Hindi Language Blog

Rail Journeys Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in Hindi Language

If you are ever seized by the desire to see India up close करीब से (qareeb se), and should you have a good month at your disposal, chart a journey यात्रा (yaatra)  that puts you on India’s magnificent railway network, crisscrossing and connecting major hubs, cities, towns and remote villages across the length and breadth of the country.

In a country like India, a railway journey is a unique opportunity to experience the country’s vast cultural diversity सांस्कृतिक विविधता (saanskrutik vividhtaa) in an almost seamless manner — as trains roll in and out of regions and stations — so do the sounds at the stations, the languages, attire, and foods change.

When you travel the Indian Railways, every station along the way is a destination … right from the moment you feel the engine leaving the station with the heavy drag of the coaches behind it, to the next station when it arrives with a screech of iron wheels on the tracks.

Image by Raj.palgun13, Indian railway loco pilot signalling, CC BY-SA 4.0

Railway journeys are my most favorite memories of the summer vacations as a child. Back then, 2 days after boarding सवार होना (savaar hona), we would stumble out of the compartment, face and hair coarse and black with soot  कालिख   (kaalikh) from the coal-burning engine. The tall tiffin carriers would be empty and so would the huge water coolers.

Rail travel in India is not only affordable and economical किफ़ायती (kifaayati), but also convenient. Reservation centers आरक्षण केंद्र (aarakshan kendra) are available at major railway terminus locations and also at several other in-between locations.

Several options for travel comfort exist. If you are the kind of person who plans on the go, and doesn’t mind jostling shoulders and being piled into a tightly packed compartment, then you can travel by the unreserved coach(es) where no seats are assigned and all space is up for grabs. Then, there are the “sitting” coaches or chair cars where you can reserve your seats but have to sit through your entire journey.

If you like to stretch out and sleep, or if you are traveling overnight or long distance, you want to reserve a “sleeper class” seat which will allow you to sleep or stretch out. You can choose between 1st, 2nd and 3rd class with the option of air-conditioned वातानुकूलित (vaataanukoolit) or non air-conditioned coach.

Image by: Aaron C, Inside the Cabin, Indian Railways, CC BY-SA 2.0

If you find yourself getting boggled by the options available to travel, you can take the services of your travel agent, who can help you navigate the maze of train schedules (UP trains and DOWN trains).

And if you are that ultimately adventurous person who likes to do it all on your own, you can book your rail journey online (irctc.com) The Indian Railways also offers rail vacation sightseeing packages that bundle train travel, hotel, and sightseeing options into one. The choices are overwhelming and I will reserve a separate blog for this subject.
For now, happy journey and safe travels. शुभ यात्रा (shubh yaatra).
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About the Author: Nitya

Namaste, friends. My name is Nitya. I was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I'm a native Hindi speaker. However, as life took me through school, college, work, and waves of friends from different parts of India, my repertoire of Hindi flavors and dialects grew and added dimension to my native fluency. Casual, formal, colloquial, and regional ... Hindi is a language with incredible variety and localization. Through this blog, I will help you learn Hindi through conversations, vocabulary, colloquialisms, and glimpses of Indian culture. आओ, मिलकर हिंदी सीखते हैं। (Aao, milkar Hindi seekhte hain!) Come, let's learn Hindi together.


  1. Renu Sophat Malhotra:

    Bahut hi mazaa aayaa