So now since you’ve gulped down the basic terminologies to navigate through the Indian Railways, let’s get started with the actual booking process!
Booking the ticket on your own:
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To be the independent, I don’t rely on anybody else kind of traveler you will probably get through the process on your own, so here are your training wheels for the same:-
1. Open this link and sign up to get a user account. You will need this user account for making any reservations with the Indian Railways in future. The process is pretty simple and the fields are self-explanatory but you can always refer to a more comprehensive guide here.
2. Most travelers face a preliminary issue while creating accounts due to the unavailability of an Indian mobile number. Some people in the past have tried their luck with putting random ten digit numbers in the placeholder and then using the verification code sent to the correct email addresses but the authenticity of this procedure can’t really be guaranteed. The standard way to get around this issue is to simply enter your correct international phone number (it cannot exceed ten digits). You will obviously not receive the verification code on this phone number. Instead, as soon as you enter your country other than India, you will get a message that instructs you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for verification purposes after registration. You will need to submit some documents like your passport’s scanned copy any other thing requested by the IRCTC through email for a successful verification.
3. Once you have successfully created an account, it’s all smooth sailing. You can book your tickets by navigating through the website which is very user-friendly. Payments are easy to make as IRCTC accepts a lot of international cards for online transactions.
Lending a friendly hand:
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If you are seriously intimidated by all the hassle of verification and account creation, you can always exercise your alternative choices. Make someone else book your ticket. Now that is done through agencies and can be done either online or at designated locations.
Online booking through Third Party:
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Many sites online like Cleartrip, Makemytrip and yatra.com have the facility of booking tickets on your behalf. Each site has specific requirements and the charges may vary for different websites. The best advice is through browse through user reviews to get an idea of the experiences of the previous customers before delving into booking through any particular website.
Booking in India at Designated Locations:
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The Indian Railways have set up a few International Tourist Bureaus at prime locations (Agra, Ahmedabad, Banglore, Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Varanasi) across the country where you can get assistance regarding tour packages, travel, booking and a lot more! You can even make your payments in dollars or pounds at these locations.
2. The IndRail Pass:
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These are passes issued by the Indian Railways that provide a convenient, low cost and flexible way of using the railway networks by tourists. The highlights are really simple:-
- Choose the pass most suitable for you while having a look at all the possible options here. Your choice is basically gonna be a tradeoff between your budget and the number of days you want to use the train. Choose wisely!
- You can make the payment in dollars or pounds or any other convertible foreign currency!
- If you are a resident of Oman, Malaysia, UK, Germany, UAE, Germany, Nepal, Kuwait, Bahrain or Columbo; then you are in luck because you can obtain your IndRail pass from the General Sales Agents in these countries. If you want to get the IndRail pass after you have arrived in India, you can get it from certain recognized travel agents in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai.
- One of the biggest perks of the IndRail pass compared to such passes of other countries is that it doesn’t have any hidden extra surcharges. For example, if you have ever purchased a Eurail pass you might be aware that the pass is only valid for Regional and Interregional trains and you have to pay extra for superfast trains. Well, IndRail pass is free from all those facades, no extra charges, no reserved trains, you can access it all with just this one pass!
- And it is really affordable too. Tickets in India cost somewhere around 35 dollars on an average for approximately 3000 km (traversing north to south in India), the IndPass is available for 100 to 200 dollars, valid for 4 days to two weeks! Pretty affordable right?
3. Something for the Millionaire Backpackers :
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This option is for you if you are absolutely NOT on a budget. So if you have about 6000 dollars to spend on a train ride spanning 7 days, you might as well think about this. And for all of you ‘normal backpackers’ out there, you can take a sneak peek at this link and start evaluating your life’s priorities again!
This blog must have been a hell lot of information to take a time just to get your travel plans sorted, but trust me, once you are past these basics, India will take you by surprise and it’s all gonna be worth it! Come on now start booking your tickets now!
Featured Image Courtesy: Aanavandi