Take a flight to speed up your journey all you want, but you know very well that deep down inside, there’s a desi kid in you who wants to sit by the window of a chugging train, and watch the trees and huts and rivers and bridges pass by. You want to see those fields with tiny people working on them, and the roads with little children running up and down them. India offers the best vistas to enjoy during a train ride. Let’s take a look at the most scenic train routes in India.
1. Darjeeling Toy Train Route
Route: New Jalpaiguri – Ghum – Darjeeling
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal, also called the Toy Train with love, offers a true joy ride. Constructed in the years 1879-1881, with its elevations varying from 100 m to 2200 m, this route is among the oldest and the most picturesque train routes in India. In 1999, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the most stunning features of this ride is the series of loops along the natural ascent, with the Batasia Loop being the most famous among them. You can get a view of the distant mountains, tea gardens orchards, forests, settlements, and a lot more. And, if you’re lucky enough to get a clear weather, then you can also get a view of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga. The smell of tea leaves calms your nerves, as you travel across lofty heights. At Ghum, the highest railway station in India, you can feel the clouds waft into the coach. You can book a ride in the Toy Train here.
2. Pamban Bridge Train Ride
Route: Mandapam – Pamban – Rameswaram
The Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, or Pamban Bridge in Tamil Nadu is the second longest sea bridge in India, connecting Rameswaram on Pamban Island to Mandapam in Tamil Nadu. The train ride along this thin bridge across the flat blue waters of the Palk Strait and crossing the Gulf of Mannar is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have. The 2065 m long bridge was opened in 1914, with Indian Railways upgrading the bridge in 2007. This ride is not for the weak hearts – it is along one of the most dangerous bridges in the country, and is for the adventurous souls, as the rider is surrounded by nothing but vast expanses of waters that meet the eyes during this thrilling journey. The bridge, which had to be reconstructed in 45 days after the massive Rameswaram cyclone in 1964, now stands strong on 143 piers against demanding climatic conditions. You can find all the details about the rides on the official site.
3. Jaipur – Jaisalmer Route
Route: Jaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer
There is something special about taking a train ride along the surprising Jaipur-Jaisalmer route. It takes you through the famous Thar Desert of Rajasthan, and gives you a view of the expansive desert, with glimpses of rural life and pastoral activities. You can witness the chrome sand dunes stretching beyond the horizon, the barren lands with sparse vegetation, vibrant settlements with colourful huts, stray camels grazing here and there, and a lot more. All in all, the riot of colours will dazzle your eyes and leave you with a visual experience that you’re likely to cherish for the rest of your life. The scenes along this route are very different from what you get on most of the train journeys in this country, as it upholds the true essence of Rajasthan, instead of offering glimpses of hills and mountains, seas and river. You can find more details about the trains that will take you on this enchanting journey here.
4. Vasco Da Gama – Londa Junction Trip
Route: Vasco Da Gama – Londa Junction
Hop on board the Goa Express on a journey from Vasco Da Gama in Goa to Londa Junction in Karnataka, and experience the side of Goa that you are not familiar with. Sure, Goa is all about exceptional beaches and crazy parties, but the Vasco Da Gama – Londa route exposes a whole new face of the region, complete with excellent thick jungles, splashing waterfalls and green hills. As you journey along the precarious curves of the Western Ghats, you get a splendid view of the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, one of the highest and most spectacular waterfalls of the country. The train will also brush past the beaches of Goa, and you can sneak a peek into the fun-filled activities of families and friends gathered by the sea to enjoy themselves. You will also get to see beautiful valleys and peaks, while bright pink blossoms floating within hand’s reach will lure you. You can find out all about the train plying across this route here.
5. Qazigund – Srinagar – Baramulla Route
Route: Qazigund – Srinagar – Baramulla
Kashmir is often referred to as the paradise on earth, Switzerland of India, and many other names. Take a ride along the snow-laded route from Qazigund through Srinagar to Baramulla, and you’ll know that there isn’t an iota of lie or exaggeration in these references. The journey is a part of the Kashmir Railway, though there’s work going on to add a separate leg to the journey by connecting QG to Jammu, as well, thus promising the tallest railway bridge in India. The existing route will give you the journey of a lifetime, as you cross the Kashmir Valley along treacherous roads that weave through the young Himalayan peaks. For the most unforgettable journey, however, is during the winter months. Though you’ll have to brave harsh weather conditions during your sojourn, you will also be greeted by a blanket of snow upon the surroundings, with Chinar trees in the distance. Find out more about the route here.
6. Dooars Safari
Route: Siliguri – Newmal – Hasimara – Alipurduar
A train ride from Siliguri to Alipurduar through Dooars in West Bengal is one of the most uniquely scenic train routes in India, as you pass through lush forests and witness nature and wildlife at its best. The train chugs through the Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary, Jaldapara Wildlife sanctuary, Chapramari forest and Buxa Tiger Reserve, thus giving you’re the opportunity to absorb the sights of endemic flora and fauna to your heart’s content. You can also see the streams meandering down the hills of Sikkim and Bhutan, with the wildlife sanctuaries at the stream crossings, as well as the gurgling Teesta and Sankosh rivers, all against the backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas. To bask in the mountain forest glory that the region presents, you can also make stops at Chalsa, Hasimara and Rajabhatkhawa, which are small and uncrowded stations that are still unspoilt. Take a look at the rides you can take along this route here.
7. Guwahati-Silchar Trail
Route: Guwahati – Lumding – Silchar
The Guwahati-Lumding track was laid in the 1900s, and is touted as one of the most amazing tracks in the country. The Guwahati-Silchar stretch in Assam is also among the most dangerous tracks in India, and is for the adventure birds. You pass verdant bushy fields and forests rolling along huge valleys, with the Jatinga river winding down the rough terrains and separating the valleys. One of the oldest tracks in India, this route was laid during the British period to transport tea leaves from different parts of Assam. So, you can see the tea gardens in Barak valley, which will give you a glimpse of the rich vegetation growing on the fertile plains of the state. In fact, the short train ride will give you a glimpse of all that Assam is noted for – hills and plains, forests and rivers. There are several trains that you can take along this route. You can find out about booking details at the official site of North East Frontier Railway.
There are several other scenic train routes in India, such as train routes in India. You can take a trip along the Mumbai-Goa route in Mandovi Express starting from Maharashtra, the Chennai-Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu in Sethu Express, the Udhagamandalam-Coonoor track of Tamil Nadu in the Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train, the Ratnagiri-Madgaon-Honnavar-Mangalore route across the three states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, the Mumbai to Delhi path in the Indian Maharaja Deccan Odyssey, and many more.
These train routes will take your breath away, as they present you with trinkets of sceneries from the true, rustic India. You can capture as many as you can, and paint pictures in your mind that will remain as priceless memories.
If reading about these beautiful routes reminds you of a journey you have taken, let us know about it. And to plan your next trip, download online itinerary maker, today!