Journey by 19019 Deharadun Express: the train that passes through Eight Indian States

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Mumbai, 18 July 2011: It was during the first week of June that my former colleague in the college and friend, Prof. Ashok Badgujar, who had also retired from service like me, in a telephonic conversation said that he was planning to undertake the ‘Char Dhams’ pilgrimage in the Garhwal Himalayan region of Uttarakhand  and asked me whether I would like to join the group. He also said that the train journey by the 19019 Deharadun Express to and from Haridwar would take six days and the pilgrimage to the four holy places would take around ten days making a total duration of 16 days.


Though I was not very keen to undertake such a long journey, the lure of the Himalayas tempted me to ask my wife, Benny who was in Mumbai at that time whether she would like to take a break and proceed with the group to the Himalayas as we had been to Nainital during the latter half of November last year. As she said ‘yes’, I called back my friend and agreed to be the part of the group.


My chief interest in joining the tour was the prospect of travelling through the Himalayan  mountain ranges and observing the people, their way of life, flora and fauna and of course clicking the pictures to cherish the memory of such unique experience.
The journey to the north was to start on 1 July and end on 16. Accordingly, my friend Ashok reserved tickets by 19019Dn/19020 Up Deharadun Express to and from Haridwar, the starting point of the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage. Originally we were to be a group of nine. However, one couple dropped out at the last moment and the group was reduced to seven-three couples and a single person.


After packing the necessary clothing and collecting considerable amount of eatables, as we were told that the Deharadun Express does not have a pantry car and it would be difficult to get palatable food in the railway stations of north India, we proceeded to the Bandra Terminus after dinner on 1 July to board the 19019 Deharadun Express that started its journey of two nights and two days at 11.40 pm close to midnight.


19019 Deharadun Express, though designated as an ‘express’ train,  was in fact a little better than a normal ‘passenger’ train. The train passed through eight Indian states covering a distance of 1630 kilometers,  halting at 89 stations between Bandra Terminus and Haridwar and also stopping in between for crossings, signals, etc. Among the stations of halt,  4 are in Maharashtra, 20 in Gujarat, 18 in Madhya Pradesh, 23 in Rajasthan, 4 in Haryana, 3 in Delhi, 12 in Uttar Pradesh and 5 in Uttarakhand. The major stations and junctions on the way include Surat, Vadodara, Godhra, Dahod, Rathlam, Nagda, Kota,  Sawai madhopur, Bayana, Bharatpur, Mathura, Delhi-Hazrat Nizamuddin, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Deoband, Roorkee and Haridwar. The train proceeds further up to Deharadun with 3 more stations between Haridwar and Deharadun.


When we woke up in the morning of  2 July, the train was at the Ankleshwar station in southern Gujarat. As I had a window seat, I could observe the passing landscape and click pictures at will. Being watered by the two river systems-Tapi and Narmada, southern Gujarat is fertile with a lot of land being brought under cultivation. I could see banana plantations, fruit orchards, vegetable fields and rice cultivation at intermittent intervals.


However, as the train took diversion at the Vadodara Junction and passed  through the northern part of Gujarat and southwestern part of Madhya Pradesh one could observe the stark contrast. With scant rain fall, people in this region depend on dry farming. The land being barren and hilly and with the absence of other means of income people live frugal life which could be seen by the simplicity of their small tile-roofed houses. Most of the people inhabiting these border regions belong to tribal communities.


While passing through Madhya Pradesh, one can observe orange orchards at various places. As the train  entered Rajasthan unlike the common notion that the state  is full of deserts, one can  see vast tracts of land under cultivation. With monsoon having made its entry into Rajasthan, the farmers have sown pulses in major part of the land. I was told by a local person travelling for a short distance in the same train  that the chief crop of Rajasthan is soya bean followed by  other pulses, jowar, maize and bajra. Wherever water locking was possible, paddy cultivation could be seen.



Cattle and sheep rearing is another important occupation of the people in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as I could observe shepherds guarding their sheep and a number of cattle grazing on the barren grassland. At a place in Rajasthan I could see a group of boys playing cricket as their cattle was grazing in the background.


As the sun was setting on 2 July, the 19019 Deharadun Express had entered the Kota region of Rajasthan, famous for the ‘Kota’ stones. I could see piles of stones that were being used for the fencing of land. The city of Kota is also famous for institutions that train IIT and MBA aspirants with high percentage of success. One of India’s nuclear plants is also situated at Kota.


We spent the second night in the train and  it was morning of 3 July when the 19019 Deharadun Express reached Delhi-Hazrat Nizamuddin Junction. The next phase of the journey was through Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. As the train passed through various stations, one could observe the rural scenes of the land with full of greenery. Being the land of the two main river system-Ganges and Yamuna and their tributaries, the land has been fertile. One can see the green fields stretching till the horizon. The chief Karif crops in this region are rice, maize, sugar cane, vegetables.  The rabi crops chiefly consists of wheat, potatoes and pulses. At different places heaps of  cattle fodder in neatly arranged conical shape could be seen.

