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How to Book Train Ticket in India If You Are a Foreigner

You are probably terrified by the misleading photographs of jam-packed Indian Railways and people hopped atop. Apparently, this is not the case. Though there are times when you might get caught in a situation like this and pray for a savior from those stinking armpits and witty pick-pocketing. It is not for them but this also might be smothering to you.  I don’t mean to scare you, but to make you feel the need to be on the safer side when it comes to Indian railways. India has the most extensive and ever growing railway network and a blessing from the British Raj. This is indeed the cheapest medium to travel to long distances. Everyday thousands of people who transverse using Indian Railways.

Book Train Ticket in India
Indian Railways is the property of Indian government and the government works to make sure that this service is accessible to every class of the society without any discrimination and thus the rates have been set to a rather more affordable parameter.

Getting a ticket VS getting a reservation:

Let’s take it this way getting a ticket is like having a cookie, but getting a reservation is having a cake with nutella icing!

Yes, you can book your tickets even a week prior to the journey of the train. You can get a ticket anytime. But reserving a seat, especially during peak season, is a massive fuss. So, in order to grab this cake with nutella icing, you need to book for your cookie a lot earlier. Sometimes you can travel with only ticket but no seat and not get caught by the T.T.  (ONLY if you are lucky!)

Usually it’s recommended that you book a ticket at least one or two months prior. As the day comes nearer, many people with confirmed registration cancel their tickets due to their own reasons which further get transferred to others with no confirmation of reservation.

Coming further, here are the different classes the Indian Railways have. Please take note that not all the trains have all the sections and it differs from train to train. So, kindly make sure that you are not expecting too much.

  • Unreserved second class: The tickets are bought even in the last moments and the tickets usually exceed the number of seats. This leads to a much crowded compartment. Many a times people travel even without tickets.
  • Sleeper class: This section is for over-night journeys and has no AC. The ones with the reserved seats get the bunk. There are people who in spite of buying tickets don’t get the bunks (because of no reservation) and still travel, but that’s fussy.
  • AC executive chair:  These are AC compartment for short distance travel usually. You cannot travel in this compartment if you don't have reservation.
  • Air conditioned sleeper: For over-night journeys, there are again AC sleeper classes where you cannot travel without reservation. These compartments again are divided into three more sections; first class, Second class and Third class. And needless to say this section is usually selected by the richer classes of the society.

Sites for online reservation:
Keep your passport and proof of the date to arrival in India handy as you might need them for the booking.

These are the preferred sites if you want to book tickets in Indian Railways (Please note, the booking timings are 1:30 am to 11:30 pm according to the Indian Standard Time).  Though there are other sites too but they might not accept foreign credit cards

  • This is the official site of Indian Railways: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation  Limited https://www.irctc.co.in/eticketing/loginHome.jsf
  • These are the second-party sites which charge a nominal fees of Rs 20 or something and promise a fuss free bookings: Yatra (http://www.yatra.com/trains.html) and makemytrip (http://www.makemytrip.com/railways/) 
Indrail pass: Indrail pass is something with which you won’t have to book tickets for a period of 90 days. But obviously you will need reservation.  This pass is specially recommended if you are planning to travel to different cities of the country during your visit. Seek the assistance of an authorized agent and just like tickets you need to apply for Indrail pass a few months prior to your journey. You can indeed book for it 360 days earlier. It takes at least two months for foreign travel agents to get the Indrail pass.

Tips and warnings:
  • Never ever take the risk of procrastinating with the booking. Especially when there is peak season in India like in summers.
  • Stay away from unauthorized agents.
  • Even if you are traveling in first class compartments, don’t get reckless about your money, ornaments or gadgets.
  • There are first class compartments and waiting area but the bustle in whole of the railway station remains the same.
  • Keep yourself updated with your train’s reservation charts.
  • There are many trains which run on precise timings and some don’t. You be safe from your side and reach a little while ago from the departure timings, lest you get stuck up in traffic or crowd.
  • If someone is trying to get over-friendly, don’t pay them heeds.
  • If you are a solo female traveler, look out for some women-only trains which are new but have limited services.
  • Pay special attention to your goods when you are travelling in sleeper class.
  • Some special trains have foreign quota for foreign travelers and to make sure that they can proceed with their journey in spite of booking in short notice. But don’t put full reliance on this aspect, because there are only a few trains.
  • Just like foreign quota, there is Tatkal quota. The bookings (which are closed when a certain number of tickets are sold) again gets opened for the last time only a day prior until early morning of the day of train’s actual departure from starting point. So this is a good option for emergencies or sudden travel plans.  And the tickets are a bit costlier.
Related Post:
Why Choose Indian Railways for Traveling in India
Luxury Train Tours In India
Luxury Train Travel in India Maharajas Express
Top 10 Great Rail Journeys in the World
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Best Places to Visit in Karnataka

Bringing different colors, flavors and cultures together, Karnataka is a place which has successfully carried off a legacy of art and culture from the ancient times. A well-known tourist hub, Karnataka is a place which demands a must-visit from travelers all across the globe. When it comes to tourist attractions, Karnataka has much to offer from its popular districts. Karnataka has everything, right from pilgrimage centers to beaches.

