Tour India Cheaply on the Bharat Darshan Train

All-Inclusive Tours to Popular Pilgrim Destinations

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 usually uses Sleeper Class carriages without air-conditioning, accommodating about 500 passengers in total. However, 3AC carriages have now been introduced on some train tours as well. There's a pantry car for on-board catering. Tours are conducted by students from reputed tourism and hotel industry colleges. Passengers can board at various set stations along the route, in addition to the starting departure destination.

Tours and Itineraries for 2020-21

The tours on offer have various themes and they change every year. There's a wide range to choose from in both north and south India. The following tours have been announced for 2020-21:

  • Dakshin Darshan Special Tourist Train (11 nights, departs November 9 from Rajkot) -- Rameshwarm, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum, Guruvayur, Tirupati, Mysore. The cost is 11,340 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 13,860 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Diwali Ganga Snan Special (seven nights, departs November 11 from Tirunelveli) -- Gaya, Varanasi, Allahabad. The cost is 7,575 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Vaishno Devi Amritsar Bharat Darshan (10 nights, departs November 16 from Agartala) -- Vaishno Devi, Amritsar. The cost is 10,395 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Dakshin Bharat Yatra (12 nights, departs November 17 from Gorakhpur) -- Rameshwaram, Madurai, Kovalam, Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Tiruchirapalli, Tirupati, Mallikarjuna. The cost is 12,285 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Harihar Ganges Ram Janambhoomi Special Tourist Train (11 nights, departs November 23 from Rajkot) -- Puri, Kolkata, Gangasagar, Gaya, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Ujjain. The cost is 11,340 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 13,860 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Tirth Yatra (six nights, departs November 26 from Tirunelveli) -- Puri, Konark, Kolkata. The cost is 6,615 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Jyotirling and Statue of Unity Yatra (seven nights, departs December 2 from Delhi) -- Omkareshwer, Ujjain, Vadodara, Somnath, Dwarka, Nageshwar, Ahmedabad. The cost is 7,560 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Dakshin Bharat Aastha Yatra (13 nights, departs December 2 from Raxaul) -- Tirupati, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum, Puri. The cost is 13,230 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Gaya Ganga Sagar Puri Yatra (nine nights, departs December 8 from Indore) -- Varanasi, Allahabad, Gaya, Gangasagar, Puri. The cost is 9,450 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 11,550 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Jewels of Madhya Pradesh (nine nights, departs December 20 from Tirunelveli) -- Gwalior, Khajuraho, Jhansi, Vidisha, Sanchi, Bhopal. The cost is 10,200 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Jyotirling Yatra with Shirdi and Statue of Unity (11 nights, departs December 20 from Rewa) -- Omkareshwar, Mahakaleshwar, Statue of Unity, Somnath, Dwarka, Ahmedabad, Pune, Parli Vaijnath, Aurangabad, Shirdi, Nasik. The cost is 11,340 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 13,860 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Dakshin Bharat Yatra Special (10 nights, departs December 21 from Bokaro Steel City) -- Tirupati, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Kurnool Town. The cost is 10,395 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Dev Darshan Yatra (11 nights, departs January 6 from Jaipur) -- Ayodhya, Varanasi, Baidyanath, Puri, Konark, Tirupati and Mallikarjun. The cost is 11,340 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 18,900 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Pilgrim Special Tourist Train (12 nights, departs January 16 from Rajkot) -- Rameshwarm, Madurai, Tirupati, Malikaarjun, Parli Vaijanath, Aundha Nagnath, Grisneshwar, Triambkeshwar, Bhimashankar. The cost is 12,285 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 20,475 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Jyotirling Yatra (seven nights, departs January 27 from Jalandhar City) -- Omkareshwer, Ujjain, Ahmedabad, Dwarka, Nageshwar, Somnath. The cost is 7,560 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 12,600 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Pilgrim Special Tourist Train (10 nights, departs January 31 from Rajkot) -- Ujjain, Mathura, Agra, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Amritsar, Vaishno Devi. The cost is 10,395 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 17,325 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Train Golden Triange (10 nights, departs February 1 from Agartala) -- Delhi, Agra, Jaipur. The cost is 10,395 rupees per person in Sleeper Class.
  • Jyotirling Yatra with Tirupati (11 nights, departs February 14 from Indore) -- Nasik (Trimbkeshwar), Pune (Bhimashankar), Aurangabad (Grishneshwar), Parli (Parli Baijnath), Kurnool Town (Mallikarjuna), Renigunta (Tirupati Balaji), Rameshwaram (Ramanathaswamy Temple), Madurai (Meenakshi Temple). The cost is 11,340 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 18,900 rupees per person in 3AC.
  • Puri Ganga Sagar Yatra (eight nights, departs February 28 from Indore) -- Varanasi (Kashi Vishwanath), Gaya (Bodh Gaya), Kolkata (Gangasagar), Puri (Jangannath Puri, Konark Temple, Lingaraj Temple). The cost is 8,505 rupees per person in Sleeper Class and 14,175 rupees per person in 3AC.

What's Included

The price includes train travel, lodge or dormitory accommodations on a multi-sharing basis (it's often 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.

Passengers must carry their own bedding.

Is Travel on the Bharat Darshan Suitable for You?

The answer to this question will depend on your individual comfort zone!

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 and are quite adaptable, 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.

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