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Indian Rail Yatra : a constant for discovery enthusiasts

rail-yatra, Indian Railways, Train

Rail Yatra

The History of Indian Railways

After the first rail run that took place around 164 years ago from Mumbai to Thane, Indian Railway has evolved with a progressive attitude and in enormous aspects. With Bharatiya Rail’s recent declaration of cutting down their Rs. 4000Cr water consumption budget by 20 percent till 2030, we felt intrigued to throw light on how has the Indian Railway system progressed so far and has managed to be a India discovery tool ever since its inception ?

Adapting Digitisation for 21st Century Traveler

With the fact that India has the longest platform in the world (Gorakhpur Junction) measuring 1.35 km and the tracks that transport 2.5Cr people daily if put together can revolve around the earth 1.5 times. The railway fact book also includes that every day more than 12 Lakh people log on to the IRCTC website to make an online rail transaction. The digital railway information apps of NTES and IRCTC Rail Connect help in skipping the long queue for ticket booking and simultaneously assist in reserving meals online. The development doesn’t pause here; the railway system has been transmogrified so transparently for consumer convenience that with just one click, you can check out the real-time train schedules, PNR status, and seat availability on your mobile screens. Even to promote tourism of Bharat Darshan, there are special Maharaja Express trains timetabled to facilitate the journey of special and NRI tourists.

The Indian Railway is improving, and so is Bholu, the elephant guard Mascot. So the next time you travel by Indian Railway, make sure to dilute a little Gricing factor in yourself and feel proud to be a part of one of the world’s biggest rail network that operates 11,000 trains every day.

The Mahatma connection of Indian Railway

Most chroniclers have written about the famous Railway Journey undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi, on his return to India from South Africa. The Mahatma made his most profound discoveries about the state of the nation in that Rail Yatra, which further augmented his conviction towards India’s Freedom. From that moment onwards Railways has been a significant part of Mahatma’s journey and India’s Freedom Struggle. It is a known fact that the Father of the Nation has penned a lot of his works during the Train journeys that he over took over his life span.

Indian Rail Yatra : a constant for discovery enthusiasts

India is unarguably the spiritual centre of the world. All those seeking answers and wanting to discover their own selves consider a visit to India as a mandatory activity. Once in India, the best and the most impactful way to know this country is by travelling in Train. Many popular creators, artists, entrepreneurs, writers have credited the Indian Rail Yatra among the most important things done in their lives. Master Film Maker Satyajit Ray has on record said that during the making of his opus Pather Panchali, he used to take short train trips outside the city of Kolkata (Calcutta then).

Ed hanley, Indian Railways, Rail-yatra, Trains
Source : Credit : Ed Hanley

A more recent expedition, worth mentioning, is by Ed Hanley, who undertook the longest train journey of India, and the world, in early 2016. Hanley, a Canadian Photographer, was keen to explore the many facets of India, a culture that he already was acquainted with through his musical pursuit of learning Tabla (an Indian percussion instrument). He took up the 85 hour journey, 4273 kms long in the Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari Vivek Express train number 15906, which crosses India from the northeastern state of Assam to the southernmost town of Kanyakumari. He documented the various aspects of his discovery in visceral photographs which were published by BBC . In the same article on BBC, Hanley is quoted saying, “India is the most photogenic place I’ve ever been, It’s a mix of colour and personality, where beauty and chaos coexist in the same moment, and where ancient traditions absorb and integrate modern ways.”

Indian Railways depiction in popular culture

Railways has been a muse and a metaphor for film makers and writers spanning through generations. The most popular depiction of Train has been in Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore enacted song from Aradhna – Mere Sapno Ki Raani . In late 90’s film maker Mani Ratnam brought the Hill Railway in a different light through an extremely popular dance sequence shot on the roof of train, being performed by Shah Rukh Khan, in his film Dil Se. The more metaphorical and cinematic depictions have happened in Ray’s Apu Trilogy. In Pather Panchali, the re-uniting sequence of Apu and Durga, the disgruntled siblings – is expressed using a Train’s appearance. Many critics consider this as one of the most artistic sequence in Indian Cinema.

The way ahead for Railways

It is great for creative fraternity to note that the Indian Railways is forthcoming in adapting new Digital Technologies and Social Media as well, to keep up with 21st century expectations. In a recent case current Rail Minister of India, Suresh Prabhu, acted upon a tweet sent by a traveler, and helped them in locating their lost ornament.

Apart from the dynamic and extremely convenient Railway website and Mobile App, there are many third party Apps that can help a Rail Yatri maneuver him/herself. Go ahead and find a journey for yourself now.

Here is a recommendation from Team CY :

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