India has one of the world’s largest rail networks, and transports roughly 25 million people daily. There are long-distance, suburban and freight trains, different classes of passenger accommodation, etc. And one should not forget that the first passenger rail journey took place in India in 1853 and covered a distance of some 21 miles between Bombay and Thane. Though I didn’t get a chance to explore the same route in the present time, I can very well relate this journey from Lonavala to Pune with that 🙂 🙂 . Can you just imagine this journey of mine back in those Victorian times? 😀
17.10 hrs – We got into an express train at the Lonavla railway station to Pune. India’s quintessential journey is still the long train ride. 25 million daily passengers travels in Indian trains watching the Indian landscape change from dry valley to lush mountain forest to lime-green rice paddies and today, I was one among those 25 million 🙂 . The train is also where you can hang out with families and other domestic travelers, learning about Indian culture the old-fashioned way – over a cup of tea, to the rhythm of rails.
While the old people share their own train stories with their grand-children, the hawkers would be busy in selling various articles right from the safety pins to books (they sells some novels too) and while the middle-aged working class would be eagerly waiting to reach their respective destinations to join their families after a hectic day back at the office, the youngsters would be busy in their own ways like watching the much happening stuff around them and chuckling, giggling with their friends and some cursing the speed of the train 🙂 😀 . So much fun!
And the best part of train journeys is that we can make some quick friends and don’t think it will just for the time-being, some can become dear for life and I have a first-hand experience in this, and that too a very good one, for the matter of fact! 🙂 . And there we were, Mythri and I indulged in a conversation with our co-passengers and during the same, a co-passenger told us that Shaniwar Wada is near to the Shivaji Nagar station and it would be better to get down there rather than traveling all the way to Pune Junction. He also added that the train would be reaching the Shivaji Nagar station faster than Pune Junction, as it would be stopped in the outer region for space on the platform.
18.20 hrs – We got down at the Shivaji Nagar station and walked towards the exit. Shaniwar Wada is very near to the railway station and there are frequent buses from here and we got into one immediately after we got out of the station and the ticket costed us only Rs. 6 each 🙂 . 18.45 hrs – The bus conductor is good enough to stop exactly at the entrance of the fort and we stepped down and thanked him 🙂 . There is a ticket counter at the entrance selling tickets for that evening’s light and music show and I am waiting for my turn!