7 Amazing Mountain Railways In India
Doesn’t matter where and with whom you fall in love, at the end, you will get your love only in the Indian Railways! And if this sounds ridiculous or unbelievable to you, take a five and just recall ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’! Remember the climax of the movie when the adamant father, at last says: “Ja Simran … ja jeele apni zindagi … ja beta ja”, and the story gets the much deserved happy endings?
This is not it! It is our very own Indian Railways that also teaches us to do “chaiyya chaiyya” on train-top, or ask your lady love “mere sapno ki rani kab ayegi tu?” and finally impress the ladies!
Well, keeping the jokes aside, if you look carefully, you will surely find the Indian Railways truly amazing! Connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, it is this amazing railway that makes all the corners of India a home away from home!
And when it comes to a country like India that is blessed with all the natural wonders, a train journey becomes memorable. Here are some of the amazing journeys that you must have if travelling with the Indian Railways:
1. Darjeeling Toy Train:
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is indeed the most loved and adored railway in the entire country. Established by the British Government in 1891, this meter gauge train is fondly called the ‘Toy Train’ and has been a hit among the visitors to Darjeeling since its inception.
Running between Darjeeling and Siliguri, the Toy Train has already been declared as a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site and takes its lovers through the scenic hills and mountains on the way. Also, since Darjeeling lies adjacent to Sikkim, the Toy Train receives a large number of visitors every year due to Sikkim Tourism.
2. Kangra Valley Railway:
Himachal Pradesh is undoubtedly a paradise for the visitors! Embraced by high snow covered peaks of the Himalayas, colourful vistas, enthralling passes and evergreen forests, Himachal entices an abundance of nature, adventure and leisure travellers from all the corners of the globe.
One of the major attractions of Himachal, the Kangra Valley Railway operates between the scenic valleys of Pathankot and Joginder Nagar. Completing a trail of 164km, this amazing railway journey offers the most charming views of the Himalayas, enthralling curves and the picturesque valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
3. Nilgiri Mountain Railway:
Well, if you remember the peppy Shah Rukh Khan song ‘Chaiyya chaiyya…’, you already know the Nilgiri Mountain Railway! Running through the scenic narrow gauge lines between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam, it completes a 46km track and takes the passengers through picturesque forests, fascinating turns, tunnels and lot more! On a whole, the track completes 108 curves, 16 tunnels and around 250 bridges.
Initiated under the flagship of Madras Railways, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is also one of the engineering marvels. It operates with a unique technique called the ‘ABR Rack and Pinion System’ and was later declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
4. Matheran Hill Railway:
Matheran, the smallest hill station in India, is located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. Perched on the Western Ghats, this only automobile-free hill station in the country reaches a height of 2,656ft above the sea level.
Operating in Matheran is the Matheran Hill Railway. Operating since 1907, this jovial toy train completes a track of 21km and runs between Neral and Matheran. Presently under the consideration of UNESCO, the main attraction of this railway is its 281 enthralling zigzags!
5. Hill Queen Express, Haflong-Lumding, Assam:
As we all know, Assam in the North Eastern corner of India, is the other name of natural beauty and charm! Nestled amidst scenic hills and mountains, lush valleys and stunning rivers, this state is the abode of many tourist attractions and places to visit. One amongst these places is Haflong, or the only hill station in the state.
Well, it might be the only hill station, but when it comes to fascinating railway journey, this scenic hill town proves to be one of the best in the country. The Hill Queen Express that runs between Haflong and Lumding, is considered as one of the most scenic as well as adventurous train journeys in the entire country.
6. Kalka–Shimla Railway:
If you want to witness and experience the best of Shimla on wheels, you must board the Kalka-Shimla Railway. Operating since November, 1903, this narrow gauge moving marvel was one of the most beloved tracks of the British officials during the Colonisation Era.
While Shimla was already the Summer Capital of the country, the officials felt the need of a better way of communication to their capital. And as a result, this amazing railway took birth! A track of 96km, it operates between Shimla and Kalka, and has around a total of 107 tunnels on the way; at present only 102 are in use.
7. Kashmir Railway:
The all-time favourite holiday destination in the country, Kashmir also makes to the list of the best railway experiences in the country with the Kashmir Railways. Known to be one of the most challenging engineering projects, the construction of this railway line was later declared as a National Project.
Till now under construction, it will connect Jammu and Kashmir with the other parts of India and is expected to be completed by 2017. As of now, one can enjoy this fascinating train journey from Jammu to Baramula.