Friday, February 09, 2007

My Trip back to Thiruvananthapuram!

The return journey from Pune started when i took an Auto to the bus-stand at Pune known as Parihar Chowk. I got there in an auto along with my suitcase. After getting there i had to find a travel agent who had a vacant seat in a bus to Mumbai. But as soon as i got down one guy came and asked if i was going to Mumbai. I said no only till Panvel and he said the bus leaves in 15 mins and do i need a seat. I told ok and then we sat and haggled for a good price for the ticket. The price he wanted was 200 and i started at 125 and finally settled at 150. I think if i had some more time i would have been able to get it a bit cheaper. But then i had to go fast since i thought the journey was long and winding. Someone did tell me about the Pune - Mumbai expressway, but then i thought no matter what the road be it will take 2-3 hours. So i got in to the Volvo at 9:15-9:30 and then had a comfy seat, though i would have preffered a window seat, i had to settle for a aisle seat! The journeywas very kool once we got onto the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. The speed limit really shocked me; it was 80 kmph MINIMUM. No maximum limits and the only caution given was DO NOT STOP ON THE EXPRESSWAY. That seemed like heaven for someone like me, who loves driving fast! The bus really picked up speed and i just saw the changing scenary from city to that of a wild terrain, with the Western Ghats looking over me when i was going in the bus. The mountains and the valleys that we crossed truly made me want to stop and enjoy the scene. The driver didn't seem to share the emotion and the bus was flying to say the least. After about 40 mins into the ride they pulled into a stop for refreshments and there i had the COSTLIEST coffee of my life from a roadside shop. The coffee wasn't that great but i ended up payin Rs 12 for it. I bought a newspaper and settled in my seat to read the paper. The ride took about 1 hour 20 mins and by 10:50-11 i was in Panvel. Before reaching Panvel the bus was going through Lonavala and Khandala. Both places are truly magnificent, really made me feel i should go with my girlfriend through this route(when i find one!). The winding roads, the sheer cliffs and the superb road were a deadly combo that i will go again for sure once i am RICH ENOUGH to afford such spoils. The roads were really too good and the 6 lanes that held the traffic were just too good to be driven slow. Even though the scenery was too good, the sheer rush of cool mountain air brushing against the hair is always a cool feel. I felt it when i went to Ponmudi with a few friends some years back!

The bus reached the Panvel Highway exit at about 10:50-11 AM. From their i took an auto to reach the city centre and was looking for an ATM. Got one after 5-10 mins of looking out and then took the money i was in dire need of. Next stop was a veggie restaurant where I had my breakfast. It felt really nice to have some good breakfast after days. I had a Masala Dosa and also ordered a Veg Fried rice for my dinner. After all this I reached the station by 12 and the train was to reach the station by 12:50 only. I loafed around for some time and when they announced the platform on which the train was supposed to stop I took my baggage and moved their and was waiting for the train.

This was the first time that I was going to go through the Konkan route. I had heard a lot about the scenic beauty of the route and was waiting to experience the route by myself. The train came at exact time and I boarded the train and got to my seat in S1 at seat No. 31. The seat was a side berth and I HATED such seats since they didn’t allow much interaction with the co-passengers and I am someone who finds it very very difficult to keep my mouth closed for more than 15 mins(that will be an understatement).

The fellow passenger who was sitting opposite me looked like a northy and I didn’t take much effort to initiate a conversation until the train ventured through the Konkan route. It was exciting to pass through the mountainous land and treacherous valleys and gorges which were connected by the vast network of tunnels and bridges. It was truly a magnificent feat achieved by engineers and for that moment I felt proud of the fact that I am an engineer. Even though I may NEVER get to build anything in my life related to engineering, still it was a feeling that I couldn’t let go off.