Are you planning to visit Karnataka this holiday season? We agree to the fact that it is not that easy to plan a tour. For the same reason, we have listed some popular destinations of Karnataka which offer some great attractions. Karnataka truly has a destination for everyone and thus, witnesses increased tourist numbers every year. We hope that list below helps you plan your holiday in a better way.

Hampi

Hampi Chariot, Karnataka
Hampi Chariot, Karnataka
Located within the ruins of Vijaynagara, Hampi - UNESCO World Heritage Site - is the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is a major religious centre of Karnataka and houses many other monuments apart from the Virupaksha Temple. Other attractions at Hampi include Vittala temple, Royal enclosure, Lotus temple, Krishna temple and Matanga hill.

[Also check out the Hampi Festival in Karnataka

Ailhole

Lad Khan Temple - Ailhole,Karnataka
Lad Khan Temple - Ailhole
Ailhole is a village which is well-known for its architectural structures. This historical temple complex has more than 70 temples and their architecture is enough to entice the travelers to pay a visit. Some important temples at Ailhole include Lad Khan Temple, Chikki Temple, Rachi Temple, Kunti Temples Complex and many more.

Pattadakal

Pattadakal - A World Heritage site
Pattadakal - A World Heritage site
A famous World Heritage Site, Pattadakal is located in the Bagalkot district. The place has a lot to offer when it comes to places of interest. Some places of interest nearby Pattadakal include Papanatha temple, Jain temple, Badami and many more. Classical dance festival and Virupaksha temple car festival is organized every year in Pattadakal.

Hassan

Hoysaleswara Temple -  Hassan, Karnataka
Hoysaleswara Temple - Hassan
Known as the architectural temple of Karnataka, Hassan city was founded by Channa Krishnappa Naik long back in the 11the century. The place covers an area of f 26.5 Sq km and is known for its historical values.  Major tourist attractions which are near Hassan include Chennakesava temple and Hoysaleswara temple.

Badami

Bhootnath Temple - Badami, Karnataka
View of Bhootnath Temple - Badami
Famous for its cave temples, Badami served as the capital of the Chalukyas back in the 6the century. All the temples in Badami are well-known for their architecture. The place also offers adventure sports like rock climbing to the tourists.

[ Also check out the Top 10 Heritage Cave Temples in India ] 

Bijapur

Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka
Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka
The rich culture and heritage of Bijapur is the key reason why tourists from all over the world visit here all through the year. Bijapur was founded in the 10th century by the Kalyani Chalukyas. The place has many tourist attractions including Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rauza, Chand Bawdi, Asar Mahal and many more.

Bidar

Bidar Fort, Karnataka
Bidar Fort, Karnataka
Bidar is counted among the major tourist attractions of Karnataka. It has many historical monuments which are there from the Bahmani era. Some major tourist spots of the city are Bidar fort, Rangeen Mahal, Gagan Mahal, Takht Mahal and many more.

[ Also check out the Top 10 Forts of India ] 

Belur & Halebid

Interior of Channakeshava Temple - Belur & Halebid,Karnataka
Interior of Channakeshava Temple - Belur & Halebid
Both the places, Belur and Halebid are known for the royal glory which they enjoyed in the 12th century. Belur is famous for the Chennakesava temple which reflects the true picture of Hoysala workmanship. On the other hand, Halebid has temples like Hoysaleshwara and Shantaleshwara which have beautiful carvings and sculptures.

Shravanabelagola

Shravanabelagola - Most popular Jain Temple in Shravanabelagola,Karnataka
Shravanabelagola - One of the most popular Jain Temple in Karnataka
Shravanabelagola is a city near Channarayapatna of Hassan district. The place is renowned for the Gommateshvara Bahubali statue at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa.It is considered one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism.

Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park - Karnataka
Marsh Crocodile Shot at Nagarhole National Park - Karnataka
Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole National Park is a national park which is located in Kodagu district and Mysore district in Karnataka. The national park covers an area of 643 km2. The park is visited by travelers all around for its forest cover, hills, valleys and waterfalls. This national park is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Also, the park has a high tiger-predator ratio as it has many tigers and elephants.

