Northern India- Kashmir
21 days, august- sept 2005
Kind of travel:
me and a sweet girl through an independent travel
august- 4th sept 2005
How I moved:
bus, train and one flight
Where I slept:
houseboat (Srinagar), hotel, guesthouse, on the train and on
What I liked:
the amazing variety of religions, cultures, languages and environments.
The huge but efficient railway system. The kindness of the people. The
easiness in the comunication by English. The A/C room in Kolkata
What I disliked: .The
endless horning everywhere. The food sucks and I hope you like chicken.
The permanent headache due to the altitude in Ladak. Getting robbed on
the night train to Varanasi. The 101% humidity in Kolkata. The
How much daily: India
is cheap, anyway travelling in two people, the daily budget has been 17euro
each. Because of the hotness we travelled on the A/C train class and (sometimes)
slept in A/C rooms, at the end the train became the main expense (read
the prices). Anyway with some sacrifices you can keep a lower budget,
left alone the trips by jeep in Ladak that are very expensive.
Kashmir, Ladak and Manali there was a nice temperature (a sweter in the
evening without sleeping bags for the night). In New Delhi it was hot,
but in Kolkata it was like an unbearable sticky sauna.
watch out your stuff on the train around Varanasi expecially in the night;
my camera and most of the pics had gone. Don't underrate the altitude
in Ladak, even a 3 day acclimatation in Leh might not be enough for the
5000m.. Driver riscio' in Varanasi and Agra bring you where they want
despite what you say. Keep away from the control line with Pakistan in
What you do need: a
good flash lamp and stomach good as well! :-)
From Milan stopover in Frankfurt and New
Delhi to get to Srinagar (N. Delhi- Srinagar, 130 euro, one way). In Srinagar
the temperature was perfect and we stayed in a cute houseboat on the river
(1200 rp/day 2 people, full board). Ive an extremely nice memory
of the days we spent there. We walked around the desert town really seized
by the Indian army being the following day the Indian independence anniversary.
We enjoyed a boat trip on the wonderful Dal Lake visiting the gardens,
the mosque, and the floating cultivation.
Beside we had a day trip to the winter ski
resort of Gulmarg, where we took a cable car to get over the 3300m and
then riding horses we reached a tongue of snow of a glacier. Here I had
a short but bumpy sledge ride driven by a funny Pakistan-like man.
We would have stayed longer in Srinagar, but
we had to proceed towards Leh. It took two days by bus, staying overnight
in Kargil. It had been a tiring journey but really worthwhile: first of
all for the variety of environments this narrow twisting dirty road passes
through: from the very green valley near Srinagar to the desert like mountains
approaching Leh. In addition for the radical cultural change: the long
bears of the Muslims were swapped with the rounded faces of the Tibetans,
while the mosque with their minarets turned in the Buddhist monasteries
Leh is over 3200 m, so the altitude began to
have his effect.. In Leh every movement costs energies, a lot of energies
I mean. Here you can find several different proposals of trekking by 4X4
and day trips to the gompas in the region by taxi. No way to bargain since
all the itineraries and their relative prices are officially laid down.
You have to gather a bunch of people if you dont want to leave there
all your money doing the trip alone.
The area around Leh is breathless, but after
3 days we had seen enough gompas for the whole our life. Besides Leh,
relatively to his size and location, turned out to be quite touristy.
After a while we were a little fed up of souvenir shops and 4x4 filled
with Italians, Israelians and Germans.
Then we had the longest and toughest journey
of the trip: Leh- Manali in 2 days by bus throught the over 5000 m passes.
Amazing landscapes, surreal atmospheres but I would have skipped it with
pleasure, since its hard to enjoy a trip when at best you are dizzy
for the whole time.
Manali is a heaven to rest in: super cheap
guesthouses, green environment, fresh temperature and being below the
3000m the altitude was harmless. Anyway to me appeared a kind of soften
India; I wanted to see the striking one, hence we settled off to the 2000
km far Kolkata.
17 hours by bus and 20 by train led us to the
hot damp but charming capital of Bengala. Here we spent 3 days enjoying
the risciò rides around the town and the shower in our A\C room to survive
the 100% humidity rate.
Despite of the climate I really liked Kolkata!
12 unforgettable hours by train led us to the
hindu holy town of Varanasi; in fact during the night travel we got robbed
of our small backbags, hence camera and pictures gone :-( (read
Varanasi is crossed by the holy Ganga river
and the hindu here dip and throw their dead bodies, burnt or not (read
the story). Definitely its an impressive place, but generally
speaking, locals and riscio drivers are the most dodgy we have found
in India: at the end I didnt fall in love with the town.
