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‘Kipling’s Indian Chapter’

The Rural Train Ride, Deogarh

Ever wondered how the elite Britons felt travelling in a train chugging through the rural segments of Rajasthan during the British Raj? It is indeed a sartorial and an authentic experience as you pave through the countryside into the surrounding forested areas, thus witnessing the mesmeric and eye popping sceneries, intermingled with the locals and countless monkeys that greet you en route. Not to forget the herd of pretty deer posing with a smile for your lens. The Deogarh train departs at 1100 hrs. It takes approximately one hour to complete this wondrous journey. Please note that there is no air conditioning in the carriages.

Most of us know of it, but haven’t experienced it. It’s an amazing one hour spent on a meter gauge train which is also the lifeline of locals. This train ride is a dramatic way to come in contact with the locals as it plays a vital role in transporting the locals of the area. Dadul Nath, the man selling “salads” to the locals for the past two decades shares an interesting fact that train # 222 was originally started by the British to induce harmony between the regions of Mewar and Marwar, who perhaps did not enjoy the best of cohesiveness during that time.

The sortie flags off from Kamblighat (10 minute drive from Deogarh Mahal) where the station master indubitably proves his mettle, by solely managing everything. A journey in 222 allows you to experience the historic charm of a tiny Rajasthani village and its forgotten and forlorn way of life. Quietly and silently chugging on, you will move through the tunnels and bridges, getting past quaint railway stations where the famous book “The Man Who Would Be King” of the renowned British writer Rudyard Kipling unfolds. This story is about two British adventurers in British India who become kings of Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan. The story was inspired by the exploits of James Brooke, an Englishman who became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in Borneo. So enthralling is the story that it was adapted by Hollywood director John Huston into a full length feature film of the same name, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine as the adventurers and Christopher Plummer as Kipling. This classic film was released in 1975. Fascinatingly, parts of the movie were shot in this location and on this train.

The landscape at Deogarh is furrowed, yet stunning; truly cinematic with an amaranthine effect. This is truly an experience beyond words and phrases.

This classic ride ends at Phulad, with a definite feel within oneself wishing for it to never end. Alas! This is followed by a drive back to Deogarh which takes just about 30 minutes. An interesting fact here is that this is the highest track on the Western Railways circuit. Another fact that is quite intriguing is that this train doesn't have a name to it instead has a number assigned to it – 222, which is significant to the olden times and synonymous to the niche segment travelling British Rail Class.

The train makes two special stops. These are deliberate actions by the Engine driver who simply does it to double check the brakes. This provides ample time to feed, first the monkeys and later the India Tree Pie. Simply awesome and a must do.

Deogarh offers its visitors the Deogarh Mahal, which is truly a luxurious abode for all those who wish to experience the grandeur of yesteryears. Being a Heritage property, this retreat allows its guests an insight to the Mewari lifestyle and culture. The retreat presents some of the most fascinating and opulent suites to its guests, each recounting a tale of its own.

In addition to this historic feel there are other activities which Deogarh offers the tourist which are Rural Ramble, Picnic, Village walk, Bird watching, and cycling.

Come! Feel and enjoy a brief yet memorable Journey on this classic, restored 1930s train in Deogarh, Rajasthan along with a regal stay at the magnificent Deogarh Mahal. This rural rail ride provides a unique experience to all those craving for a matchless feel travelling in this elite 222 series train, thus allowing them to relive the bygone era and paying homage to the past.