Today's Chennai is as hot and dusty and noisy and hectic as yesterday.

After taking three different tuk-tuks, for each one of which I had to negotiate the fare with a constantly head-shaking driver, I managed to buy a train ticket for tomorrow from Chennai Egmore to Varanasi, one of the most sacred cities located in north India.

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Buying a train ticket in Chennai wasn't quite straightforward partly because I was a foreigner and no credit card payment was accepted for some reason. There was even a separate counter inside the station dedicated just for foreigners to purchase tickets only in cash.

My train ticket cost INR2635.00 (about USD50), plus a few extra dollars were spent for those tuk-tuks. Even considering the distance from Chennai to Varanasi, the ticket was certainly not cheap at all by Indian standards.

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In fact, my ticket was for a 2A class seat, while the cheapest ticket available was a Sleeper class seat for IND560. I bought it simply because tomorrow's train ride will be almost 40 hours in total, and strangely enough, there was no 1st class for this train.
I am absolutely aware that this is India, but I'm still seeking minimum comfort for the longest journey on a single train I've ever done in my life before.
To be honest with you, I'm a bit nervous about tomorrow's journey now.

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!!!!! Note !!!!!
Although it took me a little while to figure out how to manipulate the following website, I found it super useful to find out the time-table for each train, and to look for any available seats as well as their fares (As of October 2012):
http://www.erail.in/

The following might also be useful to look at how thoroughly extensive the Indian Railway network is and to know how far your train goes (The file can be quite large):
http://wikitravel.org/upload/shared//c/c8/India_railway_schematic_map.png


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