Trains: The Way to Go in India
There are 14000 trains running in India each day which in total moves over fourteen million people a day. The rates are surprisingly cheap and since we qualify for a “seniors” discount, they automatically reduce the fare by another 30% without asking. There are not surcharges for foreigners unlike the museums and most other forms of transportation (rickshaws). Some great sleeps have been had in 3rd class A/C sleeper. We don’t bother with first class; why lock yourself away from India and the toilets are all the same for all the classes. There are also special “tourist” trains, which advertise that one can ride like a Maharajah –with a price tag to match—obviously not our choice. The toilets usually require some fortitude to enter—and then face the squatter toiler—but they come with a hand bar in front—something old knees are grateful for. Watching India from a train (with an open window in non-A/C) is a wonderful way to spend a day. Most train journeys are long so bring some food or buy from the vendors and bunk down. “Getting there” is one of the enjoyments of India. Yes, they are often slow, often late and require a lot of patience to master the ticket reservation system. They are not that clean, but within acceptable standards. After all 14 million people a day are travelling with you. There is some upfront work to be registered in the India Rail system and then you can book online. All you need is patience and a couple of months to endure the long bureaucratic process.