It’s Raining in Allahabad, and Flood [Pics]

Currently I’m working on various projects of mine and most importantly boosting the beginning of blogging, yes digmlm is now buzzinbiz and there I have to help business event organizers and promoters in finding their audience for free.Soon I’ll update more about BIB.

It’s raining in my home town and the people are tensed due to increasing levels of both the rivers Ganga & Yamuna that passes from here.

See some random pics –

Bade Hanumab temple of the Allahabad Sangam area is totally under the water logging that is created by the flood in Ganga and Yamuna.

A family moving to a higher place in Allahabad after the flood affected their colony.

Water logging in a house of Allahabad and see how the people are managing to not to leave their home.

This pic says that he will do anything for entertainment and that’s why saving his television from the flood in Allahabad.

See how people moving out of their house after floods hit Allahabad.

Hope I’ll be able to update because due to flood electricity and water supply could be interrupted in the other regions of Allahabad.

And be sure to check your flight, train or bus again if you are planning to visit Allahabad soon because due to flood travelling here for tourism could be interrupted for some time.

Funny Beggar’s of Jammu & Kashmir

During my tour to Vaishno Devi I spotted some awesome beggars in Katra, Jammu & Kashmir, they weren’t different than other traditional beggars of India who ages between 5 to 80 and managed by some community leaders.They look like –

  • Normal poor people
  • Old clothes
  • Disabled by force
  • Bold and demanding
Specialty of Beggar’s of Jammu & Kashmir
Actually they were not asking for the money by saying their copyrighted dialogues like ‘please give some money in the name of God’ while they were asking for the chocolate, cold drink or toy to play and giving no other options.
Even they were too bold to make your fun if you deny.
So be aware and don’t give whatever they want from you, to be honest and kind you should give only to those who really need help.

Mata Vaishno Devi Geographical Location & Weather Conditions

As you know that I was on a religious tour to Mata Vaishno Devi in the month of June 2013 and that’s why writing this series of guide posts to provide free help to all who are also planning to visit this location either for prayers or for experiencing the positive energy of this holy place of India that is also famous as Heaven on the Earth.

Location of Mata Vaishno Devi Temple
Click Here to see the map on Google Maps
See the Map – From point A to point B you have to journey on your foot and that is the distance about 14.5 Km covering the height of 5,300 feet into the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India.

Mata Vaishno Devi is in a cave of Trikuta Hills in the lower Himalayas and its base camp is Katra, a town some 48 Km away from Jammu, 650 Km from Delhi, 520 Km from Udhampur, 410 Km from Chandigarh and 80 Km from Patnitop.

Weather Conditions of Trikuta Hills
Climatic conditions of Trikuta Hills are of high altitude temperature – very cold and best time to visit is throughout the year except the winters because of snowfall and landslide like accidents.
While pilgrims prefer to visit Mata Vaishno Devi in between October and February.

Religious Tour to Vaishno Devi, Katra in Jammu & Kashmir

This year, after 13 years my father succeeds in planning as well as visiting a hill station with family and I would love to share the overall experiences to help you plan a better vacation especially if you are also planning to visit Jammu & Kashmir either for fun and entertainment or for religious purpose or for a combination of both like me and my family and we came back happily with some bitter as well as happy moments in our memory forever.

P.S Don’t get confused with the event of deadly disaster because that affected Uttar Kashi of Uttarakhand not Jammu & Kashmir.

It was a week long vacation and believe me it was actually a torture for all and that’s why everyone decided that from next time we would not include religious visits for vacation and all the prayers or else would be conducted only from home or local holy hubs.
Jammu Trip Highlights
  • 27 Hours inside the Train
  • High Temperature Environment
  • Vaishno Devi, Katra via Bus
  • On Spot Hotel Search
  • Free Yatra Parchi for Devi Darshan
  • 20 Hours of regular Torture to the Body
  • Local Tourist Places to Visit in Jammu
  • No Rooms Situation
  • Dry Fruits Everywhere
  • On the Train to Return Home
27 Hours inside the Train

Our journey began on 15th June, 2013 early morning and we had 6 seats reserved in 2 Tier AC coach of 18109 Tata Jat Muri Express that covers really a long route from Jharkhand, Bihar Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab to reach the Jammutavi railway station of Jammu & Kashmir.