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park in Karnataka
Bandipur National Park in Karnataka
Bandipur National Park is one of the oldest national park which was established in 1974. The park covers an area of around 874 square kilometers and protects different species of India's endangered wildlife. It is considered the most beautiful and well-managed national park in India. The park is famous for its wildlife and biomes. The dry deciduous forest is dominant in the park.

Mysore

View of Mysore Palace in Karnataka
Front view of Mysore Palace in Karnataka
The cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore is a popular tourist destination. The place is known for
its gardens, heritage mansions and avenues. The tradition, culture and cuisine of the place is
enough to attract travelers from all over the world. The place offers different tourist attractions such as Mysore Palace, Jagmohan Palace, Railway Museum, Karanji Lake and many more. 

Coorg

Green valley in Coorg, Karnataka
Green valley in Coorg, Karnataka
Coorg is a mountainous district which is famous for its evergreen forests, hills, green valleys, coffee plantations and flowing streams. The place offers a treat to all the nature lovers with its scenic attractions such as Coorg also offers scenic destinations such as Chelavara Falls, Harangi Dam, Kaveri Nisargadhama, Dubare Elephant Camp and Mandalapatti.

Bengaluru


Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bengaluru is the third largest state in India. The place is not only the nation’s leading IT exporter, but also a major tourist attraction. Some main tourist spots include Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Lal Bagh, Cubbon Park, The Aquarium, Venkatappa Art Gallery and many more.

Chikmagalur

Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Chikmagalur is very famous for its coffee and is also known as the ‘coffee land’ of Karnataka. The place is also known for the Mahatma Gandhi Park which it houses. Also, the place is famous for its hill stations which are visited all round the year. A number of tourists also visit the place during the time of Dussehra when cultural programs and performances are organized.

Gokarna

Om Beach Gokarna, Karnataka
Om Beach in Gokarna, Karnataka
A famous pilgrimage center of Karnataka, Gokarna is located at the connecting place of two rivers, Aganashini and Gangavali. The place is famous for its beautiful beaches. So, the place is popular both as a religious attraction and holiday destination. Some famous temples of Gokarna are Uma Maheshwara Temple, Tamra Gauri Temple, Bhadrakali Temple and Venkataramana Temple.

[Also check out the Best Beaches in India]  

Dandeli

Dandeli, Karnataka
Boat riding in Dandeli, Karnataka
Dandeli is a famous educational and industrial hub. It is mainly known for its paper production. It houses some famous historic landmarks and religious spots like the caves of Kavla, the Ulavi temple, Sykes Point, the Supa hydroelectric dam, and the Syntheri rocks. The place is also a known adventure sports destination.

[Also check out the Top 10 Adventure Sports in India

Murudeshwar

Shiva statue - Murudeshwar, Karnataka
Second tallest Shiva statue in the world
With the second tallest Shiva statue in the world, Murudeshwar opens arms for tourists from around the world. The temple which has made Murudeshwar a famous tourist spot is located on a peninsula which is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the three sides. Apart from the temple, the place offers some fun seaside activities such as snorkeling, swimming and boat riding.

So, it’s time to pack up your bags and rush to Karnataka if you don’t want to miss a sight of these beautiful destinations.

 [ Interested in planning a vacation in Karnataka? Check out Karnataka tour packages at IndianHoliday.com ]

Related Post:
Best Places to Visit in Rajasthan
Best Places to Visit in Kerala
Best Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh 
Best Places to Visit in Gujarat
Best Places to Visit in  Delhi

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6 Tips for Your First Solo Trip in India

Travelling alone is what sounds terrible at the first go but, it is something which everyone must go for at least once in their lifetime. While for some, travelling alone is horrifying, for others it is an opportunity to take back a lifetime experience. A solo trip promises you with a unique experience where you get to travel with a complete different outlook and also, with some beautiful time all with yourself. Honestly, a solo trip changes you; it makes you a different person altogether, where you become more responsible, alert and confident.

 Solo Travel in India

With its diverse culture and heritage, India promises a great trip to everyone. Be its art, culture, literature or music, everything in this country is enough to entice tourists to pay a visit over here. From Kashmir in the north to Kerala in the South, tourists have different options when it comes to paying a visit to some tourist destination. So, for those who are planning their solo trip to India, we have listed some essential tips which must be taken into account while travelling to India.

