Travel In India By Train - A Complete Guide To Travel By Indian Railways

It is undoubtedly true that trains are the lifeline of India, and while travelling in the country, it is one of the most convenient and comfortable modes of transport, especially for a long journey. Travelling by train in India offers you a quintessential experience of more space and added comfort as compared to a ride on the bus. Indian Railways are always working to make sure that the passengers are assured of the best quality of service comfort, efficiency, speed and at the same time try to make it pocket-friendly.

How to book a train ticket in India?

Travelling by train in India usually requires that you book the ticket in advance, except for when it comes to going by the general class. Also when you have booked your berth in advance, it also gives you a peace of mind and assures you of a confirmed berth in the train making your travel that much easier. You have two options when it comes to booking a train ticket, you can book online through the IRCTC Website, or you can book it physically by approaching the Indian Railways booking counter at the railway station.

Procedure for booking tickets through the Indian Railway booking counter at the railway station:

Booking directly through the railway counter gives you the advantage of availing of facilities and benefits like quotas and concessions which you may otherwise not receive through online booking.

(The concessions are available for Ladies as well as Senior Citizens)

Steps to follow while booking the ticket from the ticket counter:

1. Approach your nearest railway station and ask for the reservation form

2. Fill out the passenger details in the railway form like name, age, gender, berth preference)

3. After you have filled out the details of the way, you need to submit it at the railway counter along with the payment.

4. After submitting and making the payment, you will be issued a PNR (Passenger Name Record) number.

Booking over the railway station counter is one of the best options if you are travelling as a foreigner.

Procedure for booking tickets through the IRCTC Website:

1. You need to create your Login ID, and password for booking the tickets and select the train, berth preferences etc.

2. You need to pay the ticket fare online through debit card, internet banking, or credit card whichever is a more comfortable option for you.

3. Login to the IRCTC website and fill out a captcha image to ensure that your account is not being misused and to ensure the safety of your account.

4. Fill in the destination and boarding point, along with the date of the journey. After filling this, the list of trains along with their berth system and schedules appears. You will also be required to fill in the quota, which may be general, ladies or senior citizen.

5. If you select the ladies quota, you will get the benefit of reserving the seat in ladies compartment itself. If you choose the quota as a senior citizen, you will receive some exemption in the travel fees.

6. After this, berth preference that is a sleeper, second class seating is to be selected to book the tickets. Upon doing this, a new window opens for filling details like a passenger, age, etc. Fill out the captcha image to confirm the booking.

7. Make the payment through the preferred payment gateway.

8. A message of confirmation and email will be sent with the ticket details.

If you are a foreigner, you can use your international debit card or American Express to book the train ticket online. If you still face difficulty, foreigners can use to book your tickets instead of the IRCTC website. 

Cost of train tickets in India

Usually, the price of a ticket depends upon the distance of the journey and the class of travel. Individual premium and luxury trains are comparatively more expensive as compared to others. Further, if you travel by an air-conditioned compartment, it also gives you the option of meals. On the other hand, it is advisable to carry your snacks if you are travelling in an unreserved compartment.

Fares by Distance:

1. For a distance of 100-200 km, the cost for travelling by 1AC/2AC is INR 1000-1200, whereas 2nd class or sleeper compartment costs somewhere around INR 50-140.

2. For a distance of 300-500 km, the price for travelling by 1AC /2AC is INR 1300-2100, whereas 2nd class or sleeper compartment costs somewhere around INR 100-240.

3. For a distance of 1000-2000 km, the price for travelling by 1AC/2AC is INR 1900-5200, whereas 2nd class or sleeper compartment costs somewhere around INR 50-140

Luxury Train Travel in India 

If you are fond of the more beautiful things in life and 'don't mind spending an extra penny, we recommend these luxury trains in India which will take you on a journey that you will remember for your lifetime. So get ready for some royal treatment and be prepared to get pampered as you have never been before in one of a kind train journey all the while soaking in the rich culture of India.

1. 'Maharaja's Express
This luxury train is owned and managed by the Indian railways is the best and the most expensive train in India. The train journey is nothing short of luxury, and you are sure to experience the best service provided by high-quality professionals, butler service, fully stocked bars, and lavish suites. The Maharaja Express was also ranking among the 5 Best Trains of the World and was voted the ''World's Leading Luxury Train' consecutively for three years (2012, 2013, 2014).

The train is operated from October to April and takes on five different routes with a different itinerary for each and involves different experiences like meeting the members of the Royal family, a ride through the unique heritage of India like the Khajuraho group of monuments, and so on.

The cost of the journey is approximately INR 2,50,000-2,80,000 for 4 nights journey and INR 4,00,000-4,60,000 for 8 nights journey.

2. Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels stands true to its name and is the pride of Rajasthan. First started by the British in the year 1982, it was restarted once again by the Indian railways in the year 2009. The train recreates the era of the bygone era of the kings and makes you feel like one from the minute you set foot in the train. The train boasts of its lavish and luxurious cabins, gracious hospitality, fully stocked bar and vibrant cultural wallpapers which gives you the feeling of being in a palace. If you are planning a luxurious trip to Rajasthan, we recommend you to try out the Palace on Wheels.

