Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beyond the Tropic - A Journey to Rajdhani

Travelling is an unique activity that brings us in contact with various places and people for a much shorter period of time, but teaches extensively about the same. In Francis Bacon's words, "Travel is a part of both education and experience."
I am a traveler, though not a frequent or extensive one, I like traveling. But till the mid of this month, my journeys were contented within Tamil Nadu. Till the mid of this month, I had crossed the borders of Tamil Nadu for only four times. However, within the State, I had traveled across every districts at least twice. My entire travel history changed when I started to New Delhi on 15th December 2013. Though the purpose of my visit was to attend IFS 2013 Personality Test, it was the travel I had taken has been more memorable. Like all the great travelers, I have seen more than I remember and remember more than I have seen. And here, I would like to share things I remember to have seen in my entire trip to New Delhi.
Andhra Pradesh: Starting on a chilly morning of 15th December, myself and four of my friends boarded in Chennai-Delhi Rajdhani express. The first State we entered was Andhra Pradesh, in which we could see two faces. Geographically, the Coastal parts were completely different from rest of the State. In the coastal plains we could see improved agricultural practices with proper shelter belts and wind-breakers. The climate was moderate till we reached Vijayawada. Once we entered the Telengana region, we could see rugged terrains with tank irrigated agriculture and higher temperature. Social backwardness of the region was more expressive in agricultural practices and settlement patterns. Of high mark of Andhra Pradesh as I had seen was the majestic view of bridges across the river Krishna.
Maharashtra: I remember only two things from this state - Pollution and forests. As the train entered Ballarpur, a smoke cloud arising from many parts of the city welcomed us. Accompanying this was the effluent from paper industry here. The most regretful view of the entire trip was Ballarpur. On the other side, the Tadoba forest was extremely calm and fresh. It was my first time to travel through a forest region and it was a pleasant experience. The view of teak trees will stay in my memories always.
Madhya Pradesh: The first all Hindi state we entered was Madhya Pradesh. Lakes and Ravines were the token view of the state. Two of my co-passengers were from Bhopal. One thing we noticed from them was that the North Indians love to sleep. From Chennai till Bhopal, they got up only to eat. It was in Madhya Pradesh, we crossed the Tropic of Cancer, to the land where sun never comes overhead. It was from Madhya Pradesh, fog started to block our vision.
Rajasthan: A small stretch of the journey and a small station of Dholpur were all that was to see in Rajasthan. North of the Chambal badlands was so dry with minimum number of shrubs and trees. As fog became heavier, we were not able to see anything beyond 10-20 metres. This gave us no other choice other than to sleep, resulting in skipping the Uttar Pradesh part of this post.
New Delhi: The train became intermittent as we entered the outskirts of New Delhi, presumably due to heavy fog. Crossing the growing dense settlements, the mighty Rajdhani Express finally reached Nizamuddin station only after 4 hours of scheduled arrival, at 1400 hours on 16th December.
Thus ends the first part of my post "Beyond the Tropic."

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