Most of the trains that leave or reach Varanasi stop at Mugal Sarai, 15 km far form the center of the old city, Godowlia Chowk. The two train stations that are located closer to the center of Varanasi – Varanasi Junction, Manduadih and Varanasi City – don’t have such interesting connection with the major train routs that run east-west India, or show less interesting schedules with trains departure from Varanasi in the middle of the night and often with long delays, like the ones that link Varanasi with Gorakpur, on the way to Nepali border Sonauli-Belahiya.
Although, if you are coming or going to New Delhi the best train that you can get is the Shiva-Ganga Express (Train number 12560), that start at New Delhi Railway station and have his terminus at Manduadih. It’s a clean modern train that runs overnight and usually arrive with small delays.
There are 3 options to reach Mugal Sarai Train Station from Varanasi:
- savari (shared taxi)
The taxi is far the most confortable but maybe to expensive if you travel alone… anyway be prepared to pay more than 500 rupies. The taxi has the advantage that run all the time, including evening.
The tuk-tuk are the most popular option, though not so confortable as the taxi, it can be a good option especially if you carry big and heavy luggage. As a woman alone, is not the safest way to travel after the sunset, as the road to Mugal Sarai cross an empty area.
Tuk-tuk: 250 rupies (INR)… from Godowlia Chowk or Bengali Tola area.
The savaris are a kind of big tuk-tuk where 8 passengers are squeeze on the back of the vehicle. The luggage goes on top. It’s far the cheapest option as also the most uncomfortable, as part of the road is bumpy and dusty… but if you are alone, this a totally safe, as you go for sure share the ride with more people… too many in fact! The savaris run since early morning until evening, and just departure when they are full, that in early morning, around 7 am, didn’t took more than 10 minutes..
- From Varanasi Train Station (also called Varanasi Junction or Varanasi Cantonement): 20 rupies
- From BHU Gate (near Assi Gaht): 30 rupies
The trip takes around 40 minutes by tuk–tuk to 1 hour by savari. But during rush hour it can take much more, especially if you are in Goudalia area or at the Varanasi Train Station, as the tuk-tuk or savaris need to cross the city to reach the bridge. At BHU Gate you are already a bit out from the center of the city so don’t have so much traffic issues, anyway, go with time.
How to go from Mugal Sarai to Varanasi:
When you leave the station, walking along the footbridge, you must walk until the main building. Don’t turn on the right when you see a ramp where in the end of it some tuk-tuks wait.
When you arrive to the main building ignore the tuk-tuk drivers and walk until you are in the parking area in front of the station building, a kind of yard before you reach the main road. There on your right side you’ll see a group of vehicle bigger that a tuk-tuk, with the capacity of about 6 people: these are the so-called “savaris”, a shared taxi. Talk tot he drivers and find one that goes to BHU, from there you can catch a rickshaw (cyclo) to nearby one of the gath or to the Varanasi Railway Station.
The savari departure when they are full.
The trip takes about 1 hour without traffic.
- to Varanasi Train station (Varanasi Junction also called Varanasi Cantonement): 20 rupies
- to BHU Gate (near Assi Gaht): 30 rupies
If you prefer the tuk-tuk to reach Varanasi, you’ll probably face the problem to get a good deal with the drivers, but shouldn’t be more than 250 rupies.
Other information about transport prices in Varanasi:
- Rickshaw from Bengali Tola to Varanasi train station: 50 INR
- Tuk-tuk from Bengali Tola to Varanasi trains station: 100 INR
- Rickshaw from Bengali Tola to BHU Gate: 30 INR
Mugal Sarai is located far away from Varanasi and the road to reach there is a kind od highway, far from any village, in a kind of empty area, so is no recommended for women travel alone to do this ride after dark. Also the station itself is not a place to be alone during the evening; if you must do it, try to find the rest room inside the station and don’t walk alone outside the station… train station in India become a bit dodgy after dark, so if you can avoid take evening trains, and check the usual delays of the train in order to avoid long waits alone in a spooky train station.