Day 133: Indian Railways

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Waiting at the platform for hours

I woke up the next morning feeling more tired than when I had felt when I went to bed. The oppressive weather seems to drain all the energy from your body. I read somewhere that your body takes about two weeks to adapt to the weather. Honest, I can't wait...

I had booked a train to Amritsar today. It was due to leave at 14:00, so I spent the morning getting some coffee (as it turns out, they do good coffee here in India, teehee!) and finalising the deal with Merrygo Travel.

I made sure to be at the train station well on time, just in case there would be any unforeseen issues. Well, I was partially right that it takes a while to make your way through the crowds and security and to find the right platform, but I need not have hurried.

New Delhi train station - nope, that is not my train
The train was late.
India has one of the most extensive railway networks in the world and it is quite impressive how some 6000 trains manage to reach their destination every day. Many of these trains run a route spanning the width of the country, taking several days to travel from its point of departure to its destination. As a result these trains often run late, especially in the monsoon season.

My train had originated somewhere in the east, a day or two ago, and the stretch from Delhi to Amritsar was the last six hours of the three-day journey. It was running late and other trains were given preference on the track instead, so by the time it was finally allowed to roll up on the platform in Delhi it was already two hours late.
Waiting at the platform for hours
By the time it reached Amritsar it was 3.5 hours late. Basically despite this being only a six-hour train journey, it had taken me 11 hours to get from my hotel in Delhi to my hotel in Amritsar.

So much for a first experience with the Indian railways. I decided it was an inevitable part of the India experience and didn't let it cloud my mood too much. Hey, it was fun waiting at the Delhi train station and watching the people around me, despite the immense heat.

So far the weather was the only thing I disliked about India. Well, the weather and the garbage everywhere around. India must be the filthiest nation on earth.
But I had expected the people to be very pushy and irritating, like Turkey times ten, but as it turned out it wasn't all that bad. I had expected people to be all over me, all wanting to sell me something. This is not the case. Walking down the streets in Delhi I was mostly left alone. Most of the rickshaw drivers would offer me a ride once or twice but after a friendly no they would be on their way again. I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

Many people were just very friendly too. As I sat in the back of a rickshaw, stuck in traffic, a car driver next to me opened his window to ask me how I liked India so far. In the train people would come up to me warning me to watch my belongings at stations, as shady people would walk in and out the train.

halilee says:
I'm surprized that you found Turkey pushy and irritating.. my travelmates and I had kept commenting on how easy Turkey was in that regards.. being a very "soft sell" compared to most places we had been. They've travelled MUCH more extensively than me , but we thought most of asia was a much harder sell. We leave for india in 6 days now.. can't wait.. though it looks like it's going to be a LOT hotter than I anticipated! Am nervous about the heat, the pushiness and petty crime and such, but will hopefully just take it all in stride and avoid the crime period, lol.
Posted on: Oct 08, 2012
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Waiting at the platform for hours
Waiting at the platform for hours
New Delhi train station - nope, th…
New Delhi train station - nope, t…
Waiting at the platform for hours
Waiting at the platform for hours
Waiting at the platform for hours
Waiting at the platform for hours
Finally on the train
Finally on the train
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra