I have done over 4000 km in Indian trains over the last six weeks. I have not had one single problem with the food bought from the official IRCTC stands or guys going around. Look out for people with uniform shirts.
Some of the food was actually excellent
If you are travelling around India, do not book an air con train, they are far too cold. I have done over 2000km on the train system ad I recommend the no air con. Also the in the air con you keep the windows closed, and they are filthy so you don't see anything
The Indian Railways online ticket system. Don't even think about queueing to buy a ticket, just go online and buy it there. It only has one major problem, you either need a local card or a AMEX... Otherwise it is a godsend, no endless Indian queues
It is a bit of a challenge getting around Delhi. There are some areas now served by the metro. But apart from that, autos (three-wheeled tuk tuks) are an absolute no-no, you end up paying more than what you would pay to a cab (black car with yellow roofs).
There is also a a radio cab service, which is also air-conditoned and reasonably clean. Available on call at 1920, 1929, 123.
Veteran BBC correspondent Mark Tully may have written that “there are no full stops in India” but as punctuation goes, an exclamation mark can come in rather handy now and then. Especially with Delhi’s cocksure autorickshaw wallahs.
Rather than tentatively asking for your destination ("Connaught…? Janpath Market?") a bit of assertiveness ("Red Fort!! Fifty Rupees!!") works wonders for getting to the right place at the right price.
By the way - the tuk tuks and taxis use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) so if they need to fill up you have to get out of the vehicle
Every corner of every street
At 50 minutes a bus ride might prove too much after a lengthy flight. Instead purchase a pre-paid taxi voucher from the Delhi Traffic Police booths located in the arrivals area of both terminals. The voucher should only be handed over once the journey is completed.
Originally called Connaught Place, this is the centre of New Delhi. You find everything here - big shops, restaurants, art galleries, hotels and craft emporiums. More importantly, if you go to the lanes behind the main circle, you will find very good eating places. Now, with the Metro Station in the centre, you can go to the far flung parts of Delhi as well.
Underground Station of Connaught Place / Rajiv Chowk
If you can, embark or disembark at the next stop along the line.
I thought I'd seen it all but this weekend I found myself literally fighting for platform space with thousands of fellow passengers. Parts of the station are under serious repair (and, this being India, will be for some time to come yet) and have the feel of a bombsite-cum-assault course.
Add to this carts full of baggage blocking your path, porters with unwieldy loads balanced on their heads bashing into you plus the chaotic masses that are India, and you have a recipe for disaster. It took me 25 minutes to get off the platform - I timed it.
On the other hand, you may never get a better photo opportunity that sums up the riotous melee of Asia like this.
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