We have been talking about the world coming closer to a village. However, traveling across this ‘village’ means traversing the length and breadth of seven continents of stunningly diverse geographies. Consider the vast expanse of the Americas where air travel is the widely-accepted mode of long distance travel. Think of trans-continental travels. Or think of India, a vast country with 29 states and seven union territories. There is so much to travel and explore the length and breadth of the country constituted by these 36 geographic entities.
As a traveller, you will be fascinated and lost in the magic of the destinations as you traverse the length and breadth of the globe. But traveling far and wide to explore these unchartered territories, though exciting, could be a costly affair. Flight is a sure shot means to reach preferred destinations much faster. Though the airline reservation system is advanced, thanks to technological intervention, flight travel isn’t the cheapest option.
For those looking to travel far and wide with a limited budget, travel by rail and road are the much cheaper options. There are several advantages of non-flight travel that make the trip more enriching and satisfying. You even have travel agents equipped with the latest tour operating software and booking engine software to help with bookings and travel.
Out of the two cheaper options, let’s understand how the railways benefit the traveller:
The Indian Railways (IR) is one of the largest railway networks in the world that runs across the length and breadth of the country. The IR operation covers 26 states and three union territories providing for an amazing bandwidth of connectivity for travellers wanting to explore. The greatest advantage is that the IR network has 16 Railway Zones with an astounding number of 7,112 stations across the country ensuring for a very large connectivity.
Convenience and cost-effectiveness
Railways, apart from being the principal mode of travel is also the most convenient means of mass transportation. So, for people who intend to tour in large groups or as families, the rail is definitely the most efficient and cheapest way of travel. In comparison to flight, the savings are huge. There is also a scope to explore some great offers on some of the more popular destinations from tour operators who run the tour operator software, for people traveling in large groups. So be it a beach destination on the West Coast, the plateaus in the Central India, the mountainous regions of the Far North or the relatively unexplored but beautiful North East – the railways with the wide network is perhaps, the best option.
Explore Midway Destinations
Another great advantage of the rail travel is the opportunity to explore some beautiful places that lie between the origin and preferred destinations. You may choose to get off midway to explore these regions and then continue ahead to the chosen destination. Such a trip provides scope for exploring more than one desired destination which otherwise is not possible by a trip on the flight. A rail trip from the southern port of Chennai to the eastern hub of Kolkata lined with several tourist destinations in the states of Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. A trip from Siliguri to Darjeeling in the far-east, and the one through the Western Ghats are few examples. You are never short of surprises as you stand to gain a more enriching experience.
The Ministry of Railways under the direction of the Indian government has taken up various measures in the recent past to boost tourism in India. These measures at helping both the domestic and foreign tourists plan and travel to their favorite destinations.
In the lines of the Eurail, the IR has introduced the Indrail Passes for all Foreign and Non-Resident Indian travelers. The Indrail pass is a permit that allows a foreigner to travel across the length and breadth of the country with an excellent value for money proposition. There is no restriction of the rail route as the traveler can move to any preferred destination within the validity period. The Indrail pass holder also need not pay any additional charges such as the reservation, super-fast and safety charges. These passes are sold by the General Sales Agents (GSAs) and the Rail Tourist Agents.
With the intent to help the traveller explore the cultural and historical side of India the IR through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has introduced Tourist Trains. Those trains have facility to travel on certain tourist destinations within India. These include luxury, semi-luxury, heritage, and pilgrimage trains each of which caters to specific needs of a traveller. Luxury trains such as the ‘’Maharaja Express’’ and the ‘’Palace on Wheels’’ decked with luxurious coaches. They have great amenities operate in states like Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. Heritage trains such as the “Unity Express” take passengers to the several heritage sites and pilgrimage trains such as the Mahaparinirvan and Bharath Darshan trains run between various pilgrimage destinations in India.
The culturally and historically significant, nature-laden tourist spots in India are as many as one wants to see. The travel by rail is perhaps the best option to reach most of these destinations or at least the nearby destinations as the journey by train is enriching, enjoyable and cost effective.