Whether they are the lyrics of soulful sonnets, the music of romantic Bollywood songs or the plot of an intriguing movie, a rail journey often acts as an inspiration or finds a reference. Despite the wondrous science behind flight and aeroplanes, a rail journey is unparalleled in mystique and allure.
Indian Railways are the world’s third biggest rail network that comprises of 1,15,000 kilometres of rail track, the total length of which is equal to one and a half turns around the Equator! This vast railway network, that ferries over 8 billion people a year, boasts of some very unique and sought-after journeys, the top 9 of which are listed here:
The Toy Train
New Jaipalguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known popularly as ‘The Toy Train’ runs between New Jaipalguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The 7-hour journey covers a distance of over 80 kilometres as it lumbers through tea plantations, meanders around bends and moves in loops and z-reverses to traverse the mountainous topography, sometimes even running parallel to the Cart Road and the street markets. The journey offers a panoramic view of picturesque landscapes and the Kanchenjunga mountain.
Goa to Londa (Karnataka)
A superfast train that covers the distance between Goa and Londa in 3 hours and 30 minutes, gives the travellers a glimpse of the Goan life as the tracks pass close to the Goan beaches. You can even smell the whiff of Goan food being cooked in the villages that zoom past your window. The train soon leaves the beaches behind and approaches the Western Ghats which abound with lush green vegetation. Further ahead on the route, the vegetation thins down and gives way to awe-inspiring waterfalls which team with the winds and sprinkle your face with droplets of water. The journey ends at Londa, where the setting sun lends a red hue to the clay soil and adds to it an element of an enigma.
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu to Trivandrum, Karnataka
Short but definitely very sweet is this 2 hours 15-minute journey from Kanyakumari – the southern tip of India – to Trivandrum. The train offers beautiful views of palms, coconut trees and giant creepers looming out of the dense forests. One can also catch a glimpse of churches and gopurams built in typical Keralite architecture.
Kalka, Haryana to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
This train holds the Guinness Record for the steepest rise in altitude. 96 kilometres long, the track passes through 102 tunnels and 82 bridges. The 5-hour journey is a visual treat of deodars, rhododendrons, gorgeous streams and rivulets as the tracks slope upwards towards the queen of hills, Shimla.
The train is not only a tourist attraction but also a daily mode of commute for the locals.
Bangalore, Karnataka to Goa
This 9-day long train journey is a vacation in itself. Starting from Bangalore, the train traverses the stretch of Karnataka, halting at tourist attractions like Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary and historical sites of Hampi and Badami. When you are not exploring adventure in the sanctuary or heritage of historical sites, sit back and enjoy the hospitality of the Golden Chariot till you reach the beaches of Goa and begin the second leg of your vacation.
The Indian Maharaja-Deccan Odyssey
Mumbai, Maharashtra to Delhi
This lavish and royal train offers 6 different journeys to choose from and whichever one you do, it is bound to spoil you rotten! A library, an Ayurvedic massage centre, a gym, a beauty salon, steam bath and even conference rooms – you name it and this luxury train has it! Although the price tag is a hefty one, you really can’t put a price to luxury and that is exactly what this rail journey promises.
Goa to Mumbai, Maharashtra
This journey between the two most favourite tourist places is the stuff that postcards are made of! Traversing between the Sahyadris on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other, this 12-hour ride through 92 bridges and 2000 tunnels is a breath-taking one.
Jammu to Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir
Just as the Island Express touches the southern end of the country, Jammu Mail marks the north most stretch of Indian Railways. The mountainous stretch of the track curves around rocky edges and offers spectacular views of the Himalayan valleys. This 53-kilometre journey takes around 3 hours and is spectacular in every sense.
Bhubaneshwar to Brahmapur in Orissa
The entire grandeur of Orissa can be witnessed in this lesser known but extremely enthralling rail journey. The famous Chilka Lake on one side and the Eastern Ghats on the other make for some jaw-dropping views of picturesque landscapes and exotic migratory birds.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now for an experience of a lifetime. Complement your break with a spectacular stay at Sterling Holidays and treat your family and friends to luxurious living.