Travelling by trains is inextricably linked to Indian tourism and in fact culture to a certain extent. Even since the British Raj laid down its first rail tracks in India, the Railway system became an essential part of our nation. The trains on which we ride cross the varied landscapes, mountains, rivers and even communities. They trains represent the essence of India that harbours a plethora of beautiful cultures within its secular folds. Sit in the Indian trains and you shall see the waves of civilizations and cultures of our nation pass by, something that renders beautiful colours to our landscape. There are certain train routes in India that offer you the best of the picturesque scenes and views that shall leave your experience surreal. Let us explore at least 12 of such train routs that shall introduce you the scenes you must have seen only in the movies.
Here are a few tracks which you should not miss
1. Udhampur - Katra Railway Route
Watch the scenic beauty of Himalayan ranges through the window panes of your train. Recently flagged to operation, this ride will let you view the best of north Indian natural beauty- Patnitop, Sanasar, Shiv Khori and Srinagar. This train reaches up to the foothills of Himalayas and covers over 20 tunnels and 158 bridges that offer jaw-dropping views, especially from across the Gambhir Bridge. On the approach to Udhampur, the land flattens. This train route is a dream come true for the millions of devotees from across India, who had to pass through the ordeal of looking for buses for Katra Vaishno Devi after deboarding trains at Railway Station Jammu.
2. Konkan Railway Route
A lot has been written about the Konkan Railway and the stunning, undulating and breath-taking scenic beauty it offers to travelers all along the way. It must rank among one of those must-see-places-before-you-die along with such natural wonders as the Southern coast of Spain, the Bahamas, the Amazon rain forests, the Fjords of Norway, the Alps of Switzerland, the Mediterranean and so on. The western coast of India is rich in scenic beauty from Kanyakumariin the south, the entire state of Kerala, the spellbinding Karavalli coastlines of Karnataka which include spots like Gokarna and Maravanthe, the entire state of Goa whose natural abundance is already well-known and the ruggedly beautiful coasts of Maharashtra.
3. Hubli - Madgaon - Vasco Da Gama Route
While travelling from Hubli to Madgaon, experience one of the most thrilling and enchanting train journeys in India. The train passes through the gigantic and most magnificent Dudhsagar waterfalls gushing out from 300 metres in full vigor. Once the train reaches the waterfall, you will be amazed at the cascading beauty and force. If you decide to enjoy it closely, quickly get down at Londa junction, which is the nearest station to Dudhsagar falls.
4. Pamban - Rameshwaram Sea Bridge Rail Route
Standing strong against one of the most demanding climatic conditions, the Pamban-Rameshwaram Bridge is the pride of Indian railways. Rebuilt after being washed away along with a train in the Tsunami of 1965, this is the second longest sea bridge in India. Spanning over 2 km with 143 piers, this is the only transport link between Rameswaram and Pamban Island to mainland India. The experience of riding the Palk Straits cannot be easily matched by any other train journeys you embark on.
5. Kalka Shimla Toy train Journey
Taking a trip on the historic UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train is like travelling back in time.The railway, built by the British in 1903 to provide access to their summer capital of Shimla, provides one of the most scenic train journeys in India. It enlivens passengers as it gradually winds its way steeply upwards along the narrow track, through rugged mountains and pine forests.
6. Darjeeling Himalayan Train Route
Toy Trains of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) run along narrow gauge track passing through some of the most scenic mountain routes in the world. It has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1999. The journey offers breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, forests, tea gardens and local villages on the way. Known as one of the engineering marvels, the toy train track has several zigzags and loops on the way that helps the train to negotiate steep gradients. And there are a number of small stations along the way.
7. Jaipur jaisalmer Train Route
India is a land of diversity. On one hand it offers lush green sceneries and on the other hand it offers the beauty of barren deserts. A train from Jaipur to Jaisalmer is another exciting journey where one can experience the flavor of barren deserts. The beauty of this route is that the view of landscape keeps changing such as, after traveling few hours from Jaipur, you can see the change of landscape from desert to pastoral landscapes, beautiful mud huts that are made up of red clay bricks and you can also enjoy the view of camels gazing in the flat desert. The amazing scenic beauty makes this route entirely majestic and incredible.
8. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Well, if you remember the peppy Shah Rukh Khan song Chaiyya chaiyya, you already know the Nilgiri Mountain Railway! Running through the scenic narrow gauge lines between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam, it completes a 46km track and takes the passengers through picturesque forests, fascinating turns, tunnels and lot more! On a whole, the track completes 108 curves, 16 tunnels and around 250 bridges.
9. Matheran Hill Railway
Remaining as the only heritage railway in Maharashtra, Matheran still is a favourite among both people form Mumbai and those from outside, for the peace and tranquil atmosphere it offers. This narrow gauge rail line was built by Akbar Peerbhoy way back between the years 1901 to 1907. It runs through large swathes of forest territory and covers a total distance of 20 kms. Whether you are lone or with family and friends, this journey will surely take your mind off things for the little while it carries you.
10. Orissa Tribal Railway
The Koraput to Rayagada railway line passes through the dark and dense forests, meadows, water falls and terraced valleys. Rayagada region is known for scenic beauty and heritage on the land of tribal Odisha, an unexplored paradise
11. Jammu - Udhampur Air Line
The railway track connecting Jammu, Udhampur, Srinagar and Baramulla is not only picturesque and enthralling but also one the most challenging railway projects. It is located in the high earthquake intensity zone with undulating and rugged terrain and extreme cold temperature.
12. Goa - Mumbai Rail Route
This train inches past pristine beaches and villages of Goa on Sundays. As it approaches the Western Ghats, the train speeds up through thick jungle and precarious curves of mountains. As the vegetation decreases, the waterfalls increase and the scene changes from rocky hills to deep valleys.
As they say sometimes it is the journey that is more beautiful rather than the destination itself. It stands true for these train routes as well! What say?