Getting Around - Internal Travel
India's domestic airline is Indian Airlines (IC). The network
links over 70 cities. Indian Airlines also flys to the
neighboring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar
Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the
Domestic airlines includeSahara Airlines (S2) Jet Airways
(9W), and Alliance Airlines (3A), a subsidiary of
There are various Indian Airlines special fares offered
to foreign nationals and Indian nationals living abroad. All are
available throughout the year, and can be purchased abroad or
in India, where payment is accepted in a foreign exchangeable
currency (such as US Dollars or Pounds Sterling). With the exception
of the Youth Fare India (see below), discounts of 90
percent are offered to children under 2 years old, and of 50 per
cent for kids aged 2 to 12.
Complete details of all the special fares are published in the
India brochure, offered from India Tourism. A summary of
each special offer is given below. Group discounts of as much
as 30 per cent are also offered.
Two types of tickets are available; a 21-day ticket costs US$750
and a 15-day ticket costs US$500. These provide unlimited
economy-class travel on all domestic Indian Airlines flights.
Stops may be only be visited once, except for transfer.
India Wonder fares (North, South, East
Cost US$300 and are valid for 7 days, for unlimited economy-class
flights within the north, south, east or western regions of India.
No town can be visited more than once, except when transferring.
Specifics of the main air centers included in the offer can be
acquired from Indian Airways offices.
Departure tax: £8.
Youth Fare India
This is valid for 3 months, with a 25 per cent discount
off the regular US Dollar fare. It is offered to individuals aged
12-30 at the commencement of travel for trips on economy/executive
class of domestic air services and Indo-Nepal services.
The Indian domestic railway system is state-run by Indian
Railways. It is the largest system in all of Asia and the
second largest in the world. There are more than 62,000
kilometres of track, over 7000 stations and more than 11,000 locomotives,
including 5000 steam engines.
The system's trains transport more than 12 million passengers
daily. The network spans over much of the country and is a quintessential
part of the fabric of India, as well as being moderately inexpensive.
Express services connects all the major cities and local services
link most other parts of the country. Buses connect with trains
to serve parts of India not covered by the rail system.
Children aged 5 to 11 are only charged half price, children under
5 travel free. There are 6 classes of travel: 1st-class air-conditioned,
2nd-class air-conditioned, 3rd class air-conditioned, air-conditioned
chair car, 1st-class sleeper and 2nd-class. Major trains have
Traffic drives on the left. A far reaching network of bus
services links all regions of the country, and is especially useful
for the mountainous areas where there are no rail services. However,
public transport is usually over crowded and uncomfortable. Specifics
of routes may be acquired from the local tourist office.
There are a many chauffeur-driven tourist cars (some air-conditioned)
operating in the main tourist centers. These un-metered tourist
cars operate at a somewhat higher rate than the regular taxis,
and are approved by India Tourism. Self-drive vehicles are not
usually available. Driving in India is not recommended because
of the erratic nature of Indian driving standards.
An International Driving Permit is mandatory
Ships are available from Kolkata (Calcutta), Vishakapatnam and
Chennai to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, and from Kochi and
Calicut to the Lakshadweep Islands. Services are usually seasonal,
and are generally stopped during the monsoon. One particularly
pleasant boat journey is the ‘backwaters’ excursion
near Kochi in Kerala. Several local tours are offered.
This special pass contains a single non-transferable ticket,
allowing travel on any train with no restrictions within the period
1st-class sleeper tickets are:
for 7 days
for 15 days
for 21 days
for 30 days
for 60 days
for 90 days.
Air con tickets are twice the price and 2nd-class tickets are
cheaper. Kids (aged 5 to 12) get half-price fares. Children under
5 years old travel for free. The pass is sold only to foreign
nationals and Indians residing overseas possessing a valid passport,
and replaces all other concessional tickets. Payment can only
be made in foreign currency (US Dollars or Pounds Sterling). Refunds
may be given only if cancellation is made prior the starting date.
Period of validity from the date of commencement of the 1st trip
up to midnight of the date that validity expires.
A ticket is valid from 1 year of its issue. Advance booking is
essential, particularly on overnight trips, arranged through travel
agents. Reservations are accepted on a 1st-come-1st-served basis.
Indrail passes can be booked in the UK from SD
Enterprises Ltd (tel: (020) 8903-3411; fax: (020) 8903-0392;
Passes can also be purchased in India at all the major railway
The Palace on Wheels is a beautifully decorated Edwardian-style
luxury steam train with fourteen coaches, which travels to Rajasthan.
Every coach has of a saloon, four sleeping compartments with lower
and upper berth, bathroom, shower, toilet, small kitchen and room
service. There is a a bar, dining car, an observation car and
a completely equipped first-aid station. Modern amenities include
air con, 4-channel music and telephone intercom throughout the
entire train. Tariff includes cost of travel; complete catering;
camel, elephant and boat rides; organized sightseeing tours; and
all entrance fees.
Bookings: Several tour operators/travel agents offer escorted
tour facilities including the Palace on Wheels.
Royal Orient Express: This luxury train travels through
Gujarat and Rajasthan taking in the sights of Chittargarh, Palitana,
Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Sasangir, and Jaipur. The trip lasts eight
days and accommodation is in furnished carriages kitchenette,
lounge, and mini bar. A library and Multi-cuisine restaurants
are also available. Contact Indian Railways for further information.
Hill Trains: Narrow-gauge rail lines dating back to the
19th century connecting several hill stations and numerous mountain
landscapes. For example, the Kolkata (Calcutta)-Darjeeling route
takes eight hours, crosses more than 500 bridges and offers great
photo opportunities as the pace is leisurely.
Rajdhani Express trains are luxury super-fast trains linking
Delhi with Mumbai, Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai, Bhubhaneswar,
Bangalore, Guwahati, Jammu Tawi, Thiruvananthapuram, Secunderabad,
Ajmer Ahmedabad, and several others.
Express: Super-fast trains linking major and secondary city
centres. Travel by chair car or executive class is available.
Snacks and meals are provided.
Express: This links the states of Marharshtra, Goa, Karnataka
and Kerala along Arabian Sea coast. The route passes through 72
tunnels and numerous bridges often crossing ravines of over 50m
Taxis and auto rickshaws are available in major
cities and fares are charged by the kilometer. They don't always
have meters but, where they do, passengers should demand that
the meter is flagged in their presence. Fares change occasionally
and therefore don't always match the reading on the meter, but
drivers should always have a copy of the most current fare chart
available for inspection. Kolkata (Calcutta) has a 16.45km (10
mile) underground railway.
The chart below lists approximate travel times (in hours and minutes)
from Delhi to other major cities/towns in India.
| a) Time by express
(not daily); regular train takes 23 hours.
b) Time by express (not daily); regular train takes 25 hours.
c) No stopover in Chennai.
d) Boat trip from Chennai takes 3 to 4 days.
Additional information (including route maps, times of express trains
and more detailed travel-time charts) are available in the official
India brochure, free from India Tourism (see Contact
|Useful travel links
Rental In India
||car rental in