Well not all of it, and some places aren’t accessible by train, but it did take us from the west coast, Chennai to the east coast Kerala - 2017

India By Train

Our Trip

We flew into Chennai:

And then home, but no thanks to jet Airways that went bust while we were there!


Chennai.

A really big city, but it does boast the 2nd largest city beach in the world. Cheap fine food, especially the little cafes for breakfast.

Busy, hectic, noisy, & dirty! Hey, it’s India!

The beach is lined with food sellers, but not the cheapest.

You have to like crowds, noise & shops!

Some interesting architecture

Home to Royal Enfield Motorcycles but didn’t seem able to arrange a trip

Mamallapuram

A lovely beach place with a western enclave, a Indian fishing village, & local beach plus centuries old stone carvings.

No train service; its local bus or taxi from Chennai or Pondicherry.

Taxis do run here from Chennai airport if you wan to avoid the congested city of Chennai.

We got a tuk tuk from Chennai & were over charged!

Local buses worst I’ve seen in India, but cheap!!

Western food a tad overpriced, but good. Local food in town is cheap.

!

Ponducherry

It’s India, Jim, but not as we know it!  

A tale of 2 cities! The old French quarter with wide tree lined streets and superb beach front & park, and the Indian city surrounding it!

Beer is cheaper than the surrounding states I only found it cheaper in Goa.

Lots of western style restaurants but also lively music places and local food.

Tiruchchirappalli

(Trichy to you & me!)


Best known for the fort which dominates the city. There is a temple perched on the top; if you fance the steps!

Busy Indian city, interesting if you like cities and crowds.

We made an overnight stop in Coimbatore to get the steam train to Coonoor. For a stop over place it is pleasant with lots of restaurants and air con bars. There are good and cheap hotels where the hotels are booked for a 24 hour period, rather than an morning check out. Very traveller friendly place but short on sights except the railway station.

Unfortunately, the steam train to Coonoor is one of the more heavily used tourist facilities and booking is done months in advance! So we were unable to take the steam train. As we wanted to see Coonoor, it was Taxi time again!

There are buses but where they leave from & timetables I couldn’t find.

Coonoor

A great place up in the  hills with tea plantations, unbelievable gardens and a bustling town.

Most people just get the steam train stay a night & move on, but it has its charm.

Simms garden is a wonderful garden, and if you are into Indain musicals, a lot of the settings are here in the hills, like Lambs Rock.

There is a large local market in town and cows wander freely around.

Large market in the town of ‘lower’ Coonor, as opposed to ‘upper’ Coonor. Its actually one town the upper part being on a hill.

Munnar

A busy town up in the hills in the middle of tea plantations. Has a rundown part of the town but lots of shops with markets and good restaurants. There are some scenic spots around the area..

As its not on the railway line the only way here is by bus. The buses, lacking windows (!) obviously don’t have a/c which once you are up in the hills isn't a problem, they’re a bit warm at lower altitudes!! Not an unpleasant journey and lots to see on the trip.

Fort Kochin

A very popular resort in Kerala state. It is busy with Indian tourist, especially at weekend. The most photographed area are the Chinese fishing nets and the most popular trip the backwaters.

Excellent food and bars abound although only restaurants attached to hotels sell beer. Lots to see and do including the local dance (Kathakali).

On the main line railway station (Emakulam Junction), Fort Cochin is an island and an excellent starting place for Kerala. There are overnight trips from here to Munnar & motorbike hire, including the Royal Enfield, are readily available. (See my Kerala m/c trip!)

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