Clicking History of Indian Railways with Mobile Phone
National Rail Museum in Chanakya Puri, is such a hidden gem of Delhi that literally thousands past just next to it every day yet few visit it. Nestled in the diplomatic hub of Delhi, just off the tony Shanti Path, right next to Embassy of Bhutan is this gem of a museum where one of the most important unifying forces of India, as we know today, is on display.
With my ever-increasing fascination for trains, I am not sure how many times I have been to National Rail Museum in Chanakya Puri, New Delhi. I think the first time was in school, and then many a time with friends and now I visit it with my kids. But the charm of the museum keeps on growing as they add new displays and make the facilities better for visitors.
Indian Railways played a pioneering pivotal role in the unification of the country and strengthening the Idea of India as a nation from a loosely huddled flock of small princely states surviving by accepting their role as vassal states to the Raj. The British had no idea what forces they have unleashed when the first train chugged from the then Victoria Terminus towards Thane. With railways came jobs, commerce and a migration movement like was never before seen in the history of India. With railways came marching boots from different corners of the country to stamp any rising heads against the Raj. So railways played the role of both spreading the idea of the nation while also quickly moving troops to trample any heads rising to raise that nation by razing the Raj. Two sides of the same coin or may I say two bogies of the same train? But this post is not about a lesson on history version- desi.v016, this post is about my visit to the National Rail Museum in Chanakya Puri, in New Delhi and clicking pictures of Engines of History.
A few days ago in my post about Honor 5C mobile phone, I promised that I will share more pictures from the Honor 5C. So here I was at National Rail Museum as part of my “Explore My City “ for Saddi Dilli.
So in this post, all the pictures that you will see are all clicked on the Honor 5C mobile phone. I basically used three modes on the camera of Honor 5C
- Auto Mode- simply called Photo
- HDR Mode
- Video Mode
- Pro Photo Mode – Where one can change and experiment with Shutter speed, White Balance etc.
- Panorama Mode
There are other modes also in the phone like Pro mode, that lets you control shutter speed, ISO, White Balance, Time Lapse, etc, that one can use as per the need.
Now let us go back to experiencing the National Rail Museum again. A visit to the Rail Museum can be divided into 3 experiences as of now
- Experiencing the history of Indian Railways in an enclosed hall with help of pictures, exhibits and working models.
- Experiencing the history of Indian Railways by admiring the now retired but once in use historical train engines, railway coaches and other equipment like line laying machines etc.
- Taking a joy ride in a Toy Train, this takes you around the exhibits, chugging at a leisurely pace.
In this post, we will focus on the joy ride and the various retired engines and coaches at the rail museum.
We could see some of the displays from the ticket counter itself as I was buying tickets that cost Rs 20 per adult.
As you enter you see the smallest railway platform in the world with a name, watch ticket counter and even a weighing machine in a corner. Very aptly the smallest railway platform in the National Rail Museum is called – Museum Junction. A small engine modeled like the steam engines of yore is silently waiting there for the passengers to board the train. One wonders if this lean machine will be mean enough to carry the burden of 5 bogies bursting with belles displaying belly buttons, Bhabhi jee carrying bottle-fed babies , Bhain jees with faux bags from Birkins, and the ubiquitous Bhai sahibs of Delhi, all here for a joy ride in the one and only – Joy Express, that starts and ends at the Museum Junction .
As the engine comes to life it gives a grunt like a puppy when you deny him his and your favorite slippers to chew, but as any puppy lover will know it is the puppy who always have the last laugh. The grunts become louder and with the strength of Sakshi Mallik and finesse of PV Sindhu, the train slithers away from the platform as the cheering crowd gets busy taking selfies while passing within touching distance of the National Treasure of India on both sides of the tiny tracks.
I make a quick video using the Video mode of Honor 5C phone and move ahead to cherish my time with history sprayed around me every few meters. My first model is an engine now permanently resting next to a signal that took the call – Gimme Red, too seriously and is now condemned to be red forever, halting the march of the muscular engine forever. But nobody is complaining least of all the long retired engine that took birth in a factory in England and traveled all the way to India. Maybe it is the only one of its kind left anywhere in the world, maybe somewhere out there is a distant cousin rotting in a long forgotten vestige of the empire? Who knows for sure?
