Whenever I’m traveling to a city by train for a shorter duration, say for a few hours, the biggest concern for me is the accommodation. The majority of hotels or lodges in the city charge for the whole day and even the cheapest accommodation will be around a thousand bucks.
Moreover, if you are reaching the city late night, the hotels or lodges may charge their own rates and you have no choice but to accept the offer.
Recently during my visit to Bhopal, same was the situation with me. I was about to reach the station at around 5 AM and my return ticket was booked for 3.45 PM. Hence, excluding the hours of my work, I just needed the accommodation for around five hours.
If you ever stuck in the same situation, the best way to get a decent accommodation but in an extremely reasonable rate is to book the accommodation via Indian Railways website.
Indian Railways offers myriads of staying options to its passengers. If you are a solo traveler, booking a dormitory will be a great idea; on the other hand, if you are with your family, you can also book for an executive room.
In short, there are various categories of accommodations a passenger can book; from a non-AC dormitory to an AC one and from a non-AC room to a deluxe AC room.
Most importantly, the options of accommodation may vary from the railway station to railway station. For example, I got only the option to book a non-AC dormitory at Habibganj Railway Station and there were only one dormitory and a few rooms. However, at Nagpur Railway Station, there were a plethora of options to choose from, even for dormitory and also for the rooms; e.g. AC dormitory, non-AC dormitory, bunker bed dormitory, etc.
How To Book A Dormitory From IRCTC Website?
Now, one of the most important questions is, how to book a dormitory from IRCTC website?
To book a dormitory or a room from Indian Railways website, just go to the link www.rr.irctctourism.com. Here ‘rr‘ stands for ‘Retiring Rooms.’
Once you visit the site, you will see the following screen:
Here enter your PNR number, after which it will ask you: where you want to book your accommodation, at the source station or the destination station. Once you choose the same, you have to enter the remaining data like check-in and checkout data, type of accommodation you would like to book, viz. dormitory, single room, double room, etc., and quota: male, general, ladies, etc.
Once you enter the aforementioned details and click next, it shows you all the available options possible at that particular railway station. Choose the most suited option from the plethora of options given. Generally, the results highlight the room number, bed type, price, and duration.
Check in and Checkout Timings at IRCTC Dormitories:
You can only book the accommodation either for 12 hours or for 24 hours, no matter how many hours you are going to stay there. The check in and checkout time for 12 hours is: 8 AM to 8 PM and 8 PM to 8 AM and for 24 hours is from 8 AM to 8 AM and from 8 PM to 8 PM.
However, don’t worry the charges are extremely nominal that you can easily book the stay. For example, at Habibganj Railway Station the price of the dormitory for 12 hours was Rs. 90 and for 24 hours was Rs. 150, and at Nagpur Railway Station, the price was Rs. 150 for 12 hours and Rs. 250 for 24 hours. Again, the pricings may vary from the railway station to railway station.
As you saw the timings are from 8 to 8, and hence, if you are reaching early morning around 4 or 5, you can put the start time of your booking as previous night 8 PM till the next day 8 PM. Don’t worry no one is going to take your place because until you do not show the printed receipt of your booking, you or anyone is not allowed inside the dormitory.
The dormitories at these railway stations offer all the basic amenities like pillows, blankets, clean toilets, geysers, etc.
So, I hope this incredible tip will help you save a lot of money on accommodation, especially if you are traveling for a shorter duration.