I'm trying to book train tickets in India. I initially tried doing this through makemytrip.com, but I needed to have an IRCTC account. I've read before that foreigners could make an account, but now, for whatever reason, you need an Indian cel phone number and address (which I don't have).

I realize there was a similar question on this topic, but the marked answer links to a website with several solutions, all of which seem pretty convoluted and time-consuming.

I would like to imagine there's some easier way of doing this. I would specifically like to know:

  1. Are there any American travel agencies that I could go through that will just book the rail tickets? I've contacted that Australian company mentioned in the Seat61 website, but they haven't gotten back to us.
  2. If we just got into India, could our hotel make a train reservation for us? If so, how many days in advance would you need to book it (I'm going in July)?
  • It's not that much faff to get an IRCTC account from abroad, just follow the details on Seat61 and you should have it within a week. As for getting the hotel to do it for you - do you want to book onto a popular train?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 9:42
  • I'd be looking to get a train from Delhi to Agra and Agra to Jaipur. I'm assuming those might be popular routes, but not sure during monsoon season.
    – shimizu
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 11:34

1 Answer 1


I have no idea of about the first part of your question, but the answer to your second question is "depends". a) Different hotels have different rules.Either way, they can usually point you to travel agents in India who book train tickets.

b)Getting a train ticket in India can be tricky.Booking for the faster, better ones and the long distance ones(let's call them the Express trains) usually start accepting bookings 60 days from the day of journey.So, a lot of them are booked,say a month early. However, the Indian railway has a scheme called Tatkal by which you can pay more and secure a ticket by booking a day in advance.The tricky part is either you book your ticket online through IRCTC yourself or through a travel agent or stand in a long queue at the railway station to get a Tatkal ticket. However, if you traveling by a train which isn't one of those better types, you can reserve a ticket when you get to the station. Keep in mind, these trains also have non-AC/AC coaches which are not crowded and which can be booked earlier in advance.

In short, if you are considering those Express trains,travel agents can be really helpful.

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