Spoiled for the choice I decide to play favorites and click only those engines that appear to be shiny, and devoid of any selfie clicking crowd around them. As I wait for Sunny and Bunny kay mummy papa to move away and click the engine, the family looks at me in horror as they go to their next selfie spot.
“ Hai Ram this guy is clicking pictures of engines, Ajooba hee hai yeh !!
Bhain jee enlightens Bhai Sahib not knowing that she may not be visible to me, but is still audible. “ Welcome to Saddi Dilli yaar ! We are like that only jee”
I move from the former engines and private coaches and saloons of one princely state to the next, I see coaches from Cooch Behar ( Princess Gayatri Devi who later married into the royal family of princely state of Jaipur and is better remembered as Maharani Gayatri Devi ) , then I see other names long merged into union of India. There is a station depicting the early version of Bikaner, there is an artistically made Lucknow station still showcasing the classical British Building with tiny bogies and people in front of it.
I truly fall of the bold colors used in these trains. Yes, Sir if you really want to see the colors of India as they were before Independence visit the National Rail Museum of India and you will see that there existed an India full of colors of rainbow totally different from what we see in the black and white photos of that era. Thanks a lot to Indian Railways for preserving, and showcasing those colors of India for us.
I have never felt more proud of Indian Railways than when I was clicking these colorful train engines from Bold red to earthy greens, to bold Yellow borrowed from the Golden Mustard Fields of Punjab and then the most famous color of India the Bold Indigo all are represented here. No sir history may be black and white in the textbooks but in reality, there is no dearth of colors in the history of India as painstakingly restored and represented by Indian Railways.
I wanted to peek into some of the saloons, but I am warned by a sign that says climbing the exhibits is not allowed. As a law abiding, god fearing, heritage loving, travel blogger and photographer I follow the rule and hence deprive you of pictures of the opulence in which our Maharajahs traveled.
Some of the engines are in open while some of them are in platform shed kind of enclosures that cover them from the top but leave the sides open. This presented a unique problem from the photography point of view. One of the engines I really liked for its bold green and red colors was in the partial shade. So half the engine was lit up brightly while the other half was in the shade, this made clicking an evenly exposed photograph difficult. This is where the HDR mode of the Honor 5C came in handy and I got the shot I wanted. Also look at this colorful picture that carries the maroon, yellow and some blues on the side that was clicked in HDR mode of Honor 5C.
One of the pictures l loved clicking is this old carriage with giant wheels now surrounded by blooming weeds thanks to rains just a few days ago. I also converted this image in Black and White that you can see by clicking on it. Which one do you like better B/W or color? I am unable to decide hence posted both.
Overall I would say it was a satisfying visit to the National Rail Museum but like I mentioned, in the beginning, I have been to the rail museum countless times and I am pretty sure, I will visit soon again. For there is so much to click, capture and cherish here that one visit is just not sufficient.
So here are my 2 cents to you if you are in Delhi and want to visit a centrally located easily accessible national treasure and see the history of Indian Railways visit the National Rail Museum in Delhi. If you have kids who keep on telling you to take them to the mall, may I humbly suggest skip the mall and visit the rail museum with them, they will thank you one day when they grow up? For any parent can take their kids to mall, it takes a parent who is raising citizens for future to take his /her kids to a museum and what better place to being with than our very own National Rail Museum where you have a Joy Express Train for rides and countless opportunities to click trains and engines from yesteryears. As a goodwill gesture, you are allowed a selfie or two as long as your face is not more than ¼ of the frame.
As for my verdict for the camera on Honor 5C, all I can say is have a look at the pictures for the proof of the camera is in the images. (Pudding is for chefs and foodies, this dear reader is your friendly neighborhood travel blog hence we give our proof in form of images.)
Useful information about National Rail Museum New Delhi
Location: Chanakya Puri, New Delhi 110021. You can follow this Google map to reach the rail museum.
Nearest Metro Station toNational Rail Museum is Dhaula Kuan on the Airport Metro line, but Jor Bagh on the Yellow Line has better connectivity.
Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, closed on Mondays and National Holidays.
What is the cost of entry ticket to National Rail Museum New Delhi
The entry ticket to the National Rail Museum on weekdays is Rs 50 for an adult, Rs 20 for a child, on weekends the price is INR 100 for adults INR 40 for children, and This does not include the cost of Joy Ride on Train. Ticket to toy train is Rs 100 /- there are some other simulators also that function sometimes like a steam simulator, diesel simulator etc. but are not regular.
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