Just like in any Asian economy, India has a lot to fulfil while transporting its huge population to and from their various detinations. India is very well connected by road, rail and air. In some places, waterways are also used as a form of transport. Whatever the ride, be sure to take in the whole scene - crowd and all - and truly experience transport in India. You are afterall in the second most populous nation in the world!
This India transportation guide will help you navigate the wonder that is India. And what better way to see the culture than taking a local Indian tour.
For more local travel information, take a look at our sites below:
Transportation in India is well established. Most people use public transport extensively. The three-wheelers or autos as they are commonly called can be seen throughout India. In most urban parts of India like Mumbai, depending on the place, a metre is used. Thus, depending on the distance traveled, the metre shows the fare. However, in other parts of India and Sri Lanka , there is no fixed fare and the price can be bargained at the beginning of the trip. Buses and the railways are also pervasive in most places, however remote. The poorer people who cannot afford to take an auto, travel by bus or train, while the richer travel in cars and private vehicles.
India seems to have the largest railway network in the world. It connects every part of India, from a small village to a vibrant city like Mumbai. Thus it is very easy for anyone to travel within India . There are many different kinds of trains and expresses, like the wellknown Rajdhani Express. For long journeys, there are sleeper berths in the trains. Dinner is also provided. Thus, overnight journeys are very comfortable and enjoyable. Local trains are fast and frequent but also extremely overcrowded. It is almost impossible for a foreigner to get onto the train during peak hours.
Buses also run local in one city or inter-city, and are an important part of Indian transportation. Even in buses, there are various levels! From a normal one to an air-conditioned and comfortable one, India provides all types of buses to cater to everyone. The local buses can be overcrowded during peak periods just like the trains. In poorer rural areas, buses are the only form of transport available there. This is however enough as people do not travel much here. It was amazing to see the way people climbed to the top of the bus and sat there!
Domestic flying has also become a common form of travelling from one place to another. Many small cities also have their own domestic airports and so flying is a convenient and fast way to travel. Most of the capital cities have international airports. India Travelite provides information about railway, air and road transportation in India.
One of the quicker ways of getting to India and around the country is by flying the national carrier Indian Airlines and its subsidiary Allaince Air. While Indian Airlines connects the major cities, the smaller towns are linked by Alliance Air. The airline accepts foreign currency, traveller's cheques and currency exchange forms from international travellers and NRIs.
Enjoy additional discounts of 20-30% on excursion packages of Indian Airlines on circuit routes. International travellers below the age of 30 years are further entitled to a Youth Fare discount of 25% on US dollar tariff.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world, including Bangalore, Cochin and Delhi.
Travel the length and breadth of India in the world's second largest railway system, the Indian Railways, and is an interesting method to get to India. The railway network snakes through 62,000 km across the country and is ideal for the budget traveller. There are generally two classes - first and second, the second being more crowded. However, for the luxury loving tourists, there are air conditioned coaches too.
For those who want to go all nine yards and indulge themselves, Indian Railways has the perfect answer. Luxury trains like the Palace on Wheels, Shatabdi Express, Taj Express and Pink City Express pamper the indulgent traveller.
Rail travel in India is considerably cheap and children get special discounts. Children below the age of 12 need just pay half the normal fare and those below 5 years can travel free. Alternatively, tourists can also buy Indrail passes and enjoy unlimited travel within the period of their validity. Railways also provide cloakroom facility at most stations to store luggage for short transit periods.
Travel like a maharaja in Rajasthan in the 'Palace on Wheels'. The train operates on every Wednesday from October to March. Indrail passes are eligible for exemption from reservation fee, sleeper charges and supplementary charges on super fast trains or meals in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.
Soak in the scenic beauty of villages, towns and the countryside by taking a bus ride through the states, also an effective method in getting around India. The extensive and well developed bus system covers most states and provides access to the remotest village. It is also one of the cheapest ways to get around in bigger towns and metro.
You can get the thrills of a bumpy ride in horse drawn two wheeler tongas, unique to some cities, or the three wheeler auto rickshaws. Car rental system like in the West and metered taxis are a common sight in metros and bigger cities.
- Tourists must ensure they carry waterproof luggage as the luggage is often secured on the roof of the bus.
- Calcutta and the capital city Delhi boast of an efficient underground Metro rail system.
- Calcutta is the only city with an extensive tram system.