With a history of more than one and a half century, the railways in India have been an excellent source of adventure. The charm of the railways has been so fascinating that it have been inspiring authors, poets, painters, filmmakers since its early days. Though mostly laid during the British rules in India, railways have never been a foreign element. There are many railway routes which pass across the most breathtaking geographic setting of the country, and these rail routes are sure to mesmerise you because of their amazing scenic beauty. So let’s read about 13 Exceptional Indian rail routes that you should experience once in your lifetime.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling
Laid in the year 1881, this was the first mountain railway in the world which also had the highest railway station in the world at the time – Ghoom situated at an elevation of 7600 Feet. The railway route which passes through Tea Gardens and lower Himalayan Forests offer an astonishing view of the landscape. It is the first railway route in India to receive the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. The 88 Km long journey on a narrow gauge line is also an engineering marvel considering various elements (Zigzag, Loop) used to negotiate the harsh terrain.
Kalka – Shimla Railway
The second best mountain railway is undoubtedly the one which connected the summer capital of the British Raj with the plains. A beautiful train journey through 102 breathtaking tunnels & 82 bridges which cut across beautiful mountain forest. This 96-kilometer journey is comparatively faster than the DHR but is not short of thrills.
Kangra Valley Railway – Pathankot – Jogindernagar
It is another enthralling rail route cutting across the mighty Himalayan Mountains. Passing through several mountain gorges, high river bridges, and tunnels, this 164-kilometer long narrow gauge line gives a fascinating view of the Kangra Valley across Punjab & Himachal Pradesh.
Desert Queen – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer
The desert queen route which travels across the Thar Desert to reach the Golden City of Jaisalmer is another breathtaking rail route of the country. There is no other train route which passes through a desert, and this one gives a fabulous view of the endless topography filled with yellow sand.
Mumbai – Goa
Goa can be a dream destination for most of you, but if you are travelling from Mumbai, your journey could well be better than your stay in Goa. The fantastic rail route which runs parallel through the Western Ghats and the coastline of the Arabian Sea is so beautiful that you are sure to fall in love with it. Passing through the steep slopes of the mountains and giving sudden glimpses of the sea, the route is particularly famous for its scenic beauty – which includes rivers, streams and lush green landscape.
Ratnagiri – Mangalore
The beauty of the Konkan coast can be best enjoyed in this rail journey. Cutting across the Western Ghats, this journey will keep you engaged for its entire route. The never-ending tunnels, fascinating river bridges, rivers, springs and the beauty of vegetation in the hills make this one of the most memorable rail journeys.
The Vasco Da Gama Route – Hubli – Madgaon
The most attractive part of this journey is undoubtedly the beautiful Dudhsagar Falls, running down from a thousand feet. The rail line runs across the falls giving a marvellous view of the falls. Which looks like a stream of milk falling from the heaven. The beauty of the mountains and rivers make this route a must visit for all.
Pamban Island Route – Madurai – Rameshwaram
One of the craziest train journeys you can come across. The Pamban Bridge connects the Pamban Island on which Rameshwaram is located with the mainland. It is one of the biggest engineering marvels in the world. The rail route which literally floats on the mighty Bay of Bengal will take your breath away. If you look down from the window, you can see the water of the ocean just below you.
Matheran – Neral
A small 20 kilometres journey on the narrow gauge cutting across the Western Ghats is no short in its beauty. It is the only heritage rail route in Maharastra and has lately become extremely popular among tourists.
Dooars Trail – Jalpaiguri – Alipurduar
Those of you not familiar with the name Dooars should know that this is the foothill of the Himalayas. Its beauty and charm are no less than the high lands. The Dooars with its average slope, dense forest, extensive flora, and fauna are one of the most beautiful geographic features in the country. A sudden encounter with a herd of elephants can take place. But otherwise too, the singing of birds, the beauty of the forest with numerous unnamed mountain streams will keep you occupied.
Guwahati – Silchar
The Assam Valley, Halflong valley & Barrack Valley – the most beautiful parts of Assam can be explored in one single rail journey which connects Guwahati and Silchar. The railroad passing through never-ending tea plantation, beautiful rivers, and astonishing forests make it a superb journey hard to forget.
Mettupalayam – Ooty
This is another toy train route that connects Ooty, the queen of the Nilgiris, with the plains. The train route that slowly climbs the Nilgiri range passing across, several tunnels and bridges gives a breathtaking view of the Blue Mountains. Its misty surroundings is surely a rail journey you should never miss.
Maharaja’s Express – Palace on Wheels
This luxury rail journey is meant for the special groups of people. But, there is not a single journey in the country that connects so many breathtaking tourist places in one single trip. It runs all across Rajasthan, the land of Maharajas. This exclusive luxury train connects all the fabulous fort cities of the state added with unmatchable hospitality inside.