The previous trip report part:
India 2012 - 9: Metre Gauge to Udaipur (50 p.)
The accompanying video:
February 10 2012
Just one week of three of my trip have passed, and we already have reached part ten, currently we find ourselves on the rooftop terrace of my hotel at Udaipur overlooking Lake Pichola. The view presenting itself was breathtaking, illumination of the sights was already switched on and the sky still showed nice colours. Reflections of Lake Palace were glittering on the water surface. After a photographic session I ordered dinner which of course could not keep up with homemade lunch. Additionally it had obviously been seasoned to please tourists. The German speaking waited served a Kingfisher beer, my first on this trip, and I enjoyed the view a while longer. Very briefly fireworks were ignited at the Lake Palace, but as soon as I had taken the camera out they were already over.
The amazing rooftop panorama...
Lake Pichola had been artificially created in 1362, on it you could find two islands, the one in front was Lake Palace, nowadays a luxury hotel and former James Bond venue.
The two islands, Lake Palace in the foreground was only accessible by hotel guests.
Udaipur palace nights.
February 11 2012
The day started very cold, I had tucked myself into bed as thoroughly as possible. Still, we had to leave at 5 a.m. to reach the first spot of the Mavli Jn.– Marwar Jn. metre gauge line at sunrise. Originally of course metre gauge continued from Udaipur but nowadays it started at Mavli, 40 kms away, as branch line from the main railway to Chittorgarh converted to broad gauge. While waiting for the car I took a few pictures on the lakeshore, only accompanied by a lone ruminating cow.
A couple of environmentalist paroles had been painted on the walls, by the end of dry season the lake sometimes almost completely dries out.
Opposite my hotel you could find "Café Edelweiss", people warming at a camp fire in front completed the surreal scenery. In the north I often spotted impromptu roadside fires where people warmed up during cold winter mornings.
With some delay due to the driver oversleeping we crossed the mountains north of Udaipur on good roads. However, you sometimes had to close your eyes with Indian driving styles, otherwise you would not be able to take it. Let's say people often drove on the right, only when approaching obstacles (e.g. an oncoming truck) on the left. Luckily we reached our first spot whole, traffic had not been dense yet anyway. We waited near Kankroli, a village sponsored by a resident company - and what difference that made: you came across nice roads, European-style bus stops, etc. ...
Our spot was at the Banas River Bridge, also called Bawan Kotha, 52 pillar bridge (correct, who does not believe it, you can count it yourself on Google Maps: http://g.co/maps/cm6uq ). The water was bustling with birds, in the vicinity fitting atmospheric music was played. As it still was freezing the others warmed with chai inside the jeep, I already got out to see the sun rise.
Into the other direction: moon and birds.
The train came almost on time, shortly after sunrise at 7:30 a.m.:
To the right in the background you can still spot smoke clouds from acceleration before reaching the bridge.
52076 MVJ MJ Passenger M G
1 MVJ Mavli Jn First St06:35 NWR 0 1
2 TMGN Thamla Mogana 06:52 06:53 1 NWR 10 1
3 NDT Nathdwara 07:03 07:04 1 NWR 15 1
4 BJN Bejnal 07:17 07:18 1 NWR 22 1
5 KDL Kankroli 07:33 07:34 1 NWR 29 1
6 KXA Kuanriya 08:06 08:07 1 NWR 44 1
7 LSG Lawa Sardargarh 08:33 08:34 1 NWR 59 1
8 CBG Charbhuja Road 08:55 08:56 1 NWR 69 1
9 KRKM Khara Kameri 09:12 09:13 1 NWR 76 1
10 DJKR Dolajika Khera 09:41 09:42 1 NWR 89 1
11 DOHM Devgarh Madariya10:01 10:02 1 NWR 100 1
12 KBK Khambli Ghat 10:18 10:19 1 NWR 105 1
13 GGO Goram Ghat 11:21 11:23 2 NWR 119 1
14 FLD Phulad 11:53 11:54 1 NWR 126 1
15 MRWS Marwar Ranawas 12:28 12:29 1 NWR 136 1
16 MJ Marwar Jn 13:10 Last Stn NWR 152 1
Now we took on the chase and already managed to catch it at Kankroli station exit, next to a level crossing. Inside the station 52073 Marwar - Mavli Passenger was crossed, on the way since 2:15 at night.
The solution of the complete trip report title: "A Morning in the Life of Rajasthani Level Crossing Guards"! :-)
Departure 14 minutes delayed at 7:48.
Mavli - Marwar Passenger was hauled by YDM-4 6565, our loco for the day. It wore a more modern brown livery and originated from Phulera shed, however, all locos on this line were stationed at Mavli as no connection to the outside world existed anymore. Originally the entire network in this region was metre gauge, including the line further from Marwar to Jodhpur and the whole northwest.
Next we continued to a level crossing ahead of Lawa Sardargarh where we waited for the train again. During that time I could take a few impressions of life around the tracks in nice morning light, also while driving I witnessed a lot of fantastic scenes, but out of the rumbling, speeding car it was nearly impossible to take any shots.
In front of the small house with nicely blooming arbour the level crossing guard had installed a fire pit to warm himself up.
Local youth hanging out at the nearby well.
Everywhere in India, from arid Rajasthan to tropical Goa, bougainvilleas were blossoming in numbers.
The master in front of one of his two gates.
Safety diagram at the level crossing hut.
A classic Mahindra replica-Willys-jeep.
Until now terrain had been flat, but up to Marwar the entire Aravalli mountain range had to be crossed on a spectacular mountain line.
The gates were being closed.
Indian level crossings were protected by these boards on the tracks as long as they stayed open.
The green flag was in need of a quick fix.
The well next to the level crossing hut, I noticed a clustering of watering spots next to railway installations.
The train approaching from the distance.
A short hectic moment after the train had passed.
We resumed our chase on the road, in the background mighty Sardargarh Fort, also currently a luxury hotel.
At a level crossing before Charbhuja Road we caught up with the train again.
YDM-4 6565 was providing a typical thick black ALCO smoke cloud.
Crossing guard and loco crew.
Again the train had passed.
Meeting a "tourist vehicle" on the way to our next spot.
At Kuvanthal, a small rural station, we stopped. Once more a well was in the vicinity.
Some inhabitants were less impressed by the scenery.
The lady elegantly disappeared into her home, for such a short distance transporting on the head would not have paid off. Modern types of transport could also be found at the house.
In the next part one of the first landscape highlights of the trip will follow, a mountain excursion into the Aravalli range!