Gad 440 M
Shastri 330 M
Mandovi (Channel - I) 559 M
Mandovi (Channel - II) 235 M
Zuari 987 M
Kalinadi 1386 M
Sharavati 2023 M


Natuwadi 4.425 Kms.
Chiplun 2.215 Kms.
Savarde 3.400 Kms.
Parchuri 2.650 Kms.
Karbude 6.500 Kms.
Tike 4.115 Kms.

Berdewadi 3.933 Kms.
Pernem 3.390 Kms.
Karwar 2.960 Kms.
Bhatkal 1.980 Kms.


No. Of Stations 60
No.of Tunnels 91
Number Of Minor Bridges 1679
(with total linear waterway of 5.113 km.)
Longest Tunnel 6.5 km. (Karbude tunnel)
Longest Bridge 2.065 km. (on Sharavati River)

Tallest Viaduct 64 meters in height (on Panval River)
Number Of Major Bridges 179 (with a total linear waterway of 22.1km.)
Gauge Broad Gauge ( 1676 mm. )
Length of alignment(Route Km) 741 Km.
Ruling Gradient 1 : 150 (Compensated)
Curvature Generally 1250 Mtrs. Radius1.4 Degree
Road Over Bridge,Road Under Bridge & Foot Over Bridge 300

When the train passed through the 1st tunnel I thought that I shall keep a track of the number of tunnels and so I started to jot the numbers down in my small notebook. By the time the sun went down I had counted about 65-70 tunnels and still more were coming. The route didn’t feel that good and after some time it was just tunnels bridges and nothing else. The big station on the way was at Ratnagiri, one of the division’s of Konkan railway. It was where our bogie got fixed of it’s light problem. We were having a low voltage situation and from then on we had good light and air. Till then we had no lights when the train went through the tunnels and some of the tunnels were many kms long and it was indeed a harrowing experience to wait for the light at the other end of the tunnel in the darkness of the coach.

The co-passengers were also pretty interesting. The guy sitting opposite me was along with his mom. He was visiting Kerala after a gap of 11 years and was looking forward to it. Possibly for his marriage I guess, but then I didn’t dare ask that. They were till Trishur. Then we had a newly married couple who were all the while in their own world at the upper berth. The guy would sit and the lady will lie on his lap. How lucky they were that they didn’t have any prying neighbours as their co-passengers and they had such nice people as me in the same coach. They were till Talasherry. The set was completed with a trio of people who were going till Haripad, a husband wife and the wife’s sister.

I had a boring time in the coach and often I ventured to the door of the coach and stood their, minutes at times just to pass time. Also sitting next to the door was a party of young guys and gals coming to Kerala for a excursion or study tour. Even the teacher in the group was a good TIME-PASS. They were the only ENTERTAINMENT in the train. The train entered Kerala next day morning at 5 Am or so and I called some of my friends and messaged to some others of my arrival by evening. The landscape had changed overnight and now I saw the familiar faces of our leaders adorning the walls and by 9AM we had reached Kozhikode. I had my breakfast from the station and got on to the train. The train was rather too slow once it entered Kerala and we reached Ernakulam only by 2:00 PM. Their I saw the opposite direction Netravathi express. At Ernakulam I had my lunch and by the time the train reached Allapuzha the coach was virtually empty and then at Kayamkulam many office-goers got into the coach and they were my company till Thirivananthapuram.

The train reached Trivandrum Central at 6:45 PM and my dad was waiting for me at the station. That’s all about my trip to Pune and that’s how I got home. Hope you all had a good time.

1 comment:

Abhilash Suryan said...

Great post man :-) Bravo.
Must be informative for lots of people;those who wish to travel on the route, abt the stuff one will face at the institute, how to deal with autowallah in Pune.......
But Abhijith, I wish to ask you, "What's God's noblest creation?"
if you don't know, it's the Mother.
No one will understand one's requirements better than one's Mother. Sometimes they know it better than us. Take your case for example. Even now you are under the impression that your Mother packed food for two or three people b'cos she thought 2/3 people will be with you!
You are wrong Mr. Abhijith.
She did it just because she knew your requirements better than you :-)