Join our 12,000km Circumnavigation of India by Rail

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1. Posted by TrooprTodd (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

A group of us are planning to circumnavigate India by rail in Feb 2011. This adventure is part cultural exploration, part adventure race, part charitable initiative, and part fun.

We plan to circle India in just 15 days (hence the adventure race aspect).

We have over 50 people interested, but so far, we have 17 people whom have actually paid for their IndRail pass. There is no tour operator involved; this is a collaborative trip between experts on India, experts on rail, but mostly completely novices regarding both.

If you are interested, you're more than welcome to join us. About a third of the group are female and we come from the UK, Australia, Canada, US, India and many other places.

This is truly an adventure of epic proportions. It will be tough, but no matter what we do, we won't be able to avoid adventure and mischief. I am personally joining this trip because I think I'd be mad to miss it.

We've written a blog post ( to explain the trip in more detail. Just to reiterate, this is not a paid tour. This is a collaborative effort between a bunch of highly inspired global travellers.

All the best and take care :) Todd

2. Posted by G-trotter (Budding Member 50 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey Guys

I hope you know what you are doing???

I was in india for about 3 years and I am well expirianced in Indian Railways and travel in India.

If I look on this blog I dont know what to say? I did twice Trivandrum - Amritsar (3days) and several other long trips but to spend two weeks in thos trains is kind of mad, I really hope for you guys you know what you are doing!!


3. Posted by TrooprTodd (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey G-Trotter

Many thanks for the well wishes. Some of the guys know what they're doing, but me?, no, I have no idea what I'm getting myself into. :)

There'll be a big group of us though. A lot of it is 2AC, some 3AC and some SL class. It's certainly not a luxury holiday, but I imagine it will be quite an adventure.

You're more than welcome to join, as is anyone else.

That blog post just explained a little about the trip. But for the full itinerary and team of people travelling, check out the trip here:

The IndRail ticket is only US$200, so it's not an expensive trip by any means. Probably need another US$200 for spending money.

We'd love to have a few TP'ers join the trip.

Take care.

4. Posted by vinu81 (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I had seen this advt the date it got published and was interested to join . i prefer to say that the time allocated to some of the places are very short to be seen and moreover 15 days would be hectic,

suggestion: if you could add up another 5 more days, which could make a lot of difference. secondly i would be able to help u out by arranging free couch facility in south india, i could also commune in hindi, english, malayalam, and tamil. i have a good rapport with the IRCTC . so obtaining a ticket as per the requirement wouldn't be a problem at all.

anyway I wanted to mingle with the group and travel. The problem is I am an Indian residing in India and I don’t think Ind-rail pass is required for me. In that condition is there a possibility of me joining the group?

5. Posted by TrooprTodd (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

He vinu81.

Are you the one that left the message on the blog? Mark replied today with a solution for local Indians. He said a circular ticket could be even cheaper than the IndRail.

The idea of the itinerary is to almost simulate an adventure race, for charity, but to do it in a modicum of style. We know it's fast paced, but many of us plan to stay on. I plan to stay in India for at least another 2-3 months afterwards, depending on the visa.

As Mark mentioned, we'd absolute love for you to join. We have 15-17 people fully paid so far and the more people the merrier.

But check out Mark's reply and get in touch with him if need be because it certainly sounds like he has a sans-IndRail solution for you. Also, check out the facebook page ( because we're posting updates regularly.

All the best, todd

6. Posted by cturner (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Wow! good luck to you.
I went to India on a world challenge trip two years ago and spent about 15 hours on a train. Things to look forward to: indian spotto (say spotto everytime you see someone relieving themselves on the track), chai, the weird weird things that they try and sell you (supposed to be edible), having to keep an eye on your stuff at ALL times, sticky beds, creepy guys who look WAY too interested in your every move. But then there are the views and the eager children who wave.
I guess doing it by train you get to experience everything in fastforward but I would recommend a break every now and then and actually get out an explore. It is an amazing country, so beautiful in some places and terrifying in others. To me (may not to you as you are doing the train thing on purpose) but the transportation bit on a holiday is always an inconvenience and time consuming, spending 15 days on a train would drive me crazy.
But each to there own, maybe stay on afterwards and explore the country a bit.
If you get the chance make your way up to Manali and old Manali, it is beautiful up there, maybe try and make it up to the Himalayas as well.
Hope everything goes well!!

7. Posted by G-trotter (Budding Member 50 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey Todd

I don't want to trouble your idea of this journey but I want to be honest with you...

