Mumbai to Kolkata overland October 2011 - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Mumbai to Kolkata overland October 2011

#1 Aug 22nd, 2011, 18:30
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  • JonPaulMitchell is offline
#1
Mumbai to Kolkata overland October 2011-08-22

13th October arrive Mumbai (2 nights booked) – 30th October leave Kolkata (2 nights booked)

Me and my girlfriend are in our late ‘20’s and will be on a medium budget, we are by no means well off but we aren’t students any more!

It is our first time in India but we have both travelled around this area a little bit and are rather seasoned backpackers and happy to put in the miles, preferably by trains, with A/C if it will be hot enough to warrant the extra.

Can anyone help us to get a feel for where we can aim for on the trains and provide us with a general route so that we might begin reading up on the selected destinations?

We would like to get off the beaten track and find places which allow us some space to enjoy and soak up the culture – maybe find ways to fit in cookery lessons, music classes, going to the cimema etc. I think we want to do like the locals would do rather than the tourist as we are not fussed about taking many photographs and ticking off sites, but rather ways to blend in and understand more. We would both rather enjoy a quiet moment shared with those we are visiting than stamping around with our cameras. I think we both want to see Varansai as I have a feeling it is somewhere very special.

Finally, can anyone recommend ways to connect with people whilst away?

Thank you in advance for any help or suggestions.
#2 Aug 22nd, 2011, 19:18
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  • freemanx is offline
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPaulMitchell View Post Mumbai to Kolkata overland October 2011-08-22

13th October arrive Mumbai (2 nights booked) – 30th October leave Kolkata (2 nights booked)
This gives you 14 days to get from Mumbai to Kolkata. That's a veeeery looooong distance, you do realice this, do you?

I would not do it, to be honest.

Well, at least I would suggest you take overnight trains whenever possible, this way you save on accommodation and have some more days to explore the places you intend to visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPaulMitchell View Post can anyone recommend ways to connect with people whilst away?
It will be your least problem to meet people. Just board a train, sit down and see what happens.
#3 Aug 22nd, 2011, 19:39
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  • vonkla is offline
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Try to get or borrow a guide so you get some idea of the places along this route.

One option is
Mumbai
Bhopal
Jhansi (visit Orchha and eventually Khajuraho)
Varanasi
Kolakata

On this site you find a PDF with a map of the railway system

To find out about the connections between the places use erail.in

For booking tickets use cleartrip
#4 Aug 24th, 2011, 18:11
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#4
Thank you freemanx, we were not sure of just how long but booked in a hurry - I'm really grateful for the tip on overnight trains, I think this might just save our schedule! I suppose really we figured that 2 weeks is not very long at all and a felt thr journey needed to be linear (in that we arrive and depart from different airports - Mumbai to Kolkata seemed the most 'obvious' (in hidsight read challenging?!)

vonkla, can I ask why in particular Bhopal and Jhansi.

Thank you both for your replies.
#5 Aug 24th, 2011, 20:51
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  • vonkla is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPaulMitchell View Post We would like to get off the beaten track and find places which allow us some space to enjoy and soak up the culture – maybe find ways to fit in cookery lessons, music classes, going to the cimema etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPaulMitchell View Post vonkla, can I ask why in particular Bhopal and Jhansi.
I'm afraid that it will be difficult to visit off the beaten track places in the relative short time you have and since your route is fixed.
So I mentioned just two not two not too tourist places.

One place that may be a good option is Chitrakoot, between Jhansi and Varanasi.
#6 Aug 24th, 2011, 21:26
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  • Calcuttan is offline
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Advance welcome to Calcutta. You will be in India during one of the most important north Indian Hindu festivals called - Diwali. It is the festival of lights when virtually the whole country lights up fire crackers - both light and sound. The idea is to drive away evil spirits with light and sound. It is somewhat similar to Halloween. The crackers can be quite deafening. We in Bengal dedicate it to Goddess Kali. It is observed on the new moon night.
Regarding your choice of places en route between Bombay and Calcutta it really depends on what exactly you want to experience. History, nature or people?
Someone suggested Jhansi/Orchha, Khajuraho and Varanasi. Because these are on the railway route from Bombay to Calcutta. There are two railway routes connecting these two cities. One is via Nagpur. Another is via Allahabad. J,K and V are on the via Allahabad route.
I am not too sure if I would go to all the destinations with just two weeks at my disposal. Varanasi, in my opinion (and most friends want to castigate me for this), is nice in photographs. In real life it really tests your senses and attacks them all. I find it extremely noisy, crowded, filthy and stinking. It symbolises everything that is wrong with India. But I know lot of friends who routinely go there to just experience precisely this. I love Khajuraho. Everyone alive on earth, I believe, should see it at least once. The temples of ecstasy. They are simply beautiful. Orchha has a lovely old fort that is worth a couple of days.
I would definitely spend a few days in Bombay and explore the city. I suggest read the book Shantaram. After that you might want to not go anywhere but explore Bombay only. In my opinion - it is the only proper city in India.
#7 Aug 24th, 2011, 21:29
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Inadvertently made a double post, due to poor net connection. Request mods to please delete this.

Advance welcome to Calcutta. You will be in India during one of the most important north Indian Hindu festivals called - Diwali. It is the festival of lights when virtually the whole country lights up fire crackers - both light and sound. The idea is to drive away evil spirits with light and sound. It is somewhat similar to Halloween. The crackers can be quite deafening. We in Bengal dedicate it to Goddess Kali. It is observed on the new moon night.
Regarding your choice of places en route between Bombay and Calcutta it really depends on what exactly you want to experience. History, nature or people?
Someone suggested Jhansi/Orchha, Khajuraho and Varanasi. Because these are on the railway route from Bombay to Calcutta. There are two railway routes connecting these two cities. One is via Nagpur. Another is via Allahabad. J,K and V are on the via Allahabad route.
I am not too sure if I would go to all the destinations with just two weeks at my disposal. Varanasi, in my opinion (and most friends want to castigate me for this), is nice in photographs. In real life it really tests your senses and attacks them all. I find it extremely noisy, crowded, filthy and stinking. It symbolises everything that is wrong with India. But I know lot of friends who routinely go there to just experience precisely this. I love Khajuraho. Everyone alive on earth, I believe, should see it at least once. The temples of ecstasy. They are simply beautiful. Orchha has a lovely old fort that is worth a couple of days.
I would definitely spend a few days in Bombay and explore the city. I suggest read the book Shantaram. After that you might want to not go anywhere but explore Bombay only. In my opinion - it is the only proper city in India.
#8 Aug 31st, 2011, 04:33
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  • aarosh is offline
#8
Another option Mumbai - Aurangabad (Ajanta / Ellora / Daulatabad) - Jhansi (Orchha, Datai, Sonagiri) - Varanasi (Sarnath) - Kolkata.

You would need to decide where you want to go and once decided book train tickets as soon as possible. Most trains can be booked 90 days in advance of journey date.

Also the maximum travel by train in the above case would be 16 hours depending on the train.

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