Another night on the train led us to Agra to
visit the famous Taj Mahal. Despite of my expectations to be an ugly touristy
town, it was not. Tourists were concentrated in few places and locals
turned out to be far better than in Varanasi, besides theres much
more to see than just the Taj Mahal.
4 hours by train separated us to New Delhi
from where we finally flew back to "our world".
Kashmir is wonderful and safe (at least when
I visited it (08/2005)).
Its a Muslim area so obviously this is
the culture you will face with, although any covering is mandatory for
females you have to respect their sensitivity to it.
I found people extremely hospitable, not pushy
at all, and especially the soldiers (plenty of) were so nice to us. Its
true that considering the militaries around it seems to be in a war status,
but at the end your risk is minimal.
Temperature in Srinagar turned out ok, being
hot but dry and sleeping in the houseboat was so relaxing.
Srinagar lies under 3000m so you wont
feel any altitude effect, and tourism is just from Indians; from both
of these points of view its quite far from Leh.
The 2 days journey from Srinagar to Leh is
amazing and still not too tiring, unlike Leh- Manali that is more similar
to a pilgrimage.
In short, Go There!
India, namely New Delhi, Varanasi, Kolkata
are quite shocking realities.
However its not just dirt and smell around
you, but a philosophy of life that comes from the Hindu religion. I think
a Western can hardly understand their perception of the cycle of death
and life without looking just the appearances.
People are nice, and apart from the pushy riscio
drivers and some sucker hotelkeeper, they want to speak to you because
of their curiosity. I had fun in exchanging points of view on the Indian
habits concerning the engagement for the couples. On the other hand its
true that after a while this curiosity can be quite tiring and you'll
long to stay alone.
The last but not the least, the humidity and
the hotness got a big slice of the amount of energies I needed to travel
in the low lands. The same travel one month later would have meant half
of the efforts.
SEARCHING HUSBAND FOR MY SISTER
DICTATION AT THE POLICE STATION
CEMETERY IN VARANASI
DA KOLKATA AI MIEI AMICI (in Italian)
SEARCHING HUSBAND FOR MY SISTER
I was in Kolkata walking to visit the world
biggest bananio tree (ignorant, its not a banana tree!! :-), when
a young guy approached me. In India its quite common that locals
want to speak with you, often without any other purpose than their curiosity,
so I didnt hesitate to keep on the talk.
He was around 30 years old, good looking
and wearing elegant, but what impressed me more was his sophisticated
and educated english accent.
"Im a cricket commentator in
Sidney" told me.
And I had no doubt believing in it!
"I spent in Australia 7 years, but
now Im back here in my hometown to find a husband for my sister".
In fact being Muslim, as many in this area of India bordering with Bangladesh,
his sister couldnt look for a man by herself, but she had to choose
the ones selected by the brother.
Hence he had to consider all the candidates,
usually the friends of the family, and to check all the relevant elements.
Which were the relevant elements?
"Its obvious: the education,
the work position and the salary. Then the houses or lands he owns. Arent
the essential requirements to decide if he is the right person to have
a family with my sister??" he claimed
"And what if at the end they dont
get on well together?" I asked
"Its simple: if she knows she
has no alternatives for her life, she will get along with him" he
We spent the whole afternoon chatting together
while reaching the botanical garden to visit the huge tree. He has been
a so kind company also insisting to pay the boat trip. Besides it was
amazing his educated and polite tone reasoning about his religion, and
when I asked about the aim to cover the women he answered:
" Women are the weakness of the men,
Impossible to disagree to such affirmation.
"Hence to avoid to be dragged by our
weakness we cover them", he concluded.
Smooth, isnt?? :-)
DICTATION AT THE POLICE STATION
During the night travelling from Kolkata to Varanasi we
paid hardly the carelessness to have not kept our small bagback tight
to us, but "just" placed under the beds, in fact they disappeared.
Quite pissed off, we decided to report it to the police at the train station
of Varanasi, just to have a document to claim a possible refund from the
insurance (obviously vain).
It was a hot morning (as every morning)
when already sweated, like a soaked sponge, we entered a bleak room. An
old wooden bed was in a corner, while at the centre a worn out table and
a proud official in white uniform sitting in front of it. It seemed the
atmosphere was frozen as it had been since the last 20 years.