We were with all the comfort because home made desi fast food was packed that lasted till the 17th and we enjoyed our journey by playing with the 2 little kids of another family who met us time to time during our Devi Darshan, mountain climbing.
I spent most of the time reading some magazines, comics and humors of Akbar and Birbal.
High Temperature Environment

Before leaving my home town Allahabad I already checked the weather conditions of Jammu & Kashmir multiple times to decide that we have to carry the hot clothes or not and we traveled without that extra luggage and that was a wise move because there even at the hill station temperature was always between 30 to 40 degree centigrade and I never felt the cool environment  except a single moment at the top of the hill and I’ll go into detail about that too in the below sections.

Vaishno Devi, Katra via Bus

From the Jammutavi railway station you have to travel some 40 kilometers to reach Katra where you can stay and start your journey on your feet, helicopter, horse or palki to reach at the top of the hill and see the Vaishno Devi Bhawan.

We decided to take private bus service to reach there and they charged Rs.50 for each passenger to drop us at the Katra bus depo and yeah there is no need to look here and there because under 500 meters you can stay in a good hotel room, dharamsaala room or dormitory.
On Spot Hotel Search

It was all planned and prepared by my father and that’s why nothing gone the online way or I have saved a lot of time and money sitting in my office, anyway me and my uncle looked some 2-3 hotels and found a great one named Hotel Bandhu Palace and honestly it was the only place we liked most in the entire tour.

In the photo above there is my mother, me, my youngest brother and uncle – from left to right.

They charged Rs.700 for a normal room and we booked 2 for next two and a half day, they were not providing the food.

We tried different types of desi food from different restaurants and dhaba’s and believe me dhaba was beating the well maintained restaurants when it comes to taste and rate of the food not for the services they offers we really don’t need because all the time we got packed our order and carried to our hotel room.

Free Yatra Parchi for Devi Darshan

Adjacent to the Katra bus depot there is a Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board office to distribute the Yatra Parchi to the devotees and please note it that the parchi is available for free and only to help the board to better manage the security of the place and right ratio of the devotees on the mountain at a particular period of time.
I was not aware about the parchi system or I had given a try online but now you are aware about the same and should save your 4-5 hours of registering the Vaishno Devi Yatra Parchi online.
20 Hours of regular Torture to the Body

Like most of the devotees my family believes that mountain climbing on feet would be the better way to visit that religious place known as Vaishno Devi and Bhairav Baba and that’s why I followed them and started mountain climbing from the early morning of the 17th of June and for our bad luck that day was clear and the sun was burning us from the very beginning when we crossed the Banganga check post that was 1 Km from Katra.

We followed the route as mapped below –

As you can see the distance to cover was only 14.5 Km even then people suggested throughout the route that our journey would take at least 30-40 hours if we would take a rest in between but we were in no mood to take rest and that’s why keep walking until we came back to our hotel room.

We have chosen the long route that was plane while we had another option of stairs but we were aware that the stairs would suck our energy more than required and then it would not be possible to return just after visiting the temple so we ignored some 5,000 stairs that would have cut our journey time to almost half.

My brothers and uncle reached before me, my mother and father because I have had to accompany my mother and that was beneficial because my uncle took the tickets at top and when we reached our group number was running as displayed on the various LCD then we left my younger brother outside the security check with our little luggage and shoes because he was not interested to face the rush inside the temple so got security check and submitted the Prasad at one end and collected at the last on other end in between we saw the Vaishno Devi situated in a cave. When we were returning then a cloud came and hit the same side of the mountain where we were at that moment and that hit broke the cloud and we faced a heavy rain that helped us shivered for the first time at this journey and that’s why we also bought plastic rain coats that helped us to save ourselves from the cold.

After the cave we have had to go other side at the distance of 1.5 Km to visit the Bhairav Baba temple because as per as beliefs and information the journey would complete until we would visit there.

Finally we completed this memorable journey in some 20 hours and till then we had covered some 30 Km, 45,000 steps measured by some android app my younger brother was using.

But I would recommend you to book a Pawan Hans Helicopter (a govt. enterprise) tickets because from the helipad you only have to go 2 Km via footpath to visit the top.

Helicopter charges only Rs.800 (single side) and you could get more details about the service by checking this page.

Note* – Other options like a horse, pitthu or palki would not cut the time because the carriers also take rest in between the journey and you have to pay almost equal or some time more than the helicopter charges so that would not be a wise decision if you are in hurry or not in the mood of doing a heavy exercise equivalent of a year long exercise in a 1 or 2 days straight.

