planned to do in 2 days by road.


Checking train service I managed to get tickets on Jaipur - Ajmer express at short notice.  Have heard many horror stories about this train, I was curious if things have changed now?  It would be a 23 hrs. Journey starting at 2250 hrs.  would see me in Jaipur the pink city  next day at 2315 hrs. This train is notorious for running 6 to 12 hrs. Late, along with Dirty bathroom seemed to be the mandate n so on



Well let's board the 2ac(I don't really want to be too adventurous)

As I checked my final seat number, my stomach hollowed out, feeing of doom was on me, my seat was for side upper so 24 hours on side berth that too upper, could it get any worse! And in 2ac I think that's the worst seat. What with me being 6 feet,

 The thought did run through me - Should I just abandon this trip or jump on my bike n start out? 


To add to chaos, a friend called to inform me streets were blocked in certain places for jagardhatri immersion so I better hurry to station 2 hrs. in advance


I decided to do one better n ditched my suitcase n packed stuff in a backpack and decided to head out by local train to sealdah my start point.


. As I waited outside my house for a ride to the local station or walk km to the station a Good Samaritan offered me a ride on his scooter. Took me 3/4 of the way n I walked 300 meters or so to the station.


The good start to the trip boosted my mind frame as I reached sealdah I was pleasantly surprised to see the Train at the platform already with ac running a good 55 min before the journey (normally a train is placed 30 min max before a journey)



I Was further excited to see the train quiet new n clean, well things were looking up to start with and I boarded found my seat and now a new issue seemed to rear its head.


The berth below me has 2 folks sharing the seat, which meant sitting during day there would be 3 of us on that berth Hmmm.


Anyway no point fretting I climbed onto my seat n was asleep by 2330 hrs.


Plan was to sleep as long as I could 

 I did manage to sleep off till 0500 hrs. As opposed to 0930 hrs. as was planned.



I was running a partially upset tummy (could things get any worse l) which meant I would have to run to the loo after jumping down from my berth, anyway I luckily have medicine with me, popped the pills along with a piece of chocolate.


Good news - the 2 guys had scored separate seats and the 2 of them being friends were ready to swap seats with me. 

Thus I was on a lower berth on longer side.


The travel gods were kind Indeed.  


Train has been on time n journey OK till now 1754 hrs. as I write this piece. 


In my new berth no 19

All my co- passengers have been sleeping or watching phone content all this time.



No communication.  Since 0945 to 1755.  Hmm 


Train journey sure is changing 10 hours of all around me just staring into their phone and not a word to be exchanged.



My entertainment was to jump off the train every now and then to watch the world from the outside too, or get a cup of coffee while off the train.


I reached Jaipur travelled 1505 km and the train was one hour late on this journey, Not too bad I would say, Jaipur station sure was crowded and at the late hour was still full of people sleeping all over on this cold 16 degree night.  Time was 0030 hours




Not being one to base opinions on one ride alone, I took the same train again on my way back, and I had better seats to start with this time around,

The train which comes from Ajmer, I was boarding at Jaipur, seemed to have quiet a following judging by number of people waiting to board the train.



The train arrived soon and the crowed was quick to board




We were away and similar passengers busy with work



With no time to look out of the window, which did give a view of lovely countryside I say


24 hours passed by quick and we were back to city of Joy, Kolkata



All in all I would give a 4/5 to the train journey,

Sealdah Ajmer is not a bad train

Both ways it was one hour late after having travelled for approx. 1500 each way

Bathrooms mostly clean, in 2 AC

Sheets and lines were provided.







Sunday, November 19, 2023

Worshiping nature, Chat Puja





  Chat is all about the Sun God, it is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated primarily in Bihar, Utter Pradesh, Jharkhand and parts Nepal.  Seen here are the Evening prayers to the Sun God




Next Morning we are back to meet the sun, lamps lit up all along the river, filled with devotees




0601 hrs the sun slowly rises as if to bless the devotees



Amazing to watch these folks still sharing a joke and smile after having fasted for 36 hours.


Dedicated to the worship of Sun God, teaches one Purity and discipline, the rituals of fasting for 36 hours, hold bathing  and offering prayers to seek blessings is now completed.




© Rajat Ghosh, stock footage / pictures available for licensing








Friday, November 17, 2023

Ma Matia kali / Deepawali celebration


Winter is here and am retaining my habit of waking up by 0500 hours daily and


 And read

And have warm water


 Before I step out for a walk,

 Today I would be doing it all and then not going for a walk but a ride


A ride to Kolkata and then to my favorite part, the village visits for Kali Puja

(Deepawali) and to meet my extended family

Cousins and there children would range up to 60 + people under one roof, and it is a festive event as can be for sure.


But first things first attending a cousin kids Birthday. So that makes me, hold your horses a Grand old dad.


                                   My chariot for the trip




            Approaching Kolkata and the party begins

The party was a grand success lot of food and friends and family, recipe for happiness today.



The following day was a late start and a change of Chariot; I was travelling with my cousin and co, as we were headed to the same place for Deepawali/Kali Puja.




The Kolkata traffic was a nightmare to start with but did melt away as we went along the way, soon making way for better roads, approx. 120 km later and away from Kolkata




The day quickly made way for dusk and darkness was on us quiet quick, we were to cover 400 odd km this day and expected to be there by 2330 hours.




Stopping for lip smacking Roti and Daal tadka along the way we made good speed and did spot a few Ma kali idols on way to the respective puja pandals, 



The next day is when the action starts right from completion of the idol to the Kali puja/ Deepawali,,,  am I excited