After spending two days in Jaipur, we diverted from the standard Golden Triangle route to add Udaipur to our itinerary. There are a few different ways to get to Udaipur, but we decided to take the train. In this post, we’ll take you along on our journey on the Indian Railways daytime train from Jaipur to Udaipur in AC 3-Tier Sleeper class.
Also, we made the trip with our 2-year-old, so we’ll weave their experience into this post. So, if you’re wondering what it’s like to ride the train in India with kid, we’ve got you covered!
In this Post
- How to get from Jaipur to Udaipur (train vs car vs plane)
- Indian Railways trains & classes
- Buying tickets for the train from Jaipur to Udaipur
- Boarding the train in Jaipur
- Seat review: AC 3-Tier Sleeper car & bed details
- Trip Recap: Riding the train from Jaipur to Udaipur
- Arrival in Udaipur
How to get from Jaipur to Udaipur
We really wanted to go to Udaipur. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly close to any of the Golden Triangle cities on our itinerary. You can get there from any of the three (Dehli, Jaipur, Agra), but Jaipur is the closest.
Udaipur is about 250 miles southwest of Jaipur, and there are a few different ways to get there.
- Car: It’s a 7ish hour drive but that time can vary drastically with traffic and gas/rest breaks. Hiring a driver costs between $60 and $75 USD (INR 5,000 – 6,000). Pro: door to door service. Con: Stuck seated in a car the whole time.
- Plane: The flight is only about an hour and tickets usually cost around $50. Pros: cover the longest distance quickly. Cons: lots of time and steps on either side of the actual flight. The airports are not accessible from either city center by public transit and Indian airports are notoriously chaotic, so you have to get there pretty early to deal with security.
- Bus: The bus takes 6 – 9 hours and costs anywhere from $3 to $70. Pros: bus terminals are more centrally located, there’s more bus times than train times, and it can be the cheapest option. Cons: you’re on a bus for 9 hours (some have beds and AC though!) and traffic may be an issue.
- Train: The train from Jaipur to Udaipur takes 6.5 to 8.5 hours, depending on the route and time of day. Train tickets costs between $4 and $20, depending on the class. Pros: comfortable bed/seat options are available, schedule is pretty reliable. Cons: tickets can sell out, the scheduled times are not ideal.
As you can tell by the subject of this post, we think the train is the best option. It offers the best combination of price, speed and comfort.
Indian Railways Trains & Classes
The Indian Railways train network comprises 67,000 miles of track that cover the entire country. Over 11,000 trains operate daily, moving over 23 million passengers every day. If you need to get between two places in India, there’s a good chance you can do it by rail.
The experience onboard Indian Railways varies greatly by class. Tourists and wealthier domestic travelers in the upper classes are treated to air conditioned cabins and assigned seating. Meanwhile, many poorer locals travelers pile into hot, overcrowded cars.
The classes available on each train will vary based on the specific route. For example, overnight trains have more sleeper cars and a First Class option, while daytime routes have more seat cars.
Here’s a look at the classes that are available for the daytime train from Jaipur to Udaipur.
- 3A – AC 3-Tier Sleeper: Each passenger is assigned a bed, which are stacked 3-high in an air conditioned car. Some 2-tier bunks are also available in this class. This cabin is most popular with tourists and wealthier domestic Indian travelers. This post covers our experience in this specific class.
- CC – AC Chair Class: Each passenger is assigned a seat in an air conditioned car. Seats are in a 2-3 configuration. This cabin is a little cheaper than the 3-Tier Sleeper, and is more common with domestic travelers.
- SL – Sleeper Class: This cabin is similar to the AC 3-Tier Sleeper, but it does not have air conditioning, bedding is not provided, and it’s frequently overcrowded/oversold. This cabin is mostly middle- to low-income domestic travelers.
- 2S – Second Sitting Class: This cabin features seats in a 3-3 configuration and does not have air conditioning. There is usually an assigned seating ticket option for this cabin. This cabin is mostly middle- to low-income domestic Indian travelers.
- General Class: This is the cheapest ticket you can get. There is no assigned seating and no air conditioning. This cabin is nearly entirely low-income domestic Indian travelers. Tourists can’t even book this class online in advance, but they should know it exists.
Buying tickets for the train from Jaipur to Udaipur
We bought our tickets for the train from Jaipur to Udaipur on 12GoAsia. (This isn’t sponsored or an affiliate or anything, we just really love their product and customer service.)
12GoAsia is a third-party agency that operates as a go-between for foreign tourists and railways throughout Asia. This is particularly useful for India because it’s really difficult to book directly with Indian Railways online.
Start your search by entering the location and dates in the search bar. There are a handful of different train times for this route, including daytime and overnight trains. Then select the train to see the available class options. Fare classes can sell out, and not all classes are available on all trains.
