just looked at http://www.seat61.com/India.htm#book website, very informative, thank you!
yes there is a need to input an Indian mobile number in order to buy online tickets outside of India now, but there is a trick to get around it. I recommend reading the above website for tips on how to do this.
Delhi is well connected with all cities and towns of India through railways. It is said that the best way to see India is through the Indian railway system. In fact, no visit to India can be complete without the experience of travelling on Indian trains and seeing the busy Indian railway stations, and meeting the crowd on the trains. Train travel is safe, and extremely cheap and if you are travelling in Air-Conditioned classes, your journey would also be comfortable. India has a wide network of trains connecting the whole big country very well. You can book your tickets online here.
I bought my train ticket for Delhi to Agra two days in advance, and I bought it from the International Tourist Bureau at New Delhi Railway Station. The ticket was Rs 120 (July 2010) and was for 2nd class SL. I asked for a lower berth, as they have their seat number by the window.
The train was the Jhelum Express continuing to Pune. It arrived to New Delhi Railway Station in time10.25, and as it was good information about where my coach were stopping I found it quickly and took my seat. But because of technical problems we didn’t leave the station until half an hour late. There are supposed to be six persons in each compartment, but at some time we were eight. There were several young and quiet man travelling together. Two of them seemed to never have been on a train. When the conductor arrived there seemed to be some problems with their tickets and one of the older men paid Rs 1500 to the conductor.
The train arrived half an hour late to Agra Cantonment Train Station, at 14.10 in the afternoon. Outside the station building you will find the prepaid taxis to the right and the prepaid auto rickshaws to the left. For Sheela Hotel it was Rs 80 + 2 (service charge). The auto rickshaw driver drove slowly and he talked a lot and showed me a book with comments from other tourists. He tried to persuade me to book the auto rickshaw for the next day but I was not interested, I was going to Fatehpur Sikri (with bus).
leaving you lots of information if you want to travel in India by train:
Facilities for International Tourist
The International Tourist Bureaus are located at various important cities all over India. In Northern Railway these are at the following locations :
KOLKATA CHENNAI BANGALORE AHMEDABAD
SECUNDERABAD JAIPUR JODHPUR VARANASI
NEW DELHI AGRA-CANTT. AURANGABAD MUMBAI
RAMESHWARAM VADODARA VASCO-DA-GAMA
New Delhi, Varanasi and Jodhpur offices are known as International Tourist Bureau. International Tourist Bureau at New Delhi functions from 08:00hrs to 20:00hrs from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday from 08:00hrs to 14:00hrs.Foreign Tourist Rail Reservation Counter at Delhi Tourism & Transport Development Corporation situated at Indra Gandhi International Airport at Arrival Lounge. These provide assistance to the foreign tourists and NRIs regarding enquiries, booking, reservation and travel planning etc.
International Tourist Bureaus issue reserved tickets to the Foreign Tourists and NRIs holding valid passport against payment in US dollars, Pounds, Sterling and in Rupees against Encashment Certificate. These Bureaus also sell Indrail passes which enable a tourists to travel wherever he likes, whenever he likes and whichever trains he likes within the validity period. Indrail pass however, does not guaranty reserved accommodation.
The fares of Indrail Passes are in US dollars. The important rules are printed on the Indrail passes.
The foreign tourists can also purchase Indrail passes from the General Sales Agents appointed abroad and Rail Travel Agents appointed in India.
A separate foreign tourist quota has been provided in all classes and almost all the trains for the facility of the tourists.
A tourist can obtain reservations against Indrail passes from any reservation office over Indian Railways.
For getting any clarifications regarding use of Indrail passes and facilities to the foreign tourists, the passengers should contact at :
International Tourist Bureau,
New Delhi Railway Station, New Delhi- 110 001
Phone : 91-11-23405156,23346804, Fax: 91-11-23343050
INDRAIL PASS :
To explore the splendor of multi-faceted India, Indrail Passes provide excellent value and enhances the charm of holidays from abroad. Indrail Passes offer visitors on a budget, the facility of travel as they like, over the entire Indian Railways system, without any route restriction within the period of validity of the ticket. These passes can only be purchased by foreign nationals and NRIs on payment of U.S. Dollars, Pound Sterling and other convertible foreign currencies. The pass holder is not required to pay any reservation fee, super fast charges or surcharge for the journey. The Indrail passes have been made more attractive for transit and short stay visitors. The passes are now also available for half day, two days and four days for the facility of visitors arriving by international flights and visiting only one or two connecting destinations. Indrail passes are sold through General Sales Agents abroad, Indian Airlines and Air-India's overseas outlets at Oman, Australia, Malaysia, UK, Germany, Finland, UAE, Bangladesh, South Africa, Kuwait, Bahrain, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In India, Indrail passes are available for sale in Tourist Bureaus at major Railway Stations
I had heard so much about India's railway system and how good it was, so we opted to give it a try. We decided to travel to Agra by train and then from Jaipur to Delhi. As it was we only did the first leg of the journey.
