Riding the Overnight Indian Sleeper Train

I love travelling by train and one of the things I was looking forward to the most with my time in India was some of the epic train journeys possible in this country.

Unfortunately, I found travelling by train requires some advance planning, which doesn’t always fit with backpackers’ flexible schedules. Trains are often booked out, so last minute tickets are out of the question, especially for the more comfortable 3AC and 2AC sleeper trains.

Udaipur's train station.Udaipur's train station.
Udaipur's train station.10-Dec-2012 16:42

While I had previously taken a 3 hour train journey from Delhi to Agra, up until this point I had not been able to travel via sleeper train. After getting a handle on cleartrip – an online train booking service – I was able to arrange train travel from Udaipur to Mumbai, with a one day stop in Ahmedabad. Ideally, I would have been able to find a train direct to Mumbai, but I figured it was still worth booking an overnight journey for part of the way.

Staff cleaning the train carriages.Staff cleaning the train carriages.
Staff cleaning the train carriages.10-Dec-2012 17:03

I was able to book the 2AC tier of service for about $11, offering a room shared with three others in a private compartment. After waiting around the train station, I boarded the train and met my cabinmates – a mother and daughter from the US travelling to a yoga retreat. We quickly hit it off and I enjoyed hearing their stories about previous trips to India.

Hallway in the 2AC train to Ahmedabad.Hallway in the 2AC train to Ahmedabad.
Hallway in the 2AC train to Ahmedabad.10-Dec-2012 17:16

With the train rattling down the tracks, I took the opportunity to hang out the open doors and enjoy the passing scenery.

Enjoying the scenery on the train ride.Enjoying the scenery on the train ride.
Enjoying the scenery on the train ride.10-Dec-2012 18:01

As we left Rajasthan and headed toward the State of Gujarat, we passed some beautiful, sparsely populated countryside.

Beautiful countryside on the train journey.Beautiful countryside on the train journey.
Beautiful countryside on the train journey.10-Dec-2012 18:04

We met some of our fellow travelmates, including a nice woman from Chennai travelling with her infant daughter. The daughter touched our feet (a sign of respect) and we chatted about our respective lives. It became clear that this woman has a tough life, living with her husband’s family and far from her own. She broke down in tears as she talked about it.

Attendants came around with linens and we prepared our beds for a night’s rest.

I was able to get a decent night’s sleep as the train continued towards its destination. Travel like this is very economical since you can also save on accommodation.

Our 2AC train cabin.Our 2AC train cabin.
Our 2AC train cabin.10-Dec-2012 17:16

We arrived at Ahmedabad very early in the morning. I bid farewell to my travelmates and found a moto to take me to a hotel.

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