Showing posts from October, 2016

Back to Bengaluru on Garib Rath!

September 23, 2016

This was perhaps the most hit-or-miss journeys I've ever had. I and my colleague left the venue of the meeting sometime around 1530hrs - we wanted to get the Garib Rath Express to Bengaluru - that was the last train of the day, and should we miss that, we'd end up stuck in Trivandrum for a day. We had to hurry. We hadn't reserved any tickets - but we decided to try the current reservation counter at Trivandrum central. We made it there by around 1545hrs - there was no staff at the counter. The board outside the counter said tickets would be issued upto 30 minutes before departure of train from the origin - our train leaves at 1700hrs. Once the guy at the counter turned up, we put in our application form. We got the seats we asked for - in G15.
We rushed out of the railway station towards the lodge where we had taken a room - we had to vacate the room and rush to Kochuveli to catch our train. In the meantime, I was preoccupied with apps of various cab agg…

The AC Express to Kochuveli!

Another trip to Trivandrum - this time at a very short notice. I was totally unprepared for this one, and actually caught me off guard. With tension brewing between Karnataka and Tamilnadu, bus services were in a complete mess - even otherwise, buses weren't fitting into my requirement. I had to be in Trivandrum early in the morning, so that I can reach the program that I had to attend, which starts at 10am. The focus turned to trains now - a colleague was to travel with me. We did a quick search on the Indian Railway website - and found that the Yeswantpur-Kochuvei AC Express was operating on that day. Tickets were booked in AC 3-Tier, through the IRCTC website.

Fast-forward to September 22, 2016:
We started off from office around 1345 in a fairly tired Tata Indica cab of a cab aggregator. The driver took a quick route, and dropped us at the railway station by around 1415hrs - with over an hour to go for our train. Yeswantpur is a very unique station that there are hardly any sig…

Thrissur to Bangalore: Garuda King Class!

The upcoming pooja holidays - three days off together. What more do I need to book a ticket to go home? Flights were ruled out since they were too expensive. Buses were expensive as well. I remembered that Kerala RTC opens reservations as early as 45 days in advance quite late - I casually checked the Kerala RTC website and found that most buses were already full! I did not have much time to waste - I made a reservation on the Ernakulam-Bangalore Garuda King Class - despite booking on September 9 for a journey on October 11, only seats towards the rear were available - and I selected seat #35. For some reason, the fares looked way off to me - it didn't take a lot of time to realise that KSRTC was charging end-to-end fares on all buses that day! Business sense dawns on KSRTC - began with flexi fares, now end-to-end fares during peak days! Way to go KSRTC!

October 11, 2016:
I left my home quite early - I had some shopping to do. I waited for some time to see if I could get a KSRTC …

Bangalore to Thrissur: KSRTC Airavat

Ticket hunting is one thing where I spend a lot of time. The other thing I spend time on is our holiday list. During these process, I came across this long weekend in mid-October - the Dusshera weekend. The holiday calender showed three continuous days of holidays. Flights were already prohibitively expensive, and I booked tickets by bus - over a month in advance. I always have a jinx about early planning - I was scared this time as well. My jinx came true as my office decided to play around the holiday dates. I usually end up losing holidays, but this time, the office decided to give a day additionally off. I had to reschedule my tickets now - the announcement came a little late, and I had not many options now. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation had some special buses, priced at way beyond what they are worth - but the saviour was the 1501BNGTRC Airavat, via Mysore. Thankfully, seats at the front were available.

October 07, 2016:
I hurried out of office to have a quick lu…

iFly 103: Pune to Bengaluru

I didn't have too many requirements. I had to attend the conference, make a quick visit to Shirdi, and fly back home at convenience. I selected the day for my Shirdi visit based on flight availability, and of course, the budget. After a lot of deliberations, considerations and contemplations, I finalised the visit to Shirdi on a Monday. Flights for Monday evening were fairly cheap, and Indigo's new series of late night flights were adding to the convenience. I booked the first of the two late night departure from Pune - this gave me ample time to travel from Shirdi and connect to my flight.

October 03, 2016:
It was 1952hrs when I got off the Volvo from Shirdi. The bus driver dropped me a little after Viman Nagar (GMaps says the place is called Shastri nagar chowk). It was a confusing signal - I failed to spot a pedestian crossing and ended up jaywalking across in typical Indian style. Just as I began my attempt to cross, the airport bus went past the other side of the road. I …

The return from Shirdi: Kadamba Volvo!


What was that?

People staying in Bangalore would be quite aware of the word Kadamba - for a chain of hotels that operate at KSRTC/BMTC bus stations across Bangalore. For the bus enthusiasts, in the know, Kadamba is Goa's state run transport provider.

Whats that got to do with my trip?

A few days before my trip to Shirdi, a casual message on a WhatsApp group popped up with pics of a white swede with bold stickers reading Kadamba. Oh yeah! The swede I am talking about was a face-lifted Volvo B7R. Those pictures led me to search more about Kadamba's Volvo service to Shirdi. I understood they operate a Shirdi-Pune-Margao service, that departs from Shirdi around 1430hrs. They had online reservation for end-to-end passengers and for passengers ex-Pune to Goa. I was always aware of the existence of this service, but never thought I could use them to ex-Shirdi. The pics were too inviting that I decided to take a plunge.

October 03, 2016:
After a heart-filling darshan at Sai Baba…

The Shivneri Scania & my trip to Shirdi!

I had to go to Shirdi.

But I didn't have a ticket!

I briefly romanced the idea of taking a train - but then the timings wouldn't work. Then some private operators, but that didn't fit either. I fell back on MSRTC - browsed their website looking at options. Finally, I decided to keep the options open. The conference that I was attending was to go on till about 2pm. I had to factor in the traveling time from the venue, near Chinchwad, to Shivaji nagar bus station as well. With all these in mind, I decided to head to the bus station and then decide.

October 02, 2016:
It was a Sunday afternoon - but the traffic on the road was high for a weekend. There were some gridlocks along the way. My cab driver dropped me at Shivajinagar bus station by around 1540hrs. My bag was quite heavy and I was a bit confused about having a break journey or heading straight to Shirdi. Just as I entered the bus station, I saw a banner announcing a non-stop service to Shirdi. I thought of trying this -…

Konnect to Pune!

I had done this circuit last year - the Pune-Shirdi circuit. Even not being a religious person, I did feel I must go back to Shirdi once again. I had a great darshan last year - and gave me a lot of peace. Its about time, I repeated. I tried working out this trip multiple times - a lot of plans made and discarded. My turn to go back to baba came soon. I had to attend a conference in Pune - the program was over a weekend. I could make a head out to Shirdi from there as well. Since the conference was spread over the weekend - on a Saturday and a Sunday, I had the choice of visiting Shirdi either on Friday or Monday. A quick look at ticket availability made my decision making easier. I decided to do it on a Monday.

Hunting for tickets for the outbound was a bit tricky. I was inclined to take a bus at the beginning - kept looking at different options, but never made a decision. Then the search turned towards flights - OTAs gave out some awesome rates. I wasn't really sure of booking …