The Indian Railways authorities have subdivided bookable seats on a train into allotments or quotas to give travellers a fair opportunity to take advantage of the inexpensive travel. These quotas include General, Ladies, Defence, Senior Citizens, and others. There is one quota set aside for non-resident Indians and tourists which are referred to as the Foreign Tourist Quota.
Foreign Tourist Quotas (FTQ) is a selection of ticketed seats, made available by India Railways for NRI's and foreign travellers who have obtained a tourist visa. If all the seats on a train are already booked, you still stand a chance to get a foreign tourist quota seat. With a high population of foreigners visiting India, especially during the festival season, you still stand a chance of finding a seat on a train. This is one of the best policies of Indian Railways.
If you are going to travel by train while in India, it is recommended that you book your train tickets in advance, even before boarding your flight to India for a holiday. When you consider the fact that you are competing with more than 1.2 billion people, it makes perfect sense why booking is your best bet to securing a seat on a train. Train tickets sell quite quickly, and sets get filled fast. However, if seats are filled, you might still get a foreign tourist quota ticket or takal.
How Do you Book a Foreign Tourist Quota Ticket?
Tickets can only be sold in person at the international tourist bureau or train station. Foreign tourist quota tickets aren't sold online, through your agent or hotel. Go to the booking counter and present your passport and a valid tourist visa. If you are booking tickets for more than one person, ensure that you go to the counter with their passports and visas too. Photocopies are not allowed. You will be required to provide information about the train, including date, time, and departure/arrival station, class seating, and name of the train, and of course, money.
How do you Pay?
Cash is accepted – Euros, USD, Pounds, etc. You can pay in local currency rupees, but you may need to provide an ATM receipt. India is generally a cash-based economy, so you may struggle to pay with your credit cards.
How do you View the Train Information and Timetables?
You can visit Indiarailinfo.com to find train schedules/departures. You will also find information about foreign tourist quota tickets from the dropdown menu boxes. There are other detailed information such as class seating's (trains, times) availability.
What Class Seatings are Available?
Class seatings available include 1st AC, 2AC, 3AC, First Class, AC Car Chair, Sleeper, and 2S Second Sitting.
Are Foreign Quota Tickets More Expensive?
They are not. They cost the same as the general tickets for the class you are interested in.
Indian Railways also run luxury train like https://www.thepalaceonwheels.org/. If you want to travel in this train, book your tickets atleast 4 to 5 days prior.