We explained him what happened, then he
turned out to be the chief of the police station. After a while with an
understandable english he asked where it happened.
"On the train!" we answered disappointed
by the question
"Ok, but near which station?"
"We dont know since we where
It seemed it was essential to know the exact
location of the train when it happened. No way to convince him that it
could have happened from 11.00 pm to 7.00 am, hence in a several hundreds
km area. So to make him happy I just said at 3.00 am , then we checked
where the train was at that time, and he seemed quite satisfied to conclude
that the train was at the station of Patna when we got robbed.
Then he folded a normal page ripped from
a copybook, he gave me and said: "TO"
"To?" I asked puzzled
"TO, please write" he repeated
I realised he was dictating me the report
I had to write addressing to him.
He proceeded: " TO MR XXXX"
"I TRAVELLING FROM
"I travelling? I was travelling, you
mean" I asked for a confirmation.
"No, I TRAVELLING" he insisted
So I wrote it.
Few lines later he dictated: "I STARDED
"I starded??" I asked very doubtful
" STARDED, STARDED!!!" he insisted
When I saw he was getting upset I wrote
it without investigating the meaning. Seeing me doubtful he hesitated
thinking few seconds and said "no STARDED, its I STARTDED".
I just wrote.
The reports turns out quite long with other
similar situation, but I wrote without trying to understand the meaning.
The funny things were the subservience to his person he dictated me, like:
"WITH THE BEST REGARDS, SINCERELY, BEST WISHES TO
Then he called another policeman and handed
the paper saying something.
We started a long waiting.
After a while a man holding a big bag entered
the police station. He asked me something I couldnt understand,
so he entered on one inner room where more militaries gathered around
him. Few seconds later the chief caught up with them. This guy opened
the big bag and showed a lot of colourful pairs of shoes: he was a seller.
The others let the chief choose as first then took the left over. It took
time for everybody to choose and discuss about the choices; in the meanwhile
I was waiting
After 40 minutes one of the militaries appeared
holding some papers: it was the translation in hindi and the rewriting
of the report I just wrote. I had a read to the nicely written english
version and I saw he typed exactly the same errors the chief dictated
to me, but Im still wondering how the hell translated "I startded"????
Varanasi hasnt been my preferred place in India,
but definitely the most impressive Ive seen.
It's believed to be a Hindu holy town in
India, in particular to die in the Ganga river that crosses the town lets
the believer to get the liberation. Hence all the billion of Hindus dream
to die here or somehow, once dead, to end up here.
A boat trip on the Ganga at the dawn its
something you will not forget quickly.
The six people crowded riscio slaloms
and horns trough the traffic paying attention to his precious load tied
up over the roof: a wrapped dead body.
They got to the riverbank, unload the body
and let it dipped in the river while arrange the purchase of the wood.
It takes time since they weight it, pay and finally stack it few meters
from the Ganga. Then they took the body, place at the top of the stack
and burn the whole stuff.
Once everything is just ash its shovelled
in the water.
This is what happens at best; in fact if
the dead is a baby, a pregnant woman or simply the family cannot afford
the wood, then they tie the body to a stone and throw everything in the
river as it is. Meanwhile nearby in the river hundreds of people bathe
praying and rinsing themselves.
Welcome in India.
DA KOLKATA AI MIEI AMICI (in Italian)
Finalmente atterro nella stranominata India, desiderioso di assagiarne
anch'io la mia fettina...
In realta' ci atterro due volte perche' da Delhi, dopo non molte ore,
ridecollo verso la capitale del Kashmir, il tanto conteso territorio tra
Pakistan e India.
Sono i primi anni ke gli stranieri hanno ripreso a tornare in questa strana
terra immersa nella catena Himalayana e tanto tormentata dalla guerra
specialmente negli anni 90. Ho chiesto molte opinioni in rete perke' fino
all'ultimo sono stato abbastanza indeciso se convenisse andarci e i pareri
discordanti non mancavano. In particolare mi avevano parlato di una massiccia
presenza militare, ma quello che ho trovato al mio arrivo proprio non
ma lo aspettavo.
Quando l'aereo inizia la discesa lo spettacolo del K2 che svetta non molto
lontano e' affascinante.
Srinagar, nonostante i suoi 1800m, e' abbastanza calda, ma piacevole.
Mi chiedono di registrare la mia presenza e qualche altra formalita';
devo rilasciare un recapito locale, non ce' l'ho.
