Here are some train trips you need to travel at least once in your lifetime. And let us be fair, train rides are affordable and much more fun!
Through snow-capped landscapes
Did you know that in India there are two trains that glide through the middle of snow for hours? The Kalka-Shimla Express, a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow-gauge railway which traverses a snowy mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla is the first. With some great views of the hills and surrounding villages, the route winds from a height of 656 meters at Kalka in the Himalayan Shivalik Hills foothills, past Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Totu (Jutogh) and Summerhill, to Shimla at an altitude of 2,075 meters. The train journey lasts 5 hours with the second-class ticket costing only 75 bucks.
In the heart of Kashmir
The Banihal to Baramulla train in Kashmir is another fascinating train ride for those who love the snow. The track itself is drenched in the snow beside the sight of some charming mountains encasing it. All you need is a second-class ticket for 35 bucks.
If snow is not your thing you can try this great desert Queen Express train from Jaipur to Jaisalmer. The 6-hour journey is mostly through the barren deserts of Rajasthan. For 200 bucks you can hitch a second-class ride in this Express.
Between tea estates and Valleys
The Guwahati to Silchar Express takes you through tea estates and almost 5 valleys. You can enjoy this 13-hour journey for a paltry 145 bucks for second class.
Nilgiris Toy Trains
Now this will fit for a honeymoon trip, this journey through the winding mountains and scenic beauty of the Nilgiri ranges. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005 the Nilgiri Mountain Railway covers a total distance of 46 km in 5 hours (295 per person). The train ride begins at Mettupalayam and chugs along flat planes for the first 5 km, only to ascend rapidly in the next 12 km to a height of 4,363 ft. It passes through dark tunnels, lush forests, and hilly slopes and also through charming places like Kellar, Coonoor, Wellington, Lovedale, and Ootacamund. Wisps of mist and fog might also follow the train as you slowly make your way up.
If you love mountains, waterfalls, and forests, you must hop on to the Mumbai-Goa train that slides through such scenery throughout the journey. In fact, we think you should travel during the monsoons for better effect. Passing through the western ghats you will be able to witness several waterfalls, rivulets, and dense forests. This 11-hour trip for 250 bucks for a second-class seat will be worth your time.
Speeding across the ocean
The train trip from Trichy to Rameswaram that goes through the Pamban bridge will be fascinating as it is right in the middle of the ocean and you can drink in the beauty and serenity around you.