Complete preparations for the worst

No. This is not because you are likely to face the worst in this country, but because it is best to prepare this way in case of a solo trip. Make sure you carry copies of all your important documents including passport, air/rail tickets, ID card, travel insurance and other important documents while travelling. Also, ensure that you have scanned copies of these documents with you in your phone, tablet or laptop. This further becomes a key benefit in case you lose your documents and helps you get new copies of them in this case. Share all key details such as hotel name and bank account numbers. Do share an emergency contact number with them so that they know you are safe.

Do follow the dress code
Before your trip, do some research work on the local wear of the country and mainly of the places where you plan to visit. After completing the research work, make sure you pack your bags accordingly. It is best to dress according to the dressing guidelines of the country in order to avoid any issues or embarrassment while travelling.

Say no-no to free stuff

Be it any place, when you travel to a new destination; make sure that you do not take any stuff like drinks or food items from any stranger. You may be offered this stuff with a wrong intention. If you are not comfortable which eating at any restaurant or joint, you can always rush back to your hotel and dine in your room after asking them for this service.

Maintain distance with strangers

Make sure you do not over indulge while talking to any stranger. Never share your important details like your accommodation, travel plans or phone numbers. Be alert whenever you are talking to a stranger. Maintain that distance and make strangers know that you are not alone and are confident enough to face anything.

Get familiar with local words and phrases

This is a key tip when you are travelling alone to an all new place. If not other barriers, language may create a trouble for you. In order to avoid any issue which you may face because of the language problem, it is best to learn some common words and phrases which are used in the country. This will help you in communicating with the locals when you face any problem while travelling.

Be alert, carry cash and luggage carefully

It is your sole responsibility to take care of your cash and luggage. While travelling in train or buses, make sure that you never leave your luggage unattended. Your luggage requires extra attention when it is taken in or out the airport or the railway station. If your trip is a long one, make sure you do not carry any expensive items such as jewelry. Also, it would be better if you don’t carry a lot of cash with you. In place of using cash, you can always use credit/debit cards when there is a need to make a major payment such as hotel bill or travelling expenses.

So, here we conclude, if you plan a solo trip to India do keep in mind the tips which are listed above. To enjoy the trip to its best, ensure that you plan everything properly well in advance so that you have a smooth and lovely solo trip. Now, you are all ready to pack your bags and visit Incredible India!
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Top 10 Adventure Sports in India

India is fast emerging as a favored destination for adventure sport blessed as it is with mind boggling geographical diversity and varied landscape. The mountains, beaches, oceans and deserts; all present great opportunities for adventure sports. 

Mentioned below, in no particular order,  are the top 10 adventure activities available in India.

Paragliding

Paragliding In India
Paragliding - one of the easiest ways to fly in air like a bird
Paragliding is a recreational and competitive flying sport. It is a free-flying foot launched aircraft wherein a pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing. Its shape is formed by its suspension lines and the pressure of the air entering vents in the front of the wing. It is most popular recreational sport that is performed aerially. Some of the most popular destinations for Paragliding include Ladakh, Kamshet, Darjeeling, Solang, Billing and South Anjuna in Goa.

River Rafting

River Rafting, india
River Rafting in india
River Rafting is one of the most popular adventure sports in India. It provides an exotic location for tourists who love peaceful ambience and also to those who believe in hardcore adventure activities. There are more than a hundred numbers of operators that operate and offer rafting opportunities. It is a fun-filled activity that lets you plunge into the awesomeness that life has to offer and shun the hectic boredom once in a while. Popular destinations for River Rafting include Zanskar, Manali, Rishikesh, Coorg and Brahmaputra.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jumping in India
Bungee Jumping in India - Dare to take a leap of faith!
Bungee Jumping is an exciting and thrilling water sport that is a must for all ages, but before you go on an adventure. It is an ill-advised sport for the faint hearted. You might be surprised that though a lot of people take the initiative to try it out, but most back off just before the jump. First a long, extremely strong & stretchy cord is tied around the jumper’s ankle, which leaps off of the jumping point. Rishikesh, Goa, Delhi and Bengaluru are the popular Bungee Jumping destinations in India.

Heli Skiing

Heli skiing in India
Enjoy heli skiing in Kashmir,India
Heli Skiing is an abbreviation used for helicopter skiing. It is also known as an exhilarating winter sport. One drawback of this sport is that it is not for everyone, only the people who are experienced and advance skiers can enjoy the sport. It is one of the recreational activities that has been and still is popular with active people. It is the best way to get acquainted with the snow clad hills of the Himalayas. Gulmarg in Kashmir and Manali in Himachal Pradesh offer astonishing activity that takes place.

