We recently told you about some stopovers you can take aboard India’s longest -distance train. It’s suffice to say we’re slightly obsessed with train travel, its creaking infrastructure notwithstanding. Of course, train travel in this country is either a very daring or a very romantic idea. We believe it’s definitely the latter, more so if you’re travelling on any of these routes in the country.
Kalka Shimla Railway
The Kalka Shimla Railway is one of those rail routes that just has to be done. More than anything, it is the journey up to Shimla that is more important than the destination itself. Traversing along a rail line built by the British to run to their summer capital away from Delhi’s oppressive heat, the 96km route is an engineering marvel with more than 100 tunnels and 864 bridges built to carry the UNESCO World Heritage train to Shimla. Some of these tunnels and bridges are said to be haunted, adding a layer of urban myth to the route’s legendary status.
Banihal – Baramulla DMU
The other-worldly charm of Kashmir comes alive in myriad ways on this little-known DM train journey between Banihal and Baramulla. One winter-time journey to the snow-laden Kashmir Valley is all it takes to turn one into a believer of nature’s beauty. The train runs through an 11km long tunnel, cut into the scenic Pir Panjal range, which is the longest and highest tunnel in India currently. The route is so popular that an extension of the railway line cutting across the Chenab river is now being built, and will include one of the tallest rail bridges in the world.
Konkan Railways’ ingenious railway infrastructure and the alluring views of the Western Ghats make for a difficult-to-resist combination. The monsoons enhance views of one of India’s tallest waterfalls, Dudhsagar Falls, completing the spectacular journey aboard the Goa Express. Being the only train that passes Dudhsagar Falls, ensure that you’re travelling from Goa towards Delhi to hear the gushing of the falls long before you actually see them.
Boat Mail Express
Travelling between Chennai and Rameswaram, the Boat Mail Express is one of the jewels in the Indian Railways’ hat after completing over 100 years of service in 2014. The real highlight of this journey comes when the train slows down to a crawl while crossing the Pamban Bridge, a few minutes before the journey ends at Rameswaram. As the waves of the Palk Strait come within touching distance, you will almost wish the train never reaches the other end of the bridge. Travelling at such close proximity to the water is an unmissable experience for anyone obsessed with vistas of the sea.
If tiger-watching with a dash of luxury is your sole intention, you can’t go further than the recently-inaugurated Tiger Express, which is a wildlife lover’s dream come true. During this five day – six night journey, tiger lovers can travel from Rajasthan to Delhi with stops at Udaipur and Chittorgarh, as well as visit national parks at Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore. From the dining car to its small library and bathrooms, tiger motifs are everywhere on this semi-luxurious journey to ensure you have a roaring time aboard the train (pun intended).
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Cover Image for representational purposes only.