NOTE: In this post, we primarily focus on the daytime train experience. If you’re leaning toward the overnight option, we have a separate post that covers our experience on the overnight train from Udaipur to Agra, which has some good general overnight tips.
Once you find the train and class that you want, you can buy your ticket through 12GoAsia. You’ll be charged and receive a receipt immediately. Then, they then work directly with Indian Railways to secure your ticket. This transaction usually takes about 24 hours, and then you’ll get your official eTickets and PNR number (Indian Railways booking reference) sent to your inbox. Your eTicket will include your specific seat assignment.
We booked train #09721 which was scheduled to depart Jaipur at 6:15 AM and arrive in Udaipur at 1:20 PM. For this journey, we booked the AC 3-Tier Sleeper.
Boarding the Train in Jaipur
The Jaipur train station is located about 2.5 miles southwest of the Old City. It’s not walkable, but it is easily accessible by the Metro. There’s also plenty of tuk tuks around if you need a quicker ride.
We were staying at Jai Mahal Palace. Despite being physically close to the station, it was very much not walkable and our train was early. We booked a car through our hotel and paid way too much to make the 5-minute drive, but it was really the only option.
Our train was scheduled to depart at 6:15 AM and we arrived at the station at 5:45 AM. Even at that hour, the station was packed. There was a ton of traffic just getting into the station and it took us another 10 minutes to get to the drop off point.
There was a “security screen” before we could enter the station. I put that in quotes because I don’t believe for a second that it was at all effective.
Do not picture airport security. This was a very short conveyer belt with a steady stream of people throwing suitcases and then pouring throw the metal detectors, which were just beeping the whole time. The goal was to get to the other side before your suitcase fell to the floor at the end of another very short conveyer belt.
Our 2-year-old handled three weeks in India and the Middle East extremely well, but this security screen was the most traumatizing for them. Thery were really nervous about the crowds and the pushing, but when our suitcase fell on the floor they were devastated. Everything was actually safe and fine, but they’re just a sweet soul who was worried about our stuff.
Navigating the Jaipur Railway Station
After security, we looked to the digital board that listed all of the upcoming trains and platforms. The station was well marked with overhead signs pointing to the different platforms. All signage was in both Hindi and English.
The station was incredibly busy at this hour (shortly before 6 AM). People were heading to all sorts of different tracks and there were numerous trains coming and going.
The train station was not glamorous, but it had the necessities. There were a few quick service restaurants that were already open, plus kiosks and carts selling packaged snacks like chips and cakes, as well as bottled and canned beverages.
We picked up a few bags of chips — the Magic Masala Wavy Lays were our personal favorite around India — and a juice box. Several places sold tea, but we didn’t note any coffee.
This particular train to Udaipur starts in Jaipur, so it was at the platform when we arrived. Everything was very clearly labeled. The train cars were labeled by class in Hindi and English. There were also signs on each car displaying the route and car identifier. Digital signs overhead stated the train number and the class for each specific car.
We were traveling in the AC 3-Tier Sleeper class. We followed the train until we saw the cars labeled “AC Three Tier.” Then we followed signs to car B1, which was the car listed in our seat assignment on our ticket.
AC 3-Tier Sleeper Car & Bed Details
After we boarded the train, we found our seats. The beds were all clearly numbered and we found the ones that aligned with our ticket.
On one side of the train there were open compartments with three beds on each side (6 beds per compartment). There was a three-rung step ladder along the aisle to reach the upper bunks. The middle bed could fold down to create a seat with the bottom bed.
Each berth had a table between the lower bunks and a rack/shelf between the top bunks. Cup holders were also located beside all of the upper bunks. There were six outlets with standard Indian plugs (type C) in each compartment, with one accessible to each passenger.
With six people sharing a compartment, there wasn’t a ton of room for storage. Suitcases could slide under the bottom bunk or needed to be placed on your bed.
On the other side of the aisle there were bunk beds, stacked only two high. Other than not having a middle bunk, these beds were basically the same as the beds in the compartments.
As the name suggests, the AC 3-Tier Sleeper car is air conditioned and was indeed comfortably cool.
Overall, the seats were fine. Even though we were in tight quarters, we didn’t feel that cramped. Honestly, my biggest complaint is that the beds weren’t that cushioned. My butt definitely started to hurt after sitting on the seat for 6 hours. But since it’s a train, I could get up and walk around as needed.
Riding the Train from Jaipur to Udaipur
The daytime train from Jaipur to Udaipur was delightfully uneventful. (This was before the chaos of the overnight train from Udaipur to Agra, so I didn’t even know to appreciate it at the time.)