Local Tourist Places to Visit in Jammu

We were not prepared and our cell phone was also dead there so we have had to depend upon the taxi driver’s information about the tourist places and that’s why we hired one who dropped us in a hotel nearby the Jammutavi Railway Station via various tourist places that took around 6-7 hours and 100 Km run.

And the charges were only Rs.1600 for a conditioned SUV.

In shortlist –

  • India’s biggest aquarium
  • Only park in Jammu
  • River side Temple
  • New Bridge
  • First Temple with Holy Well
  • Some temple in Cave 

To read more about the tourist places of Jammu please join my mailing list because I’m about to update them in some other articles after this one.

No Rooms Situation

If you are also visiting Jammu without prior bookings then it might hit you bad and you have had to search for too many hotels to stay because this is the place where people don’t wait for any particular season and hence the rooms goes filled fast all the time.

Katra was full of hotels and hence we found a good one with vacant rooms but here at the Jammu city there is the limited number of hotels and limited number of rooms to choose from, finally we managed to live in an average hotel I would not like to take even the name of that because I could hardly sleep there in that dirty and suffocated environment but we have no other option available.

Dry Fruits Everywhere

The next day when we reached to the railway station to catch our train then this point came in my mind that there we were surrounded by the dry fruits almost everywhere and that was making a odd environment when we were searching for a good restaurant or bakery shop.

Finally we left empty handed, yes we couldn’t locate any section like that around the railway station and thought about the IRCTC catering.

We also had the dry fruits but only as Prasad and carried from Katra where it was cheaper that other places.

On the Train to Return Home

It was again the Tata Jat Moori Express, 18010 and we were lucky that day we found average lunch and dinner by IRCTC catering.

In return we were tired and most of the time spent by sleeping.

Please Comment or Ask Your Questions

I hope this article and some upcoming one would help you a lot if you are planning to visit Jammu & Kashmir anytime and I would like to see if you have any comment or question regarding my experience on this trip.

10 Awkward things I Noticed while Travelling from Indian Railways

Now I’m in a train and leaving New Delhi for my home town Allahabad and would like to mention that this train number 02394 is a special train from ANVT to PNBE running late by 17 hours and 25 minutes means once I was there at the Anand Vihar Terminal yesterday too in the evening but have had to return at my place after checking this much late in the train’s arrival and that too was expected arrival time.

So today in the noon I came back to the station by covering around 25 kilometers via Delhi Metro where you can at least assume your arrival timing anywhere in entire Delhi/NCR area because there is high tech management system involved.

Awkward things to Notice while Travelling from Indian Railways

Now come to the Awkward things you should notice during travelling from the Indian Railways like I did today while waiting for my train and getting my reserved seat.

1. Auto Fares

If you have to hire an Auto or the Rikshaw for even covering the 500 meters they will not feel shy to ask for Rs.100 as fare so it’s a good idea to ask a local or go with the electronic meter installed vehicle to save a lot more than your imagination.

They take full advantage of the lack of your information so carry a smart phone and install Google Maps and supporting applications like Places and Navigation to avoid hiring them for covering distance like 100 meters as it is also necessary to complete 10,000 steps in a day to stay healthy.

2. Consumable Items

Oh it’s ridiculous they make a great profit by selling the consumable goods even at the rate more than MRP that is specified by the related authorities that no one can ask for the price more than that because that includes all the expenses, profit and taxation on the product.

  • Charging more than MRP – No doubt you will always notice that the seller is charging more than the MPR of the product but you don’t care because you don’t have any other option that time and have to buy the product even at the cost more than specified by the company and government too.
  • Promoting local products – Vendors promoting substitutes of the branded products like Ju-C as a replacement of Minute Made, Everest replaces Rail Neer, Cola Cola or else by pushing away the famous brands like Pepsi and Coca Cola.

3. Coolie Rates 

I prefer carrying my own luggage but due to my observation I got to know that even if you have to get help in carrying your hand bag weighing 3-4 kgs then you have to pay Rs.40 for the next 20 minutes and after that the Coolie decided and you have to argue a lot.

Actually from the beginning they ask a lot that can also surpass the minimum and maximum as suggested by the Railways and they keep announcing about the same many times in an hour to help you being cheated.

So how that announcement goes –

Passengers are requested to Check the Batch Number of Coolie before hiring so you can complain against him in the Station Master’s office if any dispute occurs related to fee or carrying the luggage.

