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24 Hour Train Ride in India

How to spend 24 hours on a train.

A 24 hour train ride through India.

After spending hours googling the route and searching train time tables it became inevitable: to get to our next stop, Jaime and I would have to take two trains, backtracking through Agra, spending 24 hours on a train.

We’d been dreading the 24 hour train ride for weeks.

It’s not the first time I’ve spent an entire day traveling. But India brings everything to an entirely different level. Our experiences thus far on Indian trains were far from ideal. They’re dirty. They’re overcrowded. They’re uncomfortable.

But we had no other option if we wanted to get to Khajuraho.


It didn’t help our spirits when we woke up that morning sick. Jaime had developed a fever, a cough, and a stuffed nose. I was feeling weak from the heat and the overdose of meat we had the day before wasn’t jiving with my stomach.

But we had the tickets and we had to press on.

Our first train was scheduled for almost ten in the morning. So we ate some toast, headed off to the station, and got on board.

24 hour train ride through India.

Luckily, we booked our tickets somewhat early and were able to secure top bunks in sleeper cars. It’s essential on an Indian train ride to have a top bunk. Because the trains fill up and if you have the top you can just climb up there and hide out.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

If you have the bottom bunk on a train ride in India, you may have to deal with way more people than should possible have tickets boarding the train and taking up seats that they surely don’t have tickets for.

24 hour train ride through India.

How did we spend 24 hours on a train in India? Honestly, we ended up sleeping most of the way, using our backpacks as pillows.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

The time we didn’t spend sleeping we spent snacking. Or reading. Or writing.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

But, mostly, we slept.

The time actually, surprisingly, flew by and before we knew it we were pulling into Agra. We hired a tuktuk to another train station, grabbed some food, and then awaited train number two. Jaime and I both remarked how much easier and nicer the train had been than we’d imagined…

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

And then we boarded our next train…and someone was sleeping in Jaime’s bunk… We argued with the man but he produced a ticket with the same seat number. It was late and we were all tired and weren’t sure what to do and were really pissed off.

24 hour train ride through India.

So Jaime hunted down the ticket taker who informed him that we had been upgraded.

Now, every time you buy a train ticket in India you have to fill out a form. And on that form is a place to write Yes or No to the option of “Do you want to be upgraded at no additional cost?” And we always laughed and wrote yes thinking that it must be some sort of trick question.


But, apparently, it paid off.

And so we headed off to the AC car that came with pillows and blankets and privacy curtains around the bed. It was luxury I’m telling you. Luxury.

24 hour train ride through India.

It was so nice I almost wanted to stay up and enjoy it rather than sleeping through it. Almost.

Jaime woke me up the next morning and we were almost at our destination.

Slightly more refreshed than we’d expected.

24 hour train ride through India.

24 hour train ride through India.

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3 Comments
  • Corey W.
    April 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Beautiful photos. I miss you both so much!

  • Ankit
    December 23, 2018 at 3:23 am

    You should have booked an Air Conditioned compartment ticket. Just a few bucks extra and you can avoid overcrowding. Moreover the AC compartments are hygienic as the cleaner comes every 5-6 hours to pick up the garbage and sweep the floors.

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