Trip Start Jul 26, 2006
Trip End Aug 28, 2006

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In DelzWorld (DelzIndia) you will find the product of a month spent in India, July into August 2006. Though most people might think that travelling in high summer in this vast sub-continent would be just a little insane, it is monsoon time and a very special period in India. The land has been scorched and parched for five months since the end of a short winter, When the rains come, people's moods suddenly change from a state of depression and growing impatience, to euphoria and abandon.    Maybe all the above is true, but at the time of writing I haven't even done the trip. My major concern is that the monsoon could disrupt the Indian train services as it often can. I shall see. 
 Also, due to recent events in Mumbai, the bombings on the commuter trains, let's hope there isn't a repeat as terrorist attacks are surely a recipe for long delays, let alone the personal safety aspect.
So enjoy the reports and pictures and hopefully I will have plenty of opportunities to upload data about this outwardly over ambitious excursion around the sub-continent. As far as I can see, the IT revolution has hit India big time, so there shouldn't  be too many circumstances when I can't update the blog.
A Packed Itinerary
Maps can be downloaded from the blog to see a much enlarged view of my route around India. The hotels are left to chance with the help of an up-to-date Lonely Planet guide book that I will buy in Delhi.
The timetable of my proposed journey around India is in a clockwise direction. Anti-clockwise presented a few unsolvable logistical problems. All of this will be achieved with a 30 day Indrail train pass and the very efficient computerised advanced train booking system that Indian Railways installed over 20 years ago. 

The places I shall vist go something like this, but maybe with some later modifications.
1 Delhi  2 Amritsar 3 Lucknow 4 Varanasi 5 Calcutta 6 Chennai 7 Ooty 8 Calicut 9 Backwaters (Kerala) 10 Fort Cochin 11 Madurai 12 Bangalore 13 Hyderabad 14 Aurangabad 15 Mumbai 16 Mt Abu 17 Delhi 18 Shimla 19 Delhi
Just to finish this part, here are just a few of the staggering numbers concerning the huge Indian Railway network.
Over 1.6 million employees and hundreds of thousands of freelancers  make a living from the railway.
15 million passengers and 12,000 trains daily, on 63,000km of track.
The longest platform in the world is 2.7km at Kharagpur. (SW of Calcutta)
From Jammu Tawi in the NW to Trivandrum in the south takes 72 hours - 3,751km.
About 100,000 so called key workers each check 7km of track every day.
The comment that has been thrown at me is that I will be spending almost all the time on trains. This is only true on one journey from Calcutta to Madras (1,600 km in 27 hours) all the others are only nights spent in air-conditioned sleepers.  No hotel needed and this also leaves a lot of time for sightseeing - and saves a lot of money too. 
As you can see from the piky, my luggage looks sadly lacking for a month's travelling. Don't worry; I have packed all the necessities such as: digital cameras, batteries and chargers, laptop, mobile hard-disk, memory cards, a spare pair of underpants and 3 sets of earplugs for noisy nights. It was a real problem deciding what should be left at home, things that normal sensible travellers regard as essentials. When I reach Delhi the second hand Lonely Planet guide book, that I hope to purchase there, will present a bit of a stowage dilemma. But I am sure I will cope with that somewhat knotty problem. (perhaps dispense with the spare underwear)
So here I go. Wish me luck (sounds like I need a lot of that)
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