First, let me say finding one's way around without local help would be difficult. The platform we had to leave from was crowded, and when the train arrived, everyone rushed to find their carriage, pushing and shoving . I was carried along with the crowd, didn't notice a small pothole, and fell. later I discovered I'd fractured a bone near my ankle.
The carriage itself was shabby and not very attractive. For 3 hours that was not a major issue. The windows were positively filthy, so even trying to enjoy the landscape was difficult. Salesmen came round offering drinks and snacks, but one look at them and my husband decided to stick to the fruit and biscuits we'd taken from the hotel.
I must admit the train was punctual. It made only a few brief stops. However, anyone might have missed the destination as the sign said AGRACANTT, not just Agra.
On the day we left, we caught the train from New Delhi Railway Station to Agra. We'd booked it the day before, and after a bit of hassle (please do look at my Warning tip), found it very easy to sort out.
The Tourist reservation office is upstairs in the main building, and the staff are very helpful. REMEMBER TO TAKE YOUR PASSPORTS! Very important, if you don't have them on you, which for some reason we didn't, they can't put you on the tourist quota and will have to find space for you within the local quota, which may well be fully-booked.
The ticket has the time of departure and numbers of the train, carriage and seat number clearly marked on it, and the carriage will have a printout posted up with your name, age, sex and seat number also, so you can check you have the right one!
2nd class has open compartments of 6 bunks in three tiers, with another two bunk across the corridor. The middle bunk is usually put up against the wall during the day so that people can sit on the lower bunk. You'll probably get lots of people talking to you while you travel!
You care visiting Delhi,capial of India...and dont know how to commute to different plces.The best thing is to take Metro(its a train like TGV in paris,both underground and above the road).It reaches almost evry part of the city and safe.For more information you can mail me to firstname.lastname@example.org
Two daily trains, the Shatabdi Express and the Taj Express, make the trip from New Delhi to Agra and back.
The Shatabdi leaves New Delhi station at 6:15 A.M., arriving in Agra at 8:10 A.M. Coming back, the train leaves Agra at 8:18 P.M. and arrives in New Delhi at 10:25 P.M.
Ordinary class costs $17.25 round trip; executive class is $34.50.
The Taj leaves the Nizamuddin railway station in New Delhi at 7:10 A.M., arriving at 9:50 A.M. The train leaves Agra at 6:45 P.M., arriving in New Delhi at 9:45 P.M.
The round-trip fare is $10.45.
Like most train stations in India, New Delhi Station is a hive of activity with all sorts of comings and goings. Your best approach when coming to the station is to charge your way through the traffic and people outside. If you need to make reservation, head for the stairs to the left of the main area where the departure boards are located (I think its signposted anyway) and once on the first floor, the Foreign Tourist Reservation Office is directly opposite you. Inside, its a large air-conditioned room with people serving at desks around the back and comfy sofa's and other chairs dotted around the other areas. Simply take a reservation form which should be displayed by the pillars and fill it in and then wait for one of the desk staff to serve you. Simple and easy! The station itself is fairly large but not as large as I was expecting. The two trains that I took out of New Delhi both left from platform one which is the first one you come to.
Indian railways connects Delhi thru 4 main stations. New Delhi, Old Delhi (or `Delhi junction'), Sarai Rohilla and Hazrat Nizamuddin...
Hzt Nizamuddin and New Delhi stations cater to most long distance trains- East/ West/ South bound, while Sarai Rohilla and Old Delhi stations cater to the north bound traffic...
Its best to check which station your train heads out from before you decide to leave for the station.
Another thing, there is a special ticket counter for foreigners at some of the stations. I know there is one at Old Delhi station, i think the others would have it too. That allows you to book tickets that are out of a specific allocated quotas for foreigners. Its not easy to book train tickets at short notice usually- thru the general quota.
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