Departure From Bengaluru
I intended to travel to Kanniyakumari in the month of February 2016 to attend a week-long Yoga camp at Vivekananda Yoga Kendra. I had enrolled online as a volunteer to facilitate the smooth flow of the annual meeting and a Yoga camp. This was an exciting opportunity yet again to travel solo to Kanniyakumari. I had to be in Kanniyakumari by 15th February morning at around 10 am. Hence I dropped my plan to travel by 16526 Bengaluru-Kanniyakumari Island Express and instead book an air-conditioned three-tier ticket in 17235 Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express. I decided to drop my travel plan by Island Express as it reached its destination at Kanniyakumari only at 5.30 pm in the evening.
The other train 17235 Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express would otherwise reach Nagercoil at around 8.30 am and we had an option to travel by bus to reach Kanniyakumari after a thirty-minute ride. The train number 17235 Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express was operated by South Central Railway and had a rake-sharing arrangement with another train belonging to the South Central Railway zone.
The train shared its rake with 17209/17210 Kakinada Town-Bengaluru Seshadri Express. The incoming rake of 17236 Nagercoil-Bengaluru Express would depart from Bengaluru as 17210 Bengaluru-Kakinada Town Seshadri Express in the morning. Further, the incoming rake of 17209 Kakinada Town-Bengaluru Seshadri Express would then depart to Nagercoil as 17235 Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express.
Boarding the Train to Nagercoil
I booked my tickets onboard 17235 Bengaluru-Nagercoil Express by air-conditioned Three Tier Coach or A.C.3 Tier Coach. At the time of booking my ticket was not confirmed and it was booked as Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) with status at RAC1. I was sure of getting a confirmed ticket easily as the status was only RAC1.
The D-day arrived and I started to prepare for my journey and was ready to leave my home by 3.30 pm. The train's expected departure was at 5 pm from Bengaluru Railway station's platform number 4.I hailed an app-based taxi to reach Bengaluru Railway station at around 4.10 pm. I had some time to board the train and quickly reached the platform. I had a companion Mr.Aravindaji who was also traveling to the Yoga Camp as one of the organizers and he chose to travel in a non-air-conditioned Sleeper Class. I met him at the railway platform before returning to my coach but the same was locked.
The train was already shunted onto platform 4.Soon at around 4.35 pm the doors were opened and I quickly boarded the coach. I was allotted a side lower berth and settled down in my seat comfortably. After the chart preparation, my berth number was confirmed and allotted in B1 coach of the train.
It was now time for the departure and the train left Bengaluru railway station at around 5 pm. The departure marked my yet another train journey to Kanniyakumari in almost fifteen years since my previous visit in 2001. The train soon arrived at Bengaluru Cantonment and halted for a brief five minutes. The train joined the Dharampuri-Salem section after crossing Bengaluru East and Baiyappanahalli railway stations. The train was then stopped for the crossing of an unknown train at Hosur road railway station. We waited at this station for about fifteen minutes and proceeded after crossing an unknown train. The next halt was at Dharamapuri station at 8 pm and then Salem Junction.
At Salem Junction, I got down to get some food for dinner. I bought some snacks and a vegetable biryani for dinner. I ate the food soon after the train's departure from Salem Junction at around 10.15 pm. The rest of the night was uneventful and I slept early.
Reaching Kanniyakumari via Nagercoil
The next morning I woke up at 6 am when the train arrived at Tirunelveli Junction. I got down over here to get some fresh air and sip a cup of hot coffee. This was my first journey onboard Nagercoil Express and the daytime stretch between Tirunelveli and Nagercoil was refreshing with the views of hills, agricultural fields, farmlands, and windmills. Soon my destination arrived at Nagercoil at around 8.30 am in the morning. I got off the train and joined Aravindaji to go to Kanniyakumari. We tried to search for local transport to reach Kanniyakumari but no buses were available to reach Kanniyakumari at that point in time.
Then we hailed a taxi who was driving towards Kanniyakumari and another passenger joined our taxi on the way to our destination. The drive to Kanniyakumari was refreshing especially in the early morning with the rising sun in a summer month! Soon our destination arrived and the driver dropped us exactly at the entrance of Swami Vivekananda Ashram at Vivekanandapuram in Kanniyakumari. We then proceeded to our camp and joined other volunteers who had also arrived at the camp.