Another unique feature in the rural Uttar Pradesh is the sight of the Poplar trees by the edge of the fields or being grown on the patches of fertile land. The Poplar trees are being used for variety of purposes such as boxes for packing, match boxes and sticks, plywood, fire-wood,  etc.


The housing pattern of the people living in small townships along the railway lines in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh is more or less similar. These dwelling places are flat roofed small or medium structures, usually without outer windows and un-plastered walls.


In certain stations when the train halted during the day time, I could capture on camera some of the unique scenes of people with their traditional dresses or in some kind of action or inaction which are self-evident when one sees the pictures.

It was 3.45 pm on 3 July when 19019 Deharadun Express reached Haridwar where we alighted following which four compartments meant exclusively for Haridwar were detached from the train and it proceeded further to Deharadun.


Having quite tired of the long train journey the group of seven of us headed to the hotel and after freshening up proceeded to the centre of Haridwar where the temples were located on the bank of the sacred river Ganges.


Our return journey after the tour and pilgrimage of the ‘Char Dhams’ began on 14 July at 12.50 pm by 19020 Up Deharadun Express and after spending two days and two nights we reached Bandra Terminus at 4.15 am in the early morning of 16 July 2011.


Though it was a long journey by the Deharadun Express to and from Haridwar, it was quite memorable as we passed through eight states of India and observed varieties of landscapes, different cropping patterns, people with diverse culture, and unique types of housing.


On 4 July,  the group of seven of us began the nine days long tour cum pilgrimage of ‘Char Dhams’ in a Tata Sumo that took us through various mountain ranges and valleys  to four holy places in Hindu tradition-Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, the narration of which will follow in subsequent travelogues…




Comments on this Article
MBA College in Mumbai, Mumbai Wed, July-20-2011, 2:44
What a nice photos. I like it. I feel the village life. Thanks a lot.
Celina D Souza, Andheri, Mumbai Tue, July-19-2011, 7:30

Lovely pictures as if they were just for u to capture them showing the real colorful India and nice artical.Thanks you.

Vasudeva Kini, Gokuldham,Moodubelle/Mumbai Tue, July-19-2011, 4:38
Yet, another good editorial work and presentation of NE culture by Dr.Eugine, Moodubelle . Dr. Keep it up. U have really enriched the readers. Beautiful photographs.
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Mon, July-18-2011, 7:18
I love traveling, observing the landscape, meeting people, and learning. I have traveled by trains, buses, and cars in some of the towns through which the train has taken the author. What touched me is explicit in the pictures: the faces of poverty, the need to emancipate women-folk, etc. Look at the men lazying around, and women carrying on the burden of daily lives esp child rearing, fuelwood gathering, water harvesting etc..Even sitting at the approach lane of Golden Bridge in Bharuch sipping my chai, the theme I sensed is of hardship of a living, very opposite of sanctity assigned to Narmada..
Melwyn D Souza, Dubai Mon, July-18-2011, 12:53
As Mr. Benedict rightly said, i also felt like travelling with Dr. Eugene in this Deharadun Express for a while. Thanks Dr. Eugene for your wonderful narration of travel experience and look forward for futher episods.
Jayesh Parikh, Vadodara/Bharuch Mon, July-18-2011, 12:44
Respected Deasr Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle. It is a quite better journey with your write-ups and photos with sense of humor covering humor, culture, habitats etc....etc... I would like to draw your attention towards the importance of Bharuch, Bharuchi Shing, Golden Bridge and River Naramada Maiya which originates from Madhya Pradesh and ends in Gujarat. It s a very common slogan Ganga Snane, Yamuna Pane, Naramada Darshane which means one can take holy bath in the river Ganga and than he him self becomes pure, where as on taking YamunaJi s Jal(Water) in to their mouth and than he becomes pure instead Narmada is only River in the World that on doing Darshan/Seeing Naramada Maiya one becomes Pure and not only that People make Pradakshina/Parikrama of Naramad River. Jayesh Parikh 09377761911
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Sun, July-17-2011, 10:42
I had a pleasant journey through the article and the photos of village life, the 19019 train-rush and the the paddy storages which are not to be seen in Udupi District now a days -belle village atleast, and every thing shown in the article with photos. Dr Eugene, you have spent some bugs,butyou made the viewers enjoy the same through Bellevision without spending. So beautiful the journey. Congratulations and thank you.
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Sun, July-17-2011, 2:46
Wecome back Dr. Eugene. We missed you for a while....but here you are with rich and soothing pictures!! a new world!! Keep it up!!
Victor DSouza, Moodubelle / Doha Sun, July-17-2011, 2:41
Plenty of information with beautiful pictures of north India, completely different life style than south India. People with their traditional dress keep their identity. Pleasing to see the greenery. Nice article and pictures, Dr. Eugene.
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