The train runs from September to April. The average journey spans over seven nights and eight days which helps you visit and immerse yourself in the unique heritage and culture of India which includes World Heritage sites like the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Jantar Mantar, and Keoladeo National Park.

The cost of the journey is approximately INR 2,00,000 -2,50,000 for seven nights journey.

3. Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
The Royal Rajasthan on Wheels was launched after the success of the Palace on Wheels to take you on an incredible journey of Rajasthan. The train offers high-class quality service, which is equivalent to the standards of abroad. The train offers 14 luxury cabins, which are modern and stylish and gives you the experience of staying in a palace. The train also provides you with many multi-cuisine restaurants with a fully stocked bar and spa services to help you experience luxury at its best.

The train is operational from October to March, with an average journey of seven nights and eight days. The train takes you on a historical tour of the famous places on each day of the trip. Some of the main attractions include the forts and hotels of Udaipur, and Mehrangarh Fort, Hawa Mahal, and many more.

The cost of the journey is approximately INR 50,000 -5,60,000 for seven nights journey.

4. The Deccan Odyssey
The Deccan Odyssey derives the idea from the Palace on Wheels and takes you on the journey of the Deccan which takes you on some fantastic and fascinating tours of the country. The travelling style of the train is inspired by that of the kings and queens and helps you experience nothing short of lavish and luxurious. The passengers are treated to gracious hospitality and royal treatment, multi-cuisine restaurants, lounges, a conference car, an onboard spa, and other state-of-the-art amenities.

The train is operational from October to April, with an average journey of seven nights and eight days. The itinerary includes the visit of many places in the state of Maharashtra and Goa, including sites like Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Aurangabad, Ajanta-Ellora Nasik, Pune.

The cost of the journey is approximately INR 3,71,000 - 4,18,000 for seven nights journey.

5. Golden Chariot

The Golden Chariot is a train which takes you on the adventure of South India, through many favourite spots in states like Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Pondicherry, depending on the itinerary. This luxury train offers you a range of 5-star activities like an authentic Ayurveda spa, multi-cuisine restaurant, bar, and even a mini gym. The Golden Chariot is regarded as one of the premium luxury trains in India and has also received the award for Asia's Leading Luxury Train'' in the year 2013.

The train is operational from October to March, with an average journey of seven nights and eight days.

The cost of the journey is approximately INR 1,81,000 - 3,18,000 for seven nights journey.        

6. Royal Orient Train
The Royal Orient train running between Gujarat and Rajasthan takes you on a journey of the two states. The palatial accommodation and luxury services like trained professionals and multi-cuisine restaurants along with spacious berths and 5-star facilities of a luxury hotel all in one place.
The train is operational all year round, with an average journey of 7 nights and eight days.
The journey takes you through the different places like Jantar Mantar, India Gate, Gandhi Ashram, Somnath Temple, and so on.
The cost of the journey is approximately INR 7500 - 14800 for seven nights journey.

7.  Fairy Queen Express
The Fairy Queen Express is running from Delhi to Rajasthan with the main motive of boosting tourism in Rajasthan. It is one of the oldest locomotives in India having its authentic charm. The train has also received awards like the National Tourism Award, and mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The train is operational from October to March, with an average journey of one night and two days. Some of the main attractions of the visit include Lake Palace, Alwar Museum, and so on.
The cost of the journey is approximately INR 8600 - 15000 for one night and two days.

Other Train Travel in India With Classes 

1. First Class AC or 1A

Fares being similar to airfare, this is the most expensive class. This mode of train travel in India is for people who want to experience a bit of luxury. It has four berth cabins and two berth coupes. Privacy and Security are at par as the doors can be bolted from inside. An attendant on call is present, and bedding is included in the fare. This Air-Conditioned coach is available only on popular routes.

2. AC two tier or 2A

Mostly used for overnight journeys, it offers a complete sense of comfort to the passengers. It lacks lockable doors but has curtains that act as a means of privacy for each bed. Bedding and reading lights are included in the fare.

3. AC three tier or 3A

It contains air-conditioned coaches with 64 sleeping berths. Bedding is involved in the fare with no curtains and reading lights present.

4. Executive Class Chair Car or EC

Air-conditioned chair coach with spacious seating and legroom. With four seats in a row, it is amiable for a day travel between 2 different cities.

5. AC Chair Car or CC

An Air-conditioned coach with five seats in a row. Also available in Double Decker Express.

6. Sleeper Class

Being the most common coach booked by people opting for train travel in India, it has regular sleeping coaches with three berths vertically facing each other but without any air conditioning.

7. Second Seater or 2S

It is similar to CC with NON AC coaches. Flying Ranee and Valsad Passenger are the only trains using NON-AC Double Decker coaches.

8. General

General class is the cheapest and more easily available train ticket. The coaches can get extremely crowded and it is advised to use general class only in case of emergency.

Well then get ready to embark on one of the most memorable train travels in India which you are sure to cherish forever!

This post was published by Priyanka Chugh

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