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Last updated : Nov 2009
India Getting Around - Internal Travel
India Internal Travel - Getting Around India - TravelPuppy.com
Air

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 Middle East.

Domestic airlines includeSahara Airlines (S2) Jet Airways (9W), and Alliance Airlines (3A), a subsidiary of Indian Airlines.
Special fares

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.

Discover India

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 and West)

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.

Rail

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 restaurant cars.

Road

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.

Tourist cars

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.

Documentation

An International Driving Permit is mandatory

Sea/River

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.

Indrail Pass

This special pass contains a single non-transferable ticket, allowing travel on any train with no restrictions within the period of validity.

1st-class sleeper tickets are:

  US$135 for 7 days

  US$185 for 15 days

  US$198 for 21 days

  US$248 for 30 days

  US$400 for 60 days

  US$530 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; e-mail: info@indiarail.co.uk). Passes can also be purchased in India at all the major railway stations.

Special trains

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.

Itinerary: Delhi–Jaipur–Chittaurgarh–Udaipur–Sawai Madhopur–Jaisalmer–
Jodhpur–Bharatpur–Agra–Delhi.

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.

Other trains

 The 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.

 Shatabdi Express: Super-fast trains linking major and secondary city centres. Travel by chair car or executive class is available. Snacks and meals are provided.

 Konkan 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 deep.

Urban

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.

Travel times

The chart below lists approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Delhi to other major cities/towns in India.
  Air Road Rail Sea
Mumbai
1.50 28.00 17.30a -
Kolkata
2.00 30.00 18.00b -
Chennai
3.00 45.00 32.00 -
Hyd’bad
1.55 40.00 24.00 -
Agra
0.40 4.30 3.15 -
Jaipur
0.40 6.00 5.15 -
Jammu
1.50 14.45 16.00 -
Triv’rum
5.00c 62.00 60.00 -
Patna
1.30 22.00 16.00 -
Port Blair
5.05 c - d
 
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.

Note

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 section).
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