First I love Indian Railways, maybe one of the most exiting world wide! I really had good times in there! But....

They are not on time at all!
If you do not book in one go you will be placed all over the train in different cars
You will not have the time you think in between the journeys
You have no puffer in between the different journeys, so you must count to miss more than one of your connections (trust me!)
You gonna miss shower after a couple of days! (this issue I really wonder how you guys wanna manage that?)
The food is ok but its gonna be hard if you want to eat this suff for two weeks!
Half of the time I spend in Indian trains (all together about 25-30 days 24-h in 3 years) you can't sleep because its raining inside, its too cold, its noisy, snoring (hehe you will see) and coffee coffee chai chai will disturb your silence too ;) as well as the fan are often annoying!
Toilets are disgusting, especially for women! And its not rare that the half car smells like pee.

I know this is lots of hard stuff and I still love to travel with the Indian Railway! But not 2 weeks in one go, THATS MAD! I hardly believe that someone gonna have fun more than a week, even this is may not possible

I would really think twice to invest money and especially time into this project. That this works out it must be incredibly good managed and even than it needs all the luck of stars possible to work well....

I tell you guys this not because I want to damage the dreams of a incredible crazy trip, but because I feel sorry for those who do not know what there are going to do....

The whole trip in double time with puffers in between is cool and no doubt that it works but with this timetable, hmmmm. Sure it gonna be a crazy trip of lifetime but its mad, believe me. I love crazy things and even if I have to sleep a night on a street it dos not disturb me of taking my backpack and move .... but this trip I never would join.

If you still feel like going I would give you advice to make sure...

- the tickets for all are booked same time!
- bring a pillow and warm sheet, blanked!
- bring very good mod as things are not going to work out like planed!
- a look is very useful as there are hooks under the couches so you can easy look your bags, my experience is that the trains are quite save. (in Orissa you should may have a extra eye open)
- sleeper upper class is a very good choice
- anyway I would go for slepper class, not becase of the price but because of comfort of "fresh" air, real India and to see more while looking out of a window with out dirty and scratched glas. The door by the way is my prefered place to hang out for hours, can be opened while driving ... just sit down and let your legs hang out, enjoy ;)
- make sure that the issue with shower is solved, but serious!

My dear crazy folk .... I wish everybody who is going on this trip as much fun, love and happiness possible! If you have any question go ahead ;)

8. Posted by TrooprTodd (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


Many thanks for the feedback. We'll certainly stay in India after the trip, maybe 2-3 months, depending on visas. And I'm certainly planning to do some trekking in the Indian Himalaya. I'll also pass your other tips around the team because I'm sure they'll all benefit.

Just to be clear, the trip is more of an adventure race for charity; it's certainly not intended to be a 'vacation'. We're also trying to set a record around India by rail, hence the speed and meticulous planning.

Don't get me wrong, an inordinate amount of effort has already gone into the scheduling. A custom piece of software was built just to monitor the Indian train times so we (the experts, not me) could use statistics to find the quickest route. There is a forum thread that's more than 1,100 comments long at IndiaMike discussing the timing and itinerary. You can see the thread here: That will give you some idea how serious this all is.

As for showers, we're renting a couple of hotel rooms along the way, just for the middle of the day, so we can take a couple of showers. But most of us are experienced travellers, we've trekked in Africa, the Middle East, South America, etc., and spent a long time without showers.

However, you're right G-Trooper, it is completely MAD and CRAZY. But we wouldn't have it any other way. We know at some point we'll all be upset and sad and angry and desperate and sick and annoyed and exhausted. But that's what a challenge is all about.

From your suggestions G-Trooper, it sounds like you want to join us. As I've said before, you're more than welcome :) We have a really diverse group of people, so just the chance to spend time with them all is good enough for me. Have a serious think about it.

All the best guys!

9. Posted by Lyna (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey guys,

Your India Feb '11 trip sounds really awesome. As much as I'd love to jump in and join, February is during school term an as a teacher it's impossible for me to travel during that time.

In any case, I went to India last March during the semester break and had an amazing time. Met up with a friend who was doing an exchange in Delhi. Our route was Delhi-Agra-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Delhi and we did this in under a week, travelling mostly on overnight train rides. The only time I slept in cheap hotels were in Agra and Delhi for a night each. It was really quite an experience which I truly enjoyed and would love to do again someday.

Anyways, hope those of you who are going have a great trip!

Lyna from Singapore

10. Posted by TrooprTodd (Budding Member 6 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Lyna, much appreciated.

We've just started to buy the IndRail tickets and the planning is in full swing.