There are certain childhood memories that stay etched in our minds forever. For many of us, they are those exciting train journeys that we used to take with our loved ones before flying became the norm. In those golden days, travelling by train meant buying our favourite comics and munchies, sipping on chai, playing card games, and admiring the changing landscapes outside. Since India is a country that boasts diverse topography, a train journey offered and still offers you unique experiences and awesome sights. So, if you wish to relive your childhood and take things a little slow, get ready for these 10 amazing train journeys. Their scenic routes will leave you mesmerised and asking for more.
1. Mumbai to Goa (Konkan Railway)
When it comes to taking a short break from the busy Mumbai lifestyle, Goa, the party capital of India, is the first destination that comes to mind. While you can always take the flight, a train journey from Mumbai to Goa promises a different experience altogether. This unique and scenic route encompasses some amazing natural marvels, including Sahyadri Ranges, Arabian Sea, lush green meadows, tunnels, small rivers, bridges, lakes and waterfalls, among others. The route is so scenic that you will find yourself marvelling at the beauty of nature throughout. If you are a photography enthusiast, remember to carry your camera as the route offers photo ops every few seconds.
- Train Route: Mumbai CST – Thane – Khed – Ratnagiri – Pernem – Madgaon
Suggested Read: Top 15 Beaches in Goa to Enjoy Sun, Sand and Sea
2. Bangalore to Goa
This picturesque route is a must-take for every nature enthusiast, especially during the monsoon season. The highlight of the Bangalore to Goa train route is the majestic Dudhsagar Falls which is in its full glory during and after the monsoon. And since trekking to the falls can be risky at this time of the year, taking the train journey is the best way to see this beautiful waterfall up close. The train usually slows down near the falls, giving travellers a chance to soak in the beauty of this wonderful creation of nature and capture some stunning photos. However, the train route from Bangalore to Goa is not only about the waterfall. You can also see the lush green Western Ghats, pass through numerous stone tunnels, and admire the beauty of the changing landscapes throughout.
- Train Route: Yesvantpur Junction – Hubli Junction – Castle Rock – Kulem – Madgaon – Vasco-Da Gama
Suggested Read: North Goa or South Goa – How to Make a Choice?
3. Vasco Da Gama to Londa
The train journey from Goa’s Vasco De Gama city to Karnataka’s Londa town is always a delightful experience for nature lovers and travel buffs. This beautiful route passes along the spectacular Konkan Coast and the majestic Western Ghats, offering stunning views of dense forests, lush green fields, beach towns and Goan villages. If you are travelling during the monsoon season, you can see many stunning waterfalls gushing down with lush green hills as their backdrop, creating some of the most mesmerising views.
- Train Route: Vasco Da Gama – Madgaon – Castle Rock – Londa Junction
4. Jaisalmer to Jodhpur (Desert Queen)
When you are exploring the vibrant state of Rajasthan, make it a point to travel from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur on the Desert Queen train. This 6-hour-long journey will take you through diverse landscapes and leave you in awe. From xerophytic plants, golden sands and sand dunes to grazing camels and deer, you can see them all. There are also some scattered settlements on the way where you can see locals in their traditional attire. Hence, a train journey from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur is more like a long desert safari, offering some of the finest views of this region.
