India is big, and how big it really is only known to the people who have been to India. If you start your journey on foot from one corner of the country to the other, it will take you no less than 1 year to complete it, that’s how big it is. And flying around the country is costly, so what do Indians do for travelling around, they travel on trains. The Indian Railways has more than 1.6 million people on its payroll and is the proffered means of travel by 19 million people every single day. If you consider the population of the country that is roughly 1.2 billion, then you know just how huge is the task that the Indian Railways has in its hands.
And it is cheap, and for getting an idea just how cheap it is consider the example that if you arrive in Delhi and then you want to go to Ajmer roughly 200 miles from the capital for visiting the famous tomb of the Saint, you have two options for the journey. Either you can hire a cab that will cost you around 40 USD or you can get yourself a ticket of the train for the price of 3 USD. Similarly a flight between Delhi and Jaipur will cost you around 180 USD while train can take you there for around 10 USD.
The savings aside the travelling through train has other advantages as well; you can see the real life of a local Indian. Watching the Taj Mahal and Red Fort can give you an idea of the past of India, while the hip lifestyle of Mumbai clubs and hotels can provide you a glimpse of upcoming India. But to know what the daily life of an Indian is at the present, there is no other better way than a journey with the Indian railway. Getting your ticket is the tricky part if this is your first visit, as it involves long queues and a lot of paper work. The second trick is navigating the platform at the station which is full of either the sleeping passengers waiting for their trains or their luggage piled up along them. But once you get to your seat and the train start to move then you can relax and enjoy a memorable journey.
As soon as the train start moving you will hear the voices of the tea sellers, drinking a hot tea will surely refresh you up for the journey. No matter where you start your journey in India and no matter how long it is, you will be able to see some stunning landscapes and friendly locals along the way on the both sides of the track. But the most famous train journeys with the foreign tourists is the Konkan Express, that runs between Mumbai and Kerala and passes through 92 tunnels and over 1998 mostly British era bridges. The second is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway also called the Toy Train because of its small size. It runs from Siguri in the West Bengal and the famous tea plantation and hill station of Darjeeling at the foothill of Himalaya.
Traveling by Indian Railway can seem a little chaotic at the start but once you get settled it will become the most memorable experience of your stay in the country.