North East Chapter 7 - Kohima to Howrah
Finally my north-east trip was over and it was time for me to head home, or in this case travel to Kolkata. The journey was quite straightforward and uneventful. But still in order to give closure to the whole series I decided to write this piece. Even though the journey took me little over two days, I will try to keep it short. Before I begin here are the links to previous entries in this story -
- Chapter 1 - Story of reaching Nameri
- Chapter 2 - Experience at Nameri
- Chapter 3 - Reaching Majuli from Nameri
- Chapter 4 - Experience at Majuli Island
- Chapter 5 - Reaching Kohima from Majuli
- Chapter 6 - Story of my stay at Kohima
And here goes the last chapter of this story...
Kohima to Dimapur
I started from hotel at 10:45 am. I had found two bus stands in Kohima map, one towards Aradurah Hill and the other towards Naga Bazar. A little research showed that Dimapur buses started from the one near Naga Bazar which was around 2 km from my hotel, The Heritage. I could take a taxi till there or I could walk. I decided to walk.
|On my way to Bus stand|
In about 20 mins I was at the bus stop staring at the small buses parked in a very small and congested bus stand. After asking people for Dimapur bus I got in one of the three buses standing there and started looking for a place to sit. It was already very crowded inside with luggage pouring into the isle itself. There were a few seats available at the backside, but as I approached them I realized you need to get a ticket from outside before boarding the bus. So I disembarked and went to the counter for ticket.
Tickets were already sold for this bus and they would start selling tickets for the next bus only when it arrived. And when would it arrive? They weren’t sure. A small queue was already forming outside the ticket counter by then. I could mentally picture the fight that would break at the counter when the bus finally came. This clearly wasn’t gonna work for me. So I left the counter and went towards the passenger taxi booth nearby.
|Car stopped for food on the way|
You could take a shared taxi for 220 bucks per seat or book a whole cab for 1,200 bucks. I thought I could share and save money. There were different sizes of cab, as in various type of cars were painted in black & yellow to be used as a cab. I got in a Tata Indica type car with 5 more passengers (4 girls and 1 guy) and started my journey towards Dimapur.
We stopped a few times on the way – once for toilet, once for food and another time just because a fellow passenger wanted to buy some soft drinks. But the car went quite fast otherwise and I was at Dimapur station by 2:45 pm after only 3 hours of drive.
Dimapur to Guwahati
Dimapur is the biggest city of Nagaland and unlike Kohima it lies on plain lands. It is also very close to Assam-Nagaland border, giving it a cultural mix from all aspects. The railway station in Dimapur is decently big with a big parking space outside. That’s where the taxis drop you.
At noon the station looked quite empty with only a few people sitting and waiting for their trains. I walked across the platform looking for a place to eat. There was a railway canteen with separate entry for veg and non-veg. I entered through the veg entry, still worried about the non-veg menu there. Inside it was the same space and it was completely empty except for the staffs. I ordered veg thali which was at par with railway standard.
|Train leaving from Dimapur Station|
After lunch I took a look at the place. There were a few stalls selling usual platform items – snacks, books etc. One near the end of platform sold souvenir items from whom I bought a few mufflers. Later I found the waiting room and sat inside. There were few people sitting inside and most of them were waiting for the same train as mine. The train (Jan Shatabdi Express) pulled into station at 4:50 pm, right on time. I got in and took my window seat. The train looked clean and journey was comfortable. Soon after the train started sun set behind the farmlands and the trees and it was dark outside. Rest of the journey went through dark landscapes and occasional stations.
Guwahati at Night
Train reached Guwahati at 9:45 PM, 25 minutes after scheduled time. The station was crowded with incoming passengers. I had booked the hotel Rains Inn, which was only half a km walk from southern end of station. But worried about safety during night I booked a cab instead. I went outside station from the northern side and very soon the cab came and picked me up. It was close to 2 km from the other side and in 10 minutes I was at the hotel.
It was a business hotel fitting perfectly to my requirement. Rooms were comfortable and adequately furnished. The weather also was much hotter compared to Kohima. I was excited to be able to take a good bath in hot water after week or so. While going to the remote corners for trip was fun, coming back to a city had been definitely comforting. Finally relaxed and comfortable I went to bed that night forgetting all tasks pending for the following day.
|Morning light from inside my room|
Train to Howrah
Winter was at its peak and the foggy nights were making every train run slower. The train I was taking, Saraighat Express, had gone 12 hours late the previous day and that concerned me. I ate the complimentary breakfast at hotel, checked out and walked till the station. By 12:30 pm I was at station, which was the scheduled time for my train.
I went to the waiting room and found it too crowded. I found another waiting room only for girls and was able to secure a seat inside. There I spent next one and half hours until the up train entered station at 2 pm. We were allowed to board after about half an hour of cleaning and in another half an hour train started moving. I was feeling lucky to have been only 2.5 hours late.
It was supposed to be a 17 hour journey. But after further delay along the way I finally reached Howrah at 10:30 am next day. It wasn’t too bad considering the train status that week. I got out of train and started walking through the intense crowd all around me, towards the end of platform, officially concluding my north-east trip.
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