I've read that trains in India are very busy and its best to book in advance. So where is the best website to book online? I've found the site www.cleartrip.com and www.makemytrip.com - both of which seem to have a straight forward website, however I found loads of reviews that basically condemn them (i.e. http://www.mouthshut.com/websites/Cleartrip-com-Reviews-925062909)

The journeys I need to book for November are:

Delhi - Varanasi Varanasi - Agra Agra - Jodhpur Jodhpur - Jaipur

Is it best to book online? If not what's the best way of booking?

  • 2
    Don't think too much about the reviews. Usually, we only leave a review on Mouthshut.com when we are not happy with the service. When we are happy (which is countless times) we normally do not leave a review. The other biggies like MakeMyTrip.com 83% 1-star reviews and Yatra.com 77% 1-star reviews have equally bad reviews. I have used all three services and it has been good for me, so far.
    – escist
    Oct 26, 2012 at 12:30

5 Answers 5


Have a read of the How to Book Indian Train Tickets from Outside of India section of Seat61. It details exactly what you need to do to get an account (depending on the credit card you plan to use), how to get it verified, and then information on booking the tickets.

It's fiddly, takes a couple of days, but I can confirm that it works as I used it last month to book tickets!

(You'll end up using the official booking sites, either IRCTC or ClearTrip depending on your credit card, but the process of registering for them as a foreigner without an Indian mobile phone is fiddly so you'll need to follow the Seat61 advice!)


Please use the Official Site where you can book railway tickets in advance up to 4 months. Please try to refrain from using other travel sites as they might charge extra money.

I've been using this site for a long time. Also, you can use eRail to find comprehensive information regarding the trains, travel time, average speed, fares etc.

  • 3
    I have since tried registering with the official site which required me to email them sending a scan of my passport for them to send me the mobile activation code via email. However, when it came to booking it seems that although they do accept VISA cards now, they only accept VISA cards issued by certain Indian banks. So it looks like cleartrip is the only way to book if you are not from India. Oct 25, 2012 at 8:15

There is an official website (irctc.co.in) maintained by the Indian Government to book railway tickets online.

This is used by most of the people in India (if not all), including me. I don't think there should be any problem for people from outside India, though I also admit I never confirmed it.

makemytrip & cleartrip simply connect to the api's provided to them, plus they add a fee.

  • 1
    As the link describes....foreigners can use the official site if they have an american express card...the third party sites allow for Visa to be used? Sep 16, 2012 at 17:10
  • The resource is a bit outdated I suppose. Cause I have been able to use my Visa card for all the bookings over the past 9 months @ irctc.co.in.
    – loxxy
    Sep 17, 2012 at 2:18
  • 1
    You can only use IRCTC if you have an Indian mobile phone number, or you follow the Seat61.com instructions for how to work around it (tricky but possible!). Likewise, it'll apparently only accept Indian Visa and MasterCards, but it accepts Amex cards from all over the world
    – Gagravarr
    Sep 17, 2012 at 9:41
  • Just to confirm, I tried using the IRCTC site after the workaround for the indian mobile issue, and it does indeed now accept VISA cards. HOWEVER, only VISA cards provided by Indian banks! Oct 25, 2012 at 10:57
  • Tried booking a ticket with a european Visa card... no luck :(
    – MmM
    Jun 22, 2016 at 14:45

Yes, you can book Indian Railway tickets online through the official site of India Railway, i.e. https://www.irctc.co.in. You just need to have an account in that site to access all its facilities.

  • 1
    Doesn't the IRCTC website still require an Indian mobile number to register? (Unless you go via customer care as detailed on seat61.com). As such, just telling someone to register on the site who doesn't have an Indian sim, without telling them the workaround, is at best unhelpful...
    – Gagravarr
    Feb 22, 2016 at 10:48

it's the only way to book an India train with IRCTC if you are a foreigner...

If you follow the instruction, everything should run smoothly and you will be able to book your train, pay with your foreign credit card and print your tickets now! It worked for me!!!

youtube instruction

  • 1
    That's your own video. Please indicate your association with stuff you are affiliated with, as per SE rules, and also indicate in this answer the instructions in the video. Otherwise what happens if the video is removed? This answer would become useless :/
    – Mark Mayo
    Aug 7, 2013 at 4:07

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