Tour India Cheaply on the Bharat Darshan Train

All-Inclusive Tours to Popular Pilgrim Destinations

Pilgrims at Varanasi.
Pilgrims at Varanasi. Cristian Baitg/Getty Images.

The Bharat Darshan train is a special tourist train that's operated by Indian Railways. It takes passengers on all-inclusive tours to some of the most popular destinations in India, with particular emphasis on holy places. The tours are targeted at domestic Indian tourists wishing to go on pilgrimages and visit temples. The train provides an affordable option to do so, as costs are kept as low as possible.

Train Features

The Bharat Darshan uses sleeper class carriages without air-conditioning, accommodating about 500 passengers in total. There's a pantry car for on-board catering. Tours are conducted by students from reputed tourism and hotel industry colleges.

Tours and Itineraries

There are a wide range of packages to choose from in north and south India. The tours on offer change every year.  So far, for 2018, they have been announced as follows:

  • Bharat Darshan (11 Nights, Departs January 2 from Rajkot) -- Guruvayur, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Mysore, Rameshwaram, Tirupati, Trivandrum.
  • Dakshin Bharat Yatra (10 Nights, Departs January 3 from Jaipur) -- Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Tiruchirapalli, Tirupati, Trivandrum.
  • Sameed Sikharji Yatra (8 Nights, Departs January 17 from Viramgam) --  Parasnath, Rajgir, Varanasi.
  • Thai Amavasya Special (8 Nights, Departs January 18 from Madurai) -- Allahabad, Bhubaneshwar, Gaya, Konark, Puri, Varanasi.
  • Dakshin Bharat Yatra (11 Nights, Departs January 18 from Delhi) -- Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Tiruchirapalli, Tirupati, Trivandrum.
  • Dakshin Bharat Yatra (7 Nights, Departs January 19 from Secunderabad) -- Kanchipuram, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirapalli, Tirupati, Trivandrum.
  • Dakshin Darshan Yatra (10 Nights, Departs January 30 from Indore) -- Kanyakumari, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Tirupati, Trivandrum.
  • Ganga Sagar Puri Yatra (8 Nights, Departs February 11 from Indore) -- Baidyanath, Ganga Sagar, Puri, Varanasi.
  • Dakshin Darshan Yatra (10 Nights, Departs February 22 from Rewa) -- Kanyakumari, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Tirupati, Trivandrum.
  • Uttar Darshan Yatra (8 Nights, Departs March 7 from Jabalpur) -- Ajmer, Haridwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, Rishikesh, Udaipur.

Cost

Each tour package costs 800 rupees per person per day. It's possible to board the train at various stations along the itinerary and only undertake part of the trip.

The price includes train travel, hall/dormitory accommodation (it's possible to pay extra for a hotel) at places where there are overnight stays, vegetarian meals, tourist buses for visiting sightseeing spots, tour guides, and train security guards. Entrance fees for attractions are additional.

Is Travel on the Bharat Darshan Suitable for You?

There are a number of drawbacks to the Bharat Darshan train that travelers should be aware of. The tours can get very tiring as the itineraries are hectic. They are not leisurely tours! Passengers are taken to different places every day and there is little opportunity for rest.

What's more, the tours aren't always well-organized or managed, and delays can be encountered.

The focus of the tours is on visiting temples at each destination, which may become monotonous for anyone who's interested in sightseeing more than going on a religious pilgrimage.

It can get hot and uncomfortable inside the train, as there is no air-conditioning in sleeper class. Sleeper class also offers little privacy and the toilets are often dirty.

While some overnight stays are included on the tours, long stretches can be spent traveling on the train. However, if you don't mind budget travel, it's an easy way of seeing India.

How to Book Your Tickets

You can find out more information about the tours and make a reservation for travel on the Bharat Darshan by visiting the Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation's rail tourism website, or at Indian Railways Tourist Facilitation Center at New Delhi Railway Station, Zonal Offices, and Regional Offices.