E' un problema, non si esce dall'aeroporto se non dici dove stai andando.
Con me avevo una mail di un tipo che mi aveva consigliato un posto, lascio
quello, sono contenti ed esco.
Nel viaggio verso la citta' rimango a bocca aperta: presenza militare???
e questa la chiamano presenza militare? Io lo chiamo schieramento completo
dell'esercito pronto per una difesa della citta': meno di ogni 50 m c'e'
un militare su entrambi i lati della strada e almeno ogni 10 militari
c'e' un posto di blocco con casetta di sacchi di sabbia e barriere.
Il taxi deve fare una continua serpentina a cui sembra abbastanza abituato,
rallentando e scambiando due parole con il militare di turno.
Le strade sono completamente deserte: niente macchine, niente mucche vaganti,
niente carretti, insomma niente di niente, solo tante armi e filo spinato
ovunque: c'e' qualkosa ke non capisco. Nessuno mi avrebbe mai consigliato
di venire in un posto dove praticamente non posso camminare.
Seguo un tipo che mi ha offerto un posto da dormire sulla sua casa galleggiante.
E' un signore anziano, sembra in buona fede: mi fido. La sua houseboat
e' praticamente sotto un grande ponte: obbiettivo militare e quindi nei
30m che faccio a piedi abbondano militari e filo spinato.
Lo fermano, si parlano, mi sorridono e proseguiamo.
La barchetta che mi propone e' carina: tutta in legno, "camera con
bagno" , un piccolo soggiorno e non balla neppure tanto, inoltre
ai pasti ci pensa la moglie:
"Va bene la prendo".
Lui, Yusuf, parla un discreto inglese, ci mettiamo a chiacchierare e subito
inizia a 'fumare':
"l'hashish e' un dramma per me, ma non riesco a smettere, troppi
problemi" mi dice, intuisco che qui non e' l'unico a farsi dalla
mattina alla sera.
"Domani e' la giornata dell'indipendenza indiana,(15 ago) ci sara'
il primo ministro e la parata militare, tutto il Kashmir e' in sciopero
per protestare per l'indipendenza. E' tutto fermo."
E adesso mi e' tutto piu' chiaro: la possibilità che domani ci
sia un attentato e' assoluta.
Il Kashmir non apparteneva agli Inglesi, ma era un principato a se' incastonato
nelle montagne Himalayane tra Pakistan e India che apparteneva ad un Maraja'.
Quando c'e' stata l'indipendenza Indiana hanno lasciato a lui decidere
a chi conglobarlo, Questo ha fatto l'indeciso per anni, allora meta' se
lo sono cuccato con la forza i Pakistani, agli Indiani non ha fatto piacere
e quindi dal '48 si sono messi a fare la guerra. Poi l'ONU con la penna
ha tracciato sulla cartina un bella linea che lo separava (come ha fatto
per la Bosnia), ma nessuno ha capito che valli appartenevano ad uno e
quali all'altro e quindi ancora guerra, fino al suo apice nel 92. Ora
sembra vada meglio, ma gli eserciti sono ancora schierati lungo questa
linea chiamata "control line"e si ammazzano a oltre 5000m.
Voglio fare un giro per la citta', la famiglia non mi sembra entusiasta
e non mi fanno uscire senza avermi accollato il figlio. Pero' torna molto
utile perche' parla con tutti i militari che ci fermano. Sono molto simpatici
con me: sempre pronti a ricambiare un saluto o ha dare qualsiasi spiegazione.
Nessuno che mi abbia dato problemi.
La citta' e' veramanente deserta.
Torniamo a casa. La sera la cena non e' male, ma ben presto realizzo che
non ho acqua da bere; voglio andare a comprarla, ma proprio questa volta
non se ne parla.
La famiglia e' categorica, alle 20.00 c'e' il coprifuoco e non si esce.
Vado a letto.
La mattina dopo mi sveglia la moschea alle 5.00 che spara la preghiera
del mattino; il Kashmir e' rigorosamente musulmano e le donne hanno il
chador ma non e' obbligatorio per legge.
Mi riaddormento, ma verso le 7.00 altra sveglia: il bivacco di persone
su una barca accostata alla mia.
Mi affaccio dal letto.
Sono militari e mo' che vogliono?
"Escort, escort!!!" mi dice Yusuf. Mo' abbiamo pure la scorta,
speriamo non chiedano soldi e che non rumoreggino troppo perche' ho sonno.
