Not a travelogue, but to share some of the things I learned from the solo North Indian journey I spent on the bus, train and train stations, walking for miles and staying overnight. Only those who are interested in traveling at low cost should continue reading.
First the route is decided. kozhikode- Ajmer – Jaipur – Delhi – Agra – Kozhikode.
There were a lot of doubts as I had not traveled a long distance train so far. How to get a ticket, reservation, Tatkal, whether there is a separate seat to sit and sleep in the sleeper coach, toilet and food. I got some information from the traveler travel forum. FB friends helped. Among them is Muhammed Shakir Bro, whom I have never met in person. He gave precise instructions from the beginning to the end of the journey. He helped to get the Tatkal ticket online. shaaakir bhai helped a lot. Sleeper coach is best, reserve in advance. Reservations are not available for fast journeys. Then let’s take the tatkal. Tatkal can be picked up from all stations at 11 a.m. the day before departure. Will be available online at the same time. Since the seat will be exhausted in two or three minutes, some more strategies should be applied. Sit in a place with good Internet speed and set the cash in Paytm or something else. Better to stay online rather than standing behind the long queue. It is also possible to get the name of the stop that most people do not have right next to the destination. If you do not have one, go to sleeper class with that waiting list ticket. Such people can board any coach except AC. When TTR arrives, give the ticket and ask for a seat. If there is a vacancy, he will asign the seat. If that doesn’t work, you can sit back and relax in the empty seats. This is much better than traveling in a local class. There is only one train a week to some places, and it is a bit difficult to get a ticket there. Whenever possible you should have a ticket to the nearest train station. When I went to Ajmer, I first took a ticket to Kota in Rajasthan and from there went to Ajmer.
Food on the train
In a word, pathetic. I remember buying an egg biryani with excitement in the beginning. I could not eat anything except two boiled eggs, so I had to pay Rs 80 to eat two boiled eggs. You need to adjust the food while traveling with it. Schedule a meal first. The tea maker is always coming, but we only buy and drink tea in the morning and evening. (Isn’t that normal, why drink tea only occasionally when you go on a train !!?). Local food will be available on the train as it arrives at each destination. (Except for food like thali). We do not have to like everything, the price will be higher. The train will leave Kasaragod and reach Vada Pav till it crosses the Maharashtra border. Two masala bonda, two buns, two green chillies and some spice powder. 20. It can be eaten for breakfast or dinner. The hunger will go away. If not, buy one. Can be replaced in the afternoon. Puri sabzi is available from Gujarat to Delhi. 6 or 8 small puri, potato curry and fried chillies will cost Rs.20 too. Bread is also available at North Indian stations like Delhi and Agra. Two loaves of bread and green chilli sauce. When you go for Rs 20, keep a two liter water bottle in your hand. Cold water will be bottled at all major stations. Five rupees per liter. It will be good clean water. Probably cleaner than the rail water we buy for 15 and 20. When thirsty, drink only water and drink again and again.
Drinking this water will stop the hunger to some extent. Consider buying one or two packets of biscuits as you go. Then no need to buy snacks separately in the morning and evening. Many people do not know that tea from a train costs only Rs10. For Rs 10, they have to give two biscuits with tea. If not, ask and buy. Enjoy the views outside during the day and go to bed early at night If this is the case, the food on the train a day will be less than 100 rupees. Set the budget at Rs. 100. Food like Thali is essentially good. But it will cost between Rs 80 and Rs 160 per tali. Then all Our budget plan will go wrong.
The next task is to get off the train and reach the tourist destinations. As soon as we get off the train, teams like auto, bicycle rickshaw and taxi will pull us over. Avoid such vehicles as much as possible. Walk … walk … walk again and again. There will be no extra distance from the station. Look at the map, find your way and start walking. If you can not use the phone, ask someone. Please do not ask rickshaw pullers for directions. If asked, you are trapped. I walked about 9 km from Agra station to the Taj Mahal. Our bag can be a hassle when walking. The way to do that will be told later. If you are too tired to walk, ask the rickshaw puller how much it will cost first. Bargain well. Due to lack of time, I boarded a rickshaw all over Jaipur. At first he asked for RS 600 to show all the places. I offered 100 rupees. I finally agreed to go down to at least 150. When I wandered around until 8pm I felt like 150 Rupees was too little and gave more. Should their work be respected?
Accommodation in hotels usually costs a good number. The work I did for that was to make the journey from one place to another as much as possible at night. Get on the train and bus and sleep well. It is not too far from one place to another, so delay the journey as much as possible. If you arrive at the stations early, you will have to curl up somewhere. Refreshment facilities will be available at railway stations and bus stands. Brush your teeth and take a shower (optional) and other morning chores. We make fun of North Indians when it comes to toilets, but the toilets at the stations are not very dirty. Since you have decided to walk around, take only the water boat, mobile and power bank, buy a small lock of the bag, lock it and hand it over to the clock room. You can put the bag in it for a whole day. Once again, do not forget to lock the bag. You can charge your phone at the railway station and go down to see the places. If it is difficult to do the above, book rooms through travel apps. Good offers are available on apps like goibibo and make my trip. Installing apps like irctc and rail yaathri in the group will make things a little easier. If that doesn’t happen, go straight and buy a room. Rooms up to Rs 300,400,500 are available at all locations.
Before going to each tourist destination, find out the exact information about it, whether you are searching on the internet or in any other way. Thus we can avoid the help of the guide. Scientific instruments in places like Jantar Mantar in Jaipur are a bit difficult to understand. Then go to each device and stand idly by. Guides always come with each team and explain things. By the time three or four teams arrive, you may have a good idea. Keep notes of what you learned from such places, not just depend the phone only. Turn off the internet and focus on the sights when you arrive at each tourist destination. Use the phone only as a camera device. Wear as simple clothing as possible when traveling. We are not going to show ourselves ,but to see places. I traveled wearing a typical lunghi and loose pants,and t shirt . Simple clothes are useful and comfortable while using Public toilets.