Throughout our childhood days, we all have been an avid fan of trains. The excitement and joy which we experienced when we saw a train passing by is simply indescribable. But as we grew up, somewhere along the way, that little excited child was replaced with the figure of a working man, trying to figure his life out along with millions of other people. But every once in a while, we must stop and learn to embrace the inner child, for that is the only way to remain young at heart! What better way to do so other than taking a train ride through some of the finest places in India?
1. Kalka-Shimla Railway
Located in the heart of Northern India, this is one of the most scenic train rides you can take in the country. The train travels from the town of Kalka at the bottom of the summit and takes a curvy mountainous route to the hill station of Shimla. Along the way, you will be blessed with astounding views of the hills and small villages like Barog, Solan and Shoghi. The train will take you through more than 100 tunnels and numerous bridges, each offering you a unique spectacular view of the nature and verdant hills. Immerse yourself in the wonderful ride by enjoying the marvelous view outside the window.
Getting there: Kalka is well connected to Delhi and Chandigarh through railways and roadways.
2. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
This railway line in Tamil Nadu is particularly known for its track, which is the steepest in the Asia. In addition to this, the famous ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ song from the Bollywood movie ‘Dil Se’ was shot on this route. The train runs between the Mettupalayam station in Coimbatore to Udhagamandalam in Ooty and takes a total of four hours to cover the journey. The train with wooden coaches and large windows, will take you across more than 200 bridges and through dense, evergreen forests. The weather is pleasant throughout the way and the entire setting will make you wonder if you are traveling in the South India or through the Scottish moors.
Getting there: Coimbatore is well connected to the rest of the country through airways, railways and roadways.
3. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
We have all seen the video of the song ‘Mere Sapno ki Rani’, wherein Rajesh Khanna is trying to woo Sharmila Tagore. That legendary song was directed along this famous railway line. Located in West Bengal, the trains on this railway line run from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The toy train passes through numerous tiny villages and at many times, literally rolls through the crowded streets and shops. The tracks are laid on the road as well as on the side, which is one of the reasons why this ride is so popular. A marvelous feat in engineering, embarking on this train ride will not only present you with awe-inspiring views of the hills clouded in mist and tea estates, but will also give you a look in the simple lives of people living here.
Getting there: From Kolkata, an overnight train will take you to the town of New Jalpaiguri, from where you can board the toy train. The closest airport is the Bagdogra airport.
The above three railway lines have been categorized into UNESCO World Heritage sites.
4. Konkan Railway
After traveling to the three corners of the country, let us take our focus to the Western Ghats of India, in which the Konkan railway has been well established. The line is operated between Mumbai in Maharashtra and Mangalore in Karnataka and runs through the Konkan coast. This is one of the best tracks to travel on, if you wish to witness the Arabian Sea coastline and the wonderful scenery of the Western Ghats. The train will take you through the heights in the Ghats region to the view of the coast toward the Mangalore side.
Getting there: Mumbai is well connected to the rest of the country through railways, roadways and airways.
5. Madurai to Rameshwaram Railway
If you are a person who loves sea, then this train ride is for you. Rameshwaram, which is located on the Pamban Island, is linked to the mainland by rail and road bridges, which is more than two kilometers long. The train starts from the city of Meenakshi Temple, Madurai. It passes through a bascule bridge, which can be raised and lowered for the movement of ships. The journey through the sea is an unforgettable experience, with the view of limitless sea on both the sides. Definitely it is one of the most popular train rides in the country!
Getting there: Madurai is well connected to the rest of the country through railways, roadways and airways.
6. Palace on Wheels
Though this is one of the costliest train ride you will ever take in your life, one thing that you can definitely be assured of is the fact that it is worth every penny. It is a luxury tourist train, which follows a scheduled trip, starting from New Delhi and covering the major tourist destinations in Rajasthan for a week and ending the trip back in New Delhi. The train is self sustaining one and is a hotel in itself, comprising of many luxurious cabins and two multi cuisine restaurants. This is the ride to take if you want to be treated like a Maharaja.
For more information, visit http://www.palaceonwheels.net/new/home.htm
Getting there: The capital city Delhi is well connected to the rest of the country through railways, roadways and airways.
This is a Guest Post by Chirag Dubey.