Trains in India are special and are one of the most reliable and affordable modes of long-distance transportation. Despite all the great things that they offer, one factor stands paramount: the unparalleled scenic beauty that we experience during the journey. A window to the unmarred beauty of nature, and even the briefest glimpses make a train journey exciting. Dinesh Kumar Kotha, Co-Founder & CEO, Confirmtkt, shares a list of five Indian journeys by rail that one should never miss out on:
1. Kalka to Shimla on The Himalayan Queen: It can be best described as a 96 km dream journey. Started in 1903, this train transports you through 102 tunnels and 82 bridges. You also get to experience the steepest rise in altitude. For five hours, you are immersed in scenic beauties that are primarily showcased in Indian cinema. You will be travelling upwards till you reach Shimla, and there you get to gape at the stunning beauty that Pine and Oak trees, valleys, and an abundance of rhododendrons provide. This journey has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, and the picturesque treat it provides justifies the honour.
2. Vasco Da Gama to Londa: Much like the explorer, its derived name, this journey is explorative. From Goa to Karnataka, you get to witness the unique environment that Goan villages showcase. As the journey proceeds and you glide across the Western Ghats, you bear witness to the most breathtaking views of the Western Ghats and its picturesque waterfalls. You get to treat yourself to nature's best sights for almost 145 kms. This journey is recommended, especially after the monsoon season, as you get the added treat of viewing the vibrant red of the clay soil.
3. Kanyakumari to Thiruvananthapuram: This route is a testament to the fact that great things come in small packages. This is probably the shortest train route on the list, yet it holds no comparison to the sensory experience it can provide. It takes you through lush coconut groves and the best view of the bewildering Tamilian and Kerala architecture. You will be constantly surprised at the grandeur of the temples and the uniqueness of the Keralite churches throughout the journey.
4. Matheran Hill Railway: This train is truly special when it comes to its historical relevance. The train tracks were laid down by Akbar Peerbhoy somewhere between 1901 to 1907. It is also the only remaining heritage railway in Maharashtra. While on the train, you get to explore the tranquillity of nature for about 20 kms on the narrow gauge rail lines. Combined with the desolate ambience, the view is both eerie and exciting and genuinely a definite thing to experience.
5. New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling on The Toy Train: Unlike its name, the train is very much real, and a journey on it can be fascinating. The tiny steam-operated train moving at a speed of 12 km/hr takes you through an immersive journey. In 7 hrs 15 mins, you get a chance to view dense forests, bountiful tea plantations and experience travelling the spiral at Agony point. This journey is best taken during a clear day, as you get to see the snow-capped tip of Kanchenjunga.
Trains are an engineering marvel, and the routes listed above are guaranteed to provide you with an amazing experience. The glimpses of extensive farmlands, astounding hill regions, lush flower beds, and the calming presence of still river water can produce a surreal effect. So next time if you're thinking of taking a break from the rut of daily life, consider these journeys.