Discovering India via trains is still the most effective and economical way to explore her geographical and cultural diversity. If you are thinking, a train journey is only for those who cannot afford the expensive airfares, you are highly mistaken. Train journeys can be quite extravagant and luxurious too. And thanks to online websites and apps that not only let you book tickets with ease but also order food in a train, track live train status, check PNR status, modify your journey and much more. Outlined below are seven unique train journeys that should be on your travel bucket list.
Discover The Mighty Thar Desert – Jodhpur Jaisalmer Express
Over the centuries, the local population has mastered the art of co-existing in harmony with their harsh desert surroundings. Thus, the region is steeped in natural and cultural beauty.
This train travels daily between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer and offers you the glimpse of nomadic life as it rolls past the sand dunes and the endless desert. The entire journey takes approximately 6 hours. Once there, you can enjoy activities such as camel rides and desert safaris. In the cities, you can visit forts, palaces, and museums. Some, like the Golden Fort in Jaisalmer, have existed since 1156 AD.
View of the Charming Plains – Island Express Train
Undoubtedly, Southern India hosts some of the most pristine and green plains in the country. Island Express, dubbed the super crawler, gives you a chance to reconnect with mother nature and appreciate her beauty. The route, dotted with closely packed palm trees and long grass verges, also offers some of the best views of Kerala’s village life. The journey starts in Kanyakumari and ends in Bengaluru. The train offers daily service and the running time is 20 hours and 50 mins.
Experience the Coastal Blues –Mandovi Express
This dramatic journey is a perfect start to your Goa vacation as the route crosses the Sahyadri valleys and touches the edges of the Arabian sea. The train also passes through tunnels, bridges, coastal peripheries and lush green meadows. There is daily service between Mumbai and Goa and the journey takes 11 hours 40 minutes.
Lose Yourself in the Magnificent Mountains – Jammu Mail
Mountains define the love affair Indians have with their environment. The smell of the cold crisp air, the fragrance of pine trees or the sight of snow-capped peaks can still bring out the poet in us. The train operates daily and takes 15 hours and 25 mins to reach Udhampur from New Delhi.
As the train trundles up north, the scenery gradually changes. The cities and towns are left behind, and suddenly you’re in God’s country. Inspiration presents itself in the form of snow-capped mountains, sleepy, picturesque stations with sloping roofs and green fields sprinkled with coniferous trees.
Quintessential Toy Trains –New Jalpaiguri Darjeeling
Toy trains are listed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO. It is therefore fitting that a ride on one of these beauties is a must for all train enthusiasts. The train operated daily between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and takes you on a mystical journey through tea gardens and flower-filled meadows.
The highlights include the Batasia Loop which offers a dazzling 360-degree view of the Eastern Himalayas. And the misty station of Ghum, which is the highest railway station in India.
Vital train facts:
- First toy train was built in 1881 to navigate the tricky hill terrains
- The train has a 100-year-old steam engine
- Average train speed is 12 km/hr
- Travel time is approximately 7 hours
Pay Visit to Iconic Historical Towns – Golden Chariot
Indian architecture is deeply influenced by centuries-old customs and practices. Exploring these ancient sites will give you a new appreciation for Indian history. Golden Chariot is a tourist train between Bangalore and Goa and the tours run from October to March.
While the cost is undoubtedly high, the tours are all-inclusive and aimed at providing a royal experience and a sound understanding of the region’s history. From the Mysore Palace to the caves in Badami, this train journey will take you back in time.
For Religiously enriching – Mahaparinirvan Express
If you’re a follower of Lord Buddha, then visiting the Buddha circuit destinations is a pilgrimage you must take. This 8-day/7-night tour trains operated between October and March and passes through four important Buddhist sites in India and Nepal. Please check visa requirements if you are not an Indian citizen.
This sacred journey allows you to pay homage to sited significantly important in Lord Buddha’s path to enlightenment. You will visit; Lumbini in Nepal – Buddha’s birthplace, Bodhgaya where he attained enlightenment, Varanasi – his place of teaching, and Kushinagar the place where he achieved nirvana.
Booking a journey: an essential tip!
Now that you’re ready to make a selection, use a training app! This is the easiest way to book your travels. These apps help you to navigate the train system and monitor the train running status, which is crucial during your journey.
Experience the picturesque beauty of India with a train journey. Keep reading to find out top 7 ways to experience the best of India with a train journey.