I think I might have destroyed my trip to India... - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

I think I might have destroyed my trip to India...

#1 Sep 26th, 2010, 23:48
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  • Balglin is offline
#1
I am leaving for India in 10 hours, and doing the last bit of reading here at IM before I go. Suddenly I realized that it does not seem you can get anywhere without booking trains months in advance! I cannot believe I have not read anything about this before now!

I am arriving in Delhi, but only want to stay 2 nights because I want to get out before the commonwealth games makes the prices go up. My plan was to book a train to lucknow 1 day before I leave Delhi, then move on to Varanasi. I have to meet a friend in Mumbai in two weeks, so I wanted to take a train there after Varanasi. Have I just destroyed all my plans by my lack of planning? Please help!
#2 Sep 26th, 2010, 23:57
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  • captainflint is offline
#2
Not really.
This time of the year is not the peak season for train travel. So you may still be lucky.
also, there is something called TATKAL scheme i.e emergency tickets. one has to pay a certain amount over and above the normal fare to book ticket in this scheme.
Hope it helps.
#3 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:00
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  • Wildhorse is offline
#3
There's still a chance. Some (but not all) trains have a tourist quota. Tourist quota tickets cannot be booked online. You have to go there in person, with your passport.

The Foreign Tourist Bureau is on the first floor of the New Delhi Railway Station.

If all else fails, you could consider flying. Domestic flights are not all that expensive I'm told, and there are plenty so you might get a seat.

There are also buses of course, which will not be fully booked, but I'd rather avoid buses for long trips.

(I have never booked online, always got a tourist quota ticket but of course it depends where you want to go.)
#4 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:12
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  • spike is offline
#4
Don't worry too much. Once you get to Delhi, go straight to the booking office. I did a quick check and got following result :

On 29 Sep there are still 505 seats chair car available on the Nr 2004 train, departing New Delhi at 06h15 and arriving in Lucknow at 12h30.
For your connection the following day there are 59 seats chair car available on train Nr 4204 leaving Lucknow at 07h00 and arriving in Varanasi at 13h30.

If I'm not wrong there is a Booking office at Delhi airport but with the opening of the new terminal I don't really know where it is and if it's still running.
#5 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:20
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  • Balglin is offline
#5
Thank you so much! I panicked there for a little while, but it looks like it will be allright. The balance between planning and spontanity seems to be even more difficult to find in India than elsewhere.
#6 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:24
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  • bond007 is offline
#6
As wildhorse says goto the Foreign tourist office in New Delhi station. They can help you book the tickets in Foreign Tourist quota. Many important trains have this quota.
#7 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:36
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by bond007 View Post As wildhorse says goto the Foreign tourist office in New Delhi station. They can help you book the tickets in Foreign Tourist quota. Many important trains have this quota.
But if this is your first trip to India - a friendly word of warning!

You may be waylaid at the station on your way to the booking office by extremely friendly, well-spoken, helpful and possibly official looking individuals who will direct or lead you to where you need to go. It will seem tempting in the chaos of the station, but do not follow them or take directions from them!

Head blindly towards the Tourist quota booking office and only speak with the official on the other side of the desk or kiosk.
#8 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:50
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#8
Just to repeat what others have said:

The Foreigners' Booking Office is on the first floor of New Delhi station. There are 2 sets of stairs - to the left and to the right of the main hall when you enter the station (from Paharganj side) and either staircase will take you there.

Do not be tempted to go anywhere else!


If you have time it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the trains you wish to book using erail.in as it is useful when booking trains to know which train you want to take and what the other options are if that one is fully booked.

Good luck and have a great trip!
#9 Sep 27th, 2010, 00:54
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  • Jazzebell is offline
#9
and , as a last resort, you can try and go in the unreserved carriage, i have ended up doing this a couple of times. It was extremely overcrowded and trying at times, and i swore i would never do it again but an interesting experience..... the option is there, if you really want to go somewhere and have nothing booked. You can turn up very early at the station and try and get in there quick to get a seat.
#10 Sep 27th, 2010, 01:09
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#10
Thank you so much for the advice! This is my first trip to India, and I am travelling alone, so the help is most appreciated! I am totally confused about everything right now, and I do not expect it to get better when I arrive
#11 Sep 27th, 2010, 01:20
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  • kela is offline
#11
You could also try getting a reservation on a train from Anand Vihar in Delhi's north to Lakhnaū / Lucknow. Anand Vihar Railway Terminal was officially inaugurated on 19th December 2009 only and is still relatively unknown, even among cab drivers . There are direct trains from Anand Vihar to Lakhnaū / Lucknow. The trains don't operate daily, but nevertheless, there are often still hundreds of berths available from Anand Vihar.

There are direct trains from Mathura to Lakhnaū / Lucknow, too, with Mathura being the starting station.

An alternative to Varanasi is Muġal Sarāy / Mughalsarai, an important and one of India's busiest railway junctions, less than 20 kilometres away from Varanasi.

Good luck and have a great time!
#12 Sep 30th, 2010, 05:19
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  • Rock2010 is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balglin View Post Thank you so much for the advice! This is my first trip to India, and I am travelling alone, so the help is most appreciated! I am totally confused about everything right now, and I do not expect it to get better when I arrive
Don't worry, once you're here you will be able to manage on your own as it's not that difficult once you're here..

If you need any help, post here, and so many IMers are there, someone or the other will surely help you..

Have a safe and nice journey.
#13 Sep 30th, 2010, 05:30
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  • Hal is offline
#13
There's always buses if the trains are full. Or you can rent a car with driver for about $40 a day.
#14 Sep 30th, 2010, 06:25
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  • MartinP is offline
#14

Emergency quota

As well as a tourist quota, there's also the emergency quota. It may or may not be the same thing, but in Bangalore station I was led to believe it was the next level of reserved tickets, beyond even the tourist quota. I was lucky enough to get tickets this way when all other options were exhausted.

YOu'll probably have it with you anyway, but don't forget your passport when you're at the station: you'll need it to book the above tickets. The station master in my case would not take a photocopy, only the original.

Good luck.
#15 Sep 30th, 2010, 07:43
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#15
I also wouldn't worry too much about the Commonwealth Games and hotel prices unless you're planning to stay in fancy places. Trust me, the officials, athletes and fans who travel to Delhi won't put a dent in the Pahar Ganj hotel market as you're probably finding out right about now.

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