Leaving from Kanniyakumari
After successful completion of the Yoga camp for a week, it was now time to return to Bengaluru. This time I decided to travel by 16525 Kanniyakumari-Bengaluru Island Express which departed from Kanniyakumari sharp at 10.30 am. I chose to travel on a Monday morning on 22nd February 2016. Though I had an option to travel by 17236 Nagercoil-Bengaluru Express, I decided to travel only by Island Express as I wanted to experience the daytime travel in Kerala. I had already booked my return journey onboard Island Express by air-conditioned Two-Tier coach or A.C.2 Tier coach.
On the final day of the camp, all the volunteers left for their respective hometowns and the camp programs came to an end. The campus was deserted then with a deep silence. I wanted to have a look at the beach yet again and got up early on the D-day of my departure to Bengaluru. The beach was located within the campus and it was a five-minute walk from the hostel room. After a refreshing view of the sunrise, I hurried back to my room to prepare to leave. After breakfast, I was ready to leave the campus at 10 am. Aravnindaji had already left for Bengaluru on the previous day onboard 17236 Nagercoil-Bengaluru Express leaving Nagercoil at 7.10 pm in the evening.
I bid adieu to all my friends and some of them were also headed to Coimbatore onboard Island Express. There was a facility of a shuttle bus service to connect to Kanniyakumari Railway station at around 10 am from the campus. All of us proceeded towards the railway station boarded the shuttle bus and had a good time on the bus. We reached the railway station at around 10.15 am and my train was already shunted on the platform and ready for departure. My air-conditioned Two-Tier coach A1 was positioned near the train's locomotive and I had to walk a bit to my coach. I entered the coach and occupied the side-lower berth comfortably.
Return to Bengaluru onboard Island Express via Kerala
The train left Kanniyakumari bang on time at 10.30 am. My A1 coach was vacant till the arrival of Nagercoil and Thiruvananthapuram Central. We reached Nagercoil railway station in about thirty minutes. The train had a brief halt over here for about five minutes and the station had a majestic view of an unknown hill towards the eastern side of the railway station. The train then left Nagercoil junction and arrived at Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station at around 12.30 pm. I tried my luck to buy some food for lunch and got myself a vegetarian thali. The vegetarian thali consisted of two chapatis, rice, sambhar, curry, curds, papad, and pickles. I took my lunch immediately as the train left Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station.
After leaving from Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station,I enjoyed the scenic beauty of Kerala's beautiful landscape of coconut trees and backwater all along the train's route. The ride till Ernakulam Town was uneventful otherwise. I had also ordered for dinner through IRCTC's e-catering app at Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station and costed me around INR 165. Before entering Ernakulam Town railway station, I got a confirmation call from the food vendor and inquired about my coach and seat number for the food delivery. As soon as the train stopped at Ernakulam Town railway station, I got off the coach to meet the delivery boy and collected my dinner box.
The dinner consisted of jeera rice, roti, Gobi Manchurian, curds, dal gravy, and pickles. The train soon left Ernakulam Town after a brief halt for about ten minutes. The A1 coach was now fully occupied with just three to four berths being vacant. I decided to have my dinner at around 7.30 pm and wait for the arrival of Palakkad Junction at 9.30 pm. The train then arrived at Palakkad Junction and I got down to relax and get some fresh air.I then returned to my berth and decided to retire for the day. The ride from Palakkad to Krishnarajapuram railway station the next day was uneventful.
I woke up at Krishnarajapuram Railway station at around 6 am. Most of the passengers disembarked over here. Our next halt was at Bengaluru East and Bengaluru Cantonment at around 6.40 am. Then we reached our final destination at Bengaluru at around 7.30 am. I disembarked quickly and hailed a pre-paid auto-rickshaw to reach my home. Overall the trip to Kanniyakumari and back was refreshing and I enjoyed the rail journey across Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Varun Dambal (author) from Bangalore on June 05, 2021:
Rawan Osama from Egypt on June 05, 2021:
It is very nice