25 Most Scenic Train Routes in India :-
Not too many countries on earth have a state budget made separately for the Railways, neither have they inspired authors and filmmakers for ages. The Indian Railways, carrying 30 million passengers and joining 65,000 km of India, isn’t unique only for these numbers, but for the diversity it carries along. It joins the length and breadth of India and touches her heart like no one else does. Probably the best way to see India is by taking a train ride, sneaking into her undiscovered cultures, gazing into her unexplored landscapes and soaking in her invigorating air. I have heard countless people from around the world talk about how much fun they have had traveling by train. One lady who was visiting from New Zealand couldn’t stop talking about how exhilarating it was to ride a railway across India instead of taking a car. We also talked about how she was able to afford this trip because she found cheap airline tickets to Mumbai from New Zealand earlier on this year. Which was refreshing to hear because India has a different kind of beauty and should be seen by everyone.
1. The Kashmir Railway (Jammu – Udhampur)
Kashmir Railway is one of the most scenic railway line of India passes through the 20 tunnels and 100 of bridges over the young Himalayas, also host the tallest Indian railway bridge(under construction). The Kashmir Railway line is the most challenging railway project of Indian rail system, crosses the major earthquake zones,high altitude mountain passes and terrain in the extreme temperatures of cold.
2. Himalayan Queen (Kalka to Shimla )
Himalayan Queen Train passes through the 107 tunnels, 864 bridges,picturesque Himalayas and so many curves. The Kalka Shimla toy train provides one of the most scenic train journeys in India,through the picturesque Himalayas mountain ranges and one of the highest railway station.
3. The Konkan Railway(Ratnagiri-Madgaon-Honnavar-Mangalore)
The Konkan Railway offers amazing natural beauty around the routes,which includes the majestic and magnificent Sahyadri mountain ranges, number of stunning curves, river bridges, lakes and other water bodies.
4. Kangra Valley Odyssey ( Pathankot – Kangra-Palampur-Jogindernagar)
The Kangra Valley Railway belongs to the sub-Himalayan region in Himachal Pradesh. Starting from Pathankot in Punjab, it covers 164 kms to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh, meandering through numerous passes, rivers and valleys. Even though it’s a laid back option of traveling across the Kangra valley, yet the views it offers compensates the speed. The sight of the snow capped Dhauladhar hills at a distance after Palampur rewards the tired soul exuberantly. The journey of 165 km from Pathankot to Jogindernagar takes almost a whopping 10 hours. The unreserved Kangra Valley Passenger is the only train on this route currently.
5. The Goan Experience ( Vasco Da Gama – Londa Jn)
This particular Indian rail journey offers a profound insight of India’s biodiversity. As Goa Express traverses through the unspoiled Goan villages and passes by the ever so majestic Dudhsagar Waterfalls only to reach the red-clay land called Londa in Karnataka, it unravels the unseen beauty of both the states. In this 3 hours journey, one seems to lose oneself in the impeccable splendor of the Western Ghats. Truly a journey to savour!
6. Nilgiri Mountain Railway(Mettupalayam-Udhagamandalam)
The Nilgiri Express or Nilgiri Mountain Train is one of the Mountain Railways of India, crosses through the rolling hills of Nilgiri ranges and offers stunning view of nature around. Chaiyya Chaiyya song was shot on the roof top of NMR.
7. The Toy Train-Darjeeling Himalayan Railway( New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling)
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is one of the five Mountain Railways of India World Heritage Site know for its beautiful and amazing journey. Ghum railway station on the Darjeeling rail line is India’s highest railway station. The oldest of all mountain railways in India, the Toy Train is also a World Heritage Site, declared by UNESCO in 1999.Loops are a special feature of this railway to give it a natural ascent. The most popular being the ‘Batasia Loop’ which offers stunning views of Darjeeling town and the snow capped Mt Kanchenjunga on a clear day.
8. Matheran Hill Railway (Neral-Matheran)
Matheran, nestled in the Western Ghats, is one of the favorite weekend destinations for busy Mumbaikars. It still holds its charm, thanks to no vehicles being allowed in the town. One has to take a pony ride or walk on the dusty and muddy roads to go around Matheran.
The Matheran Hill Railway is the only heritage railway in Maharashtra. This narrow gauge rail link between Neral and Matheran was built by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy between 1901 and 1907 at the cost of Rs.1600000. The route, through large swathes of forest territory, covers a distance of 20 kilometers in about one and half hours, is full of panoramic views .Any lone visitor will surely enjoy the tranquility this ride offers.
9. Nilgiri Mountain Railway:
You just cannot miss out on this train journey in India and the reason is simple: the exquisite and ever so pristine nature’s beauty. Starting from the plains of Mettupalayam and reaching the hills of Ooty via beautiful Coonor, this is a journey that you will cherish for long time. Remember the famous Chhaiya Chhaiya song? Well, it was the shot on the rooftop of Nilgiri Mountain Railway on the same railway track. Inarguably, this will be one of the most unforgettable train journeys in India for any ardent traveller. The train passes through the Nilgiri mountains and covers many tea estates and the twists and turns are simply the cherry on top!
10. Dooars Voyage (Siliguri - New Mal - Hasimara –Alipurduar)
A vast expanse of dense forests brimming with wildlife, murmur of streams trotting down from the hills of Sikkim and Bhutan, interwoven by tea gardens and dissected by the gorging Teesta River make Dooars a unique palette of nature.
The train route recently converted to broad gauge has minimum traffic but passes through notable wildlife sanctuaries abound in a fascinating diversity of flora and fauna. It crosses Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapramari Forest, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve along with numerous stream crossings. You can get down at Chalsa, Hasimara or Rajabhatkhawa to get drenched in the Dooars experience.
11. Desert Queen ( Jaipur-Jaisalmer)
Jaisalmer is the gateway to all the camel safaris in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. A train journey from Jaipur to Jaisalmer can be a great experience of viewing the barren stretches of the Thar Desert. 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. The Sea Bridge Ride( Mandapam- Pamban- Rameswaram)
The most amazing train ride in India, through the second longest sea bridge in India, connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to rest of India. Drive on the Pamban Bridge over a flat blue sea on the Palk Strait.