The third largest railway network in the world (read India) has a number of interest facts that not many are aware of. Around 161 years old, if the tracks of the train routes of India would be laid, they would circling the earth around 1.5 times. The trains of India join 65000 km of the country and carry around 30 million passengers. A train journey is always a memorable experience. As the train chugs on its track, its rhythmic vibration takes the travelers to another world. Some of the train routes of the country are known for offering some breathtaking views, ensuring an unforgettable experience. The blog enlists 25 of the most beautiful train routes in India:
1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train)
Journey: New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling
The World heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the Toy Train also boasts of being India’s oldest mountain railways. Circular loops are an amazing feature of this rail route that offers it an accession. Batasia Loop is the most famous one, known for offering mesmerizing views of the Mt Kanchenjunga and the town. When the train is travelling upwards from Sukna, it passes a number of small towns, crossing tea factories, lush tea estates and mini forests of cherry, chestnut pear and maple. You can also have a look into some of the Gurkha settlements. The toy train also gulps past the hustling-bustling highway, offering a lovely experience.
2. Train Journey amid Snow
Journey: Qazigund – Srinagar – Baramulla
This is an enchanting part of the Kashmir Railway, working from Jammu to Qazigund in the present times. Once the train route would be completely operational, this journey is going to join the plains to the pristine valley that means Jammu to Baramulla. The train is going to make its way traversing through snow-covered mountains peaks placed at a distance, the tall Chinar trees sprinkled here and there and entering into the Heaven on Earth, Valley of Kashmir. This route is a real to the eyes of the onlooker in the winter months when there is snow all around like a pure white sheet.
3. The Goan Soujourn
Journey: Vasco Da Gama – Londa Junction
The beach state of Goa is world-renowned for its lovely beaches and carefree atmosphere, nonetheless this state also has another attraction that you surely cannot miss out on. The dense forests, verdant villages and plentiful waterfalls in the region are the magical attractions that fall on the Goan Rail routes. The train journey begins from Vasco Da Gama passing by the pristine beaches and taking you to curvy rugged paths of the Western Ghats from you can offer an enchanting view of the Dudhsagar Falls. This 4-tiered waterfall is one of the highest falls in the country.
A train ride from Vasco takes you from the serene beaches to the precarious curves of Western Ghat Mountains offering a breathtaking sight of the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, one of India’s highest and most exquisite falls.
4. The Kangra Valley Journey
Journey: Pathankot – Kangra – Palampur – Jogindernagar
The sub-Himalayan area in the state of Himachal Pradesh has the Kanga Valley Journey. The train starts chugging from Pathankot Junction (Punjab), covering a distance of 164 km before it reaches Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh state. On the way, it makes way through lush valleys, rivers and various passes. Though the speed of the train is a little on the slow side but the mesmerizing views make the journey a worthwhile. Once you cross Palampur, the sight of snow-clad Dhauladhar hills completely charms you. Kangra Valley Passenger is the sole train right now that runs on this route.
5. The Kashmir Railway
Journey: Jammu – Udhampur
It is no exaggeration that the Kashmir Railway is one of country’s most challenging projects but it surely is one of the most mesmerizing too. Extreme weather conditions and difficult terrain make this route an exciting train journey. This route meanders through 20 tunnels and 100 bridges over the mighty Himalayas that would later include the tallest railway bridge in India, which is currently under construction. This journey includes views of valleys, rivers and Shivalik Ranges.
6. The Konkan Odyssey
Exciting scenic beauty, views of the splendid Sahyadari hills, striking curves and a number of water bodies form an amazing part of the Konkan Odyssey. Apart from offering panoramic views, this train route can also be seen as the amazing work done by the Indian engineers who constructed this amazing route after crossing challenges such as frequent landslides.
7. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
As the blue and cream colored train slides- up the Nilgiris, the combination looks really pretty. This train journey has been running for more than 110 years and must be experienced at least once. The train covers the distance of around 46 km to Ooty that is of four and a half hours. Enjoy yourselves when the train traverses through the rugged terrains and then the expansive tea gardens. The sound of the steam engine spells an old-world charm on the travelers and gives the feel of the time of the British rule.
