Sharad Kumar Vats has been travelling the Indian Continent for over 05 decades. From wildlife, to rural India to even the biggest metros in the country, this man has seen it all. While panning the entire country, he chose to travel most of it by trains. In this article, he highlights the top 05 reasons for choosing Indian Railways over Flights, as a preferred mode of transportation for your next journey in India.
Top 5 reasons why you must travel in a train when in India:
My love for Indian trains started very early in life. I was in school and not many sectors in India were connected by flight, and yes flights were extra-ordinarily expensive compared to the trains. So as a family we traversed most of India in long train journeys. Even today my love for trains has not diminished a bit. There are several reasons for the same:
- There are many areas which still do not have good flight connections, and there the train happens to save time, and money both. For e.g. If you wish to cover Ranthambhore, and Bandhavgarh. Then one way is to drive from Ranthambore to Jaipur first, which is about 3 hours, then take a flight to New Delhi, and then another flight to Jabalpur, and then drive 3-4 hours to Bandhavgarh National Park. Total time taken in this is about 13-14 hours. This involves check-in time for flights, baggage clearance, and final arrival at the destination. Interestingly this is the exact time taken in an overnight train that departs Sawai Madhopur station (just 10 minute drive from Ranthambore), train travel is just 11 hours, and then drive 2 hours to Bandhavgarh. So effectively you are taking the same amount of time, and it is more economical as well. Some more sectors it holds true, where you save time and money both. From New Delhi to Ranthambhore, you have an option of either taking a flight from New Delhi to Jaipur, and then driving 3-4 hours to Ranthambhore. On the other hand you may take a train that takes just about 5 hours from New Delhi to Ranthambore.
- Overnight trains in India are fairly comfortable. The journey of Indian railways has evolved over the years. The trains are more clean now, and more on time as well. The bedding is provided by Indian railways in overnight train, while we provide packed meals during the journey. Some short journeys from New Delhi, for e.g. New Delhi to Agra by road is 4 hours, but by an executive train it is under two hours. And on this train breakfast, tea/coffee is all provided.
- You see more of India in the train. Yes, you will enjoy seeing the country-side more, the rural India, the agricultural India, the small towns and villages that the train journeys past. The life in rural India is in complete contrast to the life in a metro. It is easy paced, and it is visible from the train.
- There are various classes of travel in the trains. But I recommend to travel 1st air-conditioned sleeper class when doing an overnight train journey. In this class there are very few people, there is more privacy and safety as well. There are two different types of cabins, one is a 4 seater cabin, meant only for 4 guests, and you can lock it from inside, and secure your complete baggage. Then there is a 2 seater coupe which unfortunately is only one or max 2 in the whole train. But one can place a request for it and now a days it is possible to secure that as well. So if you get this assigned for you then it is only two of you in the coupe, and it is completely secured. Importantly the cost of 1st air-conditioned class is practically half the price of an air-ticket.
- If you have a phobia of flying in the aircrafts, specially the smaller aircrafts then train travel is just perfect for you. There is no tourist destination in India that is not connected by a train. Hence travel more, at a lesser price, and safely in the trains in India.
Do let me know about more details on travel in India by train.
Sharad Kumar Vats
Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered.
Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park.
Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here’s a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger.