Summer breaks have always been my favourite time of the year. It’s an annual ritual for me to pack my bags and set off on an adventure. This year, I decided to visit the enchanting city of Mysore, and to make it even more exciting, I brought along Leia, my 9-month-old baby Beagle, who is the latest addition to our family. Although I could have boarded Leia at a pet boarding facility, I felt that she was still too young and taking her with me would be much more fun than going on a solo trip.
With a bit of research and preparation, Leia and I finally embarked on a thrilling train journey to Bangalore, from where we would cab it to Mysore. However, before we could begin our exploration, there were a couple of things that needed to be in place to ensure a seamless travel experience.
Ticket Booking and Documentation:
To travel with a pet on an Indian train, it is compulsory to book a ticket in the 1st class AC section. Since pets are only allowed in this section, you must ensure you book a whole coupe in the 1st class section if you’re travelling alone. A coupe accommodates two people, so you’ll need to book two tickets to ensure that nobody else occupies the same coupe.
Additionally, one day prior to your scheduled departure, you’ll need to visit the railway station from where your tickets are booked and submit a written application to the Chief Commercial Officer of the railway department. In the application, you should explain that you’ll be travelling with a pet and request a coupe ticket. For detailed information about the regulations and procedures for travelling with a pet, you can read more on Indian Railways.
Once all the necessary paperwork is sorted, it’s essential to pack Leia’s essentials for the journey. These include her food, water, treats, bedding, toys, leash, collar with identification tags, diapers (if required), waste bags, and any necessary medications. Bringing familiar items from home will help Leia feel more comfortable during the trip.
Before the journey, I took Leia to the vet for a health checkup, to ensure that she is up-to-date on vaccinations and free from fleas/ticks. We also got a health certificate for her. Also, it is a good idea to have pet insurance in place, which provides added peace of mind.
Arrival at the Railway Station:
On the day of your journey, it’s recommended to arrive at the railway station at least one hour before your train’s departure time. In my case, Leia and I arrived at the bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai at around 10 a.m., as our departure time was 11:30 a.m.
Once at the railway station, you need to locate the pet department. Here, your pet’s weight, size, and age will be checked, as these factors will determine the price of the ticket for your pet. Make sure to carry hard copies of the following documents: your travel certificate, vaccination certificate for both you and your pet, a copy of your ticket, and your Aadhaar card.
Boarding the Train:
Leia excitedly wagged her tail as we made our way down the platform. She walked with confidence, as if she were walking the ramp, and woofed her way into the coupe like a boss! Amidst mixed reactions from fellow passengers, we settled into our cabin. As the train started chugging along the tracks, Leia’s furry paws pressed against the window, leaving cute smudges as she took in the vibrant landscapes passing by.
India, oh what a magnificent beauty you are!
We were greeted by the Train Conductor (TC) to ensure that all our tickets were in order and to check on Leia’s comfort. Leia’s ears perked up, and her excitement grew with each passing minute. She played with her toys and would curl up against me from time to time.
If Leia got restless, I would take her out of the cabin, with her leash on, and walk down the corridor. One of the great things about Indian Railways is that it makes several stops, which was helpful for Leia’s pee and poop breaks. Of course, I carried diapers along, especially for the overnight stretch.
Leia, exhausted from the day’s adventures, eventually drifted off to sleep, her gentle snores providing me with company. I sat there, marvelling at the beauty around me, grateful for this unforgettable journey and the precious moments shared with my little girl.
Finally, we arrived at Bangalore Cantt station, the Silicon Valley of India, at 7:00 am in the morning. I gently woke Leia from her slumber, and hand in paw, the two of us stepped off the train. Our hearts were brimming with joy and a collection of cherished memories, and we felt grateful for the magic of train journeys. A heartfelt thank you to Indian Railways!
As we made our way towards the taxi stand, managing Leia and the luggage proved a little difficult. So, I recommend packing only essentials and investing in lightweight, durable luggage with wheels or a backpack-style option that is easy to manoeuvre.
Since my taxi had not arrived yet, Leia and I decided to check into a nearby café, where we could recharge our batteries before embarking on our next adventure—a road trip to Mysore. Woof! Woof!