4. Crazy Announcements

If you will notice other than helpful announcements they goes like mad sometimes and forgets that what is that is to announce now.

Like I heard today – 

It was in Hindi and goes like this – Yaatri gan kripya dhyaan den gaadi sankhya 1400 … 0 aaaa 06 joki Anand Vihar se chalkar Kanpur, Allahabad hote hue Darbhanga ko jayegi apne nirdharit samay se 5 ghante ke deri se chal rahi hai aur ab yah train 18 bajkar 35 minute pe aayegi.

You got it ?

He forgot the train number and added 2 extra zeros 🙂
And please don’t forget to share if you also heard anything weird from the announcement guy or gal during travelling from Indian Railways.

A disclaimer – Hey I forgot the train number and route so you can’t sue me.

5. Late Running Trains

As I disclosed in the very beginning that this train is late by 17 hours and 25 minutes but the story will go pathetic for the peoples who have reservations for this train 02394 in todays date that is 7/12/2012 because that train will depart on 10/12/2012.

No one (officers and management staffs) cares for these trains special because these trains are running for a shorter period of time like for some festival or special occasion and in the mean time it would be its right to be late for 20,30 or 50 hours normally.

6. Coach or Dustbin

Here I will give full credit to passengers because they come with a full of bags of eatables wrapped in attractive covers made of plastic and paper and leaves all of that behind them even they don’t think of putting those garbage in dustbin fixed below the wash basins.

It’s we who can maintain the coaches for leaving a good impression on other passengers including the tourists who are visiting our country to share within their own society with the help of photos and videos, so use the dustbins and avoid those plastic bags as it is now banned by Delhi Government too.

  • Dirty Urinals – Use it properly and please flush before and after use to help the Indian Railways in controlling the dirtiness inside the train and also follow the instructions as always be there in the toilets. 

7. Paper Soap Seller in AC Compartments 🙂

One of the funniest observation revealed in this section because I always got it to note down that these paper soap sellers would hardly be available in general and sleeper coaches where there you really need the soap to wash your hand after using the toilet but they always come with the AC Compartments where there you will always find the liquid soap in the bottle fixed near the wash basin in every toilet as filled by the company in contract with the Indian Railways.

8. T.T.E Don’t Cares

You will hardly find the T.T.E during searching and settling your luggage at your reserved seat because many times it happens some error in charting or the reservation report occurs like allotment of the same seat to two different passengers or else.

  • Can’t see PNR Number due to weak EYEs  Most of the T.T.E are old age in Indian Railways and now they generally requests to read your PNR Number to check on their chart to confirm your seat and presence.
  • Staff not Allowed so they can Sell the Available Seats – My father is an Indian Railways staff and that’s why whole family gets a Pass for AC 2 Tier and hence I always check the T.T.E about the available seats but as usual they never allows staff because that seat can be sold for a great amount to an outsider and then all the income will go into the T.T.Es pocket that can be called an extra income and that’s why we seeks Government JOB.    

9. Coach attendant lives in Losses

Coach attendant the guy who gives us the blanket, bed sheet, pillow and all working life in losses because of the theft of these items in masses every month.

But how these attendants go into losses ?

Actually these attendants are not the staff of Indian Railways and do JOB for a contractor who gives these items to serve and care and if any lost occurs then the attendant pays the equivalent amount to the contractor as a fine of being careless.

So friends help me to aware others and share this article in your social networks to let them know that if they steals those Indian Railways printed items and thinking that they are stealing from Indian Railways (most profitable department of the Indian Government) then they are totally wrong and stealing from a poor guy who is working hard to earn and pay the same or more as fine.

10. Total of 18 Charging Points for 72 People 

I’m in AC 3 Tier now and getting only 18 charging points in front where a general passenger can reach and charge but some of them are not working because I checked them almost all of them due to mostly vacant compartment, so do you think it’s enough for 72 people ?

And even when now the people are travelling with gadgets and gadgets like mp3 player, camera, cell phone or notebook and almost all the gadgets have their own and unique charger.

Over to You

Now it’s your turn to write because now I’m feeling sleepy and would like to sleep some time in this noiseless compartment where I did a lot of productive and interactive activity like tweeting some very important tweets and Facebook updates for a cause like alerting everybody about the Tsunami in Japan.

Please feel free to comment and share because I really love getting a response.