Waterfall Rappelling

Waterfall Rappelling in India
Climbing up the Vihigaon Waterfall Rappelling in India
One of the most wonderful creations of nature is the waterfalls. It attracts hundreds of people towards its beauty and offers a chance to explore them a little further and deeper. The best and the most adventurous way of doing it is via trying water rappelling. It is an adrenaline pumping adventure on the waterfall down the rock and facing the extreme water torrent yourself. Coorg in Karnataka and Vihigaon in Maharashtra offer a wonderful experience of Waterfall Rappelling in India.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling in India
Snorkeling in India - Experience the thrill and beauty of India's stunning underwater natural world
Snorkeling is considered one of the safest ways of exploring life beneath the waters. It is also a popular activity and a unique way of exploring underwater life. This is done from the surface of the water and usually requires equipments such as diving mask, fins and a breathing tube. India is blessed with amazing group of islands that allows the unique experience of snorkeling. Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Lakshadweep are the popular snorkeling destinations in India.

Cycle Trekking

Cycles Trekking, India

The mountainous region delivers a special kind of excitement to the adventure junkies. The great topography of India will let you experience this excitement. For cycle trekking, the Himalayan range and the mountainous regions of Kerala are the most favorite for the activity. One can ride individually or in groups to rejuvenate their senses.

 
 Hot Air Ballooning

 Hot Air Ballooning, India
  
One of the best things for those who don’t have money to burn, Hot Air Ballooning is the activity of flying hot air balloons. It is the best to way to feast upon the bird eye view of the place. It also allows people to explore the unknown and breathtaking places in India. Jaipur, Pushkar and Ranthambore National Park, 3 of the most popular places to visit in Rajasthan, offer this excellent experience.

[Hot air ballooning has been featured in our list of 40 ideas for luxury holidays in India.]

Sky Diving

Skydiving in India

Sky Diving is an adventure activity that was created out of a necessity. You need immense guts to try it out. It offers an experience to fly with the birds. When the diver is all set to fall from an aircraft and is provide with the parachute to land safely on the ground. Dhana in Madhya Pradesh, Mysore in Karnataka, Deesa in Gujarat and Aamby Valley in Maharashtra are some of the popular Indian places for Sky Diving. 

Scuba Diving

scuba diving in India
Scuba Diving - the best way to explore the beautiful azure underwater world in India
Scuba Diving is one of the greatest sports activities in the world, but there is certain knowledge required before entering into the journey. It is a very complex sport that requires a good amount of knowledge before you actually enter into it. There are several obvious and hidden dangers that accompany a scuba diving mission. It is a great sport and pastime for professionals and novices alike. Indian water bodies offer great underwater experience and the destinations assure the amazing experience such as Andaman & Nicobar Island, Barracuda, Islands of Netrani and Goa.

[Browse through Andaman Tour Package]

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20 Awesome Sights that shows how Incredible India is

The towering snowcapped Himalayas, emerald beaches down south, pristine islands with ops for snorkeling and water sports, palm-fringed backwaters, abundant wildlife and the rich culture and heritage makes India one of the most incredible places on the planet to travel to. We bring to you the 20 awesome sights that show how Incredible India is.

Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Valley of Flower, Uttarakhand
Valley of Flower, Uttarakhand

Hampi Group of Monument
Hampi Group of Monuments are inscribes as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Athirapally Waterfalls, Kerala
India's very own Niagara, the Athirapally Waterfalls in Kerala

Akshardham Temple, Gujarat
Akshardham Temple in Gujarat is one of the most visited attraction in India

Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
World Heritage Rock cut caves at Ellora are surely a man made wonder


Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters, Alapuzza


Great Flamingoes, Rann of Kutch
Great Flamingos that arrive at Rann of Kutchpost monsoon add enchanting hues to this stark desert

Snorkeling, Andaman Islands
The rich corals in Andaman Islands is home to abundant aquatic species
Strongdey Village, Zanskar, Ladakh
Strongdey Village, Ladakh

Marine Drive, Mumbai
The Queen's Necklace at Marine Drive is an awesome sight to behold after sunset

Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Mighty Himalayan Peaks from Tungnath
View of Mighty Himalayan Peak from Tungnath in Uttarakhand

A Regally Adorned Elephant in Rajasthan
A Regally Adorned Elephant in Rajasthan

Sand Dunes, Thar Desert, Rajasthan
Sand Dunes, Thar Desert, Rajasthan

Chang La, Ladakh
Chang La, Ladakh

Leh Palace
Leh Palace

Great Single Horned Rhinos, Kaziranga National Park
Great Single Horned Rhinos, Kaziranga National Park
Dahi Handi, Maharashtra
Dahi Handi, Maharashtra
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