The GCIRC research and development committee bring you, with only a single extra day’s running time, the following fantastical additions to our already outrageous adventure. You can now spend a whole evening goggling at the Golden Temple (must be done at night as you can see), can-can up the Kangra Valley railway, mingle with the monks of Dharamshala, and if that isn’t enough you can even tick the Taj Mahal off your to-do list if you haven’t already done that.
The Golden Temple of Amritsar
This is all to add to the dash through the Darjeeling mountain railway, the boat ride across the Brhamaputra’s most chaotic series of channels, and the Tipong Colliery steam railway which were already core parts of the plan. We can now also worship at the Bhubaneswar Sun Temple. And of course there’s still a whole lot more.
Mingling monks of Dharamshala
If this doesn’t represent value for money then I’d really like to know who you’ve been buying your holidays from, not that you’ll be buying any of this from me of course, that’s the whole point. These additions are achieved entirely on rail (you need to drive the last few miles to get to Dharamshala). Those still keen to do Kashmir, weather and insurgent activity permitting, would have to ditch either the whole evening in Amritsar (though I am informed it can still be dashed through on rubber for a lightening strike round about lunchtime) or the Kangra Valley railway. i.e you can still do the whole plan, including Kashmir if you fancy it, but just miss the glitzy photo op at the top of this page.
The Sun Temple of Bhubaneswar I decided not to post the most interesting pic I had for that one, but lets just say this place somehow managed to avoid Moghul censorship
We also offer you 3 of India’s classic narrow gauge railways , namely
Kangra Valley Railway for Dharamshala
Darjeeling “Toy Train” You’ve perhaps heard of that one. One way only, but seriously guys and gals, this itinerary takes some beating
The Tipong Colliery Steam Railway the last non-tourist steam railway on the planet ?
And all for about 150 quid. “Incredible” really isn’t the half of it. I’m not insisting that people give at least 5% of the £500+ they are saving by doing this with GCIRC, or much better still open up your own Virgin Money Giving page and start scrounging off their mates, I’m just politely suggesting it. We may even be able to tweak the timetable enough so that anyone really keen for some agro in Agra could drive straight off there when we get to Delhi if we get the afternoon train down from Pathankot, do the Taj first thing in the morning and still get back on the train in Delhi. I’m not expecting many entrants to still have Agra missing from their T-shirt list, but if you are an India virgin and reckon you need to do this, just add about 50 quid to your bill depending on how many of you can share the cab fare, and it’s all yours.
We’ve got round about 50 assorted random individuals interested so far, about half of who are fairly well nailed on. The ferry crossing of the Brahmaputra and the accommodation situation at Tipong are going to take some forward planning if we are looking at anything more than a handful of us, which we clearly now are. We’ve got contacts established at that end of the world, but accurate details, even first hand accounts, of this ferry are hard to come across. I don’t know what the biggest tour party every to land at the colliery is, but it cant possibly have been as big as this is threatening to turn into.
The bidding just hit 3 figures on my donations page. My next missive will be a tad more serious with some facts and figures about my chosen cause, and a generally more technical approach to the business of prizing money from computer industry executives and also from the bunch of people who I’ve known since freshers day who seem to think they are somehow exempt from this.
Have a fantastic 2010 everybody, stay tuned.
Note: we’ve since ditched the Kangra can-can and mingling with the monks. But an evening at the Golden Temple is a def (at no timetabling cost!!. you get in no later than the next up train from Jammu to Delhi). We also have a half proper bash at Darjeeling, and a cursory culinary quest in Kolkata to consider.