India is a land of infinite variety with white Mountains on the north to golden desert in the west and the wide open deep Indian Ocean in the South. The best way to explore India and its various beautiful places is by undertaking a tour to various parts of the country through its railways.
Indian Railways which is the second largest rail network in Asia covers almost all the places of the country. A major portion of this rail network pass through the country side which displays the original India and its living. Read on and take a look at some of the most memorable train journeys that one can undertake in India to enjoy the various facets of nature.
Qazigund – Srinagar – Baramulla route
Kashmir is often referred to as the paradise on earth, Switzerland of India, and many other names. Take a ride along the snow-laded route from Qazigund through Srinagar to Baramulla, and you will know that there is not an iota of lie or exaggeration in these references. For the most unforgettable journey, travel during the winter months and you will be greeted by a blanket of snow upon surroundings with Chinar trees in the distance.
The Guwahati-Silchar stretch in Assam is one of the most amazing and dangerous tracks in India. You will pass by green bushy fields and forests rolling along huge valleys, with the Jatinga river winding down the rough terrains and separating the valleys. One of the oldest tracks in India, this route was laid during the British period to transport tea leaves from different parts of Assam. So, you can see the tea gardens in Barak valley, which will give you a glimpse of the rich vegetation growing on the fertile plains of the state.
Darjeeling toy train route
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal, also called the Toy Train, offers a true joy ride. Constructed in the years 1879-1881, this route is among the oldest and the most picturesque train routes in India. In 1999, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the most stunning features of this ride is the series of loops along the natural ascent, with the Batasia Loop being the most famous among them. You can get a view of the distant mountains, tea gardens orchards, forests, and if you are lucky enough to get a clear weather, then you can also get a view of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga.
A train ride from Siliguri to Alipurduar through Dooars in West Bengal is one of the most uniquely scenic train routes in India, as you pass through lush forests and witness nature and wildlife at its best. The train chugs through the Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary, Jaldapara Wildlife sanctuary, Chapramari forest and Buxa Tiger Reserve, thus giving you the opportunity to absorb the sights of endemic flora and fauna to your heart’s content. You can also see the streams meandering down the hills of Sikkimand Bhutan, with the wildlife sanctuaries at the stream crossings, as well as the gurgling Teesta and Sankosh rivers, all against the backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas.
Pamban bridge train ride
The Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, or Pamban Bridge in Tamil Nadu is the second longest sea bridge in India, connecting Rameswaram on Pamban Island to Mandapam in Tamil Nadu. The train ride along this thin bridge across the flat blue waters of the Palk Strait and crossing the Gulf of Mannar is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have. The 2065 m long bridge was opened in 1914, with Indian Railways upgrading the bridge in 2007. This ride is not for the weak hearts – it is along one of the most dangerous bridges in the country, surrounded by nothing but vast expanses of waters that meet the eyes during this thrilling journey.
Vasco Da Gama – Londa junction trip
Hop on board the Goa Express from Vasco Da Gama in Goa to Londa Junction in Karnataka, and experience the side of Goa that you are not familiar with. This route exposes a whole new face of the region, complete with excellent thick jungles, splashing waterfalls and green hills. As you journey along the precarious curves of the Western Ghats, you get a splendid view of the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, one of the highest and most spectacular waterfalls of the country. The train will also brush past the beaches of Goa, and you can sneak a peek into the fun-filled activities of families and friends gathered by the sea to enjoy themselves.
Jaipur – Jaisalmer route
This train ride will take you through the famous Thar Desert of Rajasthan, giving you a view of the expansive desert, with glimpses of rural life and pastoral activities. You can witness the chrome sand dunes stretching beyond the horizon, the barren lands with sparse vegetation, vibrant settlements with colorful huts, stray camels grazing here and there, and a lot more. The scenes along this route are very different from what you get on most of the train journeys in this country, as it upholds the true essence of Rajasthan, instead of offering glimpses of hills and mountains, seas and river.
There are several other scenic train routes in India. You can take a trip along the Mumbai-Goa route in Mandovi Express starting from Maharashtra, the Chennai-Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu in Sethu Express, the Udhagamandalam-Coonoor track of Tamil Nadu in the Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train, the Ratnagiri-Madgaon-Honnavar-Mangalore route across the three states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, the Mumbai to Delhi path in the Indian Maharaja Deccan Odyssey, and many more.