Getting around

India is a huge country and you should not plan to visit too many places unless you have a lot of time. The longest trainjourney in India takes 72 hours and goes from Kanyakumari in Kerala to Jammu in Jammu & Kashmir. From Delhi to Chennai it takes about 32 hours. The journeys can be exhausting, especially if travelling lower class. Take this into consideration when planning your journey.

By air

Air India
Indian Airlines
Jet Airways

By land

Bus
Tourists visas are available for a maximum period of 180 days. No charge are collected for visa extension within the maximum period of 180 days. Identical passport photographs are required. However, in case of an extension beyond 180 days, which is allowed only in exceptional cases, an extension fee is charged. To get the latest visa information check with the government of India Tourist Offices or Indian Consular Offices located in their respective countries.

Train
Indian Railways is the biggest network in Asia and the world’s second largest under one management. 1.65 million people are employed by the railway and 11,000 trains runs everyday, including 7,000 passenger trains.The railway network covers almost the entire country; only a few places such as Sikkim, Ladakh, Uttaranchal and most of Himachal Pradesh are inaccessible by train becasue of the mountains.

When buying a train ticket, the first thing to to is get the train table called "Trains at a glance". Inside you will find all nessescary information about the train, destinations, train numberts etc..When at the train station you have to fill in a form specifying the train you intend to catch, its number, your date of travel, and the stations you are travelling to and from, plus, amusingly to most travellers, your age and sex (this helps conductors to determine who you are). Most stations have computerized booking counters (these are listed in Trains at a Glance), and you will be told immediately whether or not seats are available.

Intercity trains are called "express" or "mail" and vary a lot in the time taken to cover the same route. Slow by Western standards, they're still much faster than local "passenger" trains, which you need only use to get right off the beaten track. Note that express and mail trains cost a fair amount more than ordinary passenger trains, so if travelling unreserved you must buy the right ticket to avoid being fined. There are also a number of special "super-fast" air-conditioned trains – the Rajdhani expresses link distant cities to New Delhi while the Shatabdi expresses are daytime trains which connect major cities within an 8 hour travelling distance. Bottled water, snacks and good meals are included in the much higher ticket prices of the "super-fast" trains.

Train classes

First class
Comfortable compartments of 2 to 4 berths, used mostly by English-speaking business travellers, costs about 3 times as much as sleeper class. Not always available on passenger trains and gradually being phased out, first class also isolates you from the chaotic hustle and bustle of India.
Second class unreserved
Second class unreserved is extremely crowded and noisy with no chance of a berth overnight, but incredibly cheap. The berths are of wood so not very comfortable.
Second-class sleeper
Second class sleepers can be pretty crowded too during the day, but there is a lot of interesting activity; peanut-, chai- and coffee-sellers, travelling musicians, beggars or sweepers passing through the carriages. Overnight trips in second-class sleeper compartments are reasonably comfy (provided the berths are foam and not wooden),
Air-conditioned sleeper with two or three bunks, referred to as two- or three-tier)

Most travellers choose to travel second class.It brings you into contact with the world outside and it is also a way to meet more people.

Taxi
Tourists visas are available for a maximum period of 180 days. No charge are levied for visa extension within the maximum period of 180 days. Identical passport photographs are required. However, in case of an extension beyond 180 days, which is allowed only in exceptional cases, an

Motorcycle
It has become very popular to rent a motorcycle and travel with it across the country. Enfield, the India brand, seem to be the most desired. It should not be a problem to buy one since there are a lot of people selling off their bike after ended trip. The best place to buy one is apparently in Tamil Nadu/Chennai.

Driving
Unless you have a deathwish I would not recommend to drive in India. It is then better to hire a driver. The traffic is complete mayhem. However if you do decide to drive yourself, expect the unexpected and expect other drivers to take whatever liberties they can get away with. India has left side driving, but don't expect road rules to be followed. It seems like the biggest vehicle rules the road.

Traffic in the cities is heavy and undisciplined; vehicles cut in and out without warning. Pedestrians, cyclists and cows wander nonchalantly down the middle of the road as if you didn't exist. In the country the roads are narrow, in a terrible state and hogged by overloaded Tata trucks that move aside for nobody, while something slow-moving like a bullock cart or a herd of goats can easily take up the whole road. To overtake, sound your horn (an essential item on Indian roads) – the driver in front will signal if it is safe to do so; if not, he will wave his hand, palm downwards, up and down. A huge number of potholes don't make for a smooth ride either.

 



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