India by Train
Some trains take up to 60 hours to head from Northern to Southern India, and some are fast intercity expresses. You will see ‘Chi –Wallahs’ at work offering mugs of tea for about 5 rupees in small clay cups - they are perfectly safe to drink and are so full of sugar you will instantly wake up! Travelling by train offers better views than driving; partly as train tracks are generally always on raised terraces to avoid being flooded in the monsoon. Thus means you see a great deal of the country as you pass through.
The Shatabdi Express trains are most luxurious and offer ample legroom and comfortable airline seating, serving breakfast on board with tea. These trains generally run between the major cities (an excellent one is the Delhi to Agra train that departs at 0615). Ideally, you want to be in Executive Class. On less popular routes, there are Janshatabdi trains, offering 'Chair Class' a slightly more rustic version of the Executive Class, but still offering airline seating. These generally have smaller windows.
On longer train journeys, all trains operate a sleeper style service where the bottom bunk becomes a seat in the daytime. We only really suggest 1st or 2nd Class AC on these services, and only when Shatabdi trains do not operate the route.
We generally do not suggest overnight train journeys as these are usually far more uncomfortable than the glamorous images of Indian train travel sometimes portrays. It is however a necessity when travelling to some parts of India such as the Himalaya around Kumaon.
For those wanting the luxury trains, then the Maharajas Express (running in Northern India), the Palace on Wheels (Rajasthan) and the Golden Chariot (Southern India) are all excellent ways to spend a week travelling huge distances overnight and waking up to something new each day.