Oggi non e' giornata da giro in centro per ovvie ragioni quindi e' meglio
farsi un bel giro in barca lontano lontano.
Colgo la proposta di Yusuf e andiamo.
Srinagar e' famosa per essere una specie di Venezia sull'acqua. E' la
meta tipica di tutte le coppiette indiane in luna di miele; e' strapieno
di case galleggianti con tutto il loro contorno, ank'esso galleggiante.
Quindi non mancano barche negozio che vendono di tutto. In piu' se ci
si aggiunge come sfondo le montagne Himalayane, la cartolina e' completa.
Non pensate alla tipica India, Srinagar avvolta nel suo Islam, e' molto
piu' Pakistana che Indiana.
Stiamo in giro fino alle 7.00 di sera.
In citta' la bomba e' scoppiata la mattina allo stadio dove c'era l'alza
Il giorno dopo la citta' si smilitarizza e si torna alla normalita': le
strade si riempiono di ogni sorta di veicolo, essere umano o animale che
circola liberamente. Sempre tanti militari ma non cosi' tanti.
Dopo qualke giorno parto per in direzione Ladak, quello che chiamano "il
2 gg lunghissimo di autobus su strade scavate ai lati delle montagne.
Viaggio mozzafiato e un po' di ansia in qualke punto.
Esco dalla zona Musulmana ed entro in quella Buddista. Cambia tutto di
colpo. Alle moschee si sostituiscono i monasteri, ai veli che coprono
le donne, i rossi mantelli dei monaci e alle preghiere urlate dal minareto
5 volte al di', il sussurrare dei monaci accovacciati leggendo i testi
Mi fermo un po' di giorni in un paese a 3400m. Ho il fiatone per l'altezza,
ma molti turisti, anzi troppi.
Altri 2 gg massacranti di cui un bel pezzo sopra i 5000m (un passo a 5400m).
Tanti stranieri che si sono dimenticati di tornare a casa, e che si fumano
il loro hashish sul balcone delle guesthouse.
No, non e' l'India che cercavo: cioè quell'India che devi odiare
prima di amare o che poi alla fine odi e basta, quell'India che deve essere
il peggiore o il migliore paese che abbia visto, quell'India che non puo'
stare in mezzo.
Insomma cambio rotta.
Cestino l'itinerario e parto per un altro luunngooo viaggio di 2gg per
andare dal confine con il Pakistan a quello con il Bangladesh, esattamente
dall'altra parte del paese: destinazione Kalcutta!!
Lo so bene che a Kalcutta in questa stagione ci sono i monsoni e si muore
dal caldo, insomma che sei un po' scemo se vai a Kalcutta adesso, in generale
sei un po'scemo se vai a Kalcutta. Ma per me rappresenta l'India che voglio
E ci sono arrivato sperimentando tra l'altro anke un bel viaggio di 20h
in treno assolutamente non male con allegata infinita chiacchierata con
due sciure e giovanotto sull'approvazione dei genitori delle fidanzate
prima di frequentarsi, con tanto di resoconto sui relativi stipendi e
sui possedimenti (lo sapevate che puo' fare la differenza il tipo di macchina
posseduta per l'accettazione da parte dei genitori?).
Scendere dal treno a Calcutta e' stato un shock: cercavo la vera India,
bene eccola qui! In confronto la stazione di Delhi era il chiostro dell'oratorio.
Un bel display che segnava l'umidita' a 101% e la temp a 33 C mi ha dato
il benvenuto. In citta' ci vivono sui 14 milioni di persone e penso che
almeno un campione di ogni tipologia fosse in piedi o sdraiato in qualke
punto della stazione. Abbondano le menomazioni e gli odori, roba proprio
di chiudere gli okki e camminare, ma guardando ki o kosa calpesti.
Considerando che non c'e' persona che non si lavi in strada e che ci faccia
tutto quello che ci deve fare, camminare per la citta' fa abbastanza vomitare,
soprattutto appena arrivati.
Ma la gente non e' disperata come sembra. E' il loro modo di vivere. Infatti
per le strade nessuno ti assale; c'e' rispetto e cortesia anche scattando
una foto che a noi puo' sembrare davvero sconveniente. Inoltre se la si
guarda con altri occhi, cioe' quelli della filosofia hindu, del continuo
ciclo della vita e della morte indistintamente per gli umani che per gli
animali, allora ha il suo fascino ed e' tutta da capire, o almeno da osservare.
