22 Train Journeys In India That Are An Experience In Themselves !
Joining the length and breadth of India and touching her heart like no one else does, the Indian Railways has entranced dreamers, intrigued authors and inspired filmmakers from Danny Boyle to Paul Theroux for a very long time.
Sneak into the undiscovered cultures of India's nooks and crannies, gaze into unexplored landscapes and soak in the invigorating air on scenic train journeys with this list of spectacular routes that will certainly change your perspective about travelling in the country!
1. The Snow Sojourn (Qazigund-Srinagar-Baramulla)
Connecting Jammu to Srinagar and Baramullah, this journey promises jaw-dropping views of snow-capped peaks standing guard over this delicate, beauteous vale and quaint, frost-covered villages as your train weaves through pine forests. Travel through the Banihal Tunnel which, at 11.2 km, is India’s longest railway tunnel and truly a great engineering feat. Let Kashmir overwhelm you with its wild beauty!
Train:Baramullah Banihal DEMU Train
Route: Qazigund to Baramullah
2. The Kashmir Railway (Jammu – Udhampur)
Taking you to the lap of the Indian Himalayas, Jammu to Udhampur stretch offers resplendent views of the mighty mountains and the gorgeous valleys of magnificent chinar trees and proud poplars marching into the blue yonder. Jammu rail crosses as many as 158 bridges and passes through 20 major tunnels that pique one’s interest. And if you're waiting for the frequently delayed train, the station restaurant at Jammu Tawi makes the best omelette sandwiches and masala tea!
Route: Jammu to Udhampur
3. The Himalayan Queen (Kalka – Shimla)
Take a ride on India's pretty little metre-gauge railway, Himalayan Queen, as it takes you to one of the most beautiful summer destinations in India. Drink in the splendid sight of orchards blooming with tiny red flowers and rivulets gurgling down the mountain slopes as you cross the famous 102 tunnels, 87 bridges and 900 curves on this beautiful journey.
Route: Kalka to Shimla
4. Aroma of Assam (Lumding- Silchar)
Watch vast stretches of emerald green paddy and tea plantations go by as the train inches into the lush green Haflong Valley before meandering along the lively River Jatinga into the enchanting countryside of the Barak Valley. Feel the invigorating mountain air lift your spirits as you gorge on some hot tea and local snacks, bor and pakori.
Route: Lumding to Silchar
5. The Arakku Valley Railway (Vizag – Arakku)
From the palm-fringed coast to thickly-forested hills and coffee plantations, the train journey from Vishakhapatnam to Arakku Valley is charming and dreamlike. The train meanders through lush green valleys, towering cliffs and thundering waterfalls before passing through the famous Bora Caves, the deepest caves in India.
Route: Vishakapatnam to Arakku Valley
6. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling)
This cute little toy train is your ticket to a delightful tour of the gorgeous undulating hills of Darjeeling , replete with tea-plantations and forests of cherry and pear. Traverse through the bustling main road, enjoy the reverse, loops and the spiral at Agony Point, trundle through the risky curves and if lucky, see the snowy tip of the majestic Mt. Kachenjunga.
Train:Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Toy Train
Route: New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling
7. The Konkan Coastal Saga (Ratnagiri-Madgaon-Honnavar-Mangalore)
The stunning route of Konkan Railways hugs India's southwest coastline and takes you on a breathtaking journey through sunlit paddy fields lined with coconut and mango trees, small villages bursting with life and over glistening stretches of water leading out to sea. You will love this one, especially in the monsoon, when the world outside explodes in green!
Route: Madgaon to Mumbai
8. The Dooars Voyage (Siliguri - New Mal - Hasimara –Alipurduar)
Passing through the deep forests at the foothills of the Himalayas, the New Jalpaiguri- Alipurduar passenger train offers the surreal experience of a wildlife Safari via train. Travel through the jungles of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapramari Forest, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve, teeming with wildlife, with the feisty River Teesta playing hide and seek with the rushing train.
Train:KYQ Capital Express
Route: Siliguri to Aliduarpur
9. The Sea Bridge Ride (Mandapam- Pamban- Rameswaram)
Watch the sun's rays play on the sparkling azure water of the Indian Ocean and soak in the serenity of the panoramic vista as the Sethu Express traverses over the bridge to reach the Pamban Island in the Gulf of Mannar. A journey that will remain etched in your memories for a long time to come.
Route: Mandapam to Rameswaram
10. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (Mettupalayam - Udhagamandalam)
Remember the famous Chhaiya Chhaiya song? Well, it was the shot on the rooftop of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway which puffs up and down the Blue Mountains in Tamil Nadu. The vintage train snakes through mountains, slithers through narrow tunnels, clings to the edge of deep cliffs and rattles over archaic bridges as your eyes feast on a patchwork quilt of deep green forests and manicured tea plantations.