- Train Route: Jaisalmer – Ramdevra – Phalodi Junction – Jodhpur
Suggested Read: Places to Visit in Jaisalmer
5. Kalka to Shimla (Himalayan Queen)
Attention all nature lovers! This picturesque train journey is something you can’t afford to miss. The Himalayan Queen train that runs between Kalka and Shimla is more like a toy train that runs on a narrow gauge. It starts from Kalka and travels around 96 km upslope, treating passengers to stunning views of lush pine forests, rugged mountains, verdant valleys, milky-white waterfalls, pretty flowers and serene hill stations. The train makes its way over 864 bridges, through 102 tunnels and around 919 curves, making the journey an amazing one. You can also see some fascinating sights and hamlets on the way that are impossible to witness otherwise. The route holds the Guinness World Record for the steepest rise in altitude throughout the distance of 96 km. It was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
- Train Route: Kalka – Barog – Kandaghat – Shimla
6. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Running between Mettupalayam and Ooty, Nilgiri Mountain Railway promises one of the most scenic train journeys in the country. What’s special about this train is that it runs on steam locomotive engines, at a speed of 15 to 30 km per hour. The train journey starts from the plains with paddy fields on both sides. After covering about 7 km, the train enters the Nilgiri Mountain Range. The route boasts exceptional scenic beauty with majestic mountains, deep valleys, tea gardens and abundant fauna. The route comprises around 250 bridges, 16 tunnels, multiple curves and hairpin bends. Hence, a ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the best way to reach the beautiful hill stations of Ooty and Coonoor. This popular mountain railway with the steepest track in Asia has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
- Train Route: Mettupalayam – Coonoor – Ketti – Ooty
7. Kanyakumari to Trivandrum (Island Express)
Although a short route of 2 hours, the train journey from Kanyakumari to Trivandrum is among the most picturesque ones in the country. This route will take you through the most beautiful parts of Kanyakumari and Trivandrum. Apart from coconut trees, palm trees, paddy fields and forest-like areas with dense greenery, you can also see some villages, elaborately decorated temples and beautiful churches on the way. Hence, taking this short yet exciting train journey is one of the best ways to experience the real beauty of these popular places in the southern part of India.
- Train Route: Kanyakumari – Kulitthurai – Neyyattinkara – Trivandrum
8. New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway)
The toy train ride from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Darjeeling is one of the most amazing train journeys in the country. This beautiful route encompasses a series of scenic landscapes that will leave you mesmerised. The toy train starts from the plains of Jalpaiguri and passes through Siliguri, Sukhna, Kurseong and other places before reaching the highest point called Ghoom and then descending towards Darjeeling. Lush forests, tea gardens, cold air and the snow-capped Kanchenjunga add a surreal charm to the journey, something worth experiencing. The train also passes the popular viewing point called Batasia Loop which offers stunning panoramic views of the entire town. Although the toy train moves at a slow pace and along multiple loops and zigzags, it is a top attraction of this region. Moreover, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999.
- Train Route: NJP – Siliguri Junction – Sukna – Rangtong – Kurseong – Ghoom – Darjeeling
9. Bhubaneshwar to Brahmapur (Chilka Route)
With the Eastern Ghats on one side and Chilka Lake on the other, the 3-hour-long scenic train route from Bhubaneshwar to Brahmapur is a treat for nature lovers. The beauty of lush green mountains, the massive serene lake, and charming landscape will keep your eyes glued to the train’s window for most of the ride. Chilka Lake, a blackish water lagoon, happens to be the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian sub-continent as well. So, you may even get lucky enough to spot some beautiful birds on the way. Photography enthusiasts must keep cameras handy to capture the beauty of the lake and the changing landscapes.
- Train Route: Bhubaneshwar – Kuhuri – Chilka – Brahmapur
10. Jammu to Baramulla (Kashmir Valley Railway)
Constructed on major earthquake zones and mountainous terrains, this 356 km long route from Jammu to Baramulla is counted among the most challenging and picturesque projects of the Indian Rail System. The train passes through multiple scenic towns in the Kashmir Valley and offers a glimpse into the lives of Kashmiris. You can also see several high-altitude mountain passes, tunnels, snow-capped mountains, Chenab River and over 700 bridges on the way. The topographical diversity during this 13-hour journey will make the experience enjoyable and worthwhile. However, the region experiences extremely cold winters with heavy snowfall, so keep this in mind when you’re planning a trip.
- Train Route: Jammu – Katra – Banihal – Baramulla
Apart from the above, there are many other scenic train routes in India that are worth taking. Some popular ones include Matheran to Neral, Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley, Guwahati to Silchar and Ratnagiri to Mangalore, among others. No matter which one you decide to take, the best thing about train journeys is that they help you see places that are not easy to reach otherwise. Hence, when it comes to enjoying the real beauty of India, embarking on a train ride is the best option. Just keep the weather condition in mind and book train tickets as well as hotel rooms at the destination in advance to get good deals.