PS: per le mie care nonnine che guardano sull'enciclopedia
dove e' andato il nipote :
New Delhi-(flight)- Srinigar-(bus)- Gunmarg--(bus)-
Srinigar- -(bus)- Sonmarg- -(bus)- Kargil--(bus)- Leh-(bus)- - Manali--(bus,
via Mandi)- New Delhi---(train)- Kolkata (Calcutta)--(train)- - Varanasi---(train)-
New Delhi (Agra)
TIPS/ SAFETY IN
TIPS/ SAFETY IN
IN LADAKH & KASHMIR
You can get
the visa at the borders or at the airports. Anyway I was already holding
mine got at the Italian embassy (50 euro for a 90 days visa)
To enter Kashmir
you do not need any special permission besides your Indian visa
To visit some
areas of Ladakh, like the ones near the Tibetan border you need some permission
you can get when you organise the trip in Leh
No compulsory vaccination for italian citizens, anyway what
I reccomend is:
Since I had not planned to go to Kolkata, but only in the
mountains, I didnt take any anti-malaria pill and I didnt
have any mosquito net, and I dont think they are really necessary.
Dont forget a good mosquito repellent
The altitude can be a problem and for
us it has been a huge one.
The sensitivity is very personal and unfortunately
therere no medicine to prevent it beside a good training. We acclimatised
for 4 days in Leh, but I was far from being in my best shape, and then
the journey by bus to Manali has been a tragedy. I would not do it again,
although the amazing landscape we passed through.
I changed Euros and Dollars, both of them are easily changeable.
to your belongings during the night on the train. We paid the carelessness
having our small bagbacks stolen from Kolkata to Varanasi, losing pics
and camera (this was a great pity). Dont get paranoid, its
enough you use the small backbag as pillow, and keep ALWAYS your passport
and money in the money belt! Hardly you will get robbed violently, but
youll pay any carelessness
the blackouts especially in Varanasi and Agra. If you take a A/C rooms,
it could be useless most of the time
the riscio drivers, they are the biggest cheater we found in India.
Especially in Varanasi and Agra they take you where they want despite
what you asked for. In Varanasi they will take you to hotel with
a name similar to the one you have asked for; give them the address and
not the name of the accommodation. Never accept to visit a shop proposed
by a riscio' driver, even "just to look". It'll be only a hassle.
SAFETY IN KASHMIR
safe despite its plenty of militaries and check points every few
hundreds metres, here be ready to show your passport and be registered
on some crappy piece of paper. Keep away from any military celebration
When I landed
in Srinagar they asked me to give an address of a booked accommodation
to be registered in the country, otherwise I had to book one from the
reservation office of the airport. Its enough you just have a name
of a houseboat.
keep away from the line of control between Pakistan and India
Due to the
past and present tensions, avoid even naming in public the word Pakistan
book the bus from Srinagar to Leh (2 day sleeping in Kargil) at least
2 days in advance
EQUIPMENT IN GENERAL
I'll list just the main stuffs:
There are a lot of places
where you can burn your CD so you dont need to have tons of memory
sticks for your camera (2$ per CD, CD included)
Mosquito repellent burning
Mosquito repellent spray
A flash lamp with batteries change
A good knife
IN LADAKH & KASHMIR
In Kashmir and Ladakh while I was there (15- 30 August)
the daily temperature: 15-30 C (in Leh the sun burns a lot), while the
minimum night temperature: 10 C
A cap and sun cream will turn out
Unless you are not going to trek
you dont need a thick sleeping bag, since the guesthouses have the
I do not recommend trekking shoes;
I had sport shoes
Long pants are important but short ones useful
during the day. In kashmir for females in its convenient to covers
legs and shoulders, and the same in Ladakh to enter the Gompa (monasteries).
Train is always
more comfortable than bus.
For long distance trains (New Delhi- Varanasi), book at
least 2 days in advance
Safety in train (read
There are efficient
reservation offices for foreigners at the station
One way and change 1 euro= 51 Rs (08/2005)
|Varanasi- New Delhi
|Varanasi- Tundla (Agra)
|Agra- New Delhi
1A tier: couchette at one level (2 beds) with A/C
2A tier: couchette at two levels (4 beds) with A/C
3A tier: couchette at 3 levels (6 beds) with A/C
1A: beds without A/C
2A: beds (benches) without A/C
CC with A/C: seats
CC without A/C: seats
Seat without reservation (more or less like cages at
2A is a very good standard and in some trains the meals
are included in the price
Generaly speaking even long journeys by train in India are