8. Matheran Hill Train Railway
Lying amid the Western Ghats, Matheran is one of the most popular weekend destinations for the people of Mumbai. The place has abundant scenic beauty as vehicles are not allowed inside the hill town. To reach Matheran, once can simply walk or opt for a pony ride. Matheran Hill Train Railway, a narrow gauge track, boasts of being Maharashtra’s only heritage railway. Constructed between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy, this 20 km long rail link connects Neral and Matheran. The distance of the journey is around one and a half hours and offers lovely views including huge stretches of forests. Savor the peace spread around.
9. Himalayan Queen: Kalka-Shimla Toy train
Country’s only mountain railway that is still being used, this rail route between Kalka and Shimla finds its name in the Guinness Book of World Records for owning the steepest altitude rise in the distance of 96 km. Bounded by the lofty Shivalik ranges on each side, this rail track was established in the year 1903 and crosses 864 bridges and 107 tunnels. The scenery on the way casts a charm on you with fresh air, maple, oak and pine trees. It surely is a ride of a lifetime.
10. Dooars Voyage
Journey: Siliguri – New Mal – Hasimara –Alipurduar
Small falls gushing down from the hills of Sikkim, cascading River Teesta dissecting the lush tea estates and huge stretch of thick jungle housing varied wildlife make Dooars a natural wonder that is worth-visiting. Recently made a broad gauge with very little traffic, the journey crosses some of the most popular wildlife reserves such as Chapramari Forest, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary that are bustling with a varied flora and fauna. Admire the various streams that pass by. As the speed of the train is slow, one can also get down at Rajabhatkhawa, Chalsa and Hasimara and enjoy the surroundings.
11.Through the Desert
Nicknamed as the ‘Golden City’, Jaisalmer is known to be the hub of camel safaris in the expansive Thar Desert of Rajasthan state. A train sojourn from the Pink City of Jaipur to Jaisalmer through the sterile expanses of the Thar is going to be a superb experience. The vibrant settlements of colorful mud huts and stray camels grazing in the flat desert against the rising sun can be a sight to cherish forever in life.
12.Aromas of Assam
Guwahati – Lumding – Silchar
The aromatic fragrance of Assam fills your nostril as the train moves towards the verdant Haflong valleys that stands attached. Next the train chugs along the Jatinga River, flowing along. After running for a few more hours, you can admire the tea estates of the valley of Barak and then finally, you get to see the plains. The journey now moves southwards connecting Agartala to the remaining country.
13. Araku Valley Railway
Journey: Vizag – Araku
The lovely Araku Valley is extremely popular for its aromatic tea plantations and dense jungles, often explored by nature enthusiasts. The important Eastern Indian port city of Vishakhapatnam has a rail route to this valley that lies on Kothavalasa and Kirandul Line. Treat your eyes to the panoramic views of cascading waterfalls and a number of caves. One of India’s broad hill railways, it was laid down for the transportation of iron ore from Chattisgarh mines to Vishakhapatnam or Vizag.
14. The Sea Bridge Odyssey
Journey: Mandapam – Pamban – Rameswaram
The sea bridge connecting Tamil Nadu’s Mandapam to Pamban Island is the country’s second longest sea bridge. The view from above, while the train is crossing the Gulf of Mannar, is going to leave you spellbound.
15. Malnad Charm
Journey: Hassan – Mangalore
Malnad region is a perfect combination of Areca nut palm trees and quaint lush paddy fields. During this rail journey, the best stretch is from Sakleshpur station and Subramanya station. Between these railway stations, the train crosses 57 tunnels where you can treat your eyes to the pretty views of the crystal clear waterfalls and mist-clad peaks mountains spread all over.
16. The Western Ghat Wander
Journey: Karjat – Lonavala
Starting from Maharashtra’s Karjat as the train passes the place, it chugs into the locality of the lofty Western Ghats that are known for their rich biodiversity. During the rainy season, this rail route becomes all the more beautiful with gushing waterfall and several clear streams. The thick green vegetation with the hills in the background create a lovely scene from your train’s window. Before the ascending journey up the Monkey Hill starts, the train crisscross through Thakurwadi village, passing dreamy Khandala and then finally reaching Khandala.
