The most frequented hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh is none other than Shimla. Earlier, the summer capital of British India, it now remains a popular summer retreat for tourist coming from far-off lands.
Beauty of Shimla
The smooth, shiny slopes of snow-draped mountains are surely inviting. Camping, trekking, paragliding, skiing or performing yoga while enjoying the mild rays of the sun is absolute bliss!
Shimla is a well-developed city, but still the natural beauty all around is enchanting. Beautiful hills and Shimla are almost synonymous with each other. It attracts so many tourists because it has something for everyone. Jakhu temple, Tara Devi temple, St. Mary’s Church, Kali Bari, Sankat Mochan Temple, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Dorje Drak Monastery, Kamna Devi Temple, Bhimakali Temple and Christ Church are active places of worship that offer stunning views along with spiritual peace.
Nature has bestowed all its love on this city and adorned it with the magnificent seven hills on which it is settled. The Glen, a perfect destination for a picnic has been visited from time immemorial. Annandale, Scandal Point, Himalayan Bird Park, Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, Rothney Castle, Rashtrapati Niwas, Lakkad Bazar and The Ridge are some of the most prominent landmarks here.
But, this blog is neither about Shimla’s attractions nor about its history and culture. Rather, it details the incredible journey that one can undertake to reach this jewel of a place – a ride on the famous Shimla Toy Train…
Mesmerizing Views from Kalka to Shimla Railway Track
Shimla Toy Train, formally known as the Kalka-Shimla Railway, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a 2 feet 6-inch narrow-gauge railway line, which goes along a mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. It is famous for its picturesque views of the snow-covered peaks and the villages. During the winters as the snow falls and covers the route, the journey will become the most memorable of your life.
The construction of Kalka-Shimla track took place in the late 19th century to connect Shimla with rest of the Indian Railways under the British Raj. Now more than 100 years old, the Kalka Shimla Rail route offers the old-world charm of traveling amidst the lofty pines and lush-green terraced farms. The 96-kilometer ride on a track, sometimes turning at angles as sharp as 48 degrees, is just mind-blowing.
Passes through 102 tunnels and crosses more than 800 bridges and viaducts, the journey and the scenic views cast a spell on you. With hills on both sides, the rail line appears like two silver threads amidst two cliffs. The small train moves with great pride and power on the bridges and across gushing streams. It is a sight and experience to be cherished. The cool breeze and the aromatic air will surely sweep you over your feet.
As you embark on the ride, you can expect a climb as soon as it departs from the Kalka station. The toy train runs along the line, whistling amongst the best scenic views in the world. Forests full of deodar, oak, ficus, and maple woods are crossed at a speed of only 22 km per hour, gibing you ample time to enjoy the vistas. The journey shows you the transition from one vegetation type to another, the glory of the railway stations and the Gothic-style bridges that come en route. Smell of fresh dew on trees, chirping of the birds, humble village folk and grazing cattle, and soft rays of the sun are sure to detox you.
There are toy trains that are designed to recreate the bygone era for passengers. It is advised to sit on the right side while travelling towards Shimla and on the left while heading to Kalka. Book your tickets well in advance to experience the fun as these trains are always overbooked, especially in the summer season. Also, remember to book a hotel in Shimla before the tourist season kicks in and price start soaring