Iceland, Indonesia, Indiana, Illinois, Ireland, Istanbul and India… There are a lot of places one might go that begins with an “I”. I’ve been to all but the last two. And I’d like to visit both; however, if I could only go to one, it would be India. After all, thanks to the British, the exotic subcontinent has the third largest passenger rail system in the world (behind China and Russia). Also, English is spoken all over the country. I once in a project that brought in 13 colleagues from North India and the only language the 13 had in common was English. The thirteen spoke five or six different languages in their home, but they were all fluent in English. Trains and a country that you can interact with lots of people, what’s more is there to ask. But there’s more. Lots of history and a civilization.
From some of the world’s highest mountains in the Himalaya’s to the beautiful beaches of Goa or perhaps even further south at Kanyakurmari, the country’s tip, where the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea join with the Indian Ocean, there's plenty to see. In between there is the ancient and holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges River, Agra and the Taj Mahal, Amritsar and the Golden Temple of the Sikhs, Darjeeling and it’s tea fields and the narrow gauge steam train that hauls visitors into the region. There’s just so much to see that I’d never be able to see it all, but to just visit a part of it would be wonderful.
Trains crisscross the nation. We are used to seeing trains with people riding on the top (I've seen that in the local trains that come into Jakarta), but most trains are not like that at all. The exception seems to be locals heading into the cities. Most of the trains are air conditioned and seats are assigned (or berths) allowing for a pleasant travel across the countryside.