Before knowing how you can buy an Indian-railways ticket, you must first understand various classes of coaches available in India.
- General Class
- Second Sitting (Chair Car)
- 3 Tier Sleeper Class
- AC Chair Car
- 3 Tier AC Sleeper
- 2 Tier AC Sleeper
- 1st Class AC (1-Tier)
While General Compartment is the cheapest option available, it is often very inconvenient way of traveling thanks to highly populated trains. You can not pre-book or reserve your ticket in the general class. 2nd Sitting class can sometimes be reserved.
3 Tier Sleeper coaches must always be reserved. If you do not have a reservation and if you are travelling during non-peak days of the year, you might want to check with Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) on the platform before getting into the train.
Summers are extremely hot in India, so non AC coaches must be avoided if you are traveling between 1st March and 30th June. Though monsoons enter India starting from 10th June, it would be very hot till the end of the June. When I say, hot, the temperatures will range from 37 degree Celsius to 42 degree Celsius.
All AC coaches must be reserved at least a few days ahead of your journey. All the advance reservations commence 60 days prior to the day of the origin of the train.