Monday's Memorable Moment - Riding a night-train in India (traveling from Pushkar to Agra)

Monday's Memorable Travel Moment -
That time we rode a night-train in India
(traveling from Pushkar to Agra)

 TAJ MAHAL BY MEET YOU THERE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

TAJ MAHAL BY MEET YOU THERE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

You haven't truly lived until you've experienced some of India's public transportation - not to mention its' tuk-tuk rides, bike or diesel powered or maybe even camel/horse drawn buggy.  Getting around India is a breeze (as long as someone in your party speaks Hindi) with so many styles of transportation - you can expect to get where you need to go, but the ride isn't always going to be pleasant.  Travel tip for India: We always brought a handkerchief or light scarf with us during our adventure days thru India - I found it very important to be able to cover my nose/mouth to prevent much of the cities smog/pollution (and sometimes smells) from entering my breath ways.  Our entire travel group has a very vivid memory of our travel night from Pushkar, India to Agra, India - where we spent a day doing travel and engagement photography.  We made a somewhat questionable decision to buy tickets for an overnight train (Class 2A) from Pushkar to Agra - the story continues... below

Now I've seen some pretty famous imagery in regards to - train rides in India (click here to see Steve McCurry takes you thru India) and they don't appear to be the most inviting trains I have ever come across.  Traveling by train in India is far, far different than just hopping abroad a high-speed train in Europe.  Trains in India are a culturally shocking experience even the train stations in India - are some of the gnarliest places I have ever encountered in my entire life.  Some examples: rats the size of small dogs scurrying about the platforms, very interesting security personnel holding loaded Ak47s, some type of outdoor squat bathrooms and I can't forget to mention the food cart selling cookies and snacks.  The next events can only be told in a play-by-play style - it was a blurry, adrenaline filled, travel night - here goes:

  • We arranged taxi pick up out of Pushkar around 130AM to catch our night-train to Agra 230AM (~8 hours train ride)
  • We were lucky our amazing host at our hostel: Hotel UTurn let us kill time until our departure on the roof of their hostel (where we continued to smoke Manali hash as the night rolled on) we basically stayed there an extra night for basically free
  • At around the right time (approx. 1AM), we hear that our driver is outside and it's time to grab our belongings and head to the train station
  • As we rub the exhaustion out of our eyes we scramble up the holy steps that surround the lake of Pushkar, India - it was late, no one was around it almost felt like we were being smuggled out of Puskie
  • We find the taxi driver (not as easy as finding an Uber driver) load our bags into a vehicle that barely fit us and our enormous backpacks (shit!) and hit the road for a 45 minute ride
  • Perhaps one of the sketchiest car rides of my entire life, we drift from side to side on a tiny dirt road whipping up and over a small Indian mountain pass
  • Finally we arrive at the rail station, way too early I might add and Indian rail stations aren't really the place you want to kill time
  • Trying to make sense of the sensory overload going on all around us at the station - we found our way to the platform dodging sleeping people, large rats, etc
  • We probably wait a solid 45mins maybe an even an hour before our train creeped up on the four of us; sleepy, exhausted, slightly drunk and maybe loopy off of a special Lassi or two
  • Upon boarding the train we discovered that our reserved 4 person bunking area was occupied by some heavily sleeping train riders - the conductor shrugged his shoulder as they decided to split our group up
  • Below are a couple images of Emily and I sleeping in our bunks on this very long, long night train ride - I started off sleeping in the same bunk as her (totally against Indian social norm) but ended up in the top bunk cuddling our luggage
  • We made a questionable decision doing all this travel at night time, although we made it to our next destination safely the next day my - Travel Tip for India: conduct train travel during the day time for safety and peace of mind
  • The train pulled into Agra, India and another day had already begun - we stumbled out into the stagnant, hot, polluted Indian morning - WHAT a night of rough train sleep/travel and waking up going right back into was a little overwhelming for us (hey, that's the fun of travel though sometimes)

It's important to face uncomfortable situation as you travel - in fact as uncomfortable as this was we can certainly say it made us stronger, better travelers.  We were spoiled in Europe being able to taste first class train rides with our EuRail pass as we explored different regions there - but it's been unique to use trains in different countries to really see how people move around in these places.  It seems very true that situations that we are able to overcome that at first scared us only continue to make us stronger in the future and able to face obstacles better.  We're fortunate for modernized, first world transportation but it was unique and important for us to travel on this Class 2A train in India to experience something outside of our comfort zone.  Always do this when traveling - we can guarantee you will come out on the other side, a stronger, better person. Until next time travel world ~Meet You There