Well I cant comment on the process of purchasing tickets independently as this train journey was organised as part of our tour of North India but I can say that it was a great experience. walking through the masses of local people with all eyes on you certainly high lighted you as a visitor amongst the locals with quiet/ shy smiles and sometimes laughter- but it all added to being at the station.
Second class trains sped through at a reasonable pace absolutely loaded with people, which made you think about your pending journey, luckily when the Shatabdi Express finally rolled into view and we boarded it was actually very comfortable. (we were advised that you may have to ask someone to vacate your pre-paid seat but this situation never arose.) The passing scenery was a delight to view. Wonderful experience.
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