The train left the station on time at 6:15 AM. Shortly after departure, the steward came through to check tickets. He didn’t actually scan our tickets, but made sure our tickets matched our seat number. After that, they came through offering packs of clean bedding to each passenger.
As a family of three, we had all three beds on one side of a compartment. Our toddler didn’t officially need a ticket or a bed, but we purchased it for extra space and comfort. Since it was a daytime train, we turned the lower two bunks into a seat, and used the top bed for storage.
The other people in our compartment (and honestly the rest of the train) slept most of the time. That meant the train stayed mostly quiet, which was nice. We did depart early and we were in a sleeper car, but it was still a bit surprising given the time of day.
Bathrooms are available in each car, but they’re not the cleanest. I’d recommend avoiding them if you can.
There was not a cafe car, but a steward came by every few minutes offering up a different item for sale. (It reminded me of hot dog vendors in the stands at an American baseball game.) Items for sale included chai tea, Nescafe coffee, sandwiches, water, and my personal favorite, Domino’s pizza.
What stood out the most about the train ride from Jaipur to Udaipur was the change in scenery. We moved from a dry, dusty landscape outside of Jaipur to the lush, green fields and orange flowering trees of the Aravallis hills. I loved watching the beautiful views from the window as we made our way through Rajasthan.
That was pretty much it though! We mostly just sat in our seat doing crossword puzzles and listening to podcasts we downloaded with headphones.
Riding the train from Jaipur to Udaipur with a Kid
As we’ve mentioned, we were making this trip with a 2-year-old. For the most part, this trip in AC 3-Tier Sleeper class went really well.
The hardest thing about this train ride with a kid was the timing. Getting up at 5 AM to catch a 6:15 AM train wasn’t ideal, but it was better than the other trains that got in at 3 AM.
Fortunately for us, our toddler likes trains. They ride the Subway everyday at home in New York, and they’ve also taken long trains around Europe. They understood the assignment and were overall content — except for the aforementioned meltdown at security.
One thing to note is that there are not baby changing tables in the bathrooms. (Trust me, you wouldn’t use them if there were.) We just did diaper changes quickly on the bed.
Food was the most important thing for us. They sold food on the train, but we were very cautious about what we ate in India, so we brought our own. It was mostly leftovers from meals at our last hotel that we packed up into a bento box (like this).
The next most important thing was entertainment. We made sure our tablet was fully charged, but also had a charger handy. The cell service was spotty and there was no wifi on the train, so we downloaded all of their favorite shows and games in advance.
In addition to the tablet, we also had a few other things to keep them busy. Between the books and toys we brought with us, and the ones we acquired at every hotel, they had plenty to do.
Our toddler isn’t one that easily falls asleep when anything exciting is going on, so they didn’t sleep on this train. However, the conditions were good if you had a toddler who can do that. The sheets were clean, the beds were big enough to share, and the cabin was mostly quiet, albeit bright.
They got a little antsy at the very end, but overall the trip was smooth with a kid.
Arrival in Udaipur
Despite falling behind schedule early in the trip, we managed to arrive in Udaipur early. We pulled into the station at 1:03 PM for a scheduled 1:20 PM arrival.
As we were pulling into the station, it started pouring rain. Fortunately the platform was covered and the rain let up by the time we left the station.
The tough thing about the Udaipur station (and honestly most rail stations), is that you have to go up and over the tracks to get to the exit. I didn’t notice any elevators, so we had to hike up the stairs with all our luggage. Fortunately their was an escalator on the station side to go back down.
We passed through the main part of the station and exited to the parking lot. There were lots of tuk tuks and taxi drivers at the station soliciting rides, so it would be easy to hail a ride if you needed one.
We scheduled a driver through our hotel to pick us up. He was waiting for us when we arrived and we were quickly off to our hotel. Our first train ride in India was a success and now it was time to celebrate Holi in Udaipur.
The train from Jaipur to Udaipur was perfectly fine and we’d easily recommend it to most anyone. The AC 3-Tier Sleeper class was comfortable and clean, and the train ran on time as scheduled. Even though it was an early morning, I was happy we chose the train over other transit options.
It was definitely the best travel option for getting to Udaipur with a kid. Our little one got to watch their tablet and play games all morning in the comfort of an air conditioned bed. They could get up and walk around if they needed to, which they couldn’t have done in a car. Plus, it was a pretty simple travel day, which was better than all the steps involved with flying.
This was our first train experience in India. I had seen the viral photos and videos of overpacked trains in India. While we saw bits that made us believe those experiences were true, it wasn’t our reality in AC 3-Tier Sleeper class.
The whole experience was eye-opening, but our travel class wasn’t a hard or unpleasant experience. We were happy we took this trip by rail and will definitely consider Indian Railways and the AC 3-Tier Sleeper class for future India travel.
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