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Each class has its own code, which you'll need to know.In addition, every train service is identified by a four-digit train number, quoted in the timetable, and every station is identified by its own alphabetic code - very important in cities such as Agra, where there is more than one large station.Alternatively, turn your itinerary over to SD Enterprises (020 8903 3411; which sells point-to-point tickets, itineraries and Ind Rail passes - which come in a variety of options from half a day in second class (£6) to 90 days in air-conditioned comfort (£550). To find your train amidst the crowds and the chaos, choose a porter at the station entrance, show him your ticket and (for a small fee) he will carry your bags to the correct platform.As a guide, the basic fare from Delhi to Agra in a comfortable, airline-style reclining seat is 375 rupees (about £4.50).In Agra, decent options outside the big hotels are few: cautious eaters should avoid the hole-in-the-wall restaurants occupying the alleys around the Taj Mahal and instead take a rickshaw out to Only, a garden restaurant at 45 Taj Road (00 91 5) which attracts local family parties as readily as Western tour groups.Sit out on its shaded lawns for splendid Mughlai cooking.Of Jaipur's numerous monuments, the Hawa Mahal - an ornate five-storey façade, designed to allow the women of the royal household to observe the street in anonymity - has become an icon of Rajasthani architecture. Completing the triangle, Agra - for all its monumental splendour - can be a trial, with the perpetual smog and the hard-sell hawking.It can at times feel like a swollen village: its parks and public spaces have an oddly suburban ambience.

Another possible gateway is Amritsar, north-west of Delhi, with non-stop flights from Birmingham on Air India and Heathrow on Jet; the latter can do competitive "open-jaw" deals into one city and out of the other. You may find that getting from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur comprises the most evocative aspect of an Indian holiday.Although taxis are cheap, the classic way to get around Indian cities is by auto-rickshaw. One long-established India operator is Voyages Jules Verne (020-7616 1000;, which is the budget arm of Kuoni.The nine-night Golden Triangle tour skims Delhi in favour of a two-night stay at Kuchaman Fort, near Jaipur; it runs twice a week for much of the year, with keen prices from £715 per person.Domestic flights notwithstanding, Indians still clock up a phenomenal quantity of rail miles and, in general, the trains are well organised and efficient.Trains have eight classes of travel, from unreserved wooden benches to air-conditioned berths that include bedding and meals.