17. The Coastal Kerala Experience
Journey: Ernakulam Kollam – Trivandrum
A train ride beginning from Cochin or Ernakulam and up to Kollam or Quilon is one of the most mesmerizing ways to experience the charm of Kerala state. This odyssey is almost like complete vacation that includes the crystal clear lakes, the placid backwaters, a glance into the life of the Kerala villages, the lush coconut grooves, paddy field and more. This journey along the long coast of the Arabian Sea would be a memorable one.
18. The Chambal Experience
Journey: Agra to Gwalior
Ill-famed as Chambal ki Ghati, the Chambal region has always been under scanner for several decades because of the notorious dacoits (group of robbers) who have been popular for huge number of crimes like robberies, extortions and murders. However, that is not all that is famous about Chambal, there is something else too. The dense green patches give an extremely soothing feeling to the eyes. Chambal River has fed the ravines for ages. A train journey that starts from Agra and end at Gwalior passes through the green Chambal region, not only offering a beautiful sight but also creating a feeling of excitement and adventure in one’s self.
19. The Travancore Express
Journey: Kollam – Punalur – Sengottai
The first train on this route chugged off, way back in the year 1907 when the then Maharaja of Travancore had inaugurated the event. The stretch of this journey is between Punalur and Sengottai. This section is a treat to the eyes of the on-looker as one can savor the sights of lush greenery and a number of architectural wonders. The picture of a bridge with 13 arches is going to stay with you. Earlier the journey was up to Punalur only but in 2013 the journey extended and the route became the fastest way connecting Trivandrum and Chennai.
20. Andhra Odyssey
Guntakal – Guntur
The route from Guntakal to Guntur takes you through the lovely Eastern Ghats offering a beautiful sight, mainly between Dhone and Cumbum. Though most of the express trains make to this stretch during night hours but there are some trains that offer the passengers a chance to savor this lovely side of Andhra Pradesh state. Cumbum station offers a lovely view of the Cumbum Lake, known for being Asia’s oldest man-made lake.
21.Viewing Lake Chilika
Journey: Bhubaneswar to Brahmapur
In Orissa, if you travel from Bhubaneswar to Brahmapur, the grand Eastern Ghats would be on your right side and the Chilika Lake would on left. A paradise for the migratory birds in India, Chilika Lake is the planet’s second largest lagoon. If you like bird spotting, do not miss to look out of your train window through your binoculars.
22. Tribal Orissa Experience
Journey: Koraput to Rayagada
Koraput-Rayagada line or the popular KR line is a brach of the the Kirandul- Kothavalasa railway line. While Rayagada is over 200 m above the sea level, Koraput is at an elevation of around 800 m. When the train slides down from Koraput to Rayagada, the downhill view looks pretty. Horse-shoe shaped curve and thick jungles are added attractions.
23. Aravali Escapade
Himmatnagar – Udaipur/Mavli – Marwar
The old Aravali ranges boast of rocky ridges that made because of the erosion of an age-old folded mountain. In the Rajasthan state, the Aravali hills run from north to south. These hills have been witness to the rich history of this royal state. Get aboard a train to a journey in the interiors would offer you a chance to interest with the locals.
24. Shindavane and Ambale Adventure
Journey: Pune to Satara
Shindavane Ghats are popular for the lofty sterile Sahyadari Mountains. This train journey passes through these hills and crosses past rocks on all its sides, forming a thrilling sight. This railway stretch is a part of the Central Railways, starting from Pune and ending at Satara.
25. Gir Safari Route
Journey: Junagarh to Delvada
Traverse through the wild hills of Sasan Gir National Park in Gujarat while on a train that is chugging on a Meter gauge railway from Junagadh to Delvada. A laid-back train journey, it is the best chance for you to take a halt at Gir as well as get an insight into the western region of the state, called Saurashtra. As the train stops at Sasan Gir Railway Station, make your way to the National Park for wildlife spotting. As the train runs along the western coast of Gujarat, you can also visit Diu.