I took a train in sleeper class from Virdhunagar to Mumbai. The journey took 36 hours and is the quintessential Indian experience!
At first 36 hours seems like a lot of time… a day and a half, but it didn’t not feel that long at all. I had a seat right by the window which was very lucky. Because I booked the ticket only a few days before, I had been on the waiting list until the day before I was due to leave. The train ticketing system in India is something I will never understand and is quite frustrating.
You can get everything you want on the train, and from your seat. Meals can be served to order and at every station stop there are vendors selling everything under the sun. People even come onto the trains to beg for money! I spent most of my time reading, listening to music and staring out the window lost in my thoughts at how vast and different this country is.
I fell asleep in Tamil Nadu and woke up in Karnataka. The scenery went from lush greenery to arid fields. A little after sunrise I was in Maharastra, where the train stations are very small and still stuck in the past. English was barely understood.
Although the toilets were Indian style, they weren’t as gross as I had anticipated. My ass was sore which is inevitable after a long time of sitting but I definitely traveled comfortably.
Overall I felt very safe and the men who worked on the train serving meals were very sweet since they knew I was alone and made sure I was ok until the end. I don’t think that personal touch of assistance can be given for free anywhere else.