The top 5 train journeys to take in India

 

Travelling by train in India is an experience like no other. From luxury trains with comfortable cabins and fine dining on board to scenic mountain railways, commuter trains and long-distance journeys, there is certain to be a trip to suit everyone. Here are our recommendations for the top 5 train journeys to take in India.

Kalka – Shimla railway

The Kalka to Shimla narrow gauge railway opened in 1891 to connect the summer capital of the British Raj – Shimla – with the Indian rail network.  Today, the journey on the Unesco toy train is like travelling back in time. Winding its way steeply up the narrow track, through spectacular mountain scenery and pine forests, the 96-kilometre-railway passes through 20 stations, round 900 bends, over 800 bridges and through 100 tunnels, the longest of which is over a kilometre. For the best views, make sure you sit on the right side going up and the left coming down.

The Kalka toy train finishes in Shimla

Konkan railway

The 14-hour journey on the Konkan railway from Mumbai to Mangalore is seldom used by tourists but is a contender to be one of the country’s most scenic routes. Travelling down India’s west coast, the train passes paddy fields, mountains, rivers and beaches. A highlight has to be crossing the 2km bridge over the wide Sharavathi river in Karnataka state.

Deccan Odyssey

Covering a range of routes across India, the luxurious Deccan Odyssey explores India in style. On board, cabins are spacious and comfortable, and the restaurant cars serve excellent foods.  Excursions off the train reveal the natural beauty and cultural gems of both well-known parts of India and lesser-visited destinations. Journeys available include the classic Delhi to Mumbai or the Golden Triangle and more remote Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Deccan Odyssey

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Known as the Darjeeling toy train, this 61cm narrow gauge railway runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, connecting the foothills with the British Raj’s summer hill station. Rising from 100m above sea level up to 2,250m in Ghum – the highest railway station in India – the tracks follow the main road pass through towns, villages and seemingly through their market stalls. The railway is very much considered a part of the region’s identity and should not be missed.

Toy Train, Darjeeling, India

Alleppey Express

One of southern India’s oldest railways, the 746 km route from Chennai to Alleppey takes over 13 hours and travels across the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The final two hours of the journey from Cochin take in the famous backwaters of Kerala, crossing Lake Vembanad twice and passing through small villages and towns.

The Alleppey Express passes the backwaters of Kerala

Katie Parsons is the PR Manager at Cox & Kings.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Hi Katie,

    The Alleppey Express sounds fun. We bused from Pondicherry to Bangalore, to Alleppey, and then did Kovalam Beach to Chennai, on the return trip. Alleppey may be the most beautiful peaceful spot in India.

    I heard from more local people and tourists that Kerala was about the best tourist or local stop in the whole of India. I’m inclined to agree after living in Kovalam Beach for over a month.

    So much beauty.

    I can imagine that the train ride is awesome because you’re traveling around many national parks on the route. I remember seeing this as we bused across Kovalam to Chennai.

    Thanks so much Katie. Tweeting in a bit.

    Ryan

  2. Katie Parsons says:

    Agree about the backwaters, and Kerala. So beautiful. I’d love to do the Alleppey Express too. Having said that, I love doing any train journeys!

    Katie

  3. Shiv Singh says:

    Hi Katie,

    That’s a nice summary of the trains in India. I would like to mention, The Palace on Wheels, which I have done with my family, was amazing. I have also done backwaters and Kovlum by road and not by train, it’s lovely

    Thanks for the blog.

    Shiv

  4. Andrew Sinha says:

    Any train journey in India is an adventure never to be forgotten. Even journeys from the major cities, especially the night sleepers. Oh they are also a good way to get around and feel hear and smell the culture ! @>-;–

  5. Ravi Thawani says:

    Train journey in India is an unforgettable experience and I recommend every visitor must put it on their “TO DO” list to experience the real India. Have travelled by Kalka Express and it was by far the most memorable train journeys of my life. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dikshant says:

    Kerala is called the God’s own country and the travelers are by default God’s own guest, so you will never be disappointed

  7. I have been to most of these locations and I must admit that these the some of the best destinations for vacationing. I totally agree with Katie, these are some of the best train journeys in India. I really loved all the pictures but my favorite one would be the one taken in Kerala.

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