Train:Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train
Route: Mettupalyam to Ooty
11. The Desert Queen (Jaipur-Jaisalmer)
Watch the city lights shrink into the horizon as you journey through a semi-arid desert peppered with golden sand dunes and thorny acacia trees, enlivened by women in brilliantly-hued local garb, men in colourful turbans and plodding camels. At the temple town of Osian, get a glimpse of the largest dune of the Thar desert.
Train:Delhi Jaisalmer Express
Route: Jaipur to Jaisalmer
12. The Matheran Hill Railway (Neral-Matheran)
One of the nicest ways to get to the forest hill station of Matheran nestled in the Western Ghats, the Matheran Hill Railway's heritage train passes through large swathes of misty forests and cascading green hillsides offering panoramic views and unmatched tranquillity. Just the perfect note to kick-start a weekend!
Train:Matheran Hill Railway Toy Train
Route: Neral to Matheran
13. Malnad Magic (Hassan – Mangalore)
Get a glimpse of Nature's best as the train chugs through 57 tunnels, glides over bridges and offers a fascinating view of the hulking high mountains shrouded in verdant forests riddled with spectacular waterfalls. Picturesque green paddy fields and Areca nut plantations dot this route with the best stretch lying between Sakleshpur and Subramanya stations.
Route: Hassan to Mangalore
14. The Chambal Experience (Agra to Gwalior)
Witnessing dramatic changes in the landscape is what makes the train journey through the stark ravines of the great Chambal Beehad so special. Watch the undulating terrain of this dramatic, untamed and harsh landscape flow by, a place which was once the refuge of Chambal's infamous dacoits, from Phoolan Devi to Paan Singh Tomar.
Route: Agra to Gwalior
15. The Kerala Anubhavam (Ernakulam-Kollam-Trivandrum)
Take a peek into the life of rural Kerala, witness the locals working in the lush green paddy fields and feast your eyes on the stunning beauty of the sparkling backwaters fringed by swaying palms as you pass through Ernakulam to reach Trivandrum via Kollam. With a plethora of sights to enjoy, this very pleasant train journey is definitely worth travelling on!
Route: Ernakulam to Trivandrum
16. The Kangra Valley Odyssey (Pathankot - Kangra - Palampur - Jogindernagar)
The Kangra Valley Railway lies in the breathtaking valleys of the Dhauladhar Range, unsurpassed for its alluring grandeur, with the majestic Ban Ganga gorge and the deep Kangra chasm as the two piece de resistance of the journey. Gaze as long as you like on the ever present panorama of snow-clad ranges, crystal clear mountain brooks and the gold green fields as the little train trundles by.
Train:Kangra Valley Passenger
Route: Pathankot to Jogindernagar
17. The Goan Experience (Vasco Da Gama – Londa Jn)
Lose yourself in the impeccable splendour of the Western Ghats as the Goa Express takes you from lively beaches to the precarious curves of the rugged mountainside. Travel through unspoilt Goan villages and savour the beauty of the vibrant biodiversity of the Ghats. Feel the misty spray of Dudhsagar Waterfall on your face as you pass by one of India’s most exquisite waterfalls.
Route: Vasco to Londa
18. Hues and Views of Chilika (Bhubaneswar- Brahmapur )
Take a morning ride from Bhubaneswar to Brahmapur in Orissa to experience the pristine natural beauty of the serene Chilika Lagoon on your left and the gently undulating slopes of the Eastern Ghats on your right. This journey brings alive the rustic life of Orissa in all its natural beauty, something that will definitely catch your eyes.
Route: Bhubhaneshwar to Brahmapur
19. The Travancore Railway (Punalur-Sengottai)
Journey on an erstwhile rail line through the lushly forested Cardamom Hills as you listen to the symphony of chirping crickets, cooing birds and gushing streams. Travel atop the 13 pillar 'Kannara Bridge' parallel to the river and road to enter a tunnel under a mountain in Kerala and emerge seeing the endless paddy fields in Tamil Nadu!
Train:Punalur - Sengottai Passenger
Route: Punalur to Sengottai
20. Orissa Tribal Odyssey (Koraput to Rayagada)
Taking you to the tribal Odisha, this train journey will take you through the sprawling meadows, roaring rapids, whispering forest and terraced valleys of the mystical Deomali hills. Observe the beautiful intermingling of natural beauty and ethnic treasure on this fascinating train journey.
Route: Koraput to Rayagada
21. Island Express (Kanyakumari - Thiruvananthapuram)
More of a cultural stroll through South India, Island Express takes you through the forest canopies and long grassy verges of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Look beyond the hanging creepers and green lushness for glimpses of everyday life – women and men working in fields against a backdrop of little white-washed churches and tiny houses.
Route: Kanyakumari To Thiruvanathpuram
22. The Western Ghat Saunter (Karjat - Lonavala)
Mesmerized is how you will feel after completing the train journey from Karjat to Lonavala. The train arrows into dark tunnels and emerges with a burst of green light on slopes draped with virgin forests and streaked with silvery waterfalls before tracing the contours of the craggy landscape of the Western Ghats.
Train:Deccan Express ( and several other trains)
Route: Karjat to Lonavala
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