They say to truly see India you need to travel by train. We did just that on our trip from Bangalore to Chennai. The Shatabdi Express is a popular way to travel between the two cities since it only takes 5 hours (similar to flying when you factor in wait times) and is much more economical.
So early in the morning we left our hotel in Bangalore and went to the bustling Bangalore City Junction train station. At the station we used the popular porter system. Your personal porter carries your luggage to the track, usually knows where your assigned coach will be, waits for your train with you, and loads it up on the train for you.
You can not purchase a seat for your child until they are 5 years old so we chose to go with 1st class tickets for the broader seats. With the seat rests up, my toddler fit between my husband and I and my daughter went in the carrier in my lap.
My son’s current obsession is trains so he was so excited to be on the train. As we went along the countryside my son was excited to see the other trains, the scooters on the roads, the cows and other scenery. Then, after sensory overload he concentrated on his Thomas the Train videos (ironically) on the iPad before falling asleep.
Since my daughter nursed herself to sleep right at the beginning, I enjoyed viewing the more rural parts of India from my window seat. We spend so much of our time in urban areas, it was nice to view the quieter part of India. The India which is not crowded, has only the occasional scooter, bike or car. The cities are so full of people and pollution, its a nice change of pace to see the green hills, palm trees, and friendly villagers and children who wave as the train goes by.
As I sat in the 1st class car, my thoughts went to the growing income difference and how it separates the levels in society. As we sat in comfort being served meals and playing with our gadgets, out side the window we saw workers on the tracks with only hand tools, farmers with a small shack and a few cows. Even in the train station we saw rows of people sleeping on mats just outside the main terminal.