Konkan Railways has always been projected as an engineering masterpiece of modern India. It is not easy to lay down a railway line along the coast that is populated with towns and cities all along. No wonder most stations on the route are little off the cities vis-a-vis old stations that are usually bang-in the middle of a city. It passes through fragile mountain ranges as well as not so solid sandy grounds. Not to forget the various rivers that have to be crossed.
I have traveled on Konkan railway earlier. In fact, now that I live in Goa, every train journey from here is on Konkan railway – at least in part. I have traveled South of Goa on my trip to South Kerala, to North on my trip to Ahmedabad. This time in the monsoon months we drove to Ganpatipule but decided to take the train back just to enjoy a ride on the railway.
The ride on this railway route is always beautiful, but in monsoons, the waterfalls on long stretches of western ghats can simply take your breath away.
We reached Ratnagiri station post lunch to catch our train to Goa. I was pleasantly surprised to see a wall of the station covered with lovely Warli paintings. The slanting wall of the ramp was painted in the rust color with white motifs.
On a closer look, I found the water cooler and windows beautifully framed. Name and contact of the artist are visible. What a beautiful idea. Put the local aesthetics in the public spaces and generate employment for local artisans.
When I boarded the wrong train on Konkan Railways
In all my living years, I have traveled extensively in trains. As a student, I changed multiple trains from Chandigarh to visit my family in Aurangabad but never ever boarded the wrong train. It happened at Ratnagiri station – The Mandovi express that goes north to Mumbai and the one that goes south to Madgaon – both came on the station at the same time. I boarded the one going to Mumbai by mistake.
Thanks to the friendly railway staff, we were advised to get down at Chiplun and take the next train to Goa. This meant spending good 2-3 hours at Chiplun. However, this also meant that instead of our comfortable AC compartment, we traveled in the ordinary second class compartment. It let us enjoy the unobstructed view of the surroundings.
Waterfalls along the track
There are several waterfalls that you can get a glimpse of while on this route of the railway journey. Mostly they are seasonal and depending on the rainfall during the season.
As the train chugged along, passing through tunnels, over rivers that looked more like backwaters and through narrow openings in the hills – it was a sight to watch. I could have been on that train forever.
Waterfalls graced both the sides making it difficult to decide which side to look at. There were vast stretches of green dotted with water bodies. It was fun to get in and get out of tunnels. To my surprise, there was water dripping inside the tunnels as well. For a second I wondered if it is safe to travel under them. Before I could think more, the very next moment it was time to look at another waterfall.
We reached home in the middle of the night, delayed by more than 6 hours. As they say, every adversity has an opportunity hidden in it.
Konkan Railways can multiply your joy of enjoying coastal Maharashtra.
Recommend you read following travel blogs on tourist attractions of the region.