Trips by Indian Railways are the stuff of nostalgia. For train travel enthusiasts, there are some routes which are truly exciting.
The following are the top train routes across India, notable for their scenic beauty and panoramic views. Indian Railways traverses through areas with the most diverse topography and culture of the subcontinent.
Himalayan Queen (Kalka to Shimla)
This is a toy train that was started in 1903. It passes through 82 bridges and 102 tunnels. It holds the Guinness Book World Record for steepest rise in altitude spanning 96 km. The journey takes you through spectacular scenery of forest land. It is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2008.
Darjeeling Himalayan railway (Jaipalguri to Darjeeling)
Another toy train route with breathtaking views. Travel through the famed tea gardens, dense forests and get a view of the imposing Kanchenjunga peak. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Goa Express (Vasco Da Gama to Londa)
This trip offer you views of pristine villages of Goa and speeds up along the Western Ghats through precarious mountain routes. Best to travel is after monsoons for viewing several waterfalls.
Mandovi Express (Mumbai to Goa)
From the hectic pace of urban life in Mumbai to the sedate holidaying mood in Goa, this train connects you with the best of both worlds. It is a scenic route sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadari hills. It travels via 2000 bridges and 92 tunnels.
Island Express (Kanyakumari to Trivandrum)
It is a short trip but one packed with views of coconut groves and examples of typical Keralite and Tamil architecture.
Matheran Hill Railway
The sole heritage railway of Maharashtra, it is notable for passing via swaths of forest territory.
Dooars Voyage (Alipurduar – Hasimara – Newmal – Siliguri)
One of the best train routes in India passing through many wildlife sanctuaries. The route has been converted to broad gauge and has less traffic, but it is worth the trouble.
Mandapam – Pamban – Rameshwaram
One of the most risky train routes in India as it runs via a thin bridge. This bridge is the second longest in India. It connects Mandapam in Tamil Nadu to island of Rameshwaram with a beautiful view of the sea.
Indian Maharaja – Deccan Odyssey
One of the most famous luxury trains takes you through a ten day/ night route through Maharashtra (Ajanta, Ellora),Agra and Delhi. It features luxuries ranging from Ayurvedic massage to gymnasium, conference rooms and luxury suites.
Train route through the Thar Desert from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer affording views of the vast desert expanse, broken by clusters of colourful mud huts and hordes of camels. Watching the desert sunrise and sunset will help get rid of your view that deserts are boring?
Chilka Route (Bhubaneswar to Brahmapur)
This train route passes through the region between Eastern Ghats and Chilka Lake- which attracts migratory birds like no other place.
Mumbai to Pune
A scenic ride passing through beautiful stops like Lonavla, Khandala and Karjat, known for their treats like Chikki, fruit jelly and Vada Pao as well as several waterfalls especially during monsoons.
You can enjoy trips on any of these routes. The bonus nowadays is that you can make online food order in train from private e-catering services. Thus, you can not only be well-travelled but also well-fed aboard Indian Railways.
He is a trainee journalist with a travel magazine. He has covered different parts of India on his job. He contributes professional blogs to many websites like www.travelkhana.com. He has wide interests like technology, travel and history.