There are several ways to travel from Chennai, which is in South India to Delhi in North India. The fastest and most convenient way is to take a flight, but taking a train or buses is also an option. For budget travellers, taking the train is the cheapest travel choice.
The distance between Chennai to Delhi is 2161 kilometres by road and 2175 kilometres by rail. Therefore, it would take at least 40 hours (with no stops) to drive up from Chennai to Delhi wile a train will upto 30 hours. Flying will take much less time; just under three hours as the aerial distance is 1750 kilometers.
Depending on the transport method you chose, prices vary. Plane tickets cost around INR 4000 while train tickets in a second class compartment are similarly priced - between INR 3500-4000. Taking a bus will be slightly cheaper, but involves several bus changes. The whole journey will be approximately INR 4500.
Flights from Chennai to New Delhi
If you chose to travel by air, prices will vary according to the class and airline you chose. An economy class ticket on a budget airline from Chennai to Delhi will cost INR 3500. A ticket on a regular airline will be INR 5000. To get the best rates, book online on websites like MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip and Yatra and book your ticket well in advance.
Budget airlines which fly from Chennai to Delhi include Indigo and Spicejet while the more high end carriers are Vistara, Jet Airways and Air India. All airlines allow 15-20 kg of free check in baggage along with a carry on but the budget ones will not serve complimentary food or water so carry some along. You can buy them on board, but the rates are quite high. Domestic flights in India do not serve alcohol on board unless you are in the first class.
Direct flights take around 3 hours from Chennai to Delhi, while connecting flights can take upto ten hours and are the same cost. There are plenty of direct flights each day, so it’s not necessary to take a connecting flight.
Buses from Chennai to New Delhi
There are no direct buses from Chennai to Delhi, but if you’d like to travel by bus, you can take e.g. a bus from Chennai to Pune, followed by Pune to Ahmedabad and then finally a bus from Ahmedabad to New Delhi. Each bus ticket will be between INR 800- 1500, so totally the trip will cost around INR 4500. Popular carriers include Eagle Travels and Patel Travels.
The entire journey will take you approximately 55 hours road time, but you should also consider transferring to different buses and waiting time when calculating the total travel time. The roads are generally smooth but there are a few roads which go through hills so be sure to take some medicine if you get motion sickness.
As there are several bus carriers from city to city there are regular departures, albeit from different bus stops across the cities. Most buses are night buses although there are a few early morning departures. Each operator has different cancellation policies, but one would have to inform them at least 24 hours in advance of the cancellation to be considered for a refund.
Most private bus companies have the same amenities on their buses. They are air-conditioned with partially reclining seats and ply through the night. There are no bathrooms on board but the bus will stop every few hours. Most buses will play an Indian film on overhead televisions in the evening.
Bus travel can be challenging because of the amount of times you’d have to change buses.
Train from Chennai to Delhi
Trains are convenient options to travel from Chennai to Delhi as they are regular and fairly comfortable. Tickets cost between INR 500- 3000 depending on the class and train you chose.
Be familiar with the different stations in each city; Chennai has two main stations - the Chennai Central Railway Station (MAS) and the Chennai Egmore Railway Station (MS) and Delhi has the New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) and the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station (NZM).
The journey will take around 36 hours and will include frequent stops at major stations on the route.
There are several trains which go from Chennai to Delhi so there are regular departures. Most are in the early to mid-morning with a few departing from Chennai late at night.
There are several classes on each train from the sleeper class (SL) to the first class AC. The second class AC is recommended as it has four to six berths, accessible moderately clean toilets, air-conditioning and pillows and blankets. Travellers are also served meals if they are in the second AC class.
First class AC, which has two to four berths and air-conditioning is also an option. It has cleaner bathrooms, shower facilities and an attendant. However, the price of a ticket for this class is similar to a flight ticket at INR 4000 - 5000.
If you’re on a budget, opt for third class AC, which has more